As a newbie Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) professional a few years ago, employee volunteering was a key area for me to manage. Then, working for a stellar, global organisation, the experience gave me a few insights into the world of Employee Volunteering.
There are different types of employee volunteers. Here are four types which were most prominent during my tenure as a CSR manager.
“I have a responsibility to give back to society”
Employees who live their heart and mind. They truly believe in giving back to the world around them. These are the real change-makers. Soon as you are able to identify them, pin them on your lists of top volunteers. Get to know them closely, don’t be surprised if they already have an NGO of their own back in the village. See how their NGO aligns with your organisation’s programs.
Success story: Before I began replicating global programs in India as a CSR manager. I met an employee who ran a school in his village. 30 children, out in the open, come sun, winds, rains or storms. I had just stepped into the role, and there was no formal program to support his cause. Along with a core team of volunteers, created an event where employees could auction services or tangible works of art. Cash donations of which will go towards building a shelter for the children. We collected Rs. 80,000 in those two hours, thanks to an amazing leader who stepped in and motivated his entire team.
The employee followed up after a year with progress on his school, and the impact the funds had made. The success story was shared with the entire India organisation, and we gained new volunteers and influencers among the leadership.
“I prefer to donate to the organisation of my choice”
Employees who are committed but are selective about their causes. Make a note of their focus areas. Align them with organisational focus areas. Every organisation serious about Employee Volunteering will have focus areas of their own, additionally, a program that gives employees a chance to include their interest areas as well.
“How are my donations being utilised? I’m yet to hear from the NGO on the impact of our previous donations”
These data kinds can sometimes get your goat. Yet, you are bound to find some among them who are genuinely impact-oriented. Which is great! Most NGOs fail to showcase their good work. It takes an astute CSR manager to dig into details. Match employees expectations with the information you source from the NGO. Build a case, report consistently, win more volunteers. NGOs need to be aware of Corporate needs and focus on providing details on impact.(Suggestion: Invest in a Communications professional)
“These are all ‘black-to-white’ money changers. I cannot trust them”
These employees are tough to convince, no matter what you tell them. Most base their notions on hearsay, and negative news. One of the ways to get their buy-in is to invite the NGOs onto the campus. Get these employees to engage with the beneficiaries and coordinators. Consistent engagement enables both sides to build their trust.
“I’m not sure how I can contribute my time to an NGO”
Some employees are shy or over thinkers. They find it difficult to find their space volunteering for an NGO. Engage with these employees to understand what they are looking for based on the time they can give each week or month. Sometimes it would be something as simple as teaching Math creatively or any topic once a week. Depending on the NGO, get them to use their skills.
There are all kinds of volunteers, and it takes a lot of commitment to keep most happy. There are times I’ve noticed that the underserved community has a lot to give to the privileged lot just with their sheer willingness to learn and be open. Many employees gain a sense of purpose in their lives and better themselves. Some go on to open their own NGOs to give back, some even leave their high paying jobs to work full-time for NGOs.
Every kind of employee has something unique to provide.
Keep your emotions and biases in check. Don’t let them come in the way of changing the world.