Volunteering might not be on your company radar, but it should be. Not only will you be able to help a cause close to your heart but you can build trust in your audience and use your volunteering experience to your marketing team’s advantage. They can create social media posts about the experience and build a buzz to show that your company actually cares about the world.
Corporate volunteering is different to “normal” volunteering in that your employees or your company will set up a charity drive or event for a specific cause, such as aiding those who suffered through the recent tsunami in Indonesia. Not sure if it is right for your business? Below is just some of what you can expect from corporate volunteering.
What to pack
If your employees have decided to help with a disaster relief in a different country , such as relieving those who were injured by the tsunami in Indonesia, they will need to know exactly what to pack.
Your employees will need to pack the following in order to have a successful volunteering experience:
- Sturdy and durable boots
- Clothing that is suitable for hot weather
- Bottled water or water purifying tablets
- Medical and work gloves for different situations.
You can ask the volunteering organisation for anything else you might need to pack. This is a great opportunity to invest in some branding on clothing for your employees to wear for marketing photographic opportunities.
What does the day look like?
Your employees are likely already used to having to wake up early in order to get to work on time. But they might not be expecting such an early rise when they take part in a volunteering programme. Helping people deal with the after-effects in Indonesia after the earthquake takes long hours.
Many volunteering programmes start the day at about 5:30 to 6:00 am, which can be a drastic change for those who do not rise as early. Your team will eat breakfast at around 7:00 am and then travel to the volunteering site to start the day. Lunch is usually at 12:00 pm and the work will continue until 4:00 or 5:00 pm. After this, you will have dinner and can spend time reflecting about the day, which can be a fantastic team bonding experience for your employees.
You might not have any luxuries
Corporate volunteering is different from solo volunteering in many ways but there is one similarity: you might not have any luxuries during your stay. This is especially true of disaster areas, such as what is left behind after the tsunami in Indonesia.
The hotel your employees will be staying in might be very basic and you may have to use very basic amenities. Be sure to alert your staff to this fact and ensure that everyone packs plug adapters, bottled water and water purification tablets to be on the safe side. Your staff will be wary at first but it will be an experience to remember regardless of not having their home comforts around them.
Knowing what food to eat
It is always advisable to know what food to eat on your volunteer trip, especially if you will be travelling to a foreign country. You will likely be served local dishes cooked in traditional methods so you will need to be sure that you know exactly what is going into the dish and how it is cooked.
If any of your employees have dietary requirements you will need to alert the volunteering programme about this. Corporate volunteering programmes usually house their volunteers at hotels in the area, which means that food safety regulations are higher. But you should still ask to see a menu and question any dishes that seem unfamiliar or that you think might be harmful to your employees. The tsunami in Indonesia and earthquake might have caused damage to water systems which might mean food cannot be properly washed, so be sure to wash fruits and vegetables with bottled water.
What to do in downtime
A volunteer does not have to work 24/7 during their programme. You will have some downtime but it is important to use this time wisely. Instead of spending time watching television in the hotel lounge, you could go out and experience the local culture and people in order to learn more about where you are.
You could also spend time in your downtime posting photographs of your volunteering experience to your social media platforms in order to keep your clients and customers updated. You can also use this as an opportunity to educate them on the cause, such as the devastation of the tsunami in Indonesia and what is being done to save and help the people.
Prepare for the experience of a lifetime
While corporate volunteering does tie in with helping to improve your business and branding, it should not be taken lightly. It is a chance to help a cause that your employees hold dear or something that you feel needs to be addressed in your community.
You will need to pack the right equipment, be prepared for early rising and possibly late evenings and you will need to be sure that the food you will be eating is safe for everyone to enjoy. Despite not having many luxuries available to you, you will find that your volunteering experience is one to remember for years to come.