Employee Volunteer Program Guide

Whether you’re completely new or an industry veteran, this guide will have info to help you make the largest impact possible. Use these links to jump to the section you’re interested in.

Benefits of Employee Volunteering

According to the Society for Human resources nearly half of US companies offer some form of employee volunteering. That number is higher for larger companies with 65% of CECP’s member companies offering a volunteer program that includes paid time off.1 Research has largely demonstrated that employee volunteering is beneficial for both employees and companies. We’ve summarized information from a few different articles showing the company level factors and individual factors that benefit from employee volunteering.

An employee volunteering program is a planned effort that seeks to motivate and enable employees to serve a community.2

Company Level Factors3

  • Company Reputation
  • Company Attractiveness
  • Employee Retention
  • Cross Departmental Team Building

It’s not hard to see the benefits of your company reputation within the community where your employees are giving back. This can boost the attractiveness to do business with your company or work for your company

Individual Factors 

Job Performance and Leadership Development3 – Increased efficiency from skills development- employees gains increased efficiency from using their skills to solving problems and delivering results for a nonprofit organization. IT needs, marketing needs, or other skills-based projects for nonprofits would require employees to use their talents in ways that probably wouldn’t happen in their day-to-day at your company.

Need Satisfaction – Research has shown that volunteer participation increases need satisfaction from relatedness and competence.4 High need satisfaction related to higher job satisfaction and commitment.5  

Well being6 – Phycologists call it the helper’s high. Volunteering in general has shown to improve mood, keeps people active and can help reduce stress levels, all having a significant impact on a person’s health.

Individual factors for job performance, leadership development and need satisfaction add up to company level factors!  Well being has become increasingly important to CSR and HR professionals. With a decline in mental health and increased in feeling of loneliness employers look to support their employees mental and social health through benefits and policies.7

If you’re new to Corporate Social Responsibility and employee volunteer programs we recommend reviewing our getting started guide which starts with building the business case for making the investment and how to integrate CSR into your company’s mission. We’ve provided data on the power of purpose driven work as well as the latest statistics on the influence of CSR and ESG on a company’s bottom line.

Resource Guide

Strategies for Getting Started or Growing CSR Programs


Building the Business Case for Social Responsibility 


The Power of Purpose Driven Work

“CSR serves the role of addressing employee concerns and preserving that collective sense of purpose. As company ambassadors, employees are critical in promoting organizational reputation. Their engagement is paramount, particularly with websites like Glassdoor™ offering megaphones to the dissatisfied.”

– Employees as Stakeholders from the Comprehensive Social Responsibility Report8

Employee Engagement 

Employee Volunteering is one part of a CSR program and like anything else requires thoughtful planning and consideration in order to reap the benefits. We’ve seen volunteer programs of all shapes and sizes over the years, with some companies creating highly structured outings that large teams participate in together or month long global campaigns to encourage employees to support any cause they are passionate about. There is a lot of opportunity to get creative with employee volunteer programs and build something tailored to engage your workforce. 

But it can be difficult to get employees to take action. In a recent article on Harvard Business Review, Jessica Rodell reveals the three common mistakes that companies make when implementing a volunteer program:

  1. Copying Others
  2. Prioritizing Corporate Projects
  3. Making volunteering mandatory

Through her extensive research on corporate volunteer programs and consulting, she provides support for avoiding these pitfalls with best practices for connecting your program to your mission while creating flexibility to allow for more employees to get involved. This is a great article with tangible ideas for how to capitalize on employee’s interests and your company’s strengths, Volunteer Programs that Employees Can Get Excited About