The Importance of Corporate Volunteerism

Volunteering has dropped to a 10-year low, even though research indicates that corporate philanthropy and volunteerism can aid businesses in bringing in and retaining talent, according to a Deloitte survey.

The survey revealed that many companies and individuals might not be taking full advantage of the benefits of volunteerism, as it can help with employee engagement, resume-building and developing leadership skills.

In fact, 92% of respondents said they thought volunteering can improve employee skillsets and leadership skills, while 80% said active volunteers have an easier time transitioning into leadership roles.

These responses show volunteering is important – but nearly half of those surveyed said their organization currently does not offer a volunteer program.

Why Should Organizations Get Involved?

Besides increasing employee engagement and other benefits the survey indicated, volunteering is a great way for the community to begin understanding what the organization is and what it does.

“It raises your brand awareness in the community,” said Tim Marks, CEO of Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa, Florida at the 2018 Synapse Innovation Summit. “This brand, this organization cares about its community and they give back.”

It can also help create a sense of team and involvement, Marks said.

“I worked for 21 years in the corporate world and I would lead groups on volunteer exercises to build teamwork – and it coalesced the organization,” Marks said. “We got to know each other in different settings.”

In the Cone Cause Evolution Study, results showed that employees who were very involved with organization volunteer programs were 96% more likely to agree with the statement “I am proud of my company’s values,” and 97% more likely to agree with “I feel a strong sense of loyalty to my company.”

Additionally, 85% of consumers viewed companies in a more positive light when the company supported a cause they cared about, and 90% wanted companies to tell them how they are giving back.

Why Should CEOs Volunteer?

Marks left his Fortune 50 company to go work in the nonprofit space after witnessing the volunteerism spirit among his teams. Now, he is the CEO of Metropolitan Ministries, a nonprofit that serves poor and homeless families in several Tampa-area counties.

“Nonprofits are mission-driven, goal-aligned and every business wants to be mission-driven and goal-aligned,” Marks said. “If you can show your employees that type of experience and give them a satisfying day of accomplishing and giving back, that’s great.”

If employees can see their leaders in a position of volunteering, then they may feel more inclined to volunteer – meaning the CEO is a great person to give an example of a giving-back spirit.

Why Should Employees Volunteer?

Volunteering doesn’t just bolster skill sets – it also bolsters resumes. According to Deloitte, 82% of those surveyed indicated they would be more likely to pick a candidate with volunteer experience, while 85% would overlook certain flaws in a resume if the candidate had volunteer work on the resume.

Moving up in a company may also be easier with volunteer experience, as 80% of those surveyed felt that it was easier for those who actively volunteer to move into leadership roles.

Participating in skills-based volunteering also gives employees the chance to increase professional development – and can also create networking opportunities. Being out in the community with other professionals creates an excellent chance to meet people that one might not normally encounter and form beneficial connections that can help in careers and job searches.

Implementing a Company Volunteer Program

Before starting an organization-wide volunteer program, create a survey to gauge employee interest. There are five different types of volunteerism, according to Deloitte.

  • Direct person-to-person volunteering: working directly with people needing aid, such as visiting a nursing home, working at a homeless shelter or mentoring youths
  • Non-skills-based community volunteering: indirectly interacting with others by doing tasks like cleaning up a park or painting a home
  • Skills-based community volunteering: using professional skills to help those in need, such as a lawyer taking a pro bono case, medical professionals working in a free clinic or athletes helping at a Boys and Girls Club
  • Public advocacy-based volunteering: giving back by lending skills to public interest issues like protesting against social injustice
  • Nonprofit/charity board member volunteering: working as a member of a board of directors for a nonprofit

Employees may be passionate about different areas of volunteering and by asking them which areas they enjoy; the organization can create a program centered around them.

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