Volunteer programs are all about what you can do for people. But sometimes it’s not wrong to ask how volunteer work can improve your bottom line as well. After all, the more volunteer opportunities you create at work, the more you can do to help your local community. And that comes from understanding the innate business value that comes with volunteerism.
The only question: what is that business value, anyway? Let’s look at some of the key ways volunteering can be good for business and good for the people around you.
Volunteering Helps with Recruiting New Employees
Having volunteer programs in place is also a beneficial way to promote hiring and retention. With volunteer programs, you can change the way prospective employees see your company. And that can have a very positive effect on the recruiting process and on retaining the valuable employees you’ve invested in training.
71% of employees say that it’s at least somewhat important to work at a place that prioritizes volunteering. The obvious reason? Employees not only have hearts just like anyone else, but they also want to work at a place that has a sense of purpose. People want to work at organizations that have a sense of value. If the well-being of your employees and others is a priority, creating a volunteer program can be one of the best ways to offer employees a sense that the work they do has more meaning than clocking in and out.
Volunteering Keeps Engagement High with Current Employees
It’s not only about what you do when employees are in the door. Yes, it’s important to hire new recruits with a lot of talent and drive—but what happens when they’re in the building and contributing? Volunteering programs can increase teamwork and employee engagement, break up the monotony of day-to-day work, and infuse what they do at your company with a deeper sense of purpose.
Corporate social responsibility should be more than just words. When you do more than talk about employee volunteer programs and actually insert them into the way you handle your business, you can increase employee engagement. In fact, one of the most common forms of employee engagement, according to Charities.org, is to allow employees to donate money directly out of their paycheck.
But that’s not all. Consider that the majority of employees who volunteer believed that these volunteer programs strengthened their coworker relationships. Other employees respond that they want to work somewhere where their work has a deeper impact on the world around them. Not only do employees meet people—including coworkers and new friends—when they volunteer, but it helps them get a sense of what the company as a whole is trying to accomplish.
Bottom line? Community service, employee volunteer programs, and other employee volunteering initiatives help create happy employees.
Volunteer Programs Make a Positive Impact on the Community
After all, volunteering isn’t just about happy employees. It’s about the impact you have beyond the reaches of your company’s location. Whether you use community service or indirect community outreach programs, the benefits of volunteering go beyond employee morale. You can make a real impact on your community—an impact that leaves a positive impression for years to come.
For volunteers, the benefits are obvious. Many volunteers report improvements in self-esteem, for example, or even health benefits, from volunteering. How much more of an impact will your community outreach programs have on the people who need it the most? Volunteer activities especially have a direct impact on people. When they see that there are other people out there willing to care for them, the benefits go beyond the direct volunteer experience. They touch people on an emotional level that you simply can’t replicate through donation programs alone.
Volunteering also introduces all sorts of new elements into the charity equation. An employee might be introduced to new skills they’ve never had to use before. People on both sides may experience mental health benefits they never anticipated. And while the company’s bottom line can improve thanks to all sorts of side benefits with employee retention, the ability to raise awareness of specific issues is ultimately what’s really important about your volunteering efforts.
Having a positive impact on the community is also a way for a small business that’s new to the area to immediately make a name for itself. Yes, it’s important to attract top talent with volunteer programs. By simply by making a wave in the local community through volunteerism, a small business can utilize the entire volunteer experience to introduce itself, meet people in the community, and make an impact at the same time.
Volunteering Can Help with a Company’s Public Persona
Like it or not, your company has a public persona. You can’t choose that fact. But what you can choose is how your company prioritizes its time in guiding and directing that persona.
It’s possible to manipulate people on social media to some extent. But that’s not a way to connect. By creating a true company public persona that matches your values as a brand, you can use efforts like volunteerism to express those core values in an authentic way.
This isn’t to say that poor performance can be erased with a volunteer program. These programs may seem like an effective “sanitizer” for a company’s public persona, and in some cases, that strategy may even work. But ultimately, your company’s public persona will come through in the way you make volunteer programs and employee engagement programs part of your regular work.
How can you tell if you’re succeeding? When you spend less money recruiting and retaining employees and you notice that your volunteer programs are full to the brim with people who want to help, it’s a good sign that your company values are shining through. It may not happen overnight. But as long as you create a consistent program that aligns with your goals and values as a company, your ability to reach out to the community will eventually become an integral part of your company’s public persona.