A strong corps of volunteers who operate within a robust volunteer program can be a huge help to many nonprofits. Where employees or outside professionals like lawyers or nonprofit audit services are not needed, volunteers can step in and provide vital assistance in day-to-day operations or annual projects. And according to multiple societies that serve businesses in the private sector, corporations and their employees can be a huge resource for filling the volunteer needs of nonprofits. The Society for Human Resource Management reports that 47% of businesses offer a community volunteer program for their employees, while Cheif Executives for Corporate Purpose reports that 61% of larger companies offer paid time off for employee volunteerism or participation in a structured corporate volunteer program.
Those heartening statistics indicate that there are many opportunities for nonprofits to tap into the resources of community-minded corporations. Read on to learn some tips for unlocking the potential of partnering with corporations in your volunteer program and the benefits it can bring to your nonprofit.
Immediate and long-term benefits
1. An elevated profile
When your nonprofit works with a large company or corporation in a volunteer program, you will benefit from greater exposure to a larger network of people. Not only will the many employees in their company learn about your mission and work, but so will the company’s social media following, newsletter recipients, stakeholders, etc.
2. Dependable group for big projects
If your nonprofit always has a list of all-day, all-hands projects like painting the shelter or building a greenhouse, a volunteer day with a corporate partner can get those done. Whether their group joins you once a year or every quarter, those volunteer days can reliably whittle down your to-do list.
3. Potential for deeper personal volunteerism
Some corporate employees may connect with your nonprofit and your mission and wish to extend their volunteer work beyond the big project one day a year. These employees can bring their professional skills to their volunteer work, or become lifelong donors and vocal spokespeople for your nonprofit in the community. Furthermore, some corporations provide financial contributions to their employees’ chosen nonprofits and charities.
Helpful tips to consider
1. Find a like-minded business
Look for a company that has business objectives that align with the mission of your nonprofit. For example, an athletic clothing manufacturer is a perfect match for an afterschool soccer league.
2. Find a good fit for your needs
Not every nonprofit has an appropriate volunteer opportunity for 100 employees one day a year. If a corporation does not have a volunteer program that can match your volunteer needs, it is okay to look for a better fit.
3. Take the time to plan
Whether your nonprofit is putting together a big volunteer event or needs small groups of volunteers consistently over the course of the year, take time to thoroughly plan with the corporation’s volunteer liaison so everyone feels they are getting the most from the partnership.
4. Educate and ask about other opportunities
If a corporation’s volunteer program is not a good fit or is too challenging to coordinate successfully, it may be necessary to decline the corporation’s offer as they’ve proposed it. However, be sure to educate them on the reason for your decision (for example, it would cost your nonprofit money and will put a strain on staff resources to host a large one-day volunteer event), and ask about other ways you can partner with them.
5. Get help in getting help
Like when you partner with professionals for your California nonprofit audit needs, there are professionals who can help connect your nonprofit to corporate volunteers. Points of Light Foundation and Volunteer Match are two large national groups, but there are also regional or local volunteer facilitators in many places.
Ernst Wintter & Associates LLP specialize in California nonprofit audit and tax preparation services. Contact us today for help with your non-profit audit or tax prep needs.