In an age of technology, the movement called Giving Tuesday reminds us that we’re connected by our shared ability to collaborate and give of ourselves for the good of others. Those are the principles Giving Tuesday was founded upon, and with more than 110 community coalitions participating across 150 countries, it’s clear the organizers have tapped into something universal.
Volunteering is a great way for your employees to give back and align your organization’s social and outreach goals. Giving Tuesday connects your employees with others collaborating around the globe.
“It’s important to empower employees to not only connect their work with a larger mission, but to extend that beyond company walls — and a really impactful way of doing this is through outreach and volunteerism in the community,” says Sarah Stevens, people team senior manager at Limeade. “Giving Tuesday is an opportune time for leaders to revisit company values and discuss how they are living out those values, both inside and outside the company.”
Here are some areas to consider when encouraging your employees to participate in Giving Tuesday.
Volunteering is an excellent way for employees to give back on Giving Tuesday. But it takes up time. HR has to determine whether those hours will be covered by the organization through paid time off (PTO).
“Before promoting opportunities, be sure you are prepared with how your organization wants to treat the time employees spend volunteering,” says Christina Zurek, insights and strategy leader at ITA Group, a member company of the Incentive Marketing Association. “It’s important to be clear about whether that time will be paid or unpaid and whether volunteering should be done inside or outside of working hours.”
“Volunteerism benefits may include eight hours per year of paid volunteering time,” Stevens says. Not everyone has the bandwidth to volunteer outside of work, but incentivizing volunteering as a benefit gives everyone the chance and capacity to give back.
There are two different models to consider when encouraging employee volunteerism. The more structured model allows employees to spend their volunteer time on designated employer-selected charities. “In this case companies will often select an organization that closely aligns with their brand, purpose or mission,” Zurek says. The less-structured option allows employees to determine where they spend their hours — without corporate limits.
Which model you select depends largely on your priorities. Would you rather see engagement or alignment? “Neither one is better than the other,” Zurek says. “But you may see different levels of participation if people aren’t passionate about the organizations selected in the former, and potentially less alignment with your brand in the latter.”
After Giving Tuesday — perhaps in alignment with your organization’s end-of-the-year or holiday party — consider recognizing employee and organizational accomplishments. “That could be publicly spotlighting certain individuals or bringing in a speaker from one of the organizations you support to speak on behalf of the impact your people’s time has had in the community,” Zurek says.
Highlighting volunteering shows employees the value you place on their involvement in the community and demonstrates the organization’s commitment to giving back. And formalizing volunteering through Giving Tuesday allows your employees to align their participation with thousands of others worldwide.