As COVID-19 continues to impact workplaces and communities, here's an excerpt from an insightful blog posted by our Bright Funds team to help you keep your employees engaged with volunteering in remote and safe ways.
Implementing a successful volunteer program with a hybrid workforce may not be as straightforward, but these tips may help:
Hybrid workforce tip #1 – Offer flexible volunteering opportunities
Whether you plan to offer volunteering opportunities year-round or during a one-time event, make sure to include all of your employees. Remote employees may prefer to participate in virtual volunteering opportunities or, in some cases, local opportunities that are socially distant. Be flexible on what counts as volunteering to increase participation. For example, if you decide to host a company-sponsored event to plant trees, allow remote employees to prepare tree-planting kits in their home or plant trees locally. Several organizations facilitate virtual volunteering opportunities, and many nonprofits have expanded virtual opportunities during the pandemic. Consider offering a wide variety of events, including those that may be important to your charity partners and those posted by your employees. To help, we have included a list of virtual volunteering opportunities you can use as a starting point in ourvirtual volunteering toolkit.
Hybrid workforce tip #2 – Foster a sense of “togetherness” locally
Virtual volunteering may not be quite the same as a team working side-by-side in a soup kitchen, but there are other ways to cultivate a sense of community. Create virtual spaces for connecting and brainstorming, such as Slack or a Facebook Group. Appoint local volunteer mentors who can act as a bridge between the company and employees. These mentors can serve as a resource for local employees, as well as help coordinate, communicate and recognize local events. For example, if a business wants to sponsor a company-wide volunteering event, volunteer mentors can work with local employees to decide how they want to support the event. This could include local and virtual gatherings for kickoff and post-event celebrations, matching t-shirts, sharing stories etc. Matching t-shirts for all employees regardless of their volunteer location can also help foster a sense of togetherness. As a case in point, one technology company allowed its global teams to come up with their own ways to give back virtually. Its Dublin team held a virtual bake sale for a local NGO, while its U.S. team hosted a virtual bingo night with athletes from the Special Olympics.
Realized Worth notes that appointing local volunteer mentors provides a two-fold benefit. One, it lets employees know that the company “takes citizenship and the causes employees care about seriously.” Two, elevating employees to “volunteer mentor” status is also an excellent way to improve cross-company connections and recognize employees for their leadership.
Hybrid workforce tip #3 – Engage employees with Dollars for Doers
Dollars for Doersis another way to encourage employee participation in your volunteer program. It matches each hour of volunteer service with an amount to donate to a nonprofit. For example, if an employee volunteers for 10 hours at the local animal shelter and the Dollars for Doers rate is $10/hour, the employee would receive $100 to donate to a nonprofit of their choice. It’s a great way to thank employees for investing their time in helping the community (or virtual nonprofit of their choice).