Once your goals are set and your program structure is established, it’s time to focus on engagement. There are several strategies you can use to leverage the relationships and structures within your company to strengthen your volunteering programs. We’ve seen tremendous creativity and success around incentive models and other modes of empowering individuals to take ownership and drive impact.
Here are several best practices recommended by Pledge 1% members to further engage employees:
If your team is spread across different locations, consider setting up a volunteer ambassador and engagement framework. This structure can facilitate strategic alignment and localized implementation, ensuring effective focus across regions.
Many companies will create a committee or squad of ambassadors who work together to come up with ideas and share best practices, but are empowered to find local opportunities. It’s up to this type of group to decide if your staff should support different causes and organizations, or focus on a select set of partners.
Establishing a Global Ambassador Program or Employee Council not only engages employees in leadership and provides the opportunity to diversify their experiences, but helps program staff roll out, manage, and execute company-wide giving programs, especially when company employees and offices are located in multiple regions across states and countries.
If your team is too small for an ambassador program or council at its current stage, we recommend instead nominating an “Impact Captain” from your employee base to rally the team and oversee events.
Global Ambassador role, responsibilities and experience examples:
Role & Responsibilities
It’s critical to build your strategy on interests and passions that already exist among employees. Tap into Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) such as Green Teams, LGBTQ+, or Black, Asian, or LatinX groups to access diverse perspectives and create opportunities for collaboration.
Think about how ERGs can leverage their networks to support each other, educate other employees, and address social issues. There may also be opportunities aligned with affinity days/months like Black History Month or International Women’s Day.
Establishing a new hire volunteer program not only engages new employees and builds camaraderie amongst new hire cohorts, but also instills your company's values from Day 1.
Here are a few suggestions to build out a new hire volunteer program:
Do you hold a new hire orientation on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis? Depending on the quantity of new hires and management support available, you can organize a volunteer event on a weekly basis or roll-up all new hires to volunteer in larger groups at a monthly or quarterly level.
Consult with the internal team managing new hire orientation/onboarding and identify a lead to manage the logistics of the volunteer component (schedule, travel, etc.).
It is important to identify nonprofit organizations that can easily and regularly accommodate volunteers on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. Nonprofits like food banks, soup kitchens, and animal shelters rely on regular support and usually offer turn-key opportunities for large volunteer groups. Establishing a relationship with the nonprofit’s volunteer coordinator is key, as this will help with scheduling activities on a regular basis.
In addition to organizing a volunteer event, include information about your company’s philanthropic initiatives at new hire orientation and/or in materials. This will provide a bigger picture about your company’s community involvement and deeper context around the specific engagement. After the volunteer event, send a brief survey to inform next steps.
Incentives may be helpful in maximizing your efforts and advancing your organization’s social impact goals. These incentives can manifest in various forms, from contests and matching programs to opportunities for professional development.
Dollars for Doers
A dollars for doers policy is a great way to match employees’ volunteer hours with a financial contribution. These programs are implemented in place of, or in addition to, matching gift programs.
Here’s one example: Company X matches $1000 for every 100 hours a team member volunteers and tracks.
The structure of your program will depend on your company size and the resources and capital you can commit. There isn’t a single right answer and you can get creative around meaningful ways to encourage, recognize, and reward volunteerism while tracking and driving usage of a VTO program. We recommend encouraging teams to work with their HR partners to build these incentives into total rewards budgets so the volunteer incentive programs can scale as the company grows and not draw down the .org or foundation charitable funds.
Sparking friendly competition between teams or departments and allowing the winning group to allocate funds to a nonprofit of their choice can be a winning strategy. Depending on your company culture, gamifying your approach to volunteerism could motivate employees to participate at higher levels and engage deeply.
Rock Content gamified their Global Week of Service by dividing employees into teams, carefully selecting team leaders committed to a high level of communication and engagement before, during, and after the week, and promoting healthy competition among participants.
Here are a few tips on how to structure an event like this:
|Many companies establish quarterly or monthly awards for outstanding employee volunteers. You may also consider recognizing employees who sign up early, show commitment by participating frequently with a single organization, or register for the most events across a certain period of time.
WePledge 1% brings the Pledge 1% movement to employees and empowers individuals to build positive change in their communities and around the world by pledging to contribute 1% of their personal time, financial resources, or both to do good. Twilio has open-sourced their WePledge 1% approach and partnered with Pledge 1% to share their learnings and best practices with all Pledge 1% members.
ABOUT WEPLEDGE 1%
WePledge 1% is for leaders who are accountable for shaping workplace culture, promoting employee engagement or selecting employee benefits, yet find themselves without enough time, budget, or headcount to design a volunteer and giving program that can meaningfully drive employee engagement and retention.
WePledge 1% is a volunteer impact and giving program in which employees pledge to give 1 percent of their own time, income, or equity (or a combo) to causes that resonate with them. Created by Twilio and inspired by Pledge 1%, the program makes employees a more central part of a company’s social impact strategy by mobilizing employees to use their unique interests and passions to drive social change. By joining WePledge 1%, company leaders gain access to a toolkit, ongoing support, and a practitioner network that makes it easier to initiate or improve their employee impact program at no cost to them. Inaugural members include: Atlassian, OKTA, Twilio, and Zoom.
We invite leaders like you to join executives at like-minded companies such as Asana and Headspace in joining the Launch Cohort of WePledge 1%. Companies with an employee impact and giving program have 2.3x the employee retention rate 1 than those without one.
Implementing WePledge 1% at your company is a proven tactic that reinforces a company’s stated values and delivers employees consistent opportunities to connect in inspiring and purpose-driven ways.
Since Twilio created WePledge 1% in 2019, more than 2,000 Twilio employees have signed onto and activated WePledge 1% and employees report the following benefits: