Building Successful Workplace Volunteer Programs

With younger generations entering the workforce, an increasing number of employees expect companies to play a part in giving back to the community. Volunteer programs can help businesses make a difference and increase employee engagement with the company.

At a recent Corporate Giving Network, representatives from companies around the Kansas City metro gathered to discuss workplace volunteer programs and hear from panelists representing businesses that are successfully engaging employees as volunteers.

Jonathan Jones from DEMDACO, a gift and home décor company focused on lifting the spirit of others, wants his employees to stop classifying volunteer work as separate from their professional work.

“My one wish is for people to stop volunteering. That it would become a way of life, incorporated in to their daily lives and daily work,” said Jonathan.

DEMDACO employees receive paid “community time off” for organized volunteer opportunities, and “Lift the Spirit” days to serve others in their personal lives. Jonathan emphasized the importance of encouraging employees to help fulfill the company’s mission. By providing time off to give back to causes they personally care about, employees feel more connected and engaged with the company and its mission.

Nancy Whitworth from McCownGordon shared how volunteering plays a role in the bigger picture of giving back to the community. A small group of McCownGordon employees called “MGC Cares”, serve as ambassadors for company-organized volunteer events and facilitate informal volunteer opportunities among their colleagues. McCownGordon employees have unlimited time off and are encouraged to use that flexibility to give back to the organizations they care about. Additionally, McCownGordon matches employees’ donations to charities dollar for dollar, up to $250 each year.

Kendal Stark from Spring Venture Group spoke about the company’s recent growth and how that has affected how the organization engages employees in giving back. Nearly 70 percent of Spring Venture Group’s employees work as sales agents. These employees spend a lot of time on the phone and can’t easily step away from their desk. To accommodate, Spring Venture Group intentionally organizes early morning volunteer opportunities in the community or coordinates on-site volunteer events, typically assembly-line type projects, allowing sales agents to participate even for a short amount of time. 

“We want to build community within our organization and also help strengthen the community outside our four walls,” said Kendal.

The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation can help businesses of any size create or expand a corporate giving program, which might include a volunteer component. Find more information online or contact LaVon Colhour, Manager of Corporate Services, by email or call 816.627.3400. 

Community Foundation Content Specialist Ashley Hawkins

 

Authored by: Ashley Hawkins, Content Specialist