Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Getting Paid to Volunteer at Work? Yes, it’s a Thing!

Photo: Memphis Rox Climbing Gym

Few things in life can give us the deep, enriching satisfaction that volunteering can. Providing the help someone needs, the deep connection with another person, and seeing the impact you have on your local community are all things that bring out our humanity and bring us joy.

Fortunately, organizations are beginning to recognize that volunteering makes their employees happier, and many employers are starting to build employee volunteerism into their culture. 

A volunteer and student at Memphis Athletic Ministries.

It’s tricky to find the time, as our work lives demand so much of our time and attention. But more and more companies are seeing the benefits of giving employees time during the workweek to give back. It’s not hard to find value in something that simultaneously boosts employee satisfaction, impacts your community, and helps you attract talented workers. All Memphis businesses would seriously benefit from adopting this trend!

A recent study on workplace volunteering by Deloitte found that company-sponsored volunteer programs give big boosts to company morale and productivity. According to this study, 89% of employees think companies with these programs offer a more desirable working environment and culture. 75% said that volunteering was essential to their sense of well-being.

With numbers like that, more companies need to consider putting an employee volunteer program in place. Here’s why:

Volunteering creates a personal connection with your company’s values.

Company-sponsored volunteer programs help employees feel like the company’s values are aligned with their own. When they can carve out a few hours of their workweek to serve the community–with the company’s support–then suddenly their hectic work life feels more purpose-driven and focused on a common mission. Volunteering gives employees a chance to find common ground and feel more connected to each other and their city.

Volunteering builds leaders.

At a minimum, a volunteer program helps employees develop new skills and make new connections. But more than that, it builds new leaders—something many companies struggle with. 80% of recruiters agree: employees who are active volunteers move into leadership roles at the company more easily, and move up a lot quicker.

The reason is simple. Employee volunteering creates authentic experiences at work for developing self-awareness, empathy, and motivation. It provides opportunities to step up and share ideas that solve real challenges in the community. These are critical experiences for building the confidence and trust an effective leader needs to inspire and lead with vision.
Volunteering helps you recruit and retain the best talent in Memphis.



Companies investing in a culture of engagement attract and retain the most talented and motivated employees. Younger workers especially want to be passionate about where they work and place a high value on social responsibility.

For Millennials who currently make up the majority of the workforce, 72% expect their employer to provide programs that support donations of time and resources to community needs. Millennials are the generation most likely to work for and buy products from companies that contribute to charity.

A positive work culture and a company-sponsored volunteer program increases workplace satisfaction, even more than higher pay. With higher workplace satisfaction comes stronger company loyalty and pride, a lower turnover rate, and reduced costs to find and hire new employees.

Creating a volunteer program is easier than you think.

Streets Ministries volunteerIf you want to boost morale and build a volunteer program, it’s important to handle it well. The good news: you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are partners out there that can help build and support your program. Give901 has created a robust corporate volunteer and giving program with an easy pathway to onboarding your employees, tracking data, and demonstrating collective impact. Their established network of businesses and nonprofits is already improving education outcomes for low-income Memphians–so your company has access to a ready-made volunteer program.

Here are some more helpful tips:

  • Take a poll. There are a lot of needs in our community. Survey your employees to see what interests them most. Match the needs of your community with the interests of your employees, which, in turn, will inspire your employees to help locally.
  • Align it with business goals. Your employee volunteer program should be in line with your business objectives. If it’s not meaningful to the company and the employees, it won’t be effective.
  • Get support. Make sure everyone is onboard. If the executives support the program, they will support everyone’s involvement. They’ll also be more likely to roll up their sleeves and help.
  • Data, data, data. Make sure you’re tracking the number of employees participating, the amount of time donated, the amounts raised and the number of organizations you served. This is an area where a program like Give901 can really make a difference.
  • Recognize volunteers. Make sure you reward employees who are participating in volunteer programs. Awards and acknowledgement go a long way to encouraging a culture of engagement.

Planning and implementing a workplace volunteer program can seem intimidating. It helps to remember how much impact this program will have on your company’s growth. Among your staff, it will increase happiness and teamwork, and strengthen the sense of loyalty and pride employees feel towards the company. For your company, it will boost productivity, lower employee turnover rates, attract job seekers and improve your employee roster. For our community, it will demonstrate your company’s commitment and vision for a better Memphis.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Give901 can help you start a workplace volunteer and giving program, visit give901.org to learn more. 

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