04 Dec How Non-Profits Can Take Advantage Of Corporate Volunteers
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 47 percent of companies offer a community volunteer program for employees. Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose has found that large companies are even more likely to sponsor volunteer activities: 61 percent offer paid-release time volunteer programs or a structured corporate volunteer program.
If your non-profit suffers from a chronic volunteer shortage or has had to put off large projects for lack of helping hands, such corporate volunteer partnerships can be very beneficiail. Teaming up with a well-known company also can raise your non-profit’s profile with potential donors and the media. And employees who participate may decide to become permanent volunteers or financial supporters.
Finding a match
The best volunteer partnerships generally are those where the non-profit’s mission and the company’s core business correlate. For example, an athletic clothing manufacturer is a perfect match for an afterschool soccer league.
Many businesses seek one-day volunteer opportunities that can accommodate all of their employees. If your organization is painting the walls of schools, serving free meals to the needy, or setting up for a fundraising event, short-term assistance from an army of volunteers can be a lifesaver.
However, you should not create work where it does not exist, particularly if coming up with activities or managing volunteers will put a strain on staff resources. Also be wary when companies offer volunteers on short notice. To be successful, corporate volunteer days take planning. For example, you may need to arrange such logistical details as meals or prepare training instructions and educational materials.
If you must turn down an eager corporate volunteer, do so carefully. Explain how the offer may, in fact, cost your non-profit time and money. Then propose other volunteer opportunities.
Group volunteer days are not the only way to take advantage of employees who want to help. Many companies provide paid time for staff to volunteer for the charity of their choice. Other companies make financial contributions to organizations where employees volunteer.
To find companies with volunteer programs, check with the Points of Light Foundation, VolunteerMatch, or regional groups. Once you have a corporate partner, make sure you dedicate time to building the relationship. Think beyond a one-day volunteer event and try to gain an ongoing commitment, such as quarterly — and possibly some financial support, too.