Author: Rachel Kestner, Director of Marketing, VolunteerMatch

As we shift to an endemic mindset it is important to offer choices for volunteers based on their comfort level. For some people, volunteering is all about being hands-on. Others may prefer volunteering outdoors while virtual volunteering may feel most comfortable for some – for a multitude of reasons. Thankfully, there are thousands of opportunities for service at every comfort level.

Over the last two years many savvy nonprofits have gotten creative with virtual volunteering and continue to see the benefit of engaging virtual as well as in-person volunteers. In a recent VolunteerMatch survey 28% of nonprofits reported increased virtual volunteering during the pandemic and 24% increased hybrid volunteering.

Survey respondents also rated the top 3 most anticipated volunteer needs in 2022 as
1. Skills-based/pro bono services
2. Project based volunteering
3. Fundraising Support

These three areas span the virtual/in-person spectrum.  Working together, your team as well as the nonprofit, may find that a hybrid approach is a great way to take on the top 3 volunteer needs of 2022:

1. The number one need from nonprofits is skills-based volunteering

“Pro bono and skills-based volunteerism, for the most part, translates very easily into a virtual environment.”

 – Danielle Holly, CEO of Common Impact on sgengage podcast episode 142: Tips for Virtual Volunteer Programs.

Could your company assemble a team to approach a nonprofit need like a marketing plan, social media posts, graphic design, data analysis, or CRM cleanup? In today’s world many nonprofits have technology they may not be utilizing to the fullest that could use expertise from your team.

Incorporate Team Building

Approaching a nonprofit need as a group is a great way to build skills on teams, encourage department crossover and share the commitment while creating a tangible outcome. Designating a team leader on your end can make it easier for the nonprofit to have a point person they know will help with tracking deliverables and deadlines.

Leverage Opportunities to Grow Leadership Skills

Another under-utilized volunteer opportunity for companies is to encourage nonprofit board membership. This is an excellent way to connect your employees to meaningful volunteer service which also provides professional development. Many organizations are seeking to diversify their boards by adding younger board members. These opportunities to grow leadership skills may not be on the radar of your younger teammates. Nonprofits are seeking in-person and virtual board members and require varying levels of commitment.

2. Project-based volunteering

Again, this could be in-person or virtual and it regularly tops the list for nonprofits. They are looking for people to help them successfully launch a project and see it through to the end.

Partner with nonprofits that are local to some of your employees to get creative with a hybrid approach. Local team members can be on-site while virtual teams can help increase the impact and provide support for the project through writing and pitching a press release, collecting images and quotes from staff the nonprofit could use in marketing materials, or helping to recruit more volunteers for the project.

Many outreach-based nonprofits have embraced hybrid approaches for mentoring, visiting with the elderly or helping small businesses. Your staff could tag team in-person visits with regular phone/video calls or even a handwritten note or email to check-in with someone -creating a true sense of community.

Take time to reach out to nonprofits that your employees care about and brainstorm all the ways your talented team could be a part of a project. Empowering employees to consider planning with a nonprofit as part of their volunteering hours could create exciting inclusive new outcomes.

3. Fundraising is vital for nonprofits

Fundraising can be difficult to find volunteers who fear they will be tasked with asking people for money. There are many aspects of fundraising and most nonprofits leave big asks up to their professional development staff. That being said, it’s important to have an open conversation about how your team can help and any expectations around raising donations directly.

Organizations may need in-person help at fundraising events, as well as need hard working folks leading up to events to help with everything from graphic design, publicity, procuring goody bags, or silent auction items to getting bids from vendors.

Nonprofits need this kind of assistance more than ever as they try to financially bounce back from the pandemic. Bring your creativity and patience- for these nonprofit professionals having a cadre of supportive volunteers can give a campaign the energy it needs to meet big fundraising goals.

Although pandemic restrictions are loosening and creating more opportunities for volunteers to be in-person, there has always been people who want to engage and contribute but who can’t, for various reasons, volunteer in traditional ways. We know many companies have adapted to a fully-remote, global workforce and  it is important to continue to provide ways for employees to give back and get involved in any they can and feel comfortable with. Hybrid and virtual volunteering creates an exciting frontier for companies to engage their employees across borders and time zones as they can organize events to support nonprofits all over the world. Nonprofits in your community are looking to corporate partners to meet these three important areas of volunteering in 2022. Below are a few resources from YourCause that can help companies engage employees in volunteering.

About the Author

Rachel Kestner leads the marketing department at VolunteerMatch the web’s largest volunteer engagement network, serving over 130,000 participating nonprofits, 150 corporate network partners, and 13 million annual visitors, VolunteerMatch offers unique, award-winning solutions for individuals, nonprofits, and companies to make this vision a reality.

Looking for a tool to help you manage employee volunteering and collect data on the impact your employees have on their communities?

CSRconnect has you covered! From in-person, virtual, and hybrid, to team-based and individual projects and skills-based opportunities, explore how to connect your company and your employees to support the causes you care about.

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