Maybe these employees work at a call center. Maybe they’re warehouse employees. Maybe they’re front-line employees in the field who just can’t leave their stations.
So what do you do? Write them off as lost causes for participating in your causes?
Of course not; talk about a recipe for employee disengagement.
Instead of giving up on your “trapped” employees, you’ve got to get innovative about ways to include them in your company’s corporate philanthropy.
How? Try these volunteer delivery options:
1. On-Site Volunteering Parties
A range of organizations now specialize in packaging volunteering opportunities as a fun party for on-site employees. For example, The Pack Shack offers “Feed the Funnel” parties that help supply provisions and opportunities for underserved communities. Meals packed at Feed the Funnel parties are donated free of charge to local organizations, such as food banks and food pantries, for them to distribute to people and/or other organizations in their area.
On average, Pack Shack says that 30-40 people can pack 10,000 meals in just 2 hours, and they request that organizations set minimum goals to pack 5,000 meals to 10,000 meals, depending upon your location. Whether it’s team building, holiday parties or a volunteer opportunity for trapped employees - any occasion can be turned into an on-site party for good.
Even if you’re not working with an organization that’s formally dedicated to facilitating volunteering parties, companies can create volunteering drives where all employees contribute donations but a team of on-site volunteers helps sort or create donation sets (e.g., stuffed backpacks for local schools or kits for local homeless shelters.)
Finally, you can offer specific opportunities for special interest groups of on site employees. For example, the knitters amongst your team can make scarves for the homeless.
2. Skills-Based and Virtual Volunteering
Imagine an on-site career day where underserved students visited your company to learn about what you do by participating in games, mentorship opportunities and living a 'day in the life?' That’s what one company did when it partnered on Causecast’s STEM campaign with the White House and hosted a group of technology-minded high school girls, which became an inspiring experience for the girls and employees alike.
Other on-site skills-based volunteering ideas include language translations; assistance developing training materials; or virtual marketing, financial or technology consulting to a nonprofit.
Companies can also offer virtual projects where teams of employees spend a few hours in a conference room working on projects that aren’t necessarily skills-based. For example, how about creating cards for troops as Veterans and Memorial Days approach? Or designing holiday cards for children at the hospital or seniors at a senior center?
3. Solo Volunteering and Giving From Your Desk
While working as a group is fun, on-site volunteering from the office doesn’t have to take the form of a party or an organized team activity. If your employees want or need to be volunteering on their own, consider organizing these types of options:
**Volunteering for a crisis hotline taking calls or chatting online.
**Helping to fundraise for a nonprofit via calls or online campaigns (e.g., a St. Jude's campaign.)
**Writing blog posts or engaging in other content-driven volunteering (e.g., writing appealing pet “biographies” for the website of an animal shelter.)
**Reading or tutoring to underserved students from the phone or Skype (many nonprofits that work with underserved kids in this way will accommodate this type of arrangement.)
**Competing in company-wide crowdraising competitions to raise money for one cause, which is a great way to gamify giving and doesn’t require leaving your desk. Add in unique prizes, like the best company parking spot or lunch with the CEO, and you’ve got the recipe for a giving experience that makes employees throughout your organization feel connected.
So remember, just because some of your employees may be trapped at the office doesn’t mean they can’t participate in your volunteer and giving program in other ways. Get creative, give people a variety of opportunities tailored to their “stuck” status, and you’ll be amazed at how many employees rise to the occasion despite being pinned at their desks.