Organizational Wellness

Why You Need an Employee Volunteer Program

May 8, 2019
Last Updated Jun 1, 2023

Even if you love your job, your coworkers, and even your boss, doing the same thing every day can get stale. Employee volunteer programs offer a different way to break up this sameness and give something new to put their minds to.

Employee Volunteer Programs Increase Morale and Well-Bein

There’s a well-established correlation between community service and health. A 2007 report from the Corporation for National and Community Service states that those who volunteer live longer, even when controlling for factors like gender, physical health, age, and socioeconomic status.

When it comes to ROI in employee volunteer programs, it’s hard to argue with the numbers. According to Deloitte’s 2017 Volunteer Impact Research, integrating community involvement into the workday boosts employee morale and helps create a more positive working environment. Other conclusions include:

  • 70% of the 1,000 employees surveyed believe volunteer opportunities boost morale more than company mixers
  • 77% see volunteerism as essential to their personal well-being
  • 89% believe company-sponsored volunteer activities (like 10K runs or food drives) create a better working environment

Types of Employee Volunteer Programs

Here are four general approaches to consider when designing an employee volunteer program for your company.

One-Time Group Activities

These work well for testing the waters. How excited do your employees get when given the opportunity to volunteer?

Examples of one-time group activities include Habitat for Humanity projects, in-house fundraisers, or walk-a-thons, which can also increase team building.

In-Office Volunteering Sessions

For a fun way to bring people together and build a more team-oriented environment, host in-office volunteer sessions.

Examples include anything from making sandwiches for a homeless shelter to assembling science kits for local elementary school students.

Skills-Based Models

Your company is filled with employees with various skill sets. This method leverages their expertise to help nonprofits address specific challenges they wouldn’t otherwise be equipped to handle.

Volunteer Days

Offering paid time off to be used for volunteering allows employees to choose their own way to put their time to use.

Choose the best way for your company to divide volunteer days. Will they all get the same day off, or can they choose the day on their own?

4 Companies Rocking Employee Volunteerism


With Patagonia, it’s all about hands-on volunteering. As a brand, Patagonia has a strong reputation for being environmentally friendly.

Their approach to volunteering extends this philosophy with activities like planting trees, cleaning beaches, removing invasive plant species, or raising money to fund nature trails and land restoration.


Aside from giving 3 paid days off per year to volunteer for service-related activities, GoFundMe encourages each of its employees to nominate a campaign that’s personally meaningful.

Chosen campaigns are funded with $1,000. Each year the company aims to fund 50 to 80 campaigns.


Volunteer locally. Going on a sales trip to China? Why not have everyone pitch in with volunteer work around the Great Wall, painting, laying bricks, and planting trees?

Got a sales kickoff in New Orleans? Team up with Habitat for Humanity to help build some homes. One employee put it best: “VMware always thinks about how we can give back when we have major events.”

Ask Employees for Input

Many companies are shifting the final decision to the employees. Put out a call for ideas, boil them down to the most realistic ones and let them have the final say.

Giving your employees the opportunity to volunteer benefits more than the community. It also breaks up their daily work routine, keeps them engaged, reduces stress, and it creates a more positive emotional state and higher overall satisfaction levels for everyone involved.

Gympass Editorial Team

The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.