15 Creative Volunteer Ideas to Help Your Team Make a Difference
Are you looking for new and exciting ways for your team to give back? Do something that matters in your community with these 15 volunteer ideas that are perfect for corporate groups.
Volunteering can be one of the most powerful and meaningful things you can do as a team building exercise. Not only is it a great way to engage employees, promote collaboration, and bring everyone closer together, but it can also help your group connect with your local community and really make a difference in the lives of others.
You shouldn’t settle for doing the bare minimum either — there are lots of different ways that you can give back with your team. Use the list below to find a method for giving back that gets your group excited, as well as a cause that they are willing to go above and beyond for.
Why? Because the best volunteer ideas for corporate groups are the ones that feel important to your colleagues.
15 Ways Your Team Can Give Back
Whether you’re planning your very first volunteer experience with your group or looking for new ways to give back as part of your corporate social responsibility program, these 15 creative volunteer ideas that can help your team make an impact.
1. Volunteer Somewhere Local
No matter where your team is located, there are likely a ton of unique volunteer opportunities that you can’t find anywhere else. Use a service like VolunteerMatch to discover new ways you can give back in your area, and to learn about all the different causes you can support.
Once you decide how your group is going to help out, you can try giving employees extra time off to volunteer, or set aside a few hours for everyone to head out of the office. The efforts will be worth your while, because employees will have the opportunity to bond as they give back.
2. Assemble Care Packages
One of the most direct ways your team can make a difference is by assembling care packages for individuals or families in need. To do this, you may want to partner with another organization who will be able to instruct you on what you should purchase for your care packages, and what you need to do with your donations once they are ready.
For example, Outback Team Building & Training offers two charitable team building programs that involve assembling care packages. School Supply Scramble will have your group putting together backpacks full of school supplies in order to support families who cannot afford these items on their own. Or, with an activity like Military Support Mission, you can send hygiene kits full of comfort items to troops serving abroad.
3. Organize a Public Space Cleanup
For teams who are passionate about the environment, a great way to give back is to organize a public space cleanup in your city. The idea here is that your group can gather at a nearby park, forest, road, or beach to remove litter and trash they find on the ground. This can be a great way to reduce pollution, enhance your sense of community, and help your neighborhood feel more welcoming and safe.
You can either organize your own private event, join a neighborhood cleanup team that is already operating in your city, or “adopt” a public space to keep clean for a longer period of time. And if you want to make it more fun for employees, you can also offer prizes and rewards for the employees who collect the most garbage!
4. Host a Unique Workplace Fundraiser
You’re probably already familiar with the idea of workplace fundraisers. Traditionally, these involve organizing something like a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction, or some sort of dinner fundraising event.
But you can also go above and beyond by doing something more unique and creative. For example, you can have a baking competition where employees pay to try baked goods and vote on which ones they liked the best, a pub quiz where teams raise money to participate in pursuit of a trophy for the brainiest team, or a poker night were everyone’s buy-in goes to support the fundraiser.
5. Plan a Charity Team Building Activity
Charity team building activities are some of the most popular types of team building for customers across North America. Employees love these events because they serve a triple purpose: they’re fun to participate in, they help build better working relationships, and they give back in meaningful ways.
Some of Outback Team Building & Training’s most popular charity activities include:
- Charity Bike Buildathon — Build, decorate, and donate bicycles in this team building competition that challenges your creativity and presentation skills.
- Play It Forward — Compete to see who can finish the most “good deed” challenges before time runs out with this smartphone scavenger hunt.
- Wheelchairs for Charity — Build and test wheelchairs for injured or disabled individuals in your community with this philanthropic activity.
6. Share Your Expertise
Your team undoubtedly has a lot of unique skills that other people in your community could benefit from. Whether your expertise lies in sales, marketing, technology, customer service, or somewhere else entirely – why not offer a free class to anyone who might be interested? This can be a great opportunity for your team to share their knowledge, practice their public speaking, and help others develop key business skills.
Once you’ve decided on a topic, you may want to check with your local library, community center, or elder care home to see if they would be interested in promoting and hosting your seminar.
7. Collect & Donate Pet Food
For groups who love animals, you can give back by challenging each other to collect and donate as much pet food as possible over the course of a month. This can be a lot more fun and interesting than it sounds, and the impact can be just as valuable for furry friends in need!
Some ideas for collecting pet food can include visiting pet stores in your area, putting up signs outside of your work, raising funds from family and friends, or holding a “Pet Wash,” where animals can be cleaned in exchange for a bag of kibble. When you’re finished with your collections, check with a local animal shelter or use a service like Pets of the Homeless to find a donation site.
8. Sponsor a Youth Sports Team
Sports can be a powerful experience for children. It’s where kids of all ages learn about teamwork, build important life skills, and make new friends. So why not support a local children’s league by doing something like covering the cost of new equipment or tournament fees?
Not only is this a great way to help local families, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to get your organization more involved in the community. You can even go above and beyond by having employees volunteer to help out with the sports team, either by assisting with coaching and mentorship or by simply attending some of the games to act as a cheering section.
9. Support Local Veterans
Support the brave men and women who have risked their lives for their country. There are lots of different ways you can support local veterans, so the first thing you may want to do is check to see what opportunities are available in your area.
In the United States, you can partner with charities like the Fisher House Foundation to help provide housing and education opportunities to veterans. In Canada, you can participate in a program by an organization like the Wounded Warriors to help raise money and public awareness for veteran issues.
10. Create a Piece of Public Art
If your team has a creative side, then you may want to invest in some brushes and paint to help beautify the area you live in. Creating a mural, some artwork, or a sculpture can be a great team bonding exercise that gets your team working together on an artistic challenge. Plus, it can help to transform a public space to make it more vibrant and inviting for people passing by.
Check with your local city government to see if there are any areas where they are actively seeking artwork, and come up with a plan with your group to make it happen. This can be a big project, so you’ll want to make sure that you stay organized and delegate responsibilities to employees who are interested in participating.
11. Organize an Office Holiday Drive
Positively impact families in your community by collecting and donating items like non-perishable food, gently used clothing, and toys for children. This can be especially appreciated around holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, when many impoverished families are unable to afford what many of us take for granted.
You can make your office holiday drive more exciting by splitting your group into teams, and offering incentives to the employees who are able to donate the most. For inspiration, check out How Loblaws Employees Raised Over $18,000 for Charity with the help of a team building prize.
12. Grow a Community Garden
If you have some green thumbs on your team, you may want to get your hands dirty and grow a community garden. This can be a fantastic way to connect with the residents who live nearby your business.
To get started, you’ll need to choose a site for your garden, clean it, develop your design, gather resources like seeds and soil, and organize your volunteer work crews. From there, you’ll be able to choose different plots for your plants, flowers, or vegetables, and get growing! The end result will be a new source of sustainable enrichment for your community.
13. Donate Blood
Blood is one of the most precious gifts that anyone can give another person. This volunteer idea can help your group literally save lives, as donated blood can be used to help cancer patients, trauma patients, sickle cell patients, burn patients, and patients with chronic diseases.
Organize a blood drive in your workplace or assign a day where your employees can donate to their local bank. You may want to print out some literature for employees who are hesitant or on the fence about donating. Needles may be scary, but they shouldn’t stop anyone from making a difference!
14. Help the Homeless in Your Community
According to Global Homelessness Statistics, there are over three million people living without a home in North America today. This is something that a lot of people turn a blind eye to, but is also an important cause that your team can have a direct impact on by volunteering.
Partner with a local food bank or homeless shelter to see how you can help the homeless in your neighborhood. Whether you assist with their fundraising efforts, prepare food and drinks for their mealtimes, or bring in donations via a charitable activity like End-Hunger Games — every little bit you do can go a long way.
15. Take On an Eco-Friendly Challenge
Challenge your team to reduce their impact on the environment with an eco-friendly challenge. This can be a great way to raise awareness on how your everyday actions can affect “green” issues like water, waste, energy, and health.
To get started, use a service like Ecochallenge to join an existing program, or start your own. These programs typically last for about a month and can include simple challenges such as asking employees to cycle to work more often or use recyclable items like cloth shopping bags. At the end of the month, your team will have learned and practiced how to live in a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable way.
Looking for More Ideas to Give Back?
Check out Everything Your Business Needs to Know About CSR for more volunteer ideas you can try with your coworkers, or get in touch with our team to learn about charity team building activities you can do at work.