April is National Volunteer Month, and the perfect opportunity to encourage employee volunteerism. Studies show that volunteering helps boost employee engagement and morale, leading to greater productivity and profitability. Cox employees donate their time and funds to support local communities through Cox Charities and last year, our employees logged more than 4,000 hours of volunteer work here in Southern Arizona. Consider these ideas to promote volunteerism in your workplace.
- Research opportunities in your area. Check out VolunteerMatch.org to browse an expansive list of volunteer opportunities in your community.
- Create a volunteer newsletter. Send out a quarterly newsletter to employees with upcoming volunteer opportunities in the area and encourage them to participate. You can also create a blog that allows employees to document their volunteer experiences and share with others.
- Ask for input. Survey your employees to learn about the causes they care about and are interested in supporting. Consider including some of these in your volunteer newsletter.
- Focus your giving. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the span of volunteer options in your area. Consider choosing just one initiative, such as combatting homelessness, to narrow your focus and maximize giving potential.
- Educate employees. Invite a representative of a nonprofit to come in and talk to employees about their mission as part of your employee meetings.
- Host an in-office volunteer day. If getting outside the office to volunteer is a challenge, set up an in-office volunteer opportunity such as putting together care packages and hygiene kits for those in need.
- Utilize employee skills. Offer pro bono services to local nonprofit organizations that align with your employees’ skills. Whether designing a brochure or capturing photos at an event, there are many ways your employees can put their strengths to good use.
- Create a hands-on experience. Engage employees with hands-on volunteer activities, such as helping at a local garden, working in a food kitchen or walking to support an important cause. At Cox, we often make these opportunities “team builders” so our employee groups can be together outside the office, all while bettering the community.
- Offer rewards. Set up a reward system to celebrate employees who spend the most time giving back to their community.
- Piggyback on national awareness days. Nationally recognized days or months, such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October or Earth Day this month/April, are great ways to encourage employees to take part in volunteering.
Lisa Lovallo is the Southern Arizona market vice president for Cox Communications, leading a team of more than 300 Southern Arizona employees. A Tucson native, Lisa serves on numerous community boards including Sun Corridor Inc., the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and The Arizona We Want. Learn more about Cox’s philanthropy projects at CoxCharities.org.