Companies everywhere are realizing that customers and employees expect the businesses they support to give back to their communities. That’s why 90% of Fortune 500 companies now have corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, whether comprised of philanthropy initiatives, volunteer service, or other socially responsible business practices.
If your company is looking to develop or improve your CSR program, you need the best CSR software to support you. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about corporate volunteering platforms and how to find the best one. We’ll explore:
- Corporate Volunteering Platforms FAQs
- 6 Top Features of Corporate Volunteering Platforms
- Beyond Corporate Volunteering: Other Ways to Tap Into CSR
With the right software on your side, you’ll be able to engage your employees in volunteering and make a measurable difference in your community. And that, in turn, will help your company improve its reputation and gain more customers. Let’s get started!
Corporate Volunteering Platforms FAQs
Before we dive into what features to look for in corporate volunteering platforms, let’s answer any initial questions you may have.
What is corporate volunteering?
Corporate volunteering is a CSR program in which companies encourage their employees to volunteer. Businesses can do so by organizing team-wide volunteer days, sharing volunteer opportunities for individuals, or incentivizing volunteering. Common incentives include:
- Volunteer time off (VTO): In addition to your employees’ paid time off, you can offer a few days of volunteer time off—days where team members get paid to volunteer instead of work. These days make it much easier for employees to find time to volunteer and increase the chances they’ll participate in your CSR program.
- Volunteer grants: When employees volunteer, offer to double their impact by sending the nonprofit they volunteered with a monetary volunteer grant. Set guidelines for which organizations are eligible and how much you’ll donate. For example, you could say that you’ll donate $15 per hour up to $5,000 per employee. Or, you can say that you’ll donate $500 to a nonprofit after an employee volunteers there for 25 hours.
Companies typically situate these programs within a wider CSR strategy to give employees plenty of ways to participate and make a difference. We’ll explore a few of the ways you can supplement your corporate volunteering programs later on.
How do companies benefit from corporate volunteering programs?
Your business can reap many benefits from launching corporate volunteering programs that align with your values and employees’ interests. Take a look at two statistics provided by Crowd101 that demonstrate the top benefits:
- 82% of companies report that their employees want to volunteer. When you develop corporate volunteering programs that allow employees to give back, you show your employees that you care about their passions and interests. This leads to increased employee engagement, motivation, and retention.
- 90% of companies say partnering with nonprofits enhances their brand. No matter what kind of volunteering programs you develop, they’ll help you create relationships with nonprofits in your community. These relationships enhance your business’s brand and give your company a positive reputation boost.
Additionally, devoting time and resources to helping your community can improve your company culture and attract new, socially conscious customers.
What are corporate volunteering platforms?
Corporate volunteering platforms are software solutions designed to help companies manage and boost participation in their employee volunteering programs. They allow you to centralize all program information and streamline both management and participation.
Typically, these platforms are used by both program administrators and employees. For administrators, corporate volunteering solutions allow you to track volunteer hours, manage sign-ups, and evaluate the impact of your initiatives. Employees, on the other hand, can use the software to find volunteer opportunities, sign up to participate, and log their hours. Some platforms even integrate with or include workplace giving tools so employees can donate in addition to volunteering.
How do you choose the best corporate volunteering platform?
There are a variety of corporate volunteering platforms available, so use the features discussed below to narrow down your options. Once you select a few platforms with all the best features, do further research into each one. Consider factors like:
- Your program’s budget
- Complexity of the implementation process
- If it integrates with your existing technology
- Availability of technical support
Schedule live demos of each system to get a feel for its functionality and ask any questions you may have. Then, discuss the pros and cons of each option with your leadership team to come to a decision.
6 Top Features of Corporate Volunteering Platforms
As you explore your options to find the best corporate volunteering platforms, look for the following key features:
1. Volunteer Personalization
Most corporate volunteering platforms allow employees to create volunteer profiles where they can track their interests and history. This is a great starting point, but for the best results, look for platforms that take volunteer personalization even further. This might include:
- Skill inventories. Beyond tracking their charitable interests, some platforms allow employees to take inventory of their personal skills. This makes it easy for employees to find and participate in skill-based volunteer opportunities where they can thrive and further develop important skills.
- Curated volunteer opportunities. Look for a platform that takes employee information like charitable interests and skills into account to curate personalized recommendations. This feature pulls from a database of nonprofit volunteering opportunities to suggest the most relevant options for each employee.
- Option for employee-led initiatives. Instead of just offering employees existing opportunities, empower them to plan their own! Some corporate volunteer platforms let employees request, create, and even lead custom volunteer events.
By appealing to employees’ interests and empowering them to volunteer in ways that matter to them, these personalization features will help your company increase participation and overall program satisfaction.
2. Simple Employee Sign-Up Tools
Streamline participation in corporate volunteering with simple, straightforward sign-up tools. With this feature, team members can quickly use your platform to sign up to volunteer as individuals or as a team. This removes participation barriers and engages more employees in volunteering.
Once employees sign up for a volunteer event, they should be able to easily find the event from their profile or dashboard. From here, your platform should help them quickly see all of the details about the event, like location, time and date, and who else is participating.
3. Scheduling & Hours Tracking
Ensure that your corporate volunteering platform includes robust scheduling tools that allow both employees and administrators to schedule and manage volunteer shifts. Volunteers should also be able to track volunteer hours for both company events and external volunteer opportunities. If your company offers VTO, be sure that you can track this within your platform as well.
4. Event Management Tools
Plenty of businesses opt to plan their own company-wide volunteer activities to facilitate team-building and boost employee morale. These events are also great times to document your company’s impact with photos and videos, which you can share with the public to demonstrate your commitment to CSR.
To help you manage these events, your platform should come with event creation, management, and customization tools. With the right features, you can build custom volunteer events for both in-person and remote employees.
5. Robust Reporting
Every corporate volunteering platform comes with reporting features, but they’re not all equally robust. Check that the platforms you research include automatically generated impact reports that help you measure and visualize your company’s CSR impact. You should be able to measure:
- Employee participation
- VTO usage
- Per-cause or per-organization impact
Having this data on hand and easily accessible will help you demonstrate the positive impact of your CSR programs to employees, stakeholders, and customers.
6. Employee Giving Capabilities
With the right platform features, it’s easy for your company to integrate corporate volunteering with employee giving programs. Most employees want to make an impact on nonprofits in multiple ways, such as by volunteering their time and donating funds. Encouraging employee giving alongside volunteering keeps employees happy and doubles your CSR impact.
Your corporate volunteering platform should enable you to support employee giving in at least one of two ways:
- Volunteer grants: If your company offers volunteer grants, employees should be able to use your platform to sign up to volunteer, track their hours, and submit a request for a volunteer grant. Once you approve the grant request within the system, your company sends the nonprofit a donation based on hours logged.
- Donation rewards: For a more flexible option, some platforms have a reward system in place that employees can use to donate to any nonprofit of their choice after volunteering a certain number of hours. Employees earn points each time they volunteer, spend points on donation rewards, and then request that your company donate to the nonprofit of their choice.
With these tools, you’ll make it easy for employees to donate to the nonprofits they volunteer with, strengthening relationships with organizations and keeping your employees happy.
Beyond Corporate Volunteering: Other Ways to Tap Into CSR
Along with helping you manage and boost participation in your volunteer programs, some CSR platforms allow you to tap into even more CSR opportunities. Many solutions include tools to facilitate corporate philanthropy initiatives like:
- Matching gift programs. To show support for their employees’ charitable interests, many companies develop matching gift programs in which they match employee donations at a 1:1 ratio. This means that if an employee donates $50 and fills out a matching gift request, your company donates an additional $50 to that nonprofit.
- Charitable giving stipends. Instead of (or along with!) supplementing your employees’ own donations, your company can provide a set amount of money annually for each employee to donate to the nonprofit of their choice.
- Corporate sponsorships. Have a specific organization you want to offer more support to? You can sponsor an individual nonprofit by providing a grant for a program, funding an event, or donating in-kind gifts like new technology or auction items.
There are even a few CSR platforms that integrate with nonprofit-facing software like 360MatchPro to enable exciting features like matching gift auto-submission. This functionality allows employees to easily request matching gifts right from nonprofits’ donation pages—simplifying the process and increasing the chances that they participate in your philanthropy program.
From your employees’ perspective, auto-submission works like this:
All your employees have to do is donate to their favorite nonprofits as usual, enter their corporate email address, and check a box. That’s it! Then your company receives the automatic request, approves it, and donates.
If the corporate volunteering platform your company chooses doesn’t integrate with matching gift software to provide this feature, you can request it! Contact Double the Donation to learn more about the benefits of auto-submission and how you can request this feature from your CSR software provider.
Your employees want to make a difference in their communities, and you can help them do so by leveraging the right corporate volunteering platform. When you invest in a platform with the essential features we discussed, your company can boost employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention—all while positively impacting your community.
To learn more about boosting employee engagement with your company’s volunteering programs, check out these additional resources:
- A Smart Guide to Unlocking the Power of CSR Software. Explore all the ways your company can leverage corporate volunteering platforms and other CSR software.
- 23+ Corporate Volunteer Ideas to Build a Better Community. Need ideas for the best corporate volunteering programs to create? Get inspired by these in-person and virtual employee volunteer opportunities.
- 11 Effective Employee Engagement Strategies for Businesses. Discover other ways to engage your employees and boost retention beyond corporate volunteering programs.