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Friday, July 17, 2020

Organizing “Days of Service” during COVID-19

COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges, especially for organizations relying on volunteers.

If you are one of those organizations, in a normal July, you might be planning (or planning to be a part of) an annual “Day of Service” and connecting with corporate volunteers. But this year, you might be considering canceling (or vastly rethinking) these critical events.

At Golden, we’re lucky to work with some incredible organizations who are planning ahead and innovating in this time of social distancing. Whether that means leveraging online capabilities, moving activities outdoors, or finding new ways to deliver services, here are some trends we’re seeing.

  1. Now is the time to invest in relationships, which means rethinking NOT canceling.

Annual “Days of Service” are incredibly important events for engaging corporate donors, building connections in the community, and recruiting new supporters.

Most organizations have reset fundraising expectations for the coming year -- maybe you’ve cancelled an annual gala or your donor base is struggling financially. Regardless, investing in a strong foundation is critical -- and that means ensuring that your most important events occur -- even if they have to be rethought.

We’re seeing expansive growth in…

  • Online or virtual volunteer opportunities

  • “On your own” opportunities where volunteers participate on their own and report back with videos or photos

  • “Care Package” that groups can prepare offsite and deliver

  • Virtual Roundtables where organizations present their stories to corporate groups

  • Donation drives (not just for the holidays anymore!)

  1. Companies are more engaged than ever.

Despite difficulties meeting in person, companies are more engaged than ever before. Corporate volunteering was trending up pre-COVID-19, and that trend is accelerating as employees, customers and others demand that corporations make positive impacts on their communities.

Corporate leaders are desperate for opportunities to bring their employees together - even virtually. This is the perfect opportunity to build out your base of corporate donors.

  1. Anyone can organize a Day of Service.

Local volunteer centers and United Ways have been incredible conveners of “Days of Service” in the past, but not every organization is lucky enough to have a great local volunteer center. But that doesn’t mean you can’t organize one on your own!

We’ve got more information about that at the bottom if you’re interested.

  1. Days of Service help broaden your donor base.

Everyone knows that Days of Service are great ways to engage corporate donors...but are you also building relationships with individual employees?!

Volunteers donate 10x more over their lifetimes than non-volunteers, but that only happens if you re-engage those individuals!!

Expanding your donor base means collecting individual volunteer information in order to re-engage them for volunteering and donations in the future.

Remember - corporate “volunteer time-off programs” are growing; be ready to take advantage by having regularly scheduled Opportunities available to re-engage volunteers after your Day of Service ends.

  1. Leverage software to decrease your administrative burden.

It takes significant energy to rethink your Day of Service. Do you also want to spend a ton of time on administrative logistics? Um, no.

There are several software tools to help you manage your Day of Service. I’m obviously partial to Golden’s brand new (and free for 2020!) “Day of Service” module that helps you collect, review and curate Opportunity submissions, and then assign them to your corporate partners all in one place.

Regardless of the tools you use, make sure that they lessen your workload!

Steve Sherrill is the Chief Operating Officer at Golden, an award-winning software platform serving over 7,500 organizations around the globe. Visit: http://goldenvolunteer.com

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