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July 17, 2019
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July 29, 2019

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Volunteer time off is employer-sponsored paid time to do volunteer work in one’s community. Volunteer time off programs have been on the rise for a while now, and there are many ways for your company to get involved. In fact, SHRM reported that companies offering paid VTO rose from 16% to 24% between 2014 and 2018. This trend is a result of the rise of millennials in the workplace who have a strong sense of purpose and interest in issues of social justice.

How will you implement it?

Many organizations are passionate about the communities that they work in, but do not take the time to create a volunteer program. Reasons for this include that it will take too much time or will be too hard to track. It turns out that there are many ways to create a volunteer time off program with just a little bit of effort.

  • Offer each full-time employee a certain number of paid volunteer hours each year to volunteer for a cause that they care about.
  • Does your company produce a product or service? Offer those services to a local non-profit free of charge and get your employees involved in the distribution.
  • Create an annual volunteer day as a company or invite your employees to join in on a local event accepting volunteers in your community.
  • Create an employer match volunteer program. For each hour that your employees volunteer in the community, offer to donate a certain dollar amount to that non-profit or cause.
  • Use a Volunteer Tracking Software for simple and effective program management. There are many great products out there, like HelperHelper or Track It Forward.

What’s in it for the company?

Believe it or not, offering a volunteer time off program can actually generate profit for your company. According to Cyrus Taraporevala, “’intangible assets’ such as culture average 52% of an organization’s market value.” First, a positive culture creates engagement and retention. In many roles, one’s daily tasks may not be all that motivating. Your employees need a purpose and if they don’t find it with your company, they will leave and find it elsewhere. What the company stands for and how that is communicated can make all the difference in engagement and retention. Secondly, a volunteer time off program is great for marketing and brand representation. The program can be mentioned when recruiting candidates, pictures of employees volunteering can be posted on social media, and your employees can create company awareness while volunteering with other members of the community.

Will your employees want to add another thing to their schedule?

Give them the time and opportunity to volunteer for a cause that they truly care about, in a way that uses their strengths, and absolutely! How do you figure out what that is? I would put money on them telling you if you asked. This can be done through a simple survey or email chain.

My colleagues at Purple Ink are some of the happiest people that I know. We lead very busy lives like most professionals do, but our work gives us JoyPower. I believe that one of the reasons for that is because that busyness includes volunteering for organizations that are important to us. Our team gives back to a variety of organizations, having passions for mentoring others, leading professional organizations, giving time to church causes, working with homeless women, feeding the hungry, etc.

My personal passion is animal advocacy, so I spend every Monday evening at the local humane society training, walking, and socializing with homeless dogs. Why? Because it is important to me and I truly care about it. I don’t view my time at the shelter as a task to check off my list, I view it as a privilege and as something that gives me JoyPower. Giving back gives me the energy that I need to tackle my week because it reminds me why I am here – to use my gifts for good.

Have questions about implementing a volunteer time off program? Purple Ink would love to help you achieve that goal. Reach out to us today!

Liz Zirkelbach
Liz Zirkelbach
Liz is a former Purple Ink team member. She has a special interest in finding the perfect fit for a role and creating a happy ending for both the person and the company.

1 Comment

  1. Katy says:

    Very thought provoking. I see the company benefits from allowing people to grow as individuals through volunteering. This is good stuff!!!

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