Planning for the impacts of COVID-19 on communities, employees and business operations has been an added focus for most employers over the last several weeks. In the community sector, leaders have been asked to plan alternatives, postpone or cancel planned volunteer experiences for staff in response to emerging advice from government and the Ministry of Health.
With the focus on the health and safety of staff and partners, how do we continue to engage with our communities and contribute to this meaningful and often critical work?
It is an important question especially because the communities that we collectively serve still need support and depend on volunteers for that support. The impact of reduced participation will have a significant impact on our voluntary sector.
Here are a few ideas to fit a variety of needs and circumstances.
In all cases confirm all your employee participants are healthy and that you are following Ministry of Health guidelines. Volunteering Waikato can match you with non-profit community organisations needing support.
Organise a food bank collection, packed by your employee-volunteers and distributed without your employees leaving the workplace. This will ensure that you can still serve community groups needing assistance.
Share your skills virtually.
• Use web-based meeting solutions such as Zoom, Skype, Google hangouts or what’s app. and provide some skills-based support to our non-profit and community group
• Is there an opportunity to brainstorm and facilitate strategic planning with a non-profit looking for fresh ideas?
• Are you able to provide marketing or communications advice, HR guidance, customer service training, report writing guidelines and support, health and safety guidance, policy development and reviews, business and financial planning, executive coaching and mentoring, presentation skills . The opportunities are endless.
Explore other virtual volunteering options.
Tech-based, virtual and remote opportunities e.g. Literacy and reading projects, homework help for students including adult learners, helping new migrants to build their CV, Kiwi English conversations, job search advice, mentoring and coaching etc. Many of these solutions enable long-term sustainable commitments and offer meaningful experiences for your volunteers.
If you can’t go “outside”, tackle an “inside” project.
Take this time to upskill organisational learning and develop your corporate social responsibility plans. Much like a rainy day, if you can’t go “outside,” tackle an “inside” project. Use this opportunity to engage your employees in learning about community challenges, Learn about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and how these can be leveraged to bring about innovation and change across sectors. Consider bringing in virtual speakers and experts, and developing ideas for future projects. Can you hold focus group experiences with employees to gather feedback and ideas?
Let us help.
Contact Volunteering Waikato. We have various resources to support your efforts. Volunteering Waikato can also help you to tailor a virtual volunteering experience for your workforce. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For up to date information on keeping yourself and your family safe, and preventing the spread of the COVID-19, see the Ministry of Health website
Adapted with thanks from Points of Life Inc.