With the release this summer of the 2012 VolunteerMatch Impact Report, we’re taking a closer look at some of the most important outcomes of our work in 2012. Read the whole series here.
Workplace volunteering is on the rise for a bunch of reasons.
- If you work full time, chances are good that you spend more time at work than you do with friends and family.
- More companies see responsible citizenship as intrinsic to their identity.
- More employees want to leverage company resources to make a difference.
- More nonprofits are getting smart about engaging corporate volunteer programs or using services like VolunteerMatch that do it for them.
We were paying attention to these trends last year when we included the breakdown of workplace activity as a percentage of the overall volunteer activity in the VolunteerMatch network in 2011.
This year we went further by including this breakdown among a set of four data points on workplace impact in our 2012 Social Impact report. The information not only illustrates just how many people are volunteering through a VolunteerMatch program, it also shows the clear and growing impact of corporate volunteering both at VolunteerMatch and in corporate social responsibility overall.
More Network Partners, More Employees with Access
Our first workplace volunteering partner, The Gap, joined the network in 1999. By the end 2012, some 158 companies were using VolunteerMatch to engage employees in workplace volunteer programs. They represent practically every sector of the business economy, including healthcare (UnitedHealth Group), financial services (such as Charles Schwab), retail (Walmart), airlines (US Airways), manufacturing (Toro), media (Discovery Communications), technology (NetSuite), and medical devices (Johnson & Johnson).
While the majority of our workplace partners are larger companies, we also support many smaller firms who often have innovative programs and committed teams. By using VolunteerMatch and our suite of solutions, those programs collectively give more than 3.5 million employees access to volunteer opportunities from our community of nonprofits.
Access is important, and often difficult to make possible. Many employees work from home. Others are on production lines and don’t sit in front of a computer all day. Still others are entry-level or modestly paid such that they may not have a personal machine at home or a smart phone.
But once connected with a great nonprofit, we see over and over again how the relationship can blossom into sustained and lasting impact — say, an occasional employee volunteer gig goes well, and the volunteer signs up to return once a week. Over time, she may also take on important skilled projects.
And there are many other models for connecting that resonate far beyond the initial engagement. These are add up. In 2012 participants in workplace volunteer programs on the VolunteerMatch reported an average of 36 hours of volunteering for the year.
Stay tuned for more analysis of this year’s VolunteerMatch Impact Report. And in the meantime, tell us about volunteering in your workplace. What kind of program do you have access to? How are you getting engaged? We’d love to hear all about it.