At VolunteerMatch, we help our corporate partners manage, track and report on community engagement activities and program outputs. We live and breathe data tracking so our partners can benchmark program success over time. And in result, we’ve seen our partners outperform industry-wide benchmarks time and time again.
One thing we’ve never taken a data-driven approach to is the program inputs of these elite programs – such as budget, staffing and program attributes. In the fall of 2012, we set out to determine the inputs that make a successful employee volunteer program (EVP) by surveying our family of corporate partners. The results of the 2012 VolunteerMatch EVP Client Insights Survey provide a first-ever look at what strong programs look like, and offers best practices for all companies looking to build an effective program.
A few highlights from the survey include:
Large Program, Lean Staff: The survey found that for every 32,000 employees eligible to take part in an EVP, there is only 1 full-time-equivalent (FTE) program manager. That means there is one person trying to connect thousands of employees to volunteer opportunities, in addition to organizing events, driving engagement and reporting results. This highlights the importance of EVP partners that make it easier for this one manager to connect employees with active volunteer opportunities and tracking participation (like VolunteerMatch) or event vendors that ease the pressure of planning large days, weeks or months of service.
Volunteer Committees/Councils Popular: Along with evidence of lean program staffing, we found that most (71%) programs have build volunteer committees or councils to help support the program manager and localize volunteer activities. Many of these committees are self-selecting groups of employees who are highly engaged in the EVP, and looking for additional ways to play a leadership role. Allowing – and empowering – employees to take this advanced position is not only a way to help ease the pressure from the program manager, but also builds participation by having many “program champions” showcasing their enthusiasm and passion for service.
Skilled and Pro Bono are Untapped Opportunities: One surprise from the survey is the low rate of skilled (13%) and pro bono (4%) volunteering reported by participants. While this isn’t necessarily a negative finding, we do see these low rates as an untapped opportunity for companies to grow within their program over time. Particularly with initiatives such as the A Billion + Change pledge and the launch of the Taproot Foundation’s new service to help nonprofits define their pro bono needs – we predict the barriers for companies to participate in these types of service will lessen, and more will begin to take part.
For more findings from the 2012 VolunteerMatch EVP Client Insights Survey, download the full fact sheet, or watch a recording of our January webinar where Casey Brennan discusses the findings and shares tips for program success.