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How to Recruit and Engage Employee Volunteers [11 free outreach templates]

Cori Hammoor
Posted by  Cori Hammoor on Jul 1, 2021
Learn how to create an impactful, engaging volunteer event. Find a breakdown of a recruitment timeline, process, strategies, key people, and other ways to boost engagement.
 
4 minute read
Planning
Volunteer projects have become the next best way to engage employees--by connecting them to each other and their communities. But we aren’t here to discuss how to plan a volunteer event because that’s what we do! Percent Pledge’s social impact experts thoughtfully curate projects catered specifically to employee bases through assessing their passions, ensuring that this highly impactful and culture-positive initiative is inclusive. Learn more or chat with our social impact experts HERE.
 
Recruitment 
Data suggests that robust communication about workplace giving programs results in greater employee engagement. Companies that promote their programs in more than 3 ways are 18% more likely to report that they effectively get strong participation among a wide range of employees. What does that mean for your organization? Communication often and across multiple channels is key! 
 
Below we break down a recruitment timeline, process, strategies, and key people, as well as other ways to boost engagement. In addition, find sample communications that we have provided clients and have proven to drive high employee engagement.
 
Timeline
Volunteer Project Timeline
The high-level overview of the timeline (above) starts 3 weeks out from the volunteer event with a couple of steps each week to ensure communication is often and across multiple channels to drive greater awareness and engagement. Let’s break the weeks out by the number of announcements, channels, and key people. 
 
Step 1: three weeks out
Volunteer Project Timeline - Initial AnnouncementStart recruiting volunteers by making 3 announcements to all employees across 3 different channels.
Announcement Type: From: To:
Email announcement Social Impact Lead All Employees
Message on Teams and/or Slack channels
Announcement during an all-hands meeting

 

Step 2: two weeks out

Volunteer Project Timeline - Key Stakeholder Outreach
Reach out to key stakeholders, encouraging them to promote the event. We have found that personal outreach makes a huge difference in ensuring employees know and are granted the space to participate in volunteer opportunities. This can be done in several ways: 
 
Key people:
  1. C-Suite Leadership - Employees need to know that leadership supports their participation in giving back. A message from your CEO or other key leadership will help create and sustain your culture of giving. 
  2. Chief Do-Gooders - Identify internal champions who can encourage their colleagues to get involved and register for volunteer opportunities. 
  3. ERG Leaders - Ask ERG leaders to share the opportunity with their membership. If the ERG is co-sponsoring the volunteer project, ask each member to bring 1-2 allies/colleagues outside the ERG. 
  4. Managers - Team leads are great people to personally reach out to and ask them to spread the word to their teams. Encourage Managers not to schedule other meetings during the volunteer project so that their team can participate. 
  5. Target Volunteers - If the volunteer project would benefit from the skill set of certain employees, personally reach out and ask those employees to sign-up and get involved.
Share talking points and communications materials with each of these stakeholders to help them promote the volunteer opportunities.
 
Announcement Type:
From:
To:
Announcement via the most popular platform your company uses (i.e. message on Teams and/or Slack channels, email, team meetings, etc.).
C-Suite Leadership
All Employees
Chief Do-Gooders
Colleagues with Department
ERG Leaders
Colleagues within ERG
Managers
Direct Reports
Social Impact Lead
Target Volunteers
 
 
Step 3: one week out
Volunteer Project Timeline - Final Announcement
Send final recruitment announcements to all employees and the key people you have identified.
Announcement Type:
From:
To:
Email announcement
Social Impact Lead

All Employees
Message on Teams and/or Slack channels
Announcement during an all-hands meeting
Reminder message to key people
Key People + Event Registrants
 
 
Step 4: the day of or day before
Volunteer Project Timeline - Last Call Post
If the volunteer event allows for last-minute participation, send last-call posts to participate.
Announcement Type:
From:
To:
Message on Teams and/or Slack channels
Social Impact Lead

All Employees
Announcement during an all-hands meeting
Email reminder of final registration details
Event Registrants
 
 
Other ways to boost engagement 
  • Consider making an attendance donation to promote the event, such as “Our company will donate $10 for each employee that participates in the volunteer project.”
  • Pair a company match to the nonprofit partner or cause area that relates to the project.
  • Create a challenge between teams or offices to encourage participation.
  • Schedule the volunteer project during company annual events, such as your yearly meeting, holiday party season, or new hire orientation.
  • Consider incorporating volunteering into your performance evaluation criteria - How does volunteering align with your broader company’s values, and can volunteering be one way to live your values? 
  • Provide VTO (volunteer time off).
  • Determine and convey a companywide expectation that all employees participate in at least one volunteer project annually.
For more tips, contact our social impact experts at contact@percentpledge.org. And here are the talking points and communication materials for all announcement types that we have proven to drive engagement.
 An ultimate guide filled with communication plans from 3 weeks out to the day of will help you create an impactful+ engaging volunteer event. (2)
 
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Cori Hammoor

Written by Cori Hammoor

Interested in helping your team support their favorite causes and serve their local communities?