Are you frustrated with how hard it is to find good nonprofits to partner with for your company’s employee volunteering and giving program? Here is a tool you can start using today to help solve that problem.
By Chris Jarvis
You may be frustrated
It isn’t easy to find the right nonprofit to partner with when planning employee volunteering events. When Volunteer Champions (employees with the right mix of experience, enthusiasm, and energy) are tasked with this job they will likely gravitate towards the nonprofits and experiences they know personally. It makes sense.
But if you are managing the employee volunteering and giving program for your company, you may be looking to align more of these opportunities with your program’s strategic focus. That can be problematic for your Champions. For example, if your Volunteer Champion loves dogs and has volunteered for over 20 years at the local animal shelter, then they are likely to organize volunteering events at the that shelter. That’s what they know. That’s their passion.
So when you ask them to find a nonprofit in their area to provide volunteering opportunities within your program’s focus on STEM education, they may feel overwhelmed. In response, they will either ignore your email or express their frustration at not knowing what to do. This also makes sense.
So how do we solve this problem? Easy.
Provide your Volunteer Champions your version of the following five steps to finding the right nonprofit partner (and give us a call if you need to).
The following five steps will enable your Local Volunteer Champion to conduct a community needs assessment and identify the right community partners for your company’s volunteering events.
Your Community Partner Assessment Tool
1. IDENTIFY THE NEED
- What needs are you trying to address through this volunteering event?
- Will addressing these needs be the right use of the capacity of your site, plant, department, etc.?
- Will addressing these needs matter to the health of the community? In what ways is this evident?
- How will you be able to measure the degree to which your volunteering event contributed to addressing the needs?
2. UNDERSTAND THE MOTIVATION
- What will change as a result of the volunteering event?
- What will motivate other employees to join this volunteering event? What attributes does the volunteering event need to have to feel like an exceptional (not just good) use of employee time?
- How will the nonprofit partner benefit from your volunteering investments?
3. PLAN FOR ONGOING IMPACT
- Is there an opportunity for ongoing volunteering with this nonprofit partner?
- Will the nonprofit partner provide updates on the project’s progress or accomplishments?
- Are you clear on what success looks like as part of the bigger picture?
4. SET YOUR GOALS & OBJECTIVES
- What are the existing targets/objectives of your company’s employee volunteering program that this volunteering initiative will achieve?
- Are there possible points of intersection between your company’s business goals in the region and this volunteering event?
- From your perspective, what are the obstacles to moving forward with your vision for the volunteering event that you are planning?
- What is the awareness level across the site or affiliate for the upcoming volunteering activities and achievements?
5. CONSIDER THE REQUIRED QUALITIES IN A PARTNER
- What is the community partner’s track record in the community?
- Does the partner have the resources (personnel and materials) to support your volunteering event?
- Is your primary contact responsive and reliable? Will they follow through on their commitments?
- What is the level of commitment of the community partner to your company’s goals and objectives through volunteering? Is this important to them?
- Does the partner share your company’s focus on community investment (if your focus is STEM, is that theirs as well)? How long have they been investing in this focus area?
- Is the partner able to grow with your company’s interest in employee volunteering?
Some ways we can help
We are working with Boeing, Microsoft, and TechSoup to launch the first ever peer-to-peer collaborative in order to address the prevailing obstacle of global vetting for both volunteering and giving. We will be facilitating meetings in the following cities:
- Seattle – TBA
- San Francisco – September 9, 2014
- Chicago – September 24, 2014
- Washington – TBA
If you’d like our help with your employee volunteering or workplace giving program, please feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a comment below, or call us at 855-926-4678. You can also reach out to us on Twitter and Facebook.