Planning a Successful Company-Sponsored Volunteer Project

How to plan a successful company-sponsered volunteer project.

Volunteering as a corporate group provides an opportunity to build teamwork with co-workers or have a fun day with family and friends while giving back to the community.

I would like to share with you the three key ingredients required before planning a successful volunteer project are:

1. Human resources – An internal staff member or planning committee, or volunteer center like Volunteer San Diego, is needed to develop and steward the project.

2. Logistics

  • Budget – Consider project supplies, transportation, bottled water, snacks or meals in addition to staff planning expenses.
  • Volunteer demographics — Determine how many volunteers will participate and if children will be involved.
  • Timeline — Start planning a volunteer project at least two months or more out.

3. Objectives — Select a cause that aligns with business goals, employee interests or community needs.

Volunteer Event Planning Checklist

  • Identify a volunteer project planner, committee or volunteer center.
  • Identify project date or timeframe.
  • Identify number of volunteers and age range.
  • Choose a suitable volunteer project.
  • Contact a partner organization.
  • Conduct a site inspection.
  • Communicate the project to the volunteers.
  • Create a project outline and task list.
  • Purchase and deliver supplies.
  • Recruit and register volunteers.
  • Reconfirm the details with the partner organization.
  • Identify and train internal team captains to lead project(s).
  • Plan any prep work that will be needed in advance of the event.
  • Create written volunteer project instructions.
  • Develop a transportation and parking plan.
  • Order signage.
  • Create a first aid and safety plan.
  • Coordinate participation of company VIPs or community VIPs.
  • Plan for media coverage.
  • Make water, food and beverage arrangements.
  • Plan for audiovisual and photography needs.
  • Manage/support the project on-site.
  • Take pictures.
  • Gather feedback from volunteers.
  • Post project recap for employees, including CEO.
  • Measure and celebrate success and outcomes.

Tips & Tricks
When planning a large volunteer project, schedule a visit to the agency in advance to see the project site and review the logistics in person. This will help the planning team troubleshoot issues and be more prepared on the day of the project.

Be prepared for potential glitches during the project such as running out of supplies, volunteers arriving late or not at all, or volunteers working faster or slower than expected. Have a back-up plan.

If there are children in the group, ask the agency’s representative if there is a minimum age requirement for volunteers.

Hope this all help!


This article was originally published in the San Diego Business Journals’ Corporate Philanthropy 2010 submitted by Volunteer San Diego. Elise Rollinson and Jaci Feinstein helped establish and grow Volunteer San Diego’s corporate volunteer event coordination services while on staff from 2007 – 2011.

Planning employee volunteer projects takes experience, local knowledge, and attention to cultural and environmental concerns. Right Hand Events can help you to successfully create and execute a memorable experience for your employees, while at the same time leaving a positive impact on the local community. Learn more here.