Corporate Volunteer Programs

The skinny on corporate volunteer programs
By guest contributor: Abby G.

Corporate volunteer programs are beneficial in many ways, not only to communities but to businesses and employees who volunteer. In addition to creating healthier communities and improving companies’ public image, corporate volunteer programs provide employees with opportunities to meet new people, learn new skills, apply old skills to new situations, and build teamwork.

When deciding what the aim of a new corporate volunteer program should be, three areas to examine are:

Company Focus: How can the goals or activities of the volunteer program be integrated with the mission or specialties of the company?

Employee Interests: What issues or problems in the community are important to employees?

Community Needs: what problems are being experienced by the community that the volunteer program could address?

These should also be considered when selecting projects for the volunteer program.

When possible, projects should be organized in conjunction with a nonprofit or Volunteer Center, since they can assist with various aspects of volunteering, including recruitment and orientation.

Before beginning a volunteer project, it is important to work out the details, including deadlines, logistics, material and skill resources, management and recognition methods, and specific tasks to be carried out.

The most common ways to structure the management of a corporate volunteer program are to appoint an employee to manage the program, either alone or as head of an employee decision-making committee, or alternately to outsource  components of management to consultants outside the company. Different management structures may be appropriate for different programs, but during the beginning stages it is recommended that an employee committee be used.

Additional resources for building a corporate volunteer program and the value of this effort can be found here:  http://www.volunteermatch.org/corporations/resources/research.jsp

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