Now that you’re ready to start a volunteer program at your company:  here are four steps.

You could use the following example as a template for your company.

Say you work at a hardware store.  You find that the school down the street needs help with some plumbing issue your company knows how to fix:

Step 1 – Contact your Human Resources person or the owner to determine if or how volunteering works at your company.  If your company has a program, join it. If not, go to the next step.

Step 2 – Solicit other employees through an email list, or at the coffee pots/water cooler to gauge interest and report this back to HR or the owner.  

Step 3 – If you get the go-ahead, contact the place or nonprofit that you wish to work with.

Step 4 – Work with this nonprofit. Meanwhile, continue to engage with HR and your manager, founding programs and integrating them into the performance review.

Keep in mind, first, it is best that the volunteer program aligns with corporate goals. This ensures that the professional skills that employees are developing throughout their careers can be directly applied to a volunteer opportunity.

Second, the goals and outcomes of the program should be concrete and measurable. Not only would this provide a helpful benchmark for participating employees to assess their impact, it would provide helpful data to garner additional support for the program from executives and investors.

It is also valuable to establish a feedback system such that program coordinators could continually revise and improve the volunteering initiative. Surveys from employees, as well as beneficiaries of the volunteer programs, are a helpful tool to gain first-hand feedback on the program.

What’s the benefit of skilled volunteering? How much will it cost in human hours to scope, plan, implement and analyze the skilled volunteering over time?  By doing a cost benefit of the program, you’ll make sure the program is healthy and continues to grow by rewarding employees, and that it is hitting the right touch points in the communities the program serves.