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Corporate America Gives Workplace Volunteerism a Strong Vote of Confidence

Thursday, 6th May 2010 at 1:24 pm
Staff Reporter
As Australia heads into National Volunteer Week, a new US survey finds businesses believe workplace volunteerism has the power to make a real difference.

Thursday, 6th May 2010
at 1:24 pm
Staff Reporter



Corporate America Gives Workplace Volunteerism a Strong Vote of Confidence
Thursday, 6th May 2010 at 1:24 pm

Corporate America is giving workplace volunteerism a strong vote of confidence as a means to make a significant, long-term difference in their communities.

According to the 2010 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey, more than eight in 10 companies (84 percent) believe that volunteerism can help Not for Profits accomplish long-term social goals, and are increasingly offering skills-based volunteer opportunities to employees.

In fact, corporate managers report that the top priorities when determining workplace volunteer activities include the potential to alleviate a social issue (36 percent), help the Not for Profits function more effectively (31 percent) and serve more clients (31 percent).

Conversely, while volunteerism is often widely cited for its benefits related to employee recruitment and retention, criteria related to business interests ranked lower.

Top criteria when determining volunteer activities, as identified by the survey respondents:

  • Has high potential to help alleviate a societal issue (36 percent)
  • Helps the NFP function more effectively (31 percent)
  • Helps the NFP serve more clients/beneficiaries (31 percent)
  • Helps build company brand (15 percent)
  • Enhances employee morale (23 percent)

Barry Salzberg, Deloitte's chief executive officer says businesses overwhelmingly agrees on the value of skilled volunteerism. More than nine in 10 (91 percent) respondents agree their employees’ business skills would be valuable to a Not for Profit, a marked increase from the 2009 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey of corporate contributions managers (78 percent).

Further, companies are increasingly offering skilled volunteerism as an option for employees: 60 percent of companies polled said they offer skilled volunteerism where employees self-select the issue, and 64 percent offer skilled volunteerism where projects address the companies’ philanthropic focus. This is in contrast to the 2009 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey where just 50 percent of respondents reported offering skilled volunteer opportunities to employees.

The study found that nearly 70 percent of companies polled offer paid time off for volunteer activities but, while companies have high expectations that volunteerism will achieve results, many corporate managers are failing to consistently communicate their goals and expectations to Not for Profit partners in advance of committing employee volunteer time.

Less than half of respondents said they always discuss with the NFPs they support on how the volunteer project can help address short-term needs (44 percent), have a long-term impact on society (43 percent), or how it will help the NFP function more effectively (45 percent).

As well, the Deloitte survey showed that measurement and accountability for volunteer initiatives are lacking. Just 37 percent of respondents always discuss how the company can help the Not for Profit collect data on resulting social impact prior to embarking on a project, and just 38 percent work with Not for Profits to customize metrics that specifically measure the impact of volunteer time.

It found that less than half of respondents (47 percent) said they require Not for Profits in receipt of volunteer time to report back on the resulting social impact(s).

The executive summary of the report can be downloaded at http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/press/Press-Releases/9b29835011011210VgnVCM100000ba42f00aRCRD.htm

Australia's National Volunteer Week takes place 10-16th May, 2010 with the theme Volunteering: Now, more than ever. For more information go to http://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/html/s02_article/default.asp?nav_top_id=55&nav_cat_id=357

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