The Evolution of Corporate Volunteering Software
Most corporate volunteering platforms on the market today evolved from grant management and donations tools. In years past, that was really the primary functionality corporations required. Most companies would just dole out grants and organize donation drives with a vague sense of employees “giving back”. Often they didn’t even involve employees.
Corporate volunteering is much more about employee engagement than grant and donation management. Many large corporations are now running their own charity events that involve their employees in a direct way.
There are two main reasons for this. Corporations now see the value in being seen as socially-conscious organizations, and seek to increase their reputation for Corporate Social Responsibility among the public. Companies are also seeing the tremendous benefit of the employee engagement offered by corporate volunteering, which does a great job of retaining and attracting employees.
So how is it possible for a large corporation, armed with just financial administration software, to run a successful event that involves multiple locations, time zones, and hundreds of staff? Most of the software available claims to have engagement features, but that isn’t the software’s main purpose.
There are, however, modern tools specifically designed to connect, engage and communicate, much like Facebook and LinkedIn, that have proven to be effective engagement tools.
Picture a Fortune 500 company that owns its own grant management platform. It includes a volunteering module, but its only real function is reporting hours. They wanted something more, something that is focused on engagement - they need software that is designed for engaging users and their communications needs. Their volunteering efforts span multiple programs and involve different leaders and teams, so they need a platform that speaks to that.
This company was relying on cumbersome spreadsheets to stay on top of communications and logistics. They wanted a solution that sends automatic emails and text messages at planned times to remind staff about upcoming volunteering events and encourage them to sign up. They wanted a solution that motivates volunteers to participate.
They needed a solution that allows instant communication and encouragement from the volunteers to help generate enthusiasm for what is being accomplished. With notifications like: “Your coworker Jenny just signed up for the Charity Run!” instantly sent out to connections.
They wanted something different from traditional volunteering software.
What is Wrong With Traditional Volunteering Software?
Traditional volunteer programs are just not designed to drive employee engagement.
Corporations need solutions that are specifically designed for the employee not administrators. It has to be flexible to handle multiple program types and channels of communications - not a traditional tool built primarily for grant management and donation processing.
The most common complaints about traditional solutions are that they are not user friendly, not designed for reporting in real time, and do not engage employees.
Traditional volunteering software is not developed to ensure volunteers are engaged and kept active. When you shop around for the best corporate volunteering platform, you must ensure the software was designed for your users in mind. What will motivate them to participate for the first time, and again in the future. Are they having fun? Do they feel a sense of accomplishment and pride?
Why Is Engagement So Important?
You invest time and money into the programs you run, so you want the best return on investment to prove your department’s value and accomplishments. You want to prove you are making the right decisions.
For your volunteering program to be as successful as possible, you need to create BUZZ.
Social media, messaging, gamification, and rewards and recognition rally people around the cause you are promoting. Creating excitement encourages employees to take part. Buzz motivates the volunteers to stay in the program or event.
Gamification is particularly effective in engaging volunteers.
How does it work?
Marketing teams have long since used points-earning gamification ploys. For example: the Starbucks Rewards program, McDonald's Monopoly game, Fitbit fitness challenges, and Southwest Airlines Frequent Flyer Programs are all very familiar and successful consumer motivators.
Your corporate volunteering program can employ gaming to increase and retain participants. A points system can make volunteer tasks more rewarding, and the resulting friendly office rivalry makes the volunteering more fun.
A simple points system can be used to reward volunteers for the hours they participate, their degree of commitment, and for social media sharing.
In fact, encouraging volunteers to share on social media will also help achieve more BUZZ - a win-win!
The Latest and Greatest Software
So you know you need engagement tools to run your corporate volunteering programs. Tools that allow you to create excitement before, during, and after the events.
If you are a very large corporation, you are undoubtedly running multiple events across multiple locations and need tools to organize the various leaders and participants involved.
You also need tools that help you quickly analyze the effectiveness of volunteering efforts and their levels of employee engagement.
Involve manages the booking process for volunteering events, including sourcing, registration, and invitations. It is also capable of post-event tracking and reporting, including hours contributed, pictures uploaded, and employee ratings and comments.
- Amazing user experience to drive employee engagement
- Aligns employees with company culture and values through sharing experiences, social media, surveys, ratings and reviews
- Easy event management with thousands of volunteering opportunities on the platform
- Tools to create and manage your own events
- Enhanced communications including text, emails, notifications that drive participation, and cross-office and cross-functional collaboration
- Dynamic reporting and analytics on employee engagement
To see what Involve offers as corporate volunteering software, see the link below.