Nonprofits, here’s everything you need to know about team-based volunteering programs (+ free checklist)
What do you think about virtual volunteering?
Just ask Tom, a long-time corporate volunteer.
“During my first individual virtual volunteering session, there was a lot of confusion. Erratic communication, haphazard execution… there were just so many bottlenecks that I lost interest halfway through.”
Ouch, Tom. That was harsh.
But wait, he had more to say, “However…my experience with team-based virtual volunteering was drastically different, can you believe it? I participated in a team-based opportunity that was all about recording audiobooks for educating children, after much nudging from my team. I started reluctantly, but a few minutes in and I didn’t want to stop!”
Phew, you had us for a moment there! But we’re so happy that you loved it, Tom.
Tom is one among the many employees today who want to band together with their teams while contributing to a cause virtually. Recently, our volunteers have been showing a huge affinity towards team-based virtual volunteering.
Read on to find out why your nonprofit should look at accommodating more team-based activities to cater to this surge in interest.
The growing relevance of team-based virtual volunteering
COVID-19 snatched away a lot of the fun, casual aspects of going to the office. The best part of an office, its people, stay isolated in their homes, working remotely.
In the new normal we live in today; remote work has quashed a lot of opportunities that nonprofits used to have to connect with corporates – to source volunteers, arrange fundraisers, etc. In-person volunteering seems almost impossible with everyone working apart
But an alternative was soon found.
Through virtual volunteering, companies found a way to channel the skills of their employees to a cause area they care about. Team-based virtual volunteering offers corporates a channel to contribute to their philanthropic mission while also improving employee morale and skills.
Virtual volunteering is not just a temporary fix. All three stakeholders – nonprofits, employee volunteers, and companies stand to gain a lot from team-based volunteering programs in the long run.
5 ways in which team-based virtual volunteering benefits your nonprofit
We all know that employees hold a great deal of promise for nonprofits. They come armed with essential skill sets such as marketing, strategic planning, technical expertise, and financial planning.
In the team-based virtual volunteering model, teams consisting of 5 or more employees pitch in a dedicated number of hours consistently towards a cause, across a period of time.
Due to the time commitment and team effort that goes into a volunteering activity, the team-based model offers the most lasting value of all volunteering programs.
Without further ado, let us look at 5 ways in which team-based volunteering helps nonprofits:
- Enjoy the collective benefits of experienced teams:
Volunteers from the same company are strongly bound by their company’s culture.It makes it easier for them to organize their thoughts, brainstorm, and constructively utilize their skills and efforts.Like they say, “teamwork makes the dream work.” With teamwork sorted, your nonprofit can focus on the other important aspects of prepping your volunteers for the task at hand.
- Witness better motivation among volunteers:
Volunteering individually is not everyone’s cup of tea. Individual volunteering mandates a lot more self-motivation and requires a volunteer to drive himself/herself to contribute. Due to this, the nonprofit might need to shoulder a greater amount of responsibility w.r.t. sustaining a volunteer’s interest.For team-based volunteering, however, the risk is much less. As people volunteer as a team, they feel more motivated to contribute due to the connections that they share with their colleagues.Besides caring about the end goal, they also enjoy the simple gift of camaraderie that teams bring. This makes it much easier for your nonprofit to keep volunteers motivated.
- Get quick, efficient results:
As the wise say, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” This cannot be any truer than in the context of team-based virtual volunteering.When you have several motivated individuals working collectively towards one goal, the chances of getting good results quickly are high.The best part? Work gets done in synergy, and the team can move on quickly to tackling the next nonprofit challenge. You can create a large impact in a short amount of time. You can also reach your yearly volunteer goals much earlier.
- Exceed expectations:
Let’s take an example. Assume that you need a group of volunteers to record audiobooks for the education of children from underprivileged communities.In that case, the larger the strength of the team, the more impactful the results would be. Volunteers would get to spend quality time recording audiobooks and conversing with children.There is more scope for dialogues, feel-good initiatives, and collective happiness through team-based virtual volunteering.
- Gain increased exposure to different networks:
The bigger the team is, the higher would be the number of people who talk about your nonprofit using their social media handles. This plays a huge role in amplifying your nonprofit to so many different people at the same time.
There is a higher chance of being able to network with corporate leaders through extended networks – paving the way for you to connect with donors and investors.
Why do employee volunteers prefer team-based volunteering?
There are several reasons why most corporate volunteers prefer team-based volunteering activities over individual ones. Here’s a quick look at a few of them:
- Ease of adapting to a new environment: According to a recent survey, 60% of respondents from a list of global companies that embraced virtual volunteering, did so to boost employee engagement.Employees often find it comforting to volunteer with their peers to support a nonprofit over simply volunteering alone. It’s always easier to work on something when you have some sense of familiarity guiding you. Like we mentioned before, individual volunteering does not work for everyone.
- The value added to career: Interaction with peers in an environment different from that of the workplace sparks wholesome conversations between employees. These conversations can be about anything and serve as an avenue to network and share experiences and stories.This not only brings employees closer to each other but also instills qualities of empathy, humility, and compassion in them. But most important of all, these qualities serve as stepping stones to greater career heights.
- Networking possibilities: Volunteering is a great way for employees to connect outside work. There are no managers or hierarchies, enabling volunteers to interact with people they never would have talked to otherwise. Perhaps their conversation could be with somebody who holds great potential to help them out.
“Volunteering has helped me network throughout my life – right from the President of the company to the security guards at the office. It has made me humbler as a person, helped me stay motivated, and bring smiles to peoples’ faces.” – A Goodera Volunteer.
- Scope for improving leadership skills: Collaborating on activities outside work gives employees the confidence they need to bring out different ideas and take lead on activities they care about. It breaks the monotony of everyday work and gives volunteers new challenges to look forward to, inspiring them to take charge and make a difference.
Why are corporates turning towards team-based volunteering?
Just like nonprofits and employees, corporates also stand to gain a lot from the team-based volunteering model. The reasons are manifold.
- Team-based volunteering practices reinforce the company’s commitment to the community its employees are from. As employees participate in something new, impactful, and interesting, the impact of their efforts will be felt across the community.
- Volunteering as a team helps employees build powerful bonds and facilitates team building. This in turn helps increase productivity, which directly benefits the company’s bottom line.
- Employees who volunteer as teams also bring valuable skills and expertise back to the office.
For instance, we conducted a virtual volunteering session on the basics of sign language for volunteers from Citrix. They can now use this skill to create a more inclusive workspace.
The benefits of team-based volunteering percolate to the beneficiaries too.
Alicia Park, the national outreach manager of Techgirlz, a nonprofit that works to empower girls to be future technology leaders, had this to say about the girls who benefitted from team-based virtual volunteering:
“Being able to voice their opinions and ask questions to a group of industry professionals makes young girls attending tech workshops through virtual volunteering feel more connected and significant in the entire experience.”
A 12-point checklist for your volunteering program
Before you go ahead and try team-based virtual volunteering opportunities, you need to keep a checklist handy.
Multiple elements go into optimizing your team-based volunteering activities for your beneficiaries and volunteers. A checklist ensures your volunteering program is foolproof.
For your reference, given below is the 12-point checklist we use when curating volunteering programs with our nonprofit partners. You can download this checklist.
You can talk to us here to learn more about creating team-based virtual volunteering programs.
The key takeaway
In 2021, everyone is moving fast to virtual volunteering. Corporates are on the lookout for powerful virtual volunteering programs that could help them engage their employees, remotely. There is a huge gap here that can be filled only by a set of opportunities from nonprofits. We need nonprofits like you to help us fill this gap.
At Goodera, we have partnered with a network of nonprofits who use our virtual volunteering platform to connect with skilled volunteers from around the world.
Do you find the thought of managing end-to-end team-based volunteering activities daunting? Talk to us and see how Goodera can connect you to a large number of corporate volunteers and help you organize powerful volunteering activities, end-to-end.
Start your journey with Goodera today.