7 Ways to Motivate Corporate Volunteers
By Sarah Lennon: Programme Coordinator, Salesforce.org EMEA
Corporate volunteers come in all forms. On one hand you have the serial volunteer, ready to sign up for anything, anywhere. The other side of the spectrum can, on occasion, get a bad rap. Often thinking of the end game. What’s in it for them? The happy medium between these? The quiet volunteer who goes out and volunteers unbeknownst to anyone. Of course there are many types that don’t fit into these three categories but if you work in the philanthropic side of the corporate world, we’re sure that you’ve heard of/worked with aspects of these before.
More often than not there are a multitude of factors involved in ‘why’ employees might find it difficult to commit to volunteering opportunities; lack of time, lack of interest, lack of approval or lack of motivation.
Motivation is one that you can easily address – take a look at my tips below and remember these wise words – “what you do today can improve all your tomorrows”. – Ralph Marston.
The first way is so simple and plainly obvious. Listen to which causes your employees are passionate about and try to find opportunities that align to these. Talk with them and find out the reasons behind their interests.
Act with passion.
Be passionate when talking with employees about volunteering opportunities. Your passion and enthusiasm will transfer across to them. Have you heard of the saying ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’ – well now is your chance. If you want to motivate people then be motivated too.
Always follow up.
If people come to you looking for advice on potential volunteering activities or ideas that could transpire to be just that, then don’t let this fall through the cracks. Follow up with them, introduce them to potential organisations and let the magic happen. Failure to follow up and stay in touch might mean that this employee becomes disengaged – something that is easily avoided.
Link employees who have similar interests. Do this and you will find, amazing things can ensue. How do you link them? One way would be to find out their ‘why’. Why are they passionate about the cause? Why are they willing to give up 3 hours of their time every week to help out etc? These can be great triggers to connect.
Find your champions.
Source your champions within various teams and empower them with all the resources and information you have. Have them invite organisations they are passionate about into the office, get them to spread the message, and maximise the ripple effect. No man is an island, remember this at times when it might seem like the best idea to do everything yourself.
Recognise your volunteers, say thank you, acknowledge their contribution.
Relating right back to the previous point, it’s important that people know you appreciate their involvement and their input. In the long run this can only help to build on your relationship. Being grateful also has positive side-effects for you too, helping you to feel better and more patient.
Persistence is key.
If, at first, you don’t have success employees it might seem like the safest option to just let it lie. Tempting as it might be, particularly if you feel as if you have put your ‘all’ into communicating out the opportunities, don’t lose hope. Look at what you did, the message you communicated, the variety/types of activities, and assess. Are there gaps? Can you improve? Sometimes lessons can only be learned after the fact. Maybe you didn’t advertise the opportunities enough, people weren’t aware – how can you improve this for next time? Remember, there is always a next time, you just need to persist.
Corporate volunteering can have an astronomical impact on the local community, helping to run basic services, clean up the community, educate the younger generation or get people back into work. Don’t forget that you can be the vehicle to supply these opportunities. That’s huge.
“What is success? To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; That is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson:
About Sarah Lennon: Sarah works as the Salesforce.org Programme Coordinator in EMEA. She has a background in marketing, communications and coaching and in her spare time (which is sparse at best), likes to immerse herself in all kinds of personal development books or a tough spinning class. If you’d like to connect with her you can do so here.
Read more about the Employee Engagement program at Salesforce here >>
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