Roman J. Salamon

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A Beginner's Guide To Planning Your Company's Volunteer Day

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United Way is known for working to improve community health, bring neighborhoods together for a common good and make a difference in the lives of those in need. Thus, more businesses and organizations are turning to United Way to plan, host or participate in community service opportunities, and successful workplace campaigns can be a major stepping stone toward giving back to your community. However, planning a workplace campaign or hosting a company volunteer day, known as Day of Caring, can be complicated, so use this guide to ensure nothing is overlooked or forgotten.

1.  Set Your Company’s Goals.

The company goals for a corporate volunteer project should include a clear, concise definition of what is to be accomplished. In addition, it should contain specific, measurable objectives.

For example, volunteering to work in a soup kitchen for the homeless should include total number of hours worked by volunteers, number of employees needed to meet this goal and what, if any, benefits employees may receive from volunteering their time and services.

2. Review the Community Service Opportunities’ Possible Venues.

A Day of Caring does not have to be spent working in third-party locations. Your employees could raise funds or items for those in need without ever leaving your business location. If you do opt to volunteer outside of the building, consider how it will impact different venues.

For example, volunteering to work at a food bank may require advance notification and approval from the managerial staff of the food bank and those within your office.

3.  Partner With a Well-Known Organization.

Planning or hosting a Day of Caring at your company may gain more media attention and notoriety if you collaborate with a respected, relatable organization in your community, such as United Way of Rock River Valley. For this reason, more companies turn to United Way to help with the organization, planning and completion of volunteer or community service opportunities.

4. Set Specific Times.

Part of the problem with planning a company volunteer day is timing. Consider your current flow of business, and set a volunteer date for the day of least activity. In other words, hold a volunteer day during slow periods in business, so you can have more employees participate in the event without sacrificing your need to maintain. A few additional tips for setting realistic time frames include the following:

  • Ensure most of your employees can participate if your company will be open throughout the event.

  • Stagger volunteer hours and assignments to suit the needs of your employees and the organization you are working with.

  • Remember that volunteer hours should be factored into an employee’s daily allowable work time. For example, do not assign employees to volunteer for more than two hours if they have already worked more than eight hours on the day of the event.

  • Monitor volunteers’ working hours. This will help to reduce burnout and fatigue.

5. Conclude the Event With Reports on Progress, Pledges or Donations and a “Thank You.”

Your Day of Caring should have a clear ending, but you can further the cause by getting employees involved even more. Consider creating pledges for employees to volunteer in the future. Collect final donations or offer recurring, payroll-deductible donations as an option to employees who want to continue giving back. Last, report back to your employees on the success of the day of volunteering, and request feedback for future events. This will help you understand what did and did not go smoothly, which you can use to improve future community service opportunities.

By following the five steps in this guide, you can help make your company volunteer day successful. Even if you stumble along the way, any time spent giving back will make a difference. To learn more about ways to help United Way improve the lives of people in your community, contact United Way of Rock River Valley by calling (815) 968-5400.

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