When it comes to planning and executing effective volunteer activities, there are many misconceptions. A great outline of just a few of the barriers-to-entry was compiled by, of all people, a data solutions company, Greenstone. BUT, what if you’re past that stage? Management has already given the project a green-light: now what? In talking to many corporate HR teams as well as meeting and event planners, once you have organizational buy-in to act on an impactful volunteer program, there is a real chance that efforts stall along the way, and never really get off the ground. Or even worse, you struggle through, and put together an inefficient program; which can have a negative impact on employees, conference attendees, and future volunteering. Here’s why.
Misconception #1: It’s Easy.
I get a lot of calls from potential clients who are making their first foray into adding in an effective volunteer program to their meeting, event, conference, or corporate service day. Usually, they are looking for a good idea, or a good nonprofit to work with. Something that has a wow factor that will make them and their bosses look good and feel good. Yet, when sifting through all the details of what goes into such an event, especially when you’re doing this “in addition” to your day job, the details can get overwhelming. Every point, from timing to logistics, budget to procurement, program management to ROI measurement takes more time, more energy and most importantly, more persistence than people expect.
If you’re going to DIY the program, be prepared to get in it for the long haul. Make sure you’re working backwards from the desired end-result and be prepared for many hurdles along the way. One of which that many find surprising is that the nonprofit employees/volunteers wear many different hats, and your program may not be at the top of their list. Additionally, a few internal hurdles that constantly pop-up are:
- Understanding and communicating the logistics and costs
- Improper staffing of the program management team can add additional last minute stress
- Adequate time to complete the project is necessary to make sure that you produce an effective event. Too little time, and the nonprofit might be left with a half-finished project, and too much time might leave eager volunteers standing around
Misconception #2: It’s Too Hard.
Despite the truth that it is hard work to develop an effective employee volunteer program, the benefits of a well-run program will make it all worthwhile. When employees participate in such a program:
- They stay longer due to increased camraderie*
- Live happier and healthier, making them more productive*
- Become advocates for the organization and its mission
So, we'd urge you not consider it a hardship, but rather an investment. Any time you invest in your company, you should weigh the short-term and long-term benefits against the costs including time, energy and money. Hard work typically pays off, and in the case of volunteer programs, that's a fact.
In order to alleviate the cost and stress created via these two common misconceptions, in steps Give2Get. Having over 20 years of experience designing and implementing effective and impactful volunteer-based initiatives, we work with meeting planners, corporate HR teams, and nonprofit partners to execute creative and turnkey solutions. Our programs are designed around our clients' goals, be they for employees, attendees, or customers. We have no appetite for inefficient work, and always leave our nonprofit partners 110% satisfied, but our number one focus is on the volunteer experience. With our white-label and cause-agnostic approach, our goal is to serve the client first and foremost.