Engage Employees in Causes, But Do It Smartly

Engage employees smartly

By Emily Rothberg

The employee volunteerism spigot isn’t slowing anytime soon. What can — and should — nonprofits do to manage this onslaught of good intention? 

Recently the blogosphere lit up with the image of the embattled Boston YMCA executive throwing her hands up at the prospect of one more vanload of corporate employees being dropped off for a volunteer experience.

Unfortunately, well-intentioned companies looking to marry employee engagement and corporate citizenship agendas will hold fundraising support for nonprofits hostage, requiring beleaguered nonprofits to create volunteerism opportunities that cause more headaches than help.

Neither sector – nonprofit or business – has figured out to navigate this supply-demand challenge. But, having nonprofits throw in the corporate volunteerism towel isn’t the answer either.

How can we turn corporate volunteers into assets, not liabilities? How can nonprofits say yes to volunteers and no to wall re-painting?

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