The Dos and Don'ts of Corporate Volunteering


Volunteers from Deloitte work on art projects with the children of Marillac St. Vincent.

Why should your company invest in a corporate volunteer program?

The benefits of starting a volunteer program for your company are great. Companies with regular volunteer opportunities for their employees have noticed increased collaboration between employees and teams and growth in employee engagement. Make sure your volunteer program is inclusive, to allow employees of all ages and job titles to get to know each other.

A volunteer program is also a great incentive for new employees, especially young people who want to make a difference with the work they do. Engage this population by advertising the ways your employees give back. For new employees as well as existing staff, having a volunteer program provides a purpose to the work they do, which helps build a positive corporate identity, and a strong overall company culture.

If you are thinking of starting a volunteer program at your company, try these things: Ask your employees where they would like to volunteer, make volunteering a recurring event that people can expect and plan for, and incentivize those who participate. Good luck!


Exelon employees helping sort toy donations for the annual MSV Christmas Store event.

Dos of volunteering:

  • Have a community service vision and choose an organization whose vision and needs match your own. Be ready to have discussions with the organization to coordinate the best way to meet your mission.
  • Know what you want to do. While planning your community service project, think about where you would like to volunteer and what kinds of tasks you would like to perform or are especially capable of. Nonprofits want to partner with you and will be willing to create a volunteer opportunity for your team.
  • Have a budget. Since you are working with a nonprofit organization, please be ready to supply any tools or materials needed for the task or activity. After your volunteer event, donate the materials to the organization. Tailor it to the specific program where your group is volunteering. Helping in a food pantry? Ask what items they typically need and hold a food drive in the office before you arrive.
  • Market the volunteer event. Just as volunteering is a chance for your employees to feel connected and inspired, it can be an opportunity for the nonprofit organization to reach more people. If you post photos, ask if they would like to be tagged on social media.
  • Build a relationship with an organization. Keep in touch, follow-up, volunteer again, or even sponsor an event. There is nothing more impactful than your ongoing support.
  • Encourage your employees to get more involved on their own. Provide them with the resources to learn more about the organization, donate, subscribe to their email newsletter, or go back and volunteer with a friend.

Don’ts of volunteering:

  • Don’t cancel last minute. To accommodate a group, nonprofits allocate planning and resource hours to welcome you to their organization. Nonprofits by nature function with minimal staff, which is why volunteers are so important. Postponing your trip late in the game means that the nonprofit will not get those resources or hours back.
  • Don’t assume. Ask what an organization needs and how your company can have the biggest impact.
  • Don’t focus on brand visibility. This is about more than your logo, it’s about relationships. Talk with employees and clients. Get to know them and their community.
  • Don’t answer work emails or calls. Put your out of office message on for your work email. Put your phone on silent. Be present and focus on the task at hand.


Employees volunteering from Weber Grills at an annual summer event they throw for the MSV kids. They bring food and activities for everyone involved!

If your company can’t commit to volunteering, choose a local nonprofit you want to support in the following ways:

  • Hold a drive for supplies the organization may need.
  • Donate in-kind gifts, such as office furniture or technology.
  • Make a financial gift to help fund a program that aligns with your company’s vision.
  • Sponsor an event the organization is holding. Attend and learn more about their work.
  • Offer your services at a discounted rate to the organization to help them meet their needs.

To learn more about how your company can volunteer with Marillac St. Vincent, email Volunteer Coordinator Thom Bowers:

If you can't volunteer, discover other ways to give to MSV!

marillac st. vincent family services is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit organization, FEIN 36-2109717 privacy policy © 2015 made with ❤ in chicago we’re hiring! get our email newsletter!
  • Foglia Family & Youth Center
    2859 W. Jackson Blvd. Chicago, IL 60612
  • Marillac Social Center
    212 S. Francisco Ave. Chicago, IL 60612
  • St. Vincent de Paul Center
    2145 N. Halsted St. Chicago, IL 60614