It finally seems that we are emerging out of lockdown and hopefully beginning to get back to some sense of normality. In the hard year we have all just experienced, one positive to come out of it has been the sense of community spirit and increase in charitable giving. Volunteering has boomed during the pandemic and we have been so thankful for all the skilled volunteers we have worked with that have greatly helped many charities in these difficult times.
We have already written about the massive benefits of skilled volunteering for the charities and individual volunteers but what is also noteworthy is the growing interest in corporate skilled volunteering i.e. companies running a skilled volunteering programme supporting their employees to use their professional skills to help charities.
We believe that this is an exciting area of growth and such programmes are hugely beneficial not only for charities but also for employees and the businesses themselves.
We wanted to share some reasons why a skilled volunteering programme is a valuable way for companies to engage with their communities.
Charities can truly benefit from skilled volunteering and this is a great opportunity for businesses to give back to their community while at the same time providing charities with valuable skill sets that they might otherwise be lacking. Charities need help with marketing, HR, strategy, finance and many other skilled functions. One area highlighted by the recent pandemic as an area that charities need help with as everything moved online, for example, is digital skills. The recent Charity Digital Skills Report emphasised this desperate need for expertise in online services with 48% of charities surveyed saying that staff skills were the biggest barrier in their digital development. A corporate skilled volunteering programme could be an excellent way to help train up teams and create online systems to support their work.
Not only does skilled volunteering help the charities but it can also have a beneficial impact on employees. Employees get a chance to use and enhance their professional skills in new scenarios and improve soft skills such as problem solving and team work. Research by Deloitte has shown that skilled volunteering is particularly helpful in developing leadership skills with 85% of hiring managers stating that skills-based volunteering helps employees improve communication skills and demonstrate accountability and commitment and 88% stating it helps employees develop strong character traits, all areas identified as leadership “must-haves”.
Employees are increasingly focused on a company’s values and CSR /ESG approaches. One study showed that 94% of millennials want to use their skills for social good and the recent 2020 Global Millennials Survey by Deloitte has shown that the pandemic has further reinforced millennials’ and Gen Z’s desire to help drive positive change in their communities. A skilled volunteering programme can be a great way to connect these employees to the causes they care about, increase engagement in your business and attract talent.
The positive effect of volunteering on the physical and mental health of volunteers is now widely recognised. Almost all volunteers report finding volunteering a positive experience and it can lead to increased employee morale as well as reduced sick leave. In the recent Time Well Spent survey 77% of volunteers reported that volunteering improved their mental health and wellbeing. A happier, healthier workforce can only increase a company’s performance.
And finally it’s a great way to showcase a company’s values and demonstrate a commitment to social causes. So why not get involved!
As Deloitte said in relation to their recent report on pro bono work: “From a corporate perspective, pro bono service is a win on many levels: non-profits benefit from access to employees’ unique experience and commitment to social impact, while companies benefit by strengthening community ties and developing an adaptable workforce. Everyone can thrive when we develop a culture of inclusion.”
We believe that for these corporate programmes to be the most successful, there has to be a good alignment between the business and the charity i.e. between the needs of the charity and the interests of the business. Using an intermediary can help with this alignment as well as bring further benefits:
Use an intermediary that has an in-depth knowledge of the non-profit sector and relationships with a wide range of charities and social enterprises. They can use these relationships to source and negotiate the best opportunities for employees so that they get the most from their volunteer roles and have the best opportunity to develop their skills.
Intermediaries can help build, clarify and develop partnerships with non-profits. They can be a key point of contact for employees throughout their volunteering, making it a smooth process for all.
Intermediaries can assist with producing business and social impact reports so that businesses can showcase the results of the volunteer roles and demonstrate the value of the volunteer programme to both the company and the wider community.
Corporate skilled volunteering programmes can be a real win-win for both corporates and charities and here at Link UP London we have a wide range of options to get involved with.
If you want to find out more or explore ways we might work together, get in touch with Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about the blog above or would like to talk further about getting involved, use our contact us form and we'll be in touch soon by email or over the phone!
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