Participation as Communication Employee volunteer programmes

Employee volunteer programmes strengthen organisations’ grantmaking, build employer-employee relationships, boost staff morale, and provide a platform for employee engagement. Support from parent organisations doesn’t have to stop at finances; being involved more deeply helps donors better communicate about their work and keeps staff engaged in their social investment efforts. In doing so, multiple communication goals are achieved simultaneously.

For example, the FirstRand volunteers’ programme lends support to community projects and creates valuable teambuilding opportunities for employees. Projects range from painting school classrooms to planting veggie tunnels and implementing permaculture gardens for income generation, hosting leadership workshops for nonprofit and forprofit organisations, and running life skills and mentorship programmes for high school learners. FirstRand matches monetary contributions from employees. The organisation believes that volunteering helps employees to discover new skills, such as event coordination, communication skills, and people and leadership skills, all of which can be harnessed by the FirstRand Group. It communicates with all employees about volunteer opportunities, as well as successes achieved by the volunteers and the impact of their work.

Volunteer programmes can take many forms. At Shanduka, each staff member (not just those that work on the foundation) has a minimum amount of R25 taken off his or her paycheck each month. This amount goes towards the foundation’s Adopt-a-School programme. The fact that each member of staff has a vested interest in the outcomes of the programme ensures a greater level of engagement with the foundation’s activities and greater buy-in across the board.

Another way in which Shanduka encourages volunteering is through the pro bono contribution of specialist skills to foundation projects. For example, if the foundation requires tax advice, it is able to approach a tax specialist in the company to help, free of charge.

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Communication That Counts.