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Design an Employee Volunteer Program

Maximize shared value for the organization, employees, and the community through an employee-powered volunteer program.

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Contributors

  • Dr. Ken Allen, President, Civil Society Consulting Group LLC
  • Bea Boccalandro, President and Founder, VeraWorks
  • May-Lynne Bulato, Senior Associate, National Volunteer Days Lead, Willis Towers Watson
  • Jim Davey, Corporate Volunteer Resources Coordinator, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
  • Lauren Fitzgerald, Community Investment Specialist, Meridian Credit Union
  • Chris Jarvis, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Realized Worth
  • Kate Masson, Community Manager, Ian Martin Group
  • Nicole Mitchell, Director, Social Commitment, Meridian Credit Union
  • Nancy Moloney, U.S. Community Relations Specialist, Sensata Technologies
  • Alan Neal, Vice President Workshop Delivery, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Dr. Akwasi Opoku-Dakwa, Assistant Professor of Management, Dunquesne University School of Business Administration
  • Cassandra Sturk, Stewardship Council Member, Ian Martin Group
  • Jerome Tennille, Consultant, Manager Social Impact & Volunteerism, Marriott International

Your Challenge

  • A lack of leadership support, especially middle manager support, derails participation in an employee volunteer program.
  • Measuring the social impact of employee volunteer programs is difficult, as it is an abstract concept. As a result, organizations often avoid measuring impact altogether. This is a missed opportunity to demonstrate the value and many benefits of the program to fellow employees and senior leaders.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Employee volunteer programs are best positioned to maximize shared value when they are aligned with the organization’s priorities and harness the power of employees to drive community impact. It’s a win-win-win.

Impact and Result

  • Involve senior leaders, middle managers, and employees in program design from the start to gain support and buy-in at every level.
  • Design an employee-powered volunteer program, aligned with organizational goals, that measures success and empowers employees to champion events and causes they are passionate about.
  • Build long-term partnerships with existing and new community partners to ensure shared value.

Research & Tools

1. Frame the employee volunteer program

Identify the design committee and program scope, then assess the current state of volunteerism and employee interest to set program goals and metrics.

2. Review and select elements

Select elements by reviewing and assessing their feasibility.

3. Operationalize the program

Determine if initiatives will be devoted to a strategic cause, identify community partners, and decide if a dedicated volunteer program manager and/or technology is required before presenting to executive sponsors.

4. Plan to iterate and implement the program

Plan the program launch and HR integration to create program parameters, communications, and recognition practices.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is an eight call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Frame the employee volunteer program.

Call #1 - Assess the current state of volunteerism in your organization.
Call #2 - Determine the program scope and internal data to set program goals.

Guided Implementation #2 - Review and select elements.

Call #1 - Select elements for inclusion in the employee volunteer program.
Call #2 - Assess the feasibility of selected elements.

Guided Implementation #3 - Operationalize the program.

Call #1 - Decide how causes and community partners will be selected and aligned with the program’s needs.
Call #2 - Confirm other support factors required to operationalize the program (e.g. technology and program management).

Guided Implementation #4 - Plan to iterate and implement the program.

Call #1 - Plan the program launch and ongoing management accountabilities.
Call #2 - Define customization of program resources and program communications.

Onsite Workshop

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Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Frame the Employee Volunteer Program

The Purpose

  • Determine program scope, metrics, and goals.
  • Assess current initiatives and level of employee interest.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Established program scope, metrics, and goals
  • Reviewed current initiatives and level of employee interest

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Review organizational implications to set program scope.

  • Organizational implications reviewed
1.2

Examine organizational data to determine program needs.

  • Organizational data examined
1.3

Review existing volunteerism and employee interests.

  • Existing volunteerism and employee interests reviewed
1.4

Set program goals and metrics.

  • Program goals and metrics set
1.5

Review and select elements.

  • Elements selected
1.6

Decide parameters of selected elements.

  • Selected elements parameters decided

Module 2: Operationalize the Program

The Purpose

  • Decide on strategic initiatives, program management, and technology that may be necessary.
  • Integrate with existing HR programs.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Assessed strategic initiatives, program management, and technology required
  • Integrated existing HR programs

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Assess the feasibility of selected elements.

  • Feasibility of selected elements assessed
2.2

Review internal data to decide if a strategic cause will be selected.

  • Internal data reviewed
2.3

Decide on and draft a volunteer program manager role.

  • Program manager role drafted
2.4

Decide if technology will be used.

  • Technology use decided
2.5

Identify required integration points with other HR program areas.

  • HR program integration points identified

Module 3: Plan to Iterate and Implement the Program

The Purpose

  • Set the program parameters.
  • Incorporate volunteer recognition practices and share the program’s impact.
  • Solicit feedback to evaluate and iterate the program.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Determined program parameters
  • Integrated recognition practices
  • Generated methods to gather feedback.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Determine required policies, guidelines, and procedures.

  • Policies, guidelines, and procedures required determined
3.2

Identify ways to track and share impact.

  • Ways to track and share impact identified
3.3

Identify how employees will be recognized.

  • Employee recognition methods identified
3.4

Determine how feedback will be gathered for program evaluation.

  • Program feedback gathering determined
3.5

Create an action and communication plan.

  • Communications planned