Tough Time Finding Volunteers During the Workday? Bring the Volunteering to Them!
Posted Thursday, June 18th, 2015 by Verified Volunteers Staff
It’s 11AM on a Thursday, and your organization is struggling to finish up dozens of tasks before your community outreach event on Saturday morning. You have plenty of volunteers signed up to help during the event, but where are they all now? They’re at work.
Finding volunteers during the workday is a major challenge for organizations running volunteer programs. A huge percentage of the volunteer population is either employed or a student – meaning that the majority of them are busy Monday – Friday, from 9AM – 5PM. So how can you get these folks involved with your organization during work hours when you truly need them (like on a Thursday morning!)? Here’s one idea: bring the volunteering to them!
Most organizations encourage their employees to get involved in the community and volunteer their time. Many companies will even give employees additional time off in order to volunteer. If companies are so supportive of employees using time to serve their community, wouldn’t they be open to hosting a volunteer event in their own office space during work hours? So why not bring a volunteer event to a corporate office and allow volunteers to “volunteer from their desks”?
Here are some ideas for finding volunteers during the workday…
On-Site Volunteering Parties:
Due to the nature of their business, some companies cannot allow employees to leave the office to volunteer during the workday (call center or warehouse employees are two examples). With on-site volunteering parties, they can take a few minutes to participate in an event they would otherwise be forced to miss. Packing up boxes of food for the less fortunate is one activity that lends itself well to on-site volunteering parties. These one-day – or even a couple of hours – events can take place in conference rooms, cafeterias, anywhere you can find the space.
Skills-Based & Virtual Volunteering
An organization can participate in skills-based volunteer events during the workday, using their area of expertise to help their community. For example, a technology company might offer an on-site “career day” for underprivileged kids, where they can participate in games and seek mentorship from employees in that field.
If an outreach – or in this case, in-reach – activity isn’t a fit for the organization in question, a company can always look to virtual volunteering. A company would dedicate a period of time during the workday to a volunteer activity, split employees into teams, and let them “volunteer” away. The activity could be something as simple as creating greeting cards for troops for Veteran’s Day or writing letters to senior citizens. Working towards a common goal – especially one that will help people in their community – fortifies working relationships too. (It’s a great teambuilding idea!).
Not all volunteer activities require large groups of volunteers. There are many opportunities that an individual can participate in solo – during the workday or even from home. Here are some examples:
- Volunteering for a crisis hotline taking calls or chatting online
- Helping nonprofits to fundraise via telephone and online campaigns
- Writing marketing content or blog posts to help engage the community
- Tutoring students in need by phone or Skype
You can even use the idea of individual volunteering in your own space. Perhaps you can have the resident knitter create scarves for a fundraising sale, get a skilled photographer to catalogue precious moments, ask an awesome amateur cook prepare food for a potluck event. The ideas are endless.
In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed the decline in volunteerism across the country, so now more than ever, it’s important that we find ways to engage volunteers in any way that we can. Remember, even when volunteers are not on your turf, they are representing your organization. You must adhere to your volunteer screening policies when it comes to these individuals. Keep in mind, your reputation and the safety of your program participants are all on the line.