While it’s well known that team building exercises and events are beneficial for a workplace, it’s less commonly considered that volunteering can be one of the most inspiring and impactful ways of promoting collaboration among your team!
Whether it’s a company-wide event or a department-wide excursion, volunteering and giving back as a group is an exciting and powerful way to bond your team with shared, meaningful experiences. Even further, it’s also a way to discover your employees’ interests, passions, and talents and use them to create engagement and form connections.
In addition to team building within the office, giving back as a group is also a way for your company to get involved in your community and make a difference in your backyard and beyond.
If you’re ready to volunteer with your team and are wondering where to start, we’ve listed some ideas on how to do just that below:
- Ask your employees about what’s important to them
Your team members all come from different backgrounds with different interests, passions, and skillsets. Start by asking them if there are any charities or organizations that are important to them, or any specific talents that they would like to utilize. This a great way to compile ideas for company team building and volunteer opportunities, while getting to know more about your employees and letting them know that their interests are valued.
As an example of this, each year our Career Contacts team collaboratively chooses an organization to give back to. We are proud to have established a long-standing relationship with BCCHF (BC Children’s Hospital Foundation) and in addition, our team members can also decide on other causes that they would like to contribute our time and resources to.
2. Create/organize your company’s own unique event
You don’t have to look beyond your office for impactful volunteer/team building opportunities. Consider creating an event that’s unique to your company and the products/services you provide. This will give your employees an opportunity to use the skills they’ve honed at work and apply them outside of at their desks for a good cause.
3. Start local
Regardless of the location of your office/team, there are likely many volunteer-based programs and organizations in your own neighborhood that your team could give back to and connect with. Community-focused events can be an excellent place for your team to lend your voices and abilities – try looking at your local community centers, shelters/food pantries, schools and colleges for any events that may need volunteers.
4. Plant a tree or start a community garden
Giving back to the environment is also an exciting and worthy cause for your team to take part in! With correct permission from your city, a tree planting day can benefit mother nature and your group mutually. Or in addition to planting trees, planting a community garden will also allow your employees to collaborate with one another while giving back to the whole neighborhood. A sponsored garden is also a great way to let your community know that your company cares.
5. Organize a public space cleanup in your area
Is there a park or beach nearby the office that could use some tidying? Hosting a public place cleanup comes with many exciting ideas for team-building exercises. Creating fun games such as “who can collect the most trash by the end of the day” or “who can find the strangest item” while cleaning can be a motivational and memorable way to get your team to connect. Consider providing a picnic lunch as an extra treat.
6. Host or participate in a blood drive event
Blood donation is widely considered to be one of the most profound ways to give back. Additionally, being that hospitals are always in need of blood, this is an event that, once established, could be made into an annual workplace tradition. Adding other fun elements to the day such as “blood donor” pins and certificates, and a catered lunch is an excellent way to make your employees feel appreciated.
To learn more about how to set up a blood drive for your team, reach out to your local hospitals and blood donation centers.
7. Think big picture
Encouraging your employees to volunteer together and get involved can be a year-round venture! Many businesses do this by creating programs that reward their team with a donation made to the charity of their choice for every hour they’ve spent volunteering there. This can also extend to a larger dollar amount for every team member they bring with them to volunteer outside of work. These programs not only motivate your staff to give back, but it can also motivate them to encourage and connect with one another as well.
8. Learn together
Another way for your team to engage and get involved is to attend seminars that talk about important issues and topics. Learning together can be a powerful way to bond a team and can have lasting impressions both in and outside of the workplace. Hosting group outings to these events is an excellent way to open up important dialogues among your staff that they can then utilize throughout their workday and beyond.
Looking for a great seminar for your team to attend? One of Career Contacts’ own, Jeff So, is going to be a panelist for The University of British Columbia’s Community Connection Series: “But Where Are You Really From?” Navigating your Racial Identity Throughout your Career Journey on Thursday, October 14th, 2021.
For more information on this event visit: https://www.ubc.ca/
9. Commemorate / raise awareness together
Are there any commemorative days or awareness months coming up? Consider planning or finding volunteering opportunities that relate to a national or international holiday or commemorative event.
Here are some upcoming Canadian and world-wide commemorative events that your team can use to inspire your volunteerism:
- Women’s History Month – October
- Veteran’s Week – Nov. 5-11
- Remembrance Day – Nov. 11
- Transgender Day of Remembrance – Nov. 20
- Canada History Week – Nov. 20-26
- Activism Against Gender Violence – Nov. 25 – Dec. 10
- World Human Rights Day – Dec. 10
No matter where or how your team decides to get involved, volunteering and giving back together is sure to be a rewarding experience for everyone.