Scaling Your Employee Volunteer Program

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Scaling Your Employee Volunteer Program

2015 VolunteerMatch Summit attendees learned how to scale their volunteer programs to keep up with company growth.
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Multimedia from this Release

Alicia Koch presents at the 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit

Friday, March 4, 2016 - 2:00pm

By Alicia Koch, Groupon

As a young e-commerce company launching an employee volunteer program in its very early stages, it has been a uniquely exciting opportunity (and challenge) to develop and support a program that is able to scale as rapidly as the business.

Our mission is simple: to help people and communities thrive and prosper. We do this through a secret formula of employee do-goodery, responsible business practices, customer collaboration and nonprofit investment. Our portfolio of community initiatives is designed to help us achieve greater impact and value for society, our employees and the business. This mission has truly been the driving force as we expand Groupon’s Employee Volunteer Program.

Over the last year or two, we have seen significant growth in volunteer activity logged on VolunteerMatch. This immense amount of growth is largely due to the way we’ve structured our program. We’ve put the ownership and responsibility in the hands of employees, and have given autonomy to each office where employees are actively volunteering. Each “chapter” is led by rockstar employees that have self-selected themselves as leaders, and these folks have been critical in the implementation of the ongoing volunteer activity in their office. A few additional strategies that I have found successful in engaging our employees include: Our mission is simple: to help people and communities thrive and prosper. We do this through a secret formula of employee do-goodery, responsible business practices, customer collaboration and nonprofit investment. Our portfolio of community initiatives is designed to help us achieve greater impact and value for society, our employees and the business. This mission has truly been the driving force as we expand Groupon’s Employee Volunteer Program.

  • An investment in a technology solution to track all of the great work that employees are doing
  • A competitive team-based approach to the signature Month of Service
  • A robust Socially Responsible Leadership training and development model to empower employees to lead and practice new skills in a “safe space to fail”
  • Unique ways to encourage manager engagement
  • Meaningful and personal recognition opportunities to reward a job well done.

While I’m extremely proud of the work that has been done and all that has been accomplished in scaling our volunteer program, I do believe it’s important to also talk about the areas of challenge that we’ve faced as my scope of work continues to evolve. Because we all know this isn’t an easy job. The areas where I’ve experienced the biggest learning curve since the program’s inception have been:

  • Learning and adapting to the local culture of the communities where our employees are volunteering
  • Navigating volunteer disengagement and turnover, and
  • Remembering that they’re volunteers!

Overall, I think that this is an exciting time for volunteer program managers at all companies, and I am inspired by the work that employees across the globe are doing to create change and support the local communities where they live, work, and play.

For more information on scaling your employee volunteer program, view the slides from this session here.

Keywords: 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit | Social Impact & Volunteering | Company Growth | Employee Volunteer Program | Events, Media & Communications | Groupon | VolunteerMatch

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