At SOLE, our mission to serve the underserved goes far beyond just paycards. That’s why we’ve implemented SOLE Service Day, which offers employees an annual paid day of volunteering at an organization of their choice. After volunteering, our employees have cited being more involved and engaged with their co-workers and having a greater sense of urgency to do right by our partners, clients, and cardholders.
A 2017 Deloitte study of employees found that:
· 89% think organizations that sponsor volunteer activities offer a better overall working environment
· 70% believe volunteer activities are more likely to boost staff morale than company-sponsored happy hours
· 75% say volunteering is essential to employee well-being
The holidays are a great time to start thinking about implementing a volunteer program, and we want to help you get started. Our Community Outreach and Engagement Specialist provided the following outline to kicking off a successful volunteer program:
1. Identify an employee or a small team to be dedicated to finding opportunities, making community connections and spreading awareness throughout the company. They should send out regular communications, like a monthly newsletter, that provides information for local volunteering opportunities (such as date, location, and how to sign up). Keep reading for examples of different organizations where your company could volunteer.
2. Never stop evaluating and evolving the program. Track your volunteer program’s success by measuring volunteer hours, where employees have volunteered, and employee satisfaction. SOLE uses all-company surveys through services like Teamphoria and SurveyMonkey that allow employees to anonymously give feedback.
3. People have to buy into the program. If possible, have the President, CEO or owner of the company take a day to volunteer first, and share their experience with employees afterword. Demonstrating that leadership is bought into the program will help normalize VTO throughout the company.
Ready to get started? Here are a few organizations where your company can volunteer this holiday season:
1. Angel Tree Program – Each year the Salvation Army puts new clothes and toys under the tree for families that would otherwise go without. Your office can adopt a local ‘angel’ by contacting the Salvation Army in your town and donating the requested toys and clothes.
2. Meals on Wheels – According to Meals on Wheels, nine million seniors in America face the threat of hunger and millions more live alone in isolation. Meals on Wheels is committed to helping seniors live a healthier lifestyle in their own homes. Your company can sign up to volunteer to have lunch with local seniors or donate money to help support the cause.
3. Stuff a Stocking – This holiday season, employees in your office can help Family-to-Family by stuffing a stocking for a child or adult. A great way to get employees excited to participate is to make it a competition by splitting the company into groups who race to stuff their team’s stocking first and offering a prize, like a team lunch, to the winning team.
4. More Love Letters – There are people all over the world that could use a few words of encouragement and since 2011, More Love Letters has delivered over 250,000 letters to people in need. Each month, their team selects individuals who are suffering and sends them a bundle of uplifting letters. Gather your team, block out an hour in a conference room, bring supplies and let employees write letters to those who need them most.
5. Volunteer Match – Don’t know where to volunteer? Don’t worry! Enter your city and state into this website’s search bar for tons of local volunteer opportunities. This holiday season we will be volunteering for With Love, Children’s Book Bank, Ronald McDonald House, NW Children’s Theater and many others!
Where are your favorite places to volunteer during the holidays? Let us know in the comments!