What if cuddling cats, helping the long term unemployed get a job or reading with school children at lunch time, was just part of a day’s work. And, what if, in organising these activities, you were helping your people feel more engaged with your company and community?

Welcome to what’s possible in corporate volunteering today! At Business Volunteers we see many different approaches to employee volunteer programs across our clients.

We’ve found a common thread among the best ones: companies that take a more flexible approach to employee volunteering get greater engagement. The opposite is also true — the more limits in place, the lower the take up and impact.

Wondering how to achieve these results for your own employee volunteer program? Here are four ideas to try — no matter what size your company is — to motivate people to donate more of their time and talent.

1. Make it inclusive: Offer micro volunteering sessions.

One of the easiest ways to get people to volunteer is to host regular in-house volunteering sessions. You can run sessions throughout the day or over the lunch hour to maximise turnout. People are busy, send meeting invitations so people can add the sessions to their calendars.

With this approach, you’ll overcome common barriers to participation like: “I can’t do it outside of work,” “I don’t know where it is,” and “I have other commitments.”

Examples include mock interviews for school children, making up food parcels for the homeless or a lunchtime litter pick.

2. Make it count: Offer skills based volunteering.

Most charities don’t have a lot of resources, and they often lack support and expertise in certain areas i.e. finance, marketing, strategy. But skills-based volunteering is where your company can contribute.

It’s a win for your company because it helps to develop your people’s leadership, networking and problem-solving abilities.

On top of all that, you also strengthen your reputation as a socially responsible company to work for and this makes you more attractive to your current and potential employees.

3. Make it big: Team building activities around causes.

How about pulling a team together to help a charity for a day?

Your team could help in a local food bank, decorate a children’s centre, get hands on at animal rescue centre or even organise a tea party at the local community centre for local older people? Everyone will feel good about giving back and doing it together.

From the charity’s standpoint, your people are valuable because they offer much needed help. Your company strengthens its connection to the community and its reputation as a business that gives back. Everyone wins.

4. Make it personal: Allow people to set up their own events.

Don’t underestimate the power of friendships and connections in getting people to volunteer.

Ask your staff for charities they know or friends and family know that need help.

Encourage your staff to set up their own volunteer opportunities for charities they support and to reach out to colleagues to join in too.

5. Bonus tip: Bring it all together for more impact.

Considering that the average employee donation amount is at least 25% higher at companies with a volunteering program compared to those without, it’s easy to see why it’s important to integrate your volunteer programs. At the end of the day, people who volunteer also give more.

One of the most rewarding things for us at Business Volunteers is when people tell us their volunteering stories. Some of them have never volunteered before — then they go to a charity team day we arrange and start a new connection that inspires them in some way, to become regular volunteers to that charity.

Reimagining volunteering in your place of work with these quick and simple approaches can help spark more meaningful engagement and increase productivity.

It makes volunteering a part of your company culture every day, inspiring more people to join in. Just watch: reinventing your volunteering schemes today will boost future participation and impact.


If this all sounds exciting but too much to handle internally, we’d be delighted to help you.

Contact the experts at Business Volunteers and we can arrange to call you or visit.

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