Getting the Most Out of a Volunteering Event
Organising a pledge day can convert the lightning energy of a Red-Letter Day into something lasting and useful.
Building Momentum and Fanfare
Large red letter days are a fantastic way to whip up enthusiasm about your organisation’s charitable initiatives. Focusing on one day to celebrate your company’s community giving creates an infectious buzz around the office and builds considerable momentum and fanfare surrounding the event.
A wide variety of initiatives fall within the remit of community giving, so the day of activity should be something that will encompass all elements of your program and engage the maximum number of people possible. Typically, the cumulative result of this engagement is a concentrated burst of charitable actions one day every year.
The Problem With Single Days
But some of these initiatives are more suited to single days than others.
While they are a fabulous opportunity for fundraising, when it comes to environmental and voluntary initiatives, the one-day format has some drawbacks. £1000 pounds raised on one day can be spent at anytime throughout the year, but for charities 1000 volunteers on a single occasion is a bit much to handle! Equally, taking steps towards greater sustainability is about a long-term commitment to behavioural change, rather than a single action.
How can this single day be altered to serve not only as an opportunity to celebrate and promote existing charitable efforts, but also as a spring board to help companies catalyse greater engagement in their CR programs and promote activities that would extend beyond a single day of action?
Pledging on the Day
The answer is to encourage employees to make a pledge on the red-letter day – This captures people’s enthusiasm to contribute on the day while encouraging longer lasting, more manageable action.
Last year saw the third City Giving Day (CDG) take place, where businesses united to celebrate the fantastic charitable work their employees are doing. With more businesses getting involved than ever, City Giving Day is not only a great way to raise awareness among staff but also a fantastic red-letter day which gets people out doing good through volunteering and fundraising.
Working with the CR team at the FCA, we built a pledge page that gave people the opportunity to use City Giving Day to make a commitment to taking action at any point in the period between 27 September and the end of 2016.
The website was an attractive and easily navigated hub where employees could pledge to volunteer, join a staff network group, fundraise for one of the organisation’s charity partners or commit to making a positive change for the environment – like ‘meat-free Mondays’ for example.
To support this, we also planned a campaign ‘on-the-ground’ to drum up interest in pledging.
We arranged a big coms. push on the intranet the day before, designed posters to match the website, and even created picture frames so pledgers could take selfies!
On the day itself, Team Benefacto joined forces with the FCA CSR team, donning red t-shirts and manning a big stand in the canteen as a focal point to engage would-be pledgers. The FCA’s charity champions swept through the building with iPads signing up people as they went.
The FCA set a target of 500 people pledging during the week of CGD and we are thrilled to say that we absolutely smashed it – getting 565 people to pledge!
- The target was to get 500 people pledging an action on CGD;
- In the end Benefacto and the FCA got 565 pledgers;
- Employees could get involved in volunteering, fundraising, environmental pledges or staff diversity and inclusion groups.;
- Employees could book at the drop of a hat before and throughout the day;
- Pledging across an extended period of time meant charities can better use the help.
Pledge days are a fantastic way of storing up the good-will and enthusiasm generated by a red-letter day and distributing it across the community over a longer time-period.
The ripples from a pledge day can impact the community long after the celebration is over. If you haven’t already, we can highly recommend switching from a single day of action to a day of pledging.
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