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Encouraging participation in Corporate Volunteering schemes

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

All CMPP Members speak warmly of the value to their organizations of giving employees opportunities for volunteering. More and more Members now provide paid volunteering days for employees: evidence that in CMPP we have, in theory, a deep pool of those ready and willing to provide an army of much-needed helping hands - great news for the hundreds of worthwhile projects needing this volunteer support.

The benefits of corporate volunteering have been clear for some while and are well known; they include:

  • improved retention and recruitment of talent

  • improved workplace morale

  • personal development

  • improved well-being

  • team building

  • improved employee engagement

But, in spite of these benefits, feedback from a number of business leaders suggests that mobilizing staff to take full advantage of company-paid volunteering days remains problematic.

Furthermore, the post-lockdown advent of increased hybrid working, with more staff working from home, has complicated the 'problem'.

So, how best to encourage generous work-place volunteering schemes to flourish?

The good news is that staff still want to volunteer - especially the younger Gen Z employees. Indeed, studies suggest that more than half of those employees under the age of 35 want to increase their volunteering.

Here are some actions for those responsible for managing volunteering schemes in businesses - ie those wrestling with how to make volunteering schemes more effective - might wish to consider:

1. Make volunteering an explicit key plank of your HR strategy

2. Utilise your volunteering champions as ambassadors. Employees bond when volunteering, returning to the office better able to support co-workers and improve communications between team members

3. Talk up the well-being benefits of volunteering. So many studies show that volunteers report improved mental health and well-being after volunteering; businesses with well-developed volunteering schemes report fewer days taken off for sickness, improved job-satisfaction and motivation

4. Introduce a tracking scheme to ensure that you know who is out volunteering, when and where

5. Link volunteering to appraisal. If the volunteering and CSR scheme - which you have designed so carefully and invested in with such pride - is a strategic objective, make staff participation an expectation not an exception

6. Lead by example. Encourage senior leaders and managers to be first to join your army of volunteers

7. Celebrate your volunteers - use internal communication systems to ensure that your entire workforce know who has been out, where and what they've been doing and what impact they have had on beneficiaries; set up a volunteer bulletin board in the canteen; use photographs of staff volunteering

If you have experience of other ideas which have been really effective in promoting participation in corporate volunteering, we'd love to hear from you.

And of course, if you're not already a Member, get in touch with us here at CMPP to see how we can partner with you to help implement your corporate volunteering scheme.

The army is growing!

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