skip to content

Employee Community Engagement through Volunteer Month 2022

Employee Community Engagement through Volunteer Month 2022
Toya East image

Toya East @toyae

Program Manager, Hubber Giving, GitHub Social Impact

June 8, 2022 // EmployeesSkillingPartnerships

Published on: June 8, 2022

Volunteer Month is an annual campaign dedicated to encouraging GitHub employees to volunteer their time with local organizations, nonprofits, and more. Each April, the Social Impact team organizes events, projects, and educational opportunities for employees to make a difference in their communities. Be it a virtual book reading, helping a neighbor, or sharing technical skills to causes, we believe that it’s crucial for employees to give back not just financially, but with their time and skills.

Designing a month of volunteerism to scale our impact

Volunteer Month 2022 was a success. There were over a dozen events in four countries, in-person and virtual activities, and projects that supported over 90 global organizations—all adding up to over 1,600 hours of volunteer time.

This year we grew our participation by nearly 200% year over year! We strive to make the most significant impact we can as a company, and with more employees involved, the greater reach we can have to make a positive, lasting impact in the world.

To get employees engaged, we focused on manager education and engagement, explicitly encouraging their teams to take part in an activity. During a month-long campaign, it is essential to keep the energy high and employees interested in what is going on, so we circulated both a robust communications toolkit and a fun weekly video series that helped remind employees why it is necessary to give time and how to find projects that would resonate in a meaningful way.

We also engaged Employee Champions, advocates of employee engagement programming, to spur a grassroots approach to enlisting their peers to participate in the campaign. This multi-faceted approach helped to provide multiple touchpoints for employees to learn more about the campaign and how to get involved.

Volunteering around the world

While volunteering is traditionally an in-person activity, finding virtual volunteering projects for employees to plug-in to was a must as GitHub is a remote-first company. We kicked off the month with a company-wide virtual volunteer with Building Impact, an organization that helped GitHub employees learn more about supporting relief efforts for those impacted by the war in Ukraine. We made sure that the content was evergreen, so employees in different time zones could watch the recording on their own time and participate in the volunteer activity at any time during the month.

Aside from working with our community partners, we pointed employees to VolunteerMatch, a platform that provides volunteer recruitment opportunities for nearly 130,000 nonprofits. The opportunities available can be searched by virtual, in-person, location, and cause.

In a post-participation survey, we found that 55% of employees took part in both a pre-planned event and a project on their own time. In further feedback, we discovered that this number was greatly impacted by employees who already routinely donate their time.

We had several employees reach out to encourage peers to volunteer with nonprofits near and dear to their hearts. For example, Senior Program Manager, Business Continuity, Monica Martin (@momartinjazz), invited employees to attend a virtual session with Global Give Back Circle, a nonprofit that empowers and guides at-risk adolescent girls in Kenya on how to use their skills to give back to their communities, and gain valuable technology and life skills training. During the event, we learned more about the programming from their Program Director Diane Lees and heard from Monica herself about how volunteering as a mentor has changed her life and that of many young girls!

Where did other employees volunteer? From organizations that support animals like the Toronto Humane Society and the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, to nonprofits supporting health causes like the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, Parkinson’s UK, and Smile Train.

Shelley McKinley, Chief Legal Officer (@shellsmck) builds toiletry kits at GitHub’s San Francisco office to support Larkin Street Youth Services, a local nonprofit that works to end youth homelessness.

Amsterdam Clean Up

GitHub employees in Amsterdam work together to clean up the canals with Plastic Whale, a social enterprise that aims for a plastic-free land and sea.

GitHub employees in Atlanta volunteer at PAWS Atlanta, Georgia’s oldest no-kill animal shelter.

Looking ahead

As GitHub grows, it’s essential to provide employees, new and old, with the tools and training on the importance of giving back. We learned that it takes multiple touchpoints to engage employees, especially in a remote-first environment. We’re excited to scale our programming throughout the year to make an even more significant impact to those who need it most.

Related insights