This past week, I was contacted by a business event management firm who was looking to find ways to incorporate virtual volunteering and create unique ways for their attendees to give back. When volunteering has become a key activity for conferences throughout the country, how do we take the same activity and re-imagine it by taking volunteering, virtual?
Make it simple
Many nonprofits have adapted and found ways for volunteers to actually volunteer, virtually. Check out some of these virtual volunteering websites for your company. Some things to consider:
- Find nonprofits or opportunities that align with your company’s goals and core values.
- When going virtual at a conference, you have to find a volunteer activity that isn’t too complicated. Free Rice.com (part of The United Nations World Food Program), allows people to click on the definition of a word. The more words you get right, the more rice gets donated to people facing hunger throughout the world. Pretty awesome, right?
- Bookshare.org is an easy way to scan books from your home to help people with disabilities. More importantly, a conference participate can do this over the course of the conference since they are in the comfort of their own home and they have access to some of their favorite titles.
Make it competitive
Those attending these conferences or rewards programs are most likely the top in their business or industry and are probably very competitive people. Not to mention, online games have a huge market of adult customers. So tap into that inner Type A personality and engage them with a volunteer opportunity that makes it competitive.
Break conference attendees up into teams, or by regions or states so they can compete among one another and see who really the best is. Some ideas include:
- Some virtual volunteer opportunities allow you to create leader boards that organizers and participants can quickly see which groups are on on top or in the lead.
- Set up a company virtual fundraising teams and create teams where participants have 1 hour to email and call their business contacts, friends and family to raise money for a charity. When you set up a team online, you can quickly see which teams are raising the most.
Make it meaningful
While the activity may be simple or competitive, you’ll want to share the overall collective impact of how much was raised, donated or accomplished. You can do this through leader boards (some leader boards directly let you see the impact you are making) in real time or creating a winners rankings slide once the activity wraps up.
You’ll want to show conference attendees the impact of giving back and what the collective good of the work was. Pending the charity you work with you, you could secure a virtual speaker or pre-recorded message from the nonprofit for a quick thank you. There’s nothing that brings a conference attendee back to reality than someone less fortunate saying something so simple as a thank you for your volunteer effort.
Make it personal
While a company may be supporting a specific charity during the conference or throughout their annual corporate philanthropy efforts, incentivizing the volunteers to not only participate, but also individually rewarding them for winning, could go a long way.
Check out company brand the nonprofit gift cards or e-cards. Volunteer participants or teams can be given individual nonprofit gift cards to make a donation to their charity of choice. Increments can range from $25 – $1,000 a donation. This empowers conference participants to want to participate and still serve the greater good, even if they didn’t win the entire competition. Checkout some branded NPO gift cards:
While everything looks different during a pandemic and we might have to re-imagine what volunteering looks like, it doesn’t mean we can’t still accomplish something great and worthwhile.