4 Ways to Help Employees Grasp the Impact of Volunteering

SOURCE: VolunteerMatch

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By Scott Huntington

If you have employees who volunteer either time or money to a worthy cause your business supports, you may find that they don’t always realize how much good their service is actually doing.

Americans give a lot to charitable causes. Nationwide, workplaces raise more than $4 billion from workplace giving. Millennials — the roughly 20- to 35-year-old demographic — not only give to nonprofits actively, but like to give consistently. In fact, 87% of Millennials donated money to worthy causes in 2013.

Millennials, however, are less enthusiastic about workplace giving than about donating to causes they personally support outside of the workplace. The reason is simple: they want to see where their money is going and how it’s being put to use — and they don’t always get that during office drives.

So how do you harness the demonstrated good will of employees in the workplace? By making it personal!

Communicate Success

One key ingredient in workplace volunteer drives is to communicate success. People like to feel a personal connection with the effects their time and money have. So, let them know.

It’s especially important to communicate a “before” and an “after.” Is your workplace group focused on fundraising for clean water in Africa? It might be helpful to have pictures of the water sources before as well as after to illustrate their impact.

Results matter, too! If the clean water has cut down on disease or infant mortality, have testimonials from locals who can speak about the improvements your employees have made. Remember: the point is to demonstrate that your employees’ efforts are doing something of measurable worth.

It’s about communicating well. Here are four ideas to help you do just that.

  1. Have Employees Visit Sites and Report on the Company’s Success

Have a drawing in which two employees are chosen to go to their impact site and report on the success of their volunteering efforts. Promote engagement by communicating about the drawing itself. Offer an all-expenses-paid trip to see a fascinating part of their community or world. Then they can give their fellow colleagues a first-hand look at what their efforts have accomplished.

  1. Share Photos and Videos on Social Media

Pictures and videos are worth a thousand words — especially when they’re shared on social media! As part of your campaign, share stories of people who have been impacted by your employees’ efforts through photos and videos. Using social media channels will humanize those you help and give your employees an opportunity to connect with your brand online. It’s also a great way for your employees and consumers to get to know the people they’re helping.

  1. Highlight Statistics

While personal experience and stories are highly important, they aren’t all you can share. Sometimes, the highest impact can be gleaned from relevant statistics. Higher rates of survival. Less disease. More people growing into adulthood. Whatever the impact is, make charts and visualize the data.

One good idea? Have a two-week period in which the data is released piece-by-piece on Twitter using the hashtag “#GoodWork”. Get employees to follow along with your story during that period.

  1. Go With What People Care About

People care about people they know. But how does that work when the people are in other parts of the country or world? Take a creative approach. Do your employees follow sports? These contests often unify entire workplaces. The World Cup, especially, is enormously popular internationally. Could a group of sports enthusiasts from your company join a group of sports enthusiasts in, say, Africa?

Or perhaps your employees care strongly about the environment. If so, they might get more out of traveling to clean up after a flood, planting trees in a fire-affected forest, or even cleaning up trash on the street. If you’re not sure what motivates them, give them a few different options and let them vote on the best way to help.  You might even learn something about your employees in the process!

Getting your employees to see the great impact their volunteer work does can be challenging. That’s why communicating the good work employees do in ways they can visualize is key.

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KEYWORDS: Social Impact & Volunteering, Diversity & Inclusion, Volunteering, Employee Engagement, impact, VolunteerMatch