We live in challenging times. As disarray and chaos continue to rule the world, the world is in need of kind-hearted people with the will to do their part for society. But on-site volunteering is not always a viable option. People who feel the need to contribute to the environment or a cause that they support, volunteer. By launching a virtual volunteering program, your employees can volunteer in their own communities. They can keep giving back without leaving their homes or meeting anybody in person.
It’s been a slow-paced shift from in-person to virtual, but it was accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Virtual volunteering opens avenues to help rebuild the world from the comfort of our homes. Spend as much time as you want or as little as you can, involve in long virtual volunteering projects, or commit yourself for a short time. All you need to have is the determination to help others.
What is Virtual Volunteering?
Virtual volunteering for corporates is defined as volunteer activities conducted entirely or partially over the Internet via a home or work computer or other Internet-connected devices, such as a smartphone or tablet. Virtual volunteering is also known as online volunteering, remote volunteering, or e-volunteering.
Virtual volunteering has grown in popularity since the onset of the pandemic. It has now become a sought-after method to boost employee engagement and increase morale. With companies relying more on remote workers, virtual volunteering acts as the perfect solution to create a sense of bonding, while helping employees do their share of good within an organization.
The increased use of virtual volunteering can be seen across all industries, from education and health to retail, and allows employees to participate in meaningful initiatives that make a positive impact on society.
Corporate virtual volunteering enables organizations and their employees to contribute to causes that deal with numerous social and environmental issues. It helps enrich employee engagement opportunities to enable volunteering for causes that align with the company’s vision.
Top 7 Benefits of Virtual Volunteering in Today’s World
Interestingly, the remote working norms have brought the best out of corporate goodness programs. Businesses that have successfully switched from physical to virtual volunteering have been able to observe:
- Better access to causes located across the globe,
- Better traction of volunteering hours and other performance metrics, and
- Improved employee morale.
That being said, if you’re looking to make a difference, volunteering is the right decision. With fewer physical restrictions and employees located across the globe, utilizing virtual technology will allow for greater workplace efficiency and ongoing growth. Here are the top 7 benefits of virtual volunteering and the reasons why your organization must make the shift towards virtual volunteering:
- Supports Recruitment and Retention
Meaningful work leads to meaningful lives.
A corporate virtual volunteering program can help companies stand out to candidates looking for purpose-driven companies. A stimulating and engaging workspace is likely to attract more applicants and provide a better experience.Employer branding on offering a skills-based volunteering program can be an extremely appealing factor for recruiting fresh talents on their roadmap to upskilling and reskilling.
Engaging in virtual volunteering can increase employee job satisfaction by providing opportunities for employees to contribute to meaningful causes and make a positive impact in their communities. By volunteering virtually, employees can experience the fulfillment of making a difference in the world, and this can boost their overall job satisfaction, leading to increased motivation and retention.
- Enhanced Corporate Social Responsibility
No matter where you are, there's always a way to give back.
Engaging in virtual volunteering is an excellent way for corporates to demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility. Virtual volunteering programs can help organizations promote social causes and community development while also showcasing the company's values, ethics, and commitment to making a positive impact on the world.
From volunteer vacations to corporate volunteering programs and more, there's never been a better time to make a positive social impact with volunteering. Numerous companies across the globe have so far made positive impacts that resonate with their mission and vision. Up to 52% of companies now prefer virtual volunteering activities over traditional ones, an almost 2.5X jump in the last two years. This speaks volumes about the benefits that volunteers stand to gain from participating in these programs.
An effective volunteering strategy attracts, engages, inspires, and retains a motivated workforce. But you are a business at the end of the day and every decision needs to make financial sense.
Nowadays, Virtual volunteering is often more cost-effective than traditional in-person volunteering. Corporates that opt for virtual volunteering add an extra layer of savings, as entire events are based online. By eliminating the need for travel and other related expenses, virtual volunteering programs can help corporates save money that would have gone towards logistics and real-world event management, and this can be put towards growth hacking.
- Employee Engagement
Many would claim that virtual volunteering cannot duplicate the experiences gained while in-person volunteering. But, tales from throughout the world demonstrate the contrary. Virtual volunteering initiatives can boost employee engagement by allowing employees to connect with one another and their communities while working remotely. Employees that are engaged are more productive, devoted, and inspired to accomplish their best job. Corporates may help employees feel more connected to their colleagues, communities, and the company's vision and values by providing virtual volunteering opportunities.
More than 90% of surveyed companies listed improved employee engagement among the top three benefits of a workplace volunteering program. A Global Trends survey found that the highest-performing employees are 3x more likely to work with a company that has a stronger sense of purpose.
- Employee Well-being
Employee well-being can be improved by virtual volunteering by offering a feeling of purpose, connection, and fulfillment outside of work. Volunteering has been demonstrated in studies to improve mental health, emotional well-being, and even physical health. Corporates can help employees take care of their well-being and cope with employee burnout caused by excessive working hours through virtual volunteering, while also making a beneficial influence on their communities.
- Enhance Reputation
Virtual volunteering can help corporates enhance their reputation as socially responsible and community-minded organizations. By engaging in virtual volunteering programs, corporates can build a positive image amongst their communities, investors, and customers, which can lead to increased brand loyalty, improved public perception, and even financial benefits.
Community - Volunteering is good for the community as it isn’t just about helping others – it can help raise money for charities, boost your brand awareness, and of course, the chance to improve skills such as public speaking or mentoring. It’s a win-win for brand building! Virtual volunteering comes with its own set of benefits that can elevate inclusivity, participation, and engagement among employees.
Investors - The pressure on and from investors to companies for developing practices complying with the volunteering programs is endless. We live in a resilient era that portends a world in which corporates put people ahead of profits while prioritizing environmental sustainability. And today's tech-savvy generation understands this as never before.When investors see that companies are devoting more hours towards volunteering, it raises the chances of securing an investment.
Customers - Customers are attracted to the kind of contribution organizations make to solve social issues. Customers tend to purchase products from companies that have or are making a significant positive impact on society. Likewise, one can see an engaged, happier, and more effective workforce with higher levels of employee morale when engaged in volunteering activities.
- Ease of tracking and reporting
Virtual volunteering activities can be managed online, making it easier to measure the effort and time put into volunteering through metrics such as volunteering hours and funds allotted. This enables businesses to more efficiently plan and monitor their volunteer efforts and to produce in-depth reports that highlight the effectiveness of their initiatives.
Companies that choose goodera as their corporate volunteering partner get impact reports, engagement reports, etc at the end of each volunteering event that it conducts with us. <rte-link_business-popup>Talk to us<rte-link_business-popup>, if you want to know more about the impact reports.
How to engage volunteers virtually?
While virtual volunteering offers inherent benefits, getting volunteers to sign up for activities isn’t a given. You can attract new volunteers and retain current ones by investing in meaningful and engaging virtual volunteering opportunities. Employees who can have fun, feel a connection to the activity, and get a sense of the impact they’re making are more likely to sign up for newer activities. An engaging volunteering experience can also help current volunteers to be more active in your organization.
Here at Goodera, our ambassadors, or hosts, excel at running engaging virtual volunteering activities. We talked to a few of them to put together this list of how to engage volunteers virtually:
Ask volunteers what they would like to see for better results
Volunteers play an important role in carrying out any volunteering program. To offer the best experience possible for your volunteers, it’s important to understand what they would like to get out of your virtual opportunity.
Send out surveys ahead of time asking about what volunteers would like to see in your virtual volunteer opportunities, so you can show them that their opinions matter. Asking questions might help you plan your event according to the volunteer’s interests and preferences. With this, you will know what to include in your future virtual volunteering events and what to drop.
Ensure your technology is up to date
Powerful technology tools are essential for the success of online volunteer opportunities. Without them, you could lose time, not get the job done and have little opportunity to learn or grow. Smart tech will simplify your workload and provide you with well-rounded support. Ensure the online event runs smoothly and is accessible to volunteers across the globe.
Offer a valuable training process
When volunteers sign up to participate in your virtual opportunities, you want to make sure that they are excited about the opportunity ahead of them. The training process sets the foundation for your volunteers’ success and empowers them to put their best foot forward.
Your training process can be a video chat with other groups of volunteers or a guide that volunteers can work through in their own time. Offer your volunteers a variety of learning opportunities with different platforms to create a fun and engaging way to prepare volunteers and yield better results.
Match the right event to the right audience
Sometimes even the best-run events can end up with employee volunteers feeling unsatisfied, disinterested, or unqualified. Moreover, some volunteering events can be skill-based and you need to ensure that employees that sign up for those activities are qualified. Therefore, it is important to match the right event with the right kind of employees. Volunteers are more likely to enjoy and participate in volunteering activities that target affinity groups or cause areas that are closer to their hearts or activity types that they have an interest in.
Share the agenda of the activity
When organizing a virtual volunteering event, it is important to share the agenda of the activity before the event. Volunteers need to know what the activity is, the NPOs and beneficiaries associated with it, and they also need to be informed of any prior prep they need to do for the activity. Goodera ambassadors share flyers full of KBYG (know-before-you-go) information before and during the event for volunteers to refer to.
Provide virtual backgrounds
A practice that makes all virtual volunteering events run by Goodera fun is sharing virtual backgrounds for the participants to use during the activity. These can be fun additions that create an environment of giving and interaction for the team. You can design an event-based background and share it via email with all the volunteers to use during the activity.
During Volunteering Activities
Use a refreshing Icebreaker, and steer away from clichés
It is very important to set the right tone for the activity from the get-go. Icebreakers are a great way to engage employees and get the activity started while volunteering. From conversations with some of our best hosts, we know that icebreakers can make or break volunteering activities. Stay away from cliches like boring introductions, facts about yourself, etc. Try new and engaging icebreakers like a short quiz, game, etc.
Use a vibrant and interactive presentation
The deck you present for information, time-keeping, QA, etc during the presentation is an important aspect of your interaction with the employee volunteers. Make a vibrant and interactive presentation that lets you engage the employees and also offers spaces for volunteers to interact with each other. Including questions, polls, and discussion prompts wherever relevant are some ways to keep your presentation interactive.
Ensure everyone has their cameras on
Being able to see your participants and fellow volunteers goes a long way in fostering a fun and engaging environment. Always keep your own camera on, and encourage volunteers to keep their cameras on too. Virtual backgrounds are a great way to enable this. Let participants know that volunteering activities are not black-tie events and that pyjamas are completely acceptable!
Mute and ask the audience to speak up
A volunteering activity where you are the only one speaking can become boring and tedious very soon. Encourage others to participate by muting yourself, prompting questions, running polls, asking for opinions, etc.
Stick to event times
Corporate volunteering often requires employees to take out time during their work hours to participate in events and activities. Make sure that you are respectful of others’ time and set realistic time expectations for activities. Having done that make sure that you stick to the time you blocked, and start and wrap up the event on time to keep everyone happy!
Post Volunteering Activities
Share updates about the impact
Once the activity is done, remember to keep your participants in the loop about the impact created by their activity. When volunteers can witness the impact created by their contribution, they’re more likely to return to future volunteering activities.
Share group photos and communications
Make sure to have certain post-activity collaterals ready to share once the event is over. This can include group selfies during the volunteering activity, thank you notes from the organization and/or the NPOs, an “I Volunteered” badge, etc. Get creative!
The bottom line:
Virtual volunteering has many benefits that corporates and businesses can leverage to enhance their growth and reputation, save funds, enhance CSR, and engage their employees. These are enough reasons for organizations to start virtual volunteering.
There are many ways in which companies can engage volunteers virtually. From reading bedtime stories to specially-abled children to creating complex marketing strategies for the survival of a non-profit, from editing Wikipedia to curating content for nonprofits, or digitizing manuscripts to translating for refugees, the opportunity to garner volunteer engagement are endless. And as you know, Goodera is your pathfinder when it comes to finding ways to volunteer from the comfort of your home. Explore our CSR volunteering programs today!