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Corporate Volunteer Programs: A Primer for Companies Interested in Philanthropy

Nov 10, 2015

Corporate volunteerism is on the rise. Nearly 6 million people identify themselves as volunteer ready on professional networking site LinkedIn. Giving grew for 56% of companies between 2012 and 2014, and it increased by more than 10% for 42% of companies. Also on the rise, companies who offer their employees the ability to get paid time off for providing volunteer or pro bono services.

It’s not shocking that the changes in the workforce should move toward an alignment with giving back; from the dual perspectives of time and money. Millennials now make up the largest generation in the workforce and multiple data points and trend surveys point to Generation Y as needing to find meaning in their work. In recruitment efforts to attract Millennials to your company, consider these facts around generations and corporate volunteerism from the 2014 Millennial Impact Report:

Long story short, if a company wants to recruit and hire a talented, civic-minded Millennial company volunteerism is a big draw. Millennials between the ages of 25 to 30 were more likely to accept a position if they heard about “cause work” or corporate volunteerism in the interview. But Millennials aren’t the only ones who like their employment to come with a side of “giving back”. Other generations give generously as well. See how:

Building Your Corporate Volunteerism Beta Program

Giving at work resonates with prospective employees and internal employees as well. Here’s how to institute a great corporate volunteer program internally:

  1. Understand your company’s business plan and goals and find charities and volunteer organizations that align with your corporate goals or departmental goals. Did you know CyberGrants’ organization management system houses more than 2.1 million charities?
  2. Find and recruit internal ambassadors from various departments including Human Resources, Service and at least one executive stakeholder.
  3. Write down goals around corporate philanthropy, charitable giving and any pro bono work your company offers. Decide which parameters and expectations will define your corporate volunteer program.
  4. Map the aforementioned goals to total business outcomes.
  5. Select a department that can test the program to check results and participation rates.
  6. Create your pitch for various programs and monitor impact.

Scaling Corporate Volunteerism Company-Wide

Of course, once you’ve implemented a successful pilot, the real work begins. Promoting these results and advocating for the ambassadors and participants is crucial in order to scale the corporate volunteerism company-wide and gain widespread adoption. Following a strict change management plan can make the difference between a vibrant corporate volunteering program and one that fizzles and dies.

Why Bother with Corporate Volunteerism?

The Volunteer IMPACT Survey published by Deloitte shows that 78% of employees would rather work for an ethical and reputable company than receive a higher salary, so companies have a vested interest in building a corporate volunteerism program that works.

In other research, the University of Texas at Austin and the Points of Light Foundation found volunteer programs can help develop employee skills, improve leadership skills, create teamwork opportunities and create more job satisfaction. 58% of companies use employee volunteer programs for recruiting and keeping employees, and 97% of employee-volunteer managers felt corporate volunteerism improved teamwork within teams.

The Basics of a Great Volunteerism Program

Corporate volunteer programs are a recruiting tool, a skills development pathway and an employee engagement and branding opportunity that more companies are building into their business objectives. The reasons are clear, the best practices are outlined above, the research is in, when will your team embark on a company-wide volunteer program?

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