Volunteering: Like it, love it, do more of it?

Volunteering is a hands-on contribution of time to a nonprofit organization. Volunteer activities can include just about anything that takes the load off of the staff members at a favorite charity, whether that’s serving meals, packing backpacks, or picking up trash on the side of the road. In fact, 25% of adults volunteer each year for a nonprofit organization.

Workplace volunteering programs are gaining in popularity. So how do you deal with the majority of your employees who do not regularly volunteer? These employees might not have the connections or experience to get engaged in the ways your program anticipates. 

Here are three tips to consider as you communicate your company's employee volunteering program. 

First, remember that volunteering, even though it’s all the buzz, isn’t the only way to do good. Recycling at the office, donating canned goods, attending community events, and sharing with colleagues are just a few of the other ways you can encourage your employees to give back to the community and celebrate the causes they love the most.

Second, if you're looking for ways to encourage your employees to participate in your company's program, social media--or even internal communication--can come in very handy. Encourage your employees to let their friends know that they're up for a day of volunteering. They’re likely to get a handful of good suggestions from experienced volunteers about local organizations. And, chances are good those suggestions will come with colleagues who want to join in.  

Third, no matter what, make sure your employees love what they are doing. Yes, employees are making a difference in the lives of others when they get engaged in the community, but they are making a difference in their own life, too. And that matters! If an employee doesn't like dogs and cats, by all means the employee should not feel pressure to volunteer at an animal shelter. On the other hand, if an employee really enjoys the satisfaction of stuffing hundreds of envelopes or sorting canned goods, let your employees pick that. 

It’s a simple concept: Do what you love. But it’s surprisingly easy to forget that doing what you love applies to your employees in your workplace volunteer program, too.