Hosting Hybrid Volunteer Events Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult
By Amber Greviskes, Give To Get on October 11, 2022
If you work in corporate social responsibility, chances are you are working on your holiday giving event plans right now.
In the past, Give To Get has hosted employee volunteer days that allow individuals to participate in events at their corporate campus. In 2018, for example, Box — a California technology company — turned their formerly glitzy event into a day focused on others, assembling furniture, tying no-sew blankets, planting succulents, and writing cards for others.
In 2020, bringing large teams together wasn’t an option and our team turned to at-home (virtual) events. For these programs, we send boxes filled with all items that volunteers need to assemble donations to their homes. They are then invited to join us in a Zoom meeting where they’re able to meet a representative from the nonprofit beneficiary, hear about the impact they’re making, and get assistance from one of our program leaders, if needed, while assembling nesting boxes, tying blankets, and packing numerous kits.
In 2021, we pivoted again, bringing together the best parts of our in-person and virtual experience through a large-scale hybrid employee volunteer event as part of the Subaru Share the Love campaign, the company’s and its retailers’ largest annual community impact event.
Pre-pandemic, employee volunteers would rally at the company’s New Jersey headquarters to give back to local nonprofits. With COVID-19 case counts rising, though, bringing the entire team together wouldn’t be an option.
Instead, we brought individuals together at the company’s headquarters and at field offices across the country. Those who didn’t feel comfortable participating in-person could contribute remotely as well. They were all joined by a common mission — supporting the same nonprofits — and engaging video content.
How did we make it work? We:
- Hosted all events at one or two times. Instead of hosting one event in New Jersey, employee volunteers located there were invited to attend either a morning or afternoon event. Teams in field offices were encouraged to attend the session that worked best for them. Many of the East Coast groups chose to volunteer in the first session whereas the West Coast teams were able to join their headquarters-based colleagues who volunteered in the second session.
- Offered similar experiences. Teams in field offices — or volunteering from their homes — were sent boxes with all of the materials, including instructions, that they needed to complete the same volunteer objectives as those at the headquarters location. Information on how to print and post signage was also sent to field offices so that their team leader could ensure the event had the same look and feel as in the other markets.
- Chose national nonprofits with local connections. Instead of choosing New Jersey-specific nonprofits, the company chose to support nonprofits like the Audubon Society and Ronald McDonald House Charities. This way, donations created in field offices could stay in the local community.
- Made it exciting! In addition to coordinating a video conference where the teams could interact with each other, we also showed messages from leadership team members at the start of each session for all to view.
What happened? Employee volunteers spent 1,200 hours supporting nonprofits across the country. They were able to engage with their colleagues locally and across the country, too. It wasn’t the same as the 2019 event, but — according to their team leads — it was still a great time. And, as companies start to look at business travel differently, we definitely see this model as one that will continue to be popular for years to come.
If you’re interested in hosting a hybrid volunteer event for your team this holiday season, contact Give To Get!
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