Can we do employee volunteering ourselves?

Can we do employee volunteering ourselves?

22 July 2022

Written by Sarah Johnston, Head of Customer Engagement

Occasionally when I speak to businesses who want to be more purposeful about their community impact, they ask “Can we do employee volunteering ourselves, and wouldn’t it cost us nothing?”.

My very simple answer to this question is – of course you can arrange your own employee volunteering programme…so why aren’t you? The most common answer is “I don’t have time”. I don’t really need to ask this question as I already know that this is going to be their answer. Why ask it then? Because this is one of the main reasons we set up Social Good Connect – to make life easier for employees, employers and the people who are tasked with implementing employee volunteering and community impact.  

Size doesn’t matter 

Social Good Connect was developed to solve a problem for businesses who want to do good in the community and offer employee volunteering, but who don’t have one go-to place to find these opportunities. 

With SMEs, finding charities to support and securing volunteering opportunities is often an add-on to somebody’s existing (and already busy) role, meaning social impact programmes often become an afterthought.

Working with a partner such as Social Good Connect allows these individuals to focus on the job they were hired to do, without causing disruption and distraction to the day-to-day running of the business and to the achievement of their goals.  

It can be a little tricky to find a ‘one-stop shop’ of opportunities that will have enough variety for a diverse team of people. How do you find multiple volunteering opportunities that suits the individual interests of all your team? With a managed service like ours, you don’t need to spend time trying to figure out what everyone can get behind – you give the choice back to them.  

With larger organisations or corporates, who often have an in-house CSR role dedicated to social and / or community impact, they may not be getting the results they are looking for from their own internal volunteering programme.  

“But we’ve given our employees paid volunteering days and the uptake is low, why should we try again?”, I hear you ask.  

Usually the story here is that the team have said that whilst they want to volunteer, they don’t have time to look for charities to support, don’t know which charities are needing support right now or don’t know where to look.

There’s also a misconception that volunteering is going to take them away from their job for a half or full day – not true (unless of course this is what they want to do). The majority of opportunities play out in bite-size chunks, i.e. one to two hours every few weeks. Don’t get us wrong, we love the idea that people might be spending whole days out volunteering, it’s simply not something we see in practice, or it’s something that happens when it’s a group opportunity.  

Doing it yourself doesn’t mean it’s free 

Finding charities and volunteering opportunities yourself takes time – we know this as we have a full-time member of staff who does this – and therefore costs money.  

Can we do employee volunteering ourselves: two thirds of managers say a barrier to it is a lack of knowledge of local opportunities and how to measure its impact

Working with an employee volunteering partner can help free up time, both for the person who has been tasked with finding volunteering opportunities for an entire company, or for the employees who want to give back, but lack the time to look for charities to support that fits with their needs and wants. 

Doing it yourself means: 

  • Creating an employee volunteering policy 
  • Researching your team’s interests and passions 
  • Researching charities and legitimised causes to support 
  • Reaching out to these charities to co-ordinate volunteer opportunities 
  • Searching for charities who offer team days  
  • Manually matching employees to volunteering opportunities, or leaving it up to staff to work it all out themselves (you have a v. busy team, how likely are they to do this?) 
  •  Attempting to measure the impact you’ve made through employee surveys and spreadsheets 

With Social Good Connect, we make things easy: 

  • We provide a ready-to-use employee volunteer policy if you don’t already have one 
  • We have already researched and secured hundreds of charities to choose from 
  • We give your whole team access to our platform (and to our soon-to-be launched app) to enter their own interests and skills and be intelligently matched to the high-impact volunteering opportunities that meet their needs 
  • Support you every step of the way – from onboarding to embedding a culture of employee volunteering, and providing materials to help engage your people 
  • Finally, measure your impact at a glance, see which causes matter most to your team members and keep track of how many of your colleagues are getting stuck into volunteering 

So – can you do employee volunteering yourself? 

If you want more time to focus on the business and the achievement of your goals, whilst also contributing to solving real social needs, then a managed service might be for you.

If finding charities to support and securing volunteering opportunities is an additional part of someone’s role (i.e. they were hired to carry out a different role and finding volunteering opportunities is in addition to this role), or if employees are given volunteering days and need to find the opportunities themselves, but you’re not getting a good uptake, then we would say yes – it is something you should consider!  

Get in touch for a wee chat 

If you want to learn more about how Social Good Connect can help your volunteering programme (or help you start one), then why not speak to us today? Or contact us here if you’d like to enquire about signing up.  

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