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Five Ways to Build a Culture of Volunteerism

IAEE Preferred Partner 4imprint
IAEE Preferred Partner 4imprint celebrates National Volunteer Month by offering tips on how organizations can foster a culture of volunteerism among their teams in 5 simple steps.


diverse group of volunteers

Originally published on

April is National Volunteer Month and it’s as good a time as any to make giving back part of your organization’s identity. Bonus – getting employees engaged in volunteerism can have a positive impact on everybody involved.

There are physical and mental health benefits to volunteering: reduced stress, increased social interaction, boosted confidence, an improved feeling of purpose and more. It also provides an opportunity to learn new skills and has been shown to increase employee engagement and productivity. Begin to build a culture of volunteerism with these five tips.

Tip #1: Follow another’s lead.

Getting involved with an ongoing effort – whether local or national – can be an effective way to kickstart your efforts. This allows for less planning. And often, employees can jump right in. Many virtual volunteering options are available for groups working remotely too.

Tap into resources that connect people who are interested in volunteering with the right opportunities. VolunteerMatch®, for instance, is an organization designed to put volunteers in touch with nonprofits. Your local United Way® or volunteer center may be another good resource.

Tip #2: Host a drive.

Planning an item drive can get your whole team involved in a cause without straining too many resources. Collect school supplies, canned goods, hygiene items or, depending on the time of year, holiday gifts. Make the drive an annual occurrence and incentivize employees to donate by giving them a reward, like a casual dress day or travel mug. Make it a team competition and give business bags to participants in the department with the biggest collection.

Tip #3: Organize a fundraiser.

Perhaps time is the resource your organization is best equipped to offer. Partner with an established company or charitable cause to plan a raffle, silent auction, run/walk, bike ride or other community event. If there’s a local summertime concert series, plan a night where attendees can score a free beverage holder with a cash donation or donated item. Work with other businesses to assemble gift baskets to be auctioned off at a school sporting event or during intermission of a play or musical. Promote that all proceeds go to charity.

Tip #4: Align with mission and values.

If the intent is for your organization to get behind a cause, take time to ensure it aligns with your mission and values. Do you want to focus on helping the local community or the entire world? People or pets? Conservation or education? Define your objectives and create your organization’s plan based on what you want to achieve.

Ask employees about causes they care about or have a personal connection to. See what works best with schedules and plan around that time, as opposed to finding an opportunity and trying to squeeze it in. When the first event or effort wraps up, take a group photo to frame for each participant and the supported organization, starting an annual tradition. 

Tip #5: Make volunteering part of the job.

With thoughtful planning and coordination, an organization can build volunteering into the workflow. If it’s too much to ask for everyone to be involved in a project at one time, find ways for individual employees to focus on giving back. Offer paid time off for volunteering and provide resources for employees looking to get more involved.

Remote workers may want to participate in microvolunteerism, which is one-off activities completed on their terms. These acts of service can include anything from sharing a nonprofit’s social media posts to donating professional services, like graphic design.

Be flexible and allow employees to make their own plan based on the causes they’re passionate about. Avoid applying too much pressure and diluting the motivation behind the charity work.

Start Something that Resonates

A culture of volunteerism benefits an organization, its employees and the greater good. With so many ways to get involved, from hands-on help to virtual microvolunteering, these ideas can help your organization do more during National Volunteer Month and beyond.

BONUS TIP: IAEE members receive a 10% discount from 4imprint with code IAEE10!

Learn more about IAEE Preferred Partners here!

The views and opinions expressed by blog authors are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events®. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. IAEE makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. IAEE will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information.

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