HeartPress Blog


Starting an Individual Employee Volunteer Program

So you’ve heard about the benefits an individual employee giving program can have – such as attracting top talent and engaging staff – and you’ve decided to give it a go. Congratulations! You might be wondering now: “where do I start?” 

At HeartPress, we’ve learned that it takes careful consideration when starting an employee volunteer program. Therefore, we’ve created a checklist to ensure you’re doing it right!

Your Checklist for Starting an Employee Volunteer Program

Determine your “Why?”

There are many reasons why you would want to develop an individual employee giving program. The first step is to figure out which of these reasons is the most important. Is the purpose of your program to retain employees? Attract top talent? What about providing opportunities for employees to build professional skills? Or perhaps you want to ensure your employees skills are optimized by serving the community. It can also be part of your marketing plan to increase public exposure or expand your network. Whatever your reason, let the “why”  inform the way you design your program. 

Whatever your reason, let the “why”  inform the way you design your program. 

Listen to your Employees

Your giving program is designed for your employees, so make sure you consult them in the planning process. Find out their level of interest in giving back, what causes they are passionate about and how they want to donate their time. 

Some employees are less motivated than others, and would benefit from giving opportunities that the company brings into the workplace. Other employees have the initiative to seek out opportunities, and would benefit from a program that gives them the freedom and flexibility to give back on their own terms. Your employee volunteer program should cater to both types of employees. 

Set your Framework 

After figuring out your “why” and considering the feedback you receive from your employees, it’s time to develop a program framework that will best serve your business. This will look different for every business depending upon your size, your industry, your current policies and your employees’ roles. 

We’ve seen some great examples of individual volunteer programs. One model we particularly love is to offer each employee a certain amount of paid hours per year to volunteer. The number of hours can vary – we’ve seen some companies, such as Keurig Canada, offer up to 52 paid volunteer hours per year! This model is one of the most popular according to a report from America’s Charity Snapshot, which shows that 60% of businesses offer their employees paid time off to volunteer. 

Also, consider highlighting and rewarding your employees for the good they are doing. Giving company-wide recognition in the form of a certificate, gift card or other small gift will keep your employees motivated and engaged in the program. 

60% of businesses offer their employees paid time off to volunteer according to America’s Charity Snapshot 

Implement your Program

Once you have decided on the structure of your program, it’s time to implement! Share the new program with your staff. Explain that philanthropy is an important part of your company’s philosophy and encourage them to take advantage of the program.

Don’t forget to share the good you’re doing with the public. Use social media to highlight stories of your superb employees and how their making the community a better place. Also, make sure to list your program on your website – it’s a huge selling point for potential employees!

Monitor the Impact 

Once launched, actively monitor your program to ensure it’s reaching your original goal. Track  how many of your employees are engaging with the program, how many hours they’re volunteering, the dollar value of all employee volunteer time and the number of organizations being served through your employees’ efforts. This is all important information when demonstrating the impact of your program to your stakeholders. 

Additionally, monitor your employee’s response to the program. A quick internal survey can let you know if your employees are enjoying the program, what aspects they like or dislike, and if they feel they’re able to make a significant contribution to the community. 

Your program should evolve as you monitor statistics and receive feedback from your stakeholders and employees.  

Download our Individual Employee Giving Program Checklist for a successful launch.


Need Help Starting an Employee Volunteer Program ?

HeartPress has your back. We work with companies to develop successful giving programs. Our marketplace #BrokersOfGood has hundreds of opportunities for individual employees to get involved. Contact us to sign up today to find the perfect match.

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