Does your organization encourage volunteerism through an Employee Volunteer Plan? Does it allow for a certain amount of time per quarter or year to be dedicated to give back to others? If not, it should. Volunteering is beneficial to the community, the staff, and to the organization itself.
Why should your organization promote volunteerism?
1. Good for the individual employee
According to helpguide.org, volunteering gives a person increased self-confidence, helps them combat depression, and encourages them to stay more physically active. This is especially true for volunteers over the age of 60 (nationalservice.gov).
2. Good for staff bonding
Staff will bond when put into unfamiliar situations or when assigned an unfamiliar task. Volunteering is also a great way to have different groups who do not normally interact, interact.
3. Good for the organization
As noted in RealizedWorth.com, when your organization gives back to the community around it, it is viewed in higher regards by those in the community. Being seen as part of the community and as an organization that gives back, makes others want to work with you more.
4. Good for the community
As obvious as this may seem, volunteerism is wonderful for the community. Actively giving back to those around you helps individuals and organizations alike.
Where to find volunteer opportunities:
- Volunteer Match is a site that connects volunteers to organizations (http://www.volunteermatch.org/).
- Idealist is a great place to find volunteer opportunities and nonprofit jobs (http://www.idealist.org/).
- Ask your colleagues what organizations are important to them? Where do they volunteer?
How your organization can volunteer regardless of size:
- Work with the Red Cross to host a blood drive and invite others to attend and donate.
- Arrange an outing to a local food bank.
- Host a canned food drive or better yet, raise money to donate to a food bank. Food banks are actually able to purchase food items at lower costs than you are. This means that money donated goes much further than cans towards feeding the hungry (http://www.houstonfoodbank.org/aboutus/faqs/).
- Contact local shelters and arrange a winter coat drive.
- Organize a mid-year school supply drive. Reach out to local schools to see what is needed.
There are many ways and reasons to volunteer on your own and with your organization. Take some time to think about how you are able to give back.
Additional resources for creating Employee Volunteer Plans: