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How to Engage Employees in National (Virtual) Volunteer Month

By April 5, 2021

By: Bose’ Akadiri, Program Manager, Employee Volunteerism at Salesforce, and Cécile Poyet, Director, Product Marketing, Philanthropy Cloud at

Each April, hundreds of thousands of companies and nonprofits celebrate National Volunteer Month in the United States — and millions more throughout the year celebrate across the world. This year will be a bit different, as many employees are still working remotely and in-person volunteering is not always possible. This blog post goes over our secret recipe for fostering employee engagement, and provides fellow corporate social responsibility (CSR) leaders with ways to adapt to a challenging year. 

Volunteers building a house for charity while wearing a facemask during the COVID-19 pandemic

This post aims to provide corporate social responsibility leaders with ideas to adapt to a challenging year.

Meet Employees Where They Are & Support Their Passion

At Salesforce, we believe a top-down and bottom-up approach in philanthropy and employee engagement works best and ensures alignment. As we continue to grow organically and through acquisitions, our philanthropy team supports employees with the opportunity to convene, advocate, and organize like-minded employees into pursuing interests, causes, or endeavors that range from giving back through fundraising and volunteering, to career development and mentoring. 

Additionally, Salesforce provides specific volunteering opportunities that align with its citizen philanthropy and strategic programs to maximize impact in the local communities. 

Hand Pick Nonprofit Partners & Provide Specific Volunteering Opportunities 

This year, Salesforce launched the Citizen Philanthropy program. Through Trailhead, Salesforce’s learning platform, we allow all 50,000+ employees to learn more about how Salesforce makes a difference, stemming from the 1-1-1 model; how philanthropy fits into the Salesforce impact ecosystem; and how the company fosters innovation in its volunteering and giving programs. 

The company also provides insights into employee giving and volunteering benefits, such as 56 hours of annual volunteer time off (VTO) and donation matching. 

With those amazing benefits in mind, the philanthropy team chose two organizations to work with that aligned with the strategic vision and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #4, Education: Story Pirates and Simbi Foundation. Employees could participate in two volunteering activities:

  • Read for good with Simbi Foundation. Simbi’s virtual reading platform enables global literacy through the power of narration, creation, translation, and donation. This isn’t your usual read-a-thon! 
  • Support a future Pulitzer Prize winner with StoryPirates. Employees can join a one-hour session to read fantastic stories and give young authors feedback on their creative writing. 

When planning for National Volunteer Month, the team considers stakeholders, SDG focus, impact measurement and call to action.

In order to encourage engagement, employees who participate in National Volunteer Month are eligible to win a donation to the charity of their choice. When Volunteer Month comes to an end, the team measures success by looking at the number of employees who participated in one of the month’s activities, the number of stories that were read with Story Pirates, as well as the number of books that were narrated or translated with Simbi Foundation. 

To learn more, watch the replay of our Trailhead Live broadcast and make sure to sign-up for our next episode, on April 28.

Read our Philanthropy Cloud customer stories to learn more about how Salesforce helps companies of all sizes and across industries take their giving and volunteering programs to the next level.

About the Authors

Bose Akadiri

Bose’ Akadiri is a program manager of employee volunteerism at Salesforce. Bose’ has worked at the intersection of strategy, community, and corporate social responsibility for the last decade. In her current role at Salesforce, she leads volunteerism in Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and Dallas, and co-leads Global Volunteer Month across the company.

Cecile Poyet

Cécile Poyet is dedicated to product marketing for Philanthropy Cloud. Prior to joining, she built and led the co-marketing machine for top ISV partners and resellers at She has 14 years of experience marketing innovative technology for large and small IT companies, including IBM, ILOG, and Hortonworks.