|Ideas for company volunteering days
Companies are increasingly enabling their staff to get involved with local projects, either regularly or as a one-off (often ‘team-building’) exercise, including through large national events like the Jewish community’s Mitzvah Day and CSV’s Make a Difference Day. Although the ideas in this doc are intended for one-off group volunteering days for companies, most of them can be used or adapted for on-going volunteering by other groups and individuals. The big group of activities left out are those mainly suitable for one:one situations, and on-going volunteering may also require tedious CRB checks.
Benefits for company’s staff
- A fun, satisfying and memorable experience of helping others
- Self-esteem boost and feeling valued (by the project, the beneficiaries, their employer and each other)
- A stimulating and refreshing change of scenery for desk-bound individuals.
- Develop skills such as communication, problem solving, change management and innovation
- Develop new practical skills not possible in their day-to-day role,
- Contact with people (especially socially very disadvantaged people) that the employees don’t usually, or ever, meet
- Giving something back to the community and improved awareness of local issues.
- Work/life balance
Benefits for the company
- Staff can try out a much wider range of tasks than in their day-to-day work including leading projects and having responsibility for motivating others.
- Employers with successful volunteering programmes find that they benefit from a positive image, staff are proud to work for them, potential employees want to join them, customers feel good about using them, and partners want to work with them.
- Improved staff retention, motivation and morale.
- Enhanced staff team working, interpersonal and communication skills.
- Brings together colleagues from different branches, departments, disciplines etc
- Staff going out on community projects can act as ambassadors for the organisation.
Benefits for hospital
- Practical help, whether with the physical environment, management systems/skills or direct resources and/or experiences for patients
- Reducing the fear and stigma of mental health hospitals and those who use them
Requirements of projects
- Almost cost-free
- Minimum risk
One-off volunteer activities shouldn’t require CRB checks which are needed where volunteers “have significant and regular contact with vulnerable people in the course of their normal duties”
What skills do volunteers have?
What needs do wards and inpatients have?
- Social contact (reduction of isolation, sense of community, nice schmoozing)
- Access to lovely experiences – whether beauty pampering or cuddling with pets
- Boost in self-esteem
- Skills development
Advice for patients
- Jobs surgery with CV writing, mock interviews, careers advice
- On-site or as phone hotline. Specialist agencies (finance, employment, leisure, relationships etc) provide technical help and confidence-building
- Arts & crafts
- Welcome bags
- to create handcrafted gift cards, package hand-made merchandise and give ideas for future sales opportunities.
- Help the patients create table decorations
- Produce a colourful collage or wall hanging to brighten up the living area
- Decorate Pots and plant seeds
- Making artwork for hospital display
- Art Exhibition
- Creating sensory pictures (eg quilted)
- Book Club, Film club
- Collecting, donating, advising on using book and DVD libraries
- Music (concert, sing-alongs, karaoke, music appreciation sessions etc)
- Themed concerts – campfire, seaside, Cockney, Olde Time, 40s/50s/60s etc,
- Play-in-a-day – write and perform a play in one day
- Faith festivals
- National events
- Patient’s birthdays
- Comedy room with CDs, DVDs, magazines, books etc
- Comedy evenings
- Humour noticeboard
- Internet Café
- Liaising with IT dept. to see whether there are decommissioned computers that patients could use on the wards possibly initially for games and word processing etc
- Creating internet cafe
- Training staff in relevant IT skills
- Sports eg football 5 a side, indoor hockey
- Dance eg line dancing, dance exercise
- Cooking eg dinner/tea party, baking
- Food and mood
- Fundraising – can be a fun challenge, more The Apprentice than MBA
- Help patients to do gardening
- Plant a sensory garden and construct interesting garden features
- Plant trees
- Setting up an allotment
- Advice and practical help on planet-friendly enhancements
- Interior design advice and enhancement
- Mini-makeovers, speed make-overs etc
- Chill-out rooms – designing, donating resources, doing room make-over
- Creating a fun, crazy mini golf course.
- bringing and sharing games and activities with patients
- Creating recreation pack with quizzes, origami, word searches, conversation/thought starters for community meetings and noticeboard
- Information resources
- Revamping Welcome/information leaflets or website features for patients, carers, visitors
- Creating ward website with patients – eg free Weebly one.
- Pets – probably dogs or small furry ones arriving in cages
- Reminiscence project – collecting, donating, advising on using reminiscence resources – books, magazines, clothes, food….
- Special interest sessions – volunteers talking about their hobbies, jobs, travels etc
Business in the Community www.bitc.org.uk
Community Service Volunteers www.csv.org.uk
Mitzvah Day www.mitzvahday.org.uk