How to Support Employee Volunteerism During Shelter in Place

This week is National Volunteer Week. Sheltering in place doesn’t have to mean your company can’t support your local nonprofits and organizations. It just means you need to be more creative in your team’s approach. Here are 5 ways to support employee volunteerism and local nonprofits while encouraging employees to #StayHomeStaySafe.

Work with your local nonprofits to learn about their needs

It may seem that the current need is too vast and great to possibly make an impact. However, this is the perfect time to establish a relationship with a local nonprofit to learn how you and your team can make a difference. Connect with a local nonprofit to discover their list of needs beyond in-person volunteer opportunities. The list might surprise you!

1.      Play to your team’s strengths

Many nonprofits’ needs go beyond donations. Nonprofits need marketing, HR, and IT support just like any other functioning business. Work with a nonprofit to learn what they need while also utilizing your team’s skills. You might be able to create a marketing strategy, updated logo and graphics, or a content calendar. Perhaps the nonprofit needs guidance on HR best practices, setting up healthcare coverage for employees, or creating job descriptions. Many nonprofits need IT help – whether it’s updating their website, creating a donor database, or creating a volunteer tracking system. See what is in the scope for your team to put together and how many employee hours you are able to volunteer.

2.      Get Crafty!

Employee Volunteerism, sewing face masks

Although shelter-in-place orders are slowly coming to an end, the need for PPE is not. Many hospitals will still need masks for sick patients, nurses, and doctors. Sewing isn’t everyone’s strong suit, but perhaps you can host a (video) sewing happy hour for your team. Let a fellow teammate shine by having them lead the instruction in mask making for those interested. You can still have employee engagement opportunities via video while volunteering together – you just have to get crafty!

3.      Coordinate a donation

Donations are still critical to everyday functions of nonprofits, whether they are financial or physical. Find a local nonprofit’s wish list through an online store and share it with employees. Let employees know that they are not obligated to give, but if they are looking to help during this time contributing to a wish list is a very easy way.

4.      Get the whole family involved

With daycares closed and schools operating via video conference, many employees are looking for activities they can do with their children at home. Family friendly, volunteer-at-home opportunities support our local nonprofits while also nurturing a culture of giving at an early age.

Find volunteer-at-home opportunities with local retirement communities, children’s hospitals, hospice, and nursing homes looking to brighten someone’s day with mailed letters from a neighbor, handcrafted cards, or children’s art.

Employee Volunteerism, family friendly idea. Making cards to send to retirement communities.

5.      Create a team pledge

Lastly, you can create a team pledge. Connect with a local nonprofit and craft a team pledge to help on a future date. Learning what nonprofits need, you can coordinate a volunteer day or afternoon for your team when shelter-in-place orders are lifted. Planning a future employee volunteerism day with a nonprofit can lift a heavy burden now by promising to build, repaint, landscape, cook, or fund and staff an annual project that might have been cancelled or placed on hold due to financial hardship.  

Remember to be supportive of your team and their desire to volunteer during this time while also encouraging them to stay safe and healthy. It is possible to make a positive impact from home. However your team decides to volunteer, share your experience. It may inspire others to support their local communities and encourage employee volunteerism within their own organization. 

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