Creating a volunteer program at your workplace is not only a fun way to promote a team environment; it’s also a great way to give back to your community. Here are 5 tips I’ve learned this past year from creating a successful program at work.
1. K.I.S.S. or Keep It Simple, Silly
When you are passionate about something it can be easy to want to take on a huge project or several huge projects. However, it’s important to remember that even a small group or small event can make a big difference. Starting with a smaller project can ensure that it is manageable and you have a good experience. This is also good to keep in mind if, like most of us, creating a volunteer program is not in your job description and is something you take on outside of your normal work duties. You don’t want something like this to be so overwhelming the first time that you never want to do it again!
2. Try Variety
In your workplace there are bound to be people with many different interest areas and other outside commitments. Appeal to that variety by organizing a couple of smaller projects. Things to keep in mind include:
- Time of day—try one weekend and one evening event so people can participate after work or with their families.
- Commitment expected—are volunteers just donating money or food or are they giving several hours of their time?
- Varying causes—like working with animals, people, cleaning up the environment, etc.
3. Find Other Passionate People to Help
It can be much more exciting and more reasonable to organize a volunteer program when you have a co-worker to plan with. As with most things in life, ask for help and don’t feel like you have to take everything on yourself!
4. Plan Around Your Work Calendar
If you know most people can’t get away during the day, plan your events in the evening right after work or on days off. Organize events during your non-busy times (if there is such a thing at your work!). Think about when you might have the most people available to participate and plan the events then.
5. Don’t Give Up!
Starting any program can be a challenge and the first time may not go as you hoped it might. However, if you are passionate about giving back to your community, keep it up! Even small projects can make a difference in the lives of those you are helping as well as those who volunteer.
I hope you will consider creating a volunteer program at your workplace or joining in on projects that are already being organized. The need is always out there.
What types of volunteer projects have you participated in through your workplace? What have you learned from them?