Benefits of an Employee Volunteer Program

Jennifer Fairley
May 10, 2022

Our Employee Volunteering 101 guidebook provides a step by step guide to starting your own Employee Volunteer Program. But what's so special about an EVP anyway? How does incorporating one into your company increase employee satisfaction and productivity? Keep reading for the full rundown of all of the benefits you reap when your company commits to giving.

What is Employee Volunteering?

Before discussing why your company should have an employee volunteering program, let’s first define what employee volunteering is.

It can go by a number of names such as “employee volunteering”, “corporate volunteering”, “corporate giving”, etc. but the idea is the same: employees donate their time to a worthwhile cause, usually working and coordinating with a nonprofit organization or charity.

Employee volunteering can take various forms; from single-day initiatives like litter clean-up, or a helping at a soup kitchen, to short-term or long-term commitments to nonprofits or charities, such as consulting, providing skilled help, or becoming a Member of their Board.

What is an Employee Volunteer Program?

An employee volunteer program (EVP) is a workplace initiative where employees are empowered, encouraged, and supported by their workplace to volunteer in the community.

Simply put, employee volunteering is when employees volunteer their time and skills in the community, and an employee volunteer program is an initiative set in place by the employer so that employees can do the volunteering.

Why Does Employee Volunteering Matter?

Employee volunteering matters in different ways to different stakeholders, but one thing is certain:

It has never mattered more.

Today’s employees want it.

Millennials and Gen Zs will soon become the most prominent generations in the workforce, and they’re looking for more than just a paycheck; they’re looking to do something meaningful and worthwhile.

Employees don’t just want a job anymore, they want to know that what they do is benefitting society and the public. And they’re holding their employers to those same ideals.

EVPs not only help nonprofits and benefit the communities they service, but they also wildly benefit the company itself. From the very top C-level executives, to the interns, and company culture as a whole, EVPs affect everything they touch.

This is because employees that volunteer become beacons and champions within their company. Everyone they interact with, how they hold themselves, how they conduct their work, and how they add to the culture of the workplace, EVPs affect all of it.

Employee volunteer programs benefit the company because employees are real people, and a workplace is merely a symphony of people working in unison for a common goal. What impacts one impacts another. Elevating one elevates everyone.

Benefits of Employee Volunteering

The benefits of employee volunteering include but are not limited to:

Employee Recruitment

Today’s workforce wants more than just a job, they want to know that what they do has a meaningful impact on society. EVPs signal to the employee that their workplace supports and is invested not only in their staff, but also their community.

The competition for skilled technical staff is ever-growing. Evidence that a company is invested in their staff and society through an EVP may be a deciding factor when it comes to accepting a job.

Employee Engagement

Skill development, interpersonal communication, job fulfillment, increased autonomy and pride in one’s work - EVPs engage employees on every level. Employees that volunteer are more engaged with the work they do in their day-to-day, as well as more engaged with their colleagues, and more loyal to their workplace.

Employee Retention

EVPs bring employees in the door, engage them, and give them a reason to stay. When they’re engaged, they’re fulfilled, and when they’re fulfilled, they stay. This not only improves the bottom line and turnover costs, it improves the dynamic and culture of the company since time allows more opportunities at better communication and collaboration between peers. 

Increased Fulfillment, Satisfaction, and Purpose

Employees that volunteer show more fulfillment and satisfaction in their job, and a greater sense of purpose in what they do.

Improved Mood & Mental Health

94% of people who volunteer say that volunteering improves their mood and mental health; that’s why they call the rewarding feeling after volunteering a ‘helper’s high.’

Improved moods and mental health caused by volunteering is only further supported by their greater sense of purpose in what they do.

Good mental health also spills over to everything that employee does, and everyone they interact with daily, stakeholders and colleagues, included.

Increased Productivity

It should be no surprise that employees that are engaged, fulfilled, have a sense of purpose, and are happier are also the most productive ones. When you feel good, you produce better work, you’re more enjoyable to be around, collaborate better, and are more productive.

Volunteering allows greater autonomy which leads to employees holding themselves (and their work) to a higher standard.

Skill Development

Volunteering allows employees more opportunities to develop their skill sets, to refine what they’re best at and improve some of their weaknesses. This includes both hard and soft skills.

Soft skills such as interpersonal communication, collaboration, and active listening are all examples of skills that are required to volunteer effectively.

For development of hard (read: technical) skills, skill-based volunteering is perfect for employees. It allows your employee to help nonprofits with projects by using their professional skills in a new way and new setting. By applying their current skills to new situations and challenges, it only makes them more well rounded employees.

 But don’t just take our word for it. We’ll let the facts speak for themselves:

  • 88% of Millennials gravitated toward companies with pronounced Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, and 86% would consider leaving if their employer’s CSR no longer met their expectations. (PriceWaterCooper)
  • 61% of Millennials said a volunteer program would be a factor “when choosing between two potential jobs with the same location, responsibilities, pay and benefits.” (Deloitte)
  • 70% of respondents say that volunteer activities are more likely to boost employee morale than company-sponsored happy hours, and 77% say, “volunteering is essential to employee well-being.” (Deloitte)
  • 75% of millennials would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company. By 2025 Millennials make 75% of the workforce. (Gallup, 2016)

How to start an Employee Volunteer Program

For a step by step guide on how to start an EVP at your company, download our Employee Volunteering 101 guidebook and get giving!