Forming a strong nonprofit/corporate partnership is an enormous task, regardless of the size of the nonprofit or company. Maintaining that partnership demands even greater attention and responsibility.
A recent study conducted by For Momentum, a cause marketing agency, found that when companies search for a nonprofit partner, their priorities are: brand alignment, increased visibility, and positive impact that supports the nonprofit’s mission. In a nutshell, a company wants to partner with a nonprofit whose values match its own, and who can produce and showcase evidence that the company’s efforts have made a positive impact on the nonprofit’s cause.
Employee volunteers are a key factor in achieving this. By strengthening relationships with employee volunteers, nonprofits can ensure that companies’ needs are met and that partnerships are strong and meaningful. To reach this goal, nonprofits can consider implementing five easy strategies.
Show Employee Volunteers that They Are Valued
First and foremost, nonprofit staff can make company employees feel special by organizing special trips to the company to recruit, inform, and get to know employees. This is a great opportunity to show employees, as well as company leaders, that the nonprofit values the company employees and that they want to learn how employees are interested in volunteering. If the company already has an Employee Volunteer Program (EVP), the nonprofit can connect with its chairperson to coordinate communication, recruitment, training, and tracking efforts.
Incorporate Employee Volunteers’ Skills and Interests
Putting volunteers to work doing only menial tasks is a quick way to make them bored. To avoid weakening the relationship with volunteers, nonprofit staff can help employee volunteers enjoy their experience by placing them in positions that utilize their skills and pique their interests. Many nonprofits have implemented successful skills-giving programs, in which employee volunteers have regularly donated their skills in technical, legal, marketing, public relations fields, and more. For recurring or one-time events, in which nonprofits are working in the community, employee volunteers should be placed in assignments where they feel like they are serving the mission, directly reaching beneficiaries, not performing the unskilled, behind-the-scenes labor. In this way, employee volunteers will feel like they are truly making a difference.
Recruiting volunteers from companies means that nonprofits will have a concentrated group of professionals on hand. While their personalities and fields of expertise will range, nonprofit staff should allow room for leadership among the volunteers. For example, delegating the planning of a project to employee volunteers, or asking employee volunteers with relevant skills and knowledge to participate in a strategic planning meeting will not only help them enjoy their experience, but it will also encourage a sense of pride and keep them coming back.
Showcase Employee Volunteers on Social Media
Knowing that corporate partners want their relationships with nonprofits to raise awareness of their brand, nonprofits should showcase their employee volunteers regularly on social media. Posting pictures and videos of employee volunteers serving the cause, described with a quick caption that highlights the company’s name, accomplishes two important goals: 1). It publicly aligns the company with the cause, and 2). It shows the employees that their service and dedication are valued. When nonprofits highlight employee volunteers’ service on social media, staff should always be sure to caption it with the company’s name and an expression of gratitude for the volunteers. A shower of thanksgiving goes a long way in maintaining a meaningful relationship.
Share Volunteers’ Impact (Repeatedly)
Companies want to read the hard and fast numbers, but they also want to hear the anecdotal stories about how their nonprofit partnership has impacted the greater good. Nonprofits should carefully track the number of employees who volunteer, how many hours they volunteer, how many people were affected because of them, and more. The more details that can be tracked, the better, because each one contributes to companies’ understanding of how their participation has impacted the community. Sharing stories from beneficiaries and employee volunteers also shows company leaders how their employees have helped advance the common good. While formal annual or quarterly reports are important, nonprofits would do well to provide anecdotal and statistical updates in the meantime, to remind companies that their partnership continues to make a difference.
Developing meaningful relationships with employee volunteers will help nonprofits establish a firm foundation for building strong and lasting relationships with companies in general.
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Corporate social responsibility is important. Learn more about how MobileServe can help your organization track and social its social impact through volunteerism by clicking the link below!