Random Strokes – Social Volunteer Program

The breeze, the trees, the honey bees – All volunteers! ~Juliet Carinreap

Every organization runs different volunteer programs under its Corporate Social Responsibility. These programs are term based events with a purpose. Here, this sense of purpose to create a meaning to the society drives the effort. Many social events are planned under the calendar year with different workgroups. These work groups may decide on the theme and further integrate with an external body to implement the program. The idea is to create resources and provide support to the requirements within these external entities.

Process overview:
Many organizations have a policy to allocate a definite percentage of their funds to such programs. Corporate Social Responsibility Department are formed to manage these events. This department would further coordinate with the Human Resource department to communicate with the employees. At certain times, an organization, may not keep such a department. It would rather select a team, from different business units, every year, to run the programs. The basis of selection would remain, the interest shown to drive the projects. Furthermore, in order to find a place in these teams, the employee would require the propensity to take additional responsibility other than the existing deliverables. Funds are raised through the organizational initiatives coupled with employee contribution. Sometimes culture based events are arranged during these social events to team up the effort and create a bigger charity for the cause. For e.g.: The organization may declare a social volunteer day across its location. The HR may form the team along with the employees allocating different responsibilities. The theme would include helping a non-governmental organization raise funds. This theme may further comprise volunteering to raise funds for an orphanage, an old age home, a tribal development centre and etc. Few other functions can be considered, such as environment based event including rainwater irrigation, afforestation spreading awareness through marathon walk or race and etc. A scheme of event would be planned towards it. Employees with prior experience to manage such events and interested to contribute would be chosen as volunteers. Different levels would be planned to coordinate on the activities. It may not stay limited to business reporting relationship. The final date to the delivery would be declared and every preparation would be set for it.  HR would communicate within the organization to spread the awareness of the event and generate interest within the larger groups of employees. Once the event gets delivered, reports would be drawn to record every detail about the program. This entire cycle would repeat each time these volunteer program would be declared.

These programs generally start with a pomp and show. If they are managed for a short duration they show a result. At times, the project planned for a longer duration such as a year or more do fizz out on enthusiasm as it goes. Leading these programs requires identifying the alignment between the purpose of the program and motive of the employees. In Julius Caesar’s words, “It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.” Additionally attrition affects the implementation of these programs through sudden disappearance of a key member to the project.

Different organizational capabilities are honed through these programs. Even though it may not have any monetary benefit to the employee it brings satisfaction and learning to them. Self-efficacy is fuelled through these initiatives. As quoted by — Winston Churchill, “You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give”. Thus, it  creates an adherence to the larger purpose, through generating a value additionally to the deliverables in a role. Hence refresh the employee’s engagement in the job.

The concept of ‘doing good to others’ through volunteer service and contribution, appeals to all. Few may require opportunities to present their capabilities to deliver, for others it might be the support to continue in the long run. Aligning the purpose with the capability to deliver holds the key. Inspiration from famous words of George Bernard Shaw, “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations”.