At Volunteering Matters, our Employee Volunteering team have worked with public sector organisations, small businesses and large corporates including Deloitte, Vodafone, and Discovery Channel for over 20 years- helping to develop long term volunteering schemes that meet organisational objectives, make the most of employees’ skills and ultimately giving something back.

Our Employee Volunteering team know the many benefits of engaging employers and their employees in Employee Volunteering, and we want to share our top tips to help any organisation that might be thinking about employee volunteering and giving back to the local community or a charity.

1. Get internal support for the volunteering programme.

It is really important that there’s organisational understanding of the rationale for the volunteering programme, the benefits to employee wellbeing, and to the local community. Successful Employee Volunteering programmes have the backing of the senior management team.

• Highlight the benefits to line managers of releasing staff to volunteer

• Clarify how the programme will operate, eligibility of staff to volunteer etc

• Understand staff needs/barriers e.g. call centre staff and shift patterns

2. Clearly align to your company values.

Our Employee Volunteering team always discuss the values and interests of a business in advance of setting up a programme.  We want to make the most of the staff skillset, benefitting the charitable organisation or community group they volunteer with and helping you achieve your organisational goals.

3. Understand current community needs. 

Think in advance about the part of the community that can benefit from your volunteering and the type of volunteering your staff wish to undertake. Think about the skills you and your staff could offer that will achieve the maximum impact over a longer period of time.

4. Think about the empathies, skillsets and needs of your staff.  

It is really important to think about how volunteering can develop staff skills as well as confidence and team morale. This can be a key selling point to engaging with line management and getting staff on board.

5. Maximise the value of your community investment by engaging in “real” employee volunteering opportunities where they have the greatest impact for all parties.

Remember that this is a chance to make a measurable difference to a community or area that needs additional support.

6. Ensure you have staff in place to develop and deliver your Employee Volunteering.

It is important that your staff understand the benefits of volunteering and have a high level of knowledge, ability, training and experience. It is equally important that you understand the needs of the charitable organisation you’re working with, how best to work with them, as well as the ability to carry out health and safety checks and risk assessments.

7. Develop a holistic approach to volunteer programmes and target your volunteering to the need of the community.

 Remember that one size doesn’t fit all. Our research has shown that the most effective and engaged programmes have a variety of opportunities for staff to get involved as teams, individuals, for one-off short and long periods.

8. Ensure robust Impact measurement is in place.

This is vital to monitor and evaluate outcomes for your business, staff and the community. Key indicators such as improvements in staff competencies and engagement through volunteering will help build business cases for further volunteering programme development and funding in the future.