7 Strategies to Foster Employee Volunteerism and Drive Community Impact 

Employee volunteerism programs provide a win-win situation. When a corporation partners closely with their community, both the community and the company benefit. A key benefit of developing a strong volunteerism program is that it can be an effective way to increase your organization’s employee retention and engagement.  

Volunteering provides employees with opportunities to contribute to causes they care about, creating a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Encouraging volunteerism can positively influence company culture as well as employee morale, engagement, and well-being. 

A Deloitte volunteerism survey found that 70% of working Americans agree that companies who sponsor volunteer activities have a more pleasant work atmosphere.

A study from Ares Management found that when asked about overall job satisfaction, nearly 8 in 10 employees who volunteer through their organization (79%) say that they are satisfied in contrast to 55% of non-volunteers, a 24-point difference. Workplace volunteers are also twice as likely to recommend their organization to jobseekers. 

So, how do you build an effective employee volunteerism program at your organization? Here are seven strategies to keep in mind: 

1. Align to company values. When developing the program, ensure it mirrors your corporate values. Collaborate with organizations to identify meaningful projects that align with your company’s values and employee interests. For example, if one of your company values is creativity, your organization could partner with a local after school arts program 

2. Establish clear objectives. A successful employee volunteerism program needs defined and measurable objectives. Ensure that your team understands the organization’s vision and how volunteerism aligns with broader community goals. You’ll want to maintain records of volunteer activities—such as hours contributed—to help you quantify impact.  

3. Leverage employees’ unique skills and talent. Consider using a skills assessment to determine employees’ aptitudes and create a map to understand strengths within the company. You can use this information to better match volunteer opportunities with employees’ specific skillset. 

4. Offer flexible volunteer opportunities. While your program should be structured, it should also allow for some flexibility. Offer various volunteer opportunities to accommodate diverse skills, interests, and schedules, which in turn, enables more employees to participate. Employee volunteer programs are also scalable in hybrid or remote work settings.  

For example, Discovery Education’s Career Connect provides employee volunteers the opportunity to meet with classrooms virtually to share their industry expertise and insights with students, in turn, fostering student curiosity and driving workforce development. 

“I was able to take part in a Career Connect opportunity with my 6th grade Coding and Computer Science class. Connecting with a professional in the field through a Zoom session has offered valuable insights into the daily challenges and rewards of a coding career, helping my students to bridge the gap between theory and practice.” 

Career Connect Educator 

5. Provide resources and support. Depending on the community organizations you partner with or the settings where employees volunteer, they may need comprehensive training and onboarding around policies and procedures. Additionally, as you develop your volunteer program, consider appointing volunteer coordinators to help employees find suitable opportunities and provide support throughout their volunteering journey. Be sure to create an easily accessible space where employees can find information about volunteering opportunities, events, and resources. 

6. Recognize your volunteers. Employee volunteerism and recognition are a powerful combination when it comes to building company culture. Celebrate volunteers’ impact and show your appreciation with awards, social media shoutouts, gift cards, or other forms of recognition.

7. Measure and share impact. To continue encouraging a culture of volunteerism, track and report on employee participation in volunteer activities to demonstrate the collective impact. Be sure to regularly promote volunteer opportunities through internal communications, meetings, and events. Finally, throughout the year, collect feedback from employees on their volunteering experiences and use it to improve the volunteer program. 

By integrating these strategies, you can create a workplace culture that values and encourages volunteerism, leading to enhanced employee engagement and a positive impact on the community around you.   

Curious to learn how Discovery Education is working to create seamless employee volunteer opportunities?