A key benefit of volunteering for companies
Volunteering, as well as contributing to a company’s CSR goals, is one way a company’s staff’s wellbeing can be improved, as a 2021 piece of research by Pro Bono Economics conveys. The key findings of this report included:
- Volunteering has been supported by strong evidence to have a positive impact on individuals’ wellbeing. However, the existing data falls short in differentiating the effects of employer-led volunteering or skilled volunteering from general volunteering.
- Corporate volunteering programs have the potential to improve employee wellbeing cost-effectively by reducing absenteeism, presenteeism, and staff turnover. This is especially relevant now, as people may be feeling socially isolated.
- Nonetheless, uncertainty exists regarding these estimates and more evidence is needed to support them.
Pilotlight also found that 77% of employees believe that employers should support their staff taking time to volunteer, and 82% say volunteering develops their work skills and knowledge i.e. learning – one of the factors above that What Works Wellbeing suggests is an area of improvement for better wellbeing.
These are benefits that charities can use when designing their partnership offers. Volunteering could be a component of a wider collaboration like Crisis’ partnership with Zoopla, or a specific programme could be created for companies to join in employer-led or supported volunteering.
Considerations when designing volunteering programmes
Defining what you need doing as well as the benefit to charity and company alike, will be among the considerations in designing an attractive offer. You’ll want to
- Build trust
- Make the programme accessible
- Make it cost-effective
- Have clear objectives/expectations of volunteers/companies
- What do you want them to do?
- What can they get involved in?
- What is the minimum investment or time that makes it cost-effective for you?
- What support will individual volunteers have for their role?
- Ensure the safety of volunteers and beneficiaries
- Recognise contributions and impact
- Include feedback mechanisms for the programme
Setting a benchmark amount of impact which will require a minimum investment from a company seeking to get involved – like Crisis.
or like The Childhood Trust.
Using video to convey an example or the benefits of volunteering – like Action Together.
Positioning your opportunities with the benefits for the company and the need it solves for you – like The Bay Trust’s Give and Gain days.
Gamifying the corporate volunteering experience – like Shooting Star Children’s Hospices’ use of competitions/challenges.
Similarly, selling the experience and the roles you want people to get involved in – such as in a playful way like Oxfam.
Reducing the unknowns for volunteers by explaining the tasks you need them for and the process of signing up – like Cancer Research.
Listing alternative ways that businesses can partner with you, which doesn’t need to be exhaustive, but can help promote additional income generation such as payroll giving – like Ride High.
Making it easy to organise – like Havens Hospices booking calendar.
Creating a shareable resource or brochure – like Willow Wood.