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Getting into Giving – Starting with Employee Volunteer Programs

By May 10, 2016

By: Alastair Higginbottom, Volunteering Maestro, EMEA

There are many ways a company can give back to it’s local community – a great place to start is with employee volunteering programs. Corporate volunteering is an extremely effective and emotive way for companies to develop its people and invest in society. At Salesforce, we’ve given 1.4 million hours back to communities around the world, and it not only makes it a great place to work, it also makes us stand out as an competitive employer, just like other companies that offer volunteering programs.

The Stats…

  • 85% of engaged corporate volunteers have an improved perception of their company (YOUGOV 2010)
  • 71% see volunteering as key to improving personal well being (YOUGOV 2010).
  • 61% of millennial’s career choices are influenced by a company’s commitment to the community (2011 Deloitte VIS)
  • 65 to 80% of employee volunteers report increased teamwork, leadership, and communication skills, according to the (Social Market Foundation 2010)

What Next?

Let’s say the stats convinced you and you’ve decided to roll-out an employee volunteer program…what next? Now you’ll want to take the time to think about what types of programs you might offer your employees. Below are three general buckets that volunteering can be categorized into – take a look and see what might work for your company or team.

Mass participation/ high impact:

Often outdoors, often hard work, always fun! From clearing a park of litter and weeds to making food parcels or preparing used computers to go to the developing world. These events provide impact, are inclusive to all employees and are flexible around dates and volunteer numbers. They are great for team building also!
Volunteering Building Cambodia

Read about a recent Salesforce volunteer abroad trip to Cambodia to build houses with VBC:

High value:

This type of volunteering sees your employees working towards specific high value goals. This could be teaching children to read, mentoring (children, young adults, charity staff, unemployed people) or working as a classroom assistant. These events are harder to organize but offer really high value to recipients.


Check out this great post about mentoring:

Skilled volunteering:

Using your professional skills to help others. This could be HR teaching CV skills, or developers helping nonprofits with technical advice/services or the legal team holding advice workshops. Whilst these events can be difficult to organize they provide the perfect combination of lasting impact and value.

salesforce ignite - STEM

Read about our STEM partnership with Casula High School in Sydney, Australia:

So which do you do first?

Creating a successful, ongoing volunteer program is initially all about culture, visibility and efficacy. All three types of volunteering are great, but to start off with why not create a volunteering opportunity where lots of people can be involved and that you can organize relatively easily. This can enable you to create momentum to launch your volunteer program. An excellent reason for doing mass participation events  early on, is that you can get lots of feedback. This can help you and your company understand the value of volunteering, and also help shape future volunteering activities.

Hope this Helps you Get Started with Giving 🙂