Three Ways to Start Your Community Outreach

Michelle Grose, Communications Specialist
April 16, 2019

With so many needs, organizations and interests in your communities, it’s challenging to know where to begin with corporate social responsibility programs. However, it’s important for both your employee morale and community influence to incorporate it into your practice. According to the 2017 Deloitte Volunteerism Survey, 89 percent of respondents believe that companies who offer volunteer activities have a better overall working environment than those who do not.  

Here are some specific examples of outreach and volunteerism to help you get started with an option that fits your company’s focus.

In-Kind Donation Drives

What it is: Food and supply drives

Why start here: Easy for anyone to participate with little physical effort or time requirement

What this looks like: In-kind donation drives, such as food and supply drives, are great ways to involve all your employees because they encourage participation with very little physical effort. According to Grantspace.org, an in-kind donation is a gift of a good, service, expertise or anything other than a specific monetary donation. Work with a local food pantry to hold a canned food drive. Want to kick it up a notch? Make it a competition and reward the employee or department who brings the most goods or builds the best canstruction out of their donated items.

Donation drives aren’t constrained to those in your immediate proximity either. An easy way to set up an in-kind donation drive is to create a wish list on Amazon. For example, if you’re working with a nonprofit organization on a holiday toy drive, set up a wish list on Amazon for specific items to be purchased and shipped directly to the organization. Since these lists can be shared publicly, this is a great way to involve clients, partners and others outside of your organization.

Monetary Donations

What it is: Financial donations

Why start here: Easy to facilitate with little oversight and lead time

What this looks like:

Another easy way to encourage employee involvement for community outreach is through monetary donations. People are more likely to participate if provided easy access to a giving site, and many nonprofit organizations have online capabilities. Set a company goal and encourage participation by offering a reward (i.e. company pizza day) if the goal is achieved. Keep donation amounts confidential and still measure your total financial impact by working with the nonprofit to provide a final report for your group.

Make your dollar go farther by participating in organized giving days in your community such as the National Day of Giving or North Texas Giving Day. Donations can be made to any participating organization online through just one giving site, which gives employees the flexibility to give to the charities and causes in which they are most interested.  

Volunteer Service Opportunities

What it is: Volunteering your time in person

Why start here: Experience the impact of hands-on, direct service in your community

What this looks like:

One of the most rewarding ways to give back to the community is through physical volunteer efforts and service. Serving in the community and interacting with nonprofit organizations and recipients’ first-hand brings both a personal and collective comradery among the company. When planning volunteer service opportunities, consider the interests of your employees and their existing partnerships with organizations. Since volunteer service requires donated hours and physical work, you’re more likely to have participation from employees if it is a cause or organization they are particularly interested and invested in.

In addition to serving together as a company, volunteerism is also a great way to forge relationships with other companies in the area to make a greater community impact. Consider joining forces with another company to plant a new community garden or clean up a local humane society. Some communities have collective service days. For instance, North Texas designates Sept. 11 annually for thousands of volunteers from many companies to volunteer together for Freedom Day.

Community outreach is a healthy practice for both your community and your employees. Start with just one initiative this year, and you’ll be on your way to a stronger community and company environment.

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