Creating Impact Through Corporate Volunteering - What's Holding You Back?

Creating Impact Through Corporate Volunteering - What's Holding You Back?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 9:00am

CAMPAIGN: National Volunteer Week


Written by LBG Canada Founder, Stephanie Robertson.

Every company that is committed to employee volunteering, wants an impactful program. Across the LBG Canada community, at least 80% of companies have encouraged some form of volunteering since benchmarking began in 2005.   

It is true that the community has grown and changed over the years, and that LBG Canada companies have always tended to be either established or aspiring leaders on the community investment, employee volunteering and employee giving agendas. Despite that leadership, it is fascinating to see the range of success engaging employees in volunteering strategies.  Some are highly successful, while others are clearly not.  This raises key questions about how companies are choosing to create community impact through volunteering.  And if the impact is not occurring – what is holding them back?

The goal of an employee volunteering strategy is to create a meaningful connection between the opportunity to volunteer and the employee.  Some companies choose to organize the opportunity and invite people to participate. Others create the space for volunteer-driven initiative. Still others seek to motivate by matching time with community partner funding.  All of these approaches can result in an engaged volunteer, so what prevents impact from being achieved?  Can a misalignment be easily fixed?

Yes! Consider these top 10 steps to remove any barriers to holding you back:

1. Ensure that all corporate commitment is supported by systems. Have clear goals for the volunteering program, set participation targets, ensure that success is clearly defined. 

2. Make the commitment to volunteering present in the corporate culture. Include in new employee orientation, within internal and external communications, annual reporting, social media activity, etc. 

3. Have clear volunteering guidelines in place. Who can volunteer, when and how much? Often companies create hurdles for employees through the absence of this information.

4. Give everyone guidance on how to integrate volunteer commitment into daily tasks and responsibilities. Ensure manmagers are aware that they are expected to encourage participation, and can confidently suggest a change to an employee's proposed plan if the situation requires. 

5. Have a senior executive champion. An executive champion sends a clear message to all staff that volunteering is encouraged and is an important part of company culture. 

6. Lead by example. Corporate executives volunteering alongside others within the company sets the tone of any volunteering program. It is essential to ensure that employees feel encouraged by the actions of their executive team.

7. Distinguish between during working hours and non-working hours. Some employees are hesitant to share their volunteering stories when they occur outside of working hours. Companies need to be clear that they are supporting and encouraging volunteering, and are not at risk of being perceived as taking credit for an employee's individual efforts. 

8. Make the experience meaningful. Evaluate the employee experience. Ensure that the intention of offering a meaningful experience has in fact been achieved. Evaluation creates opportunity to learn and adjust course, in order to meet that objective. 

9. Ensure the community partner's objectives have been met. It is important to confirm the community partner's needs as the volunteering plan is developed. Designing the volunteer engagement with the partner's needs in mind will increase the likelihood of creating a meaningful match for both parties. Evaluate the results!

10. Join LBG Canada! Join peer companies activekly seeking to ensure that how volunteering programs are managed sets them up for success.

For more information on LBG Canada, please contact us at


Leigh March
+1 (403) 444-5683ext. 8
SiMPACT Strategy Group