Why More Companies Should Offer Skilled Group Volunteer Opportunities

Evidence from Cause, Influence & the Next Generation Workforce: The 2015 Millennial Impact Report.

Yes, I am a millennial. Not only that, but after reading the recently-released 2015 Millennial Impact Report, I realized: I am the spitting image of a typical millennial.

Tess Srebro

Spitting image of a typical millennial.

And I’m here to tell you what I –and my generational peers- want from our corporate volunteering.

But first, let me take you back. In 2008, I eagerly accepted my first full-time, non-summer-break job, in a field only vaguely related to what I studied in school.

The job itself was high pressure, leading to many sleepless nights. The hours were long: 50+ office hours per week; tied to the blackberry 24/7. However, I had the most amazing group of co-workers, whom I loved dearly and who made my day fun.

Yes, I had the constant, nagging feeling that I wanted to do something else, something… more meaningful. But I ended up staying at that job for 3 years, before finally seeking out that meaningfulness.

Why? My awesome co-workers, that’s why.

 “Bonds with co-workers was one of the biggest factors that made Millennials want to stay at their company for more than three years.”- The 2015 Millennial Impact Report

Co-worker BFFs_1

Me with my co-worker BFFs.

The report goes on to show that the influence of co-workers might be deeper than we once thought. Check out these surprising stats:

  • “27% of millennial employees said they are more likely to donate to a cause if their supervisor does; while 46% of employees are likely to donate if a co-worker asks them to.
  • 77% of millennial employees prefer to volunteer with groups of fellow employees, rather than doing cause work on their own.”

The report goes on to say that during its studies; it found that “Co-worker relationships not only influenced cause participation, but that these relationships also contributed to long-term happiness at work.”

The report also backs up what many of us have been saying for some time: Corporate volunteers want to use their specialized skills to make a difference.

I was recently speaking with a friend, who works for a successful tech company, about his company’s volunteerism. “It’s a waste to have people who are making $50 an hour spend their time packing boxes at a food bank,” he says. “If we could find a way to donate our skills to an organization, everyone gets more value out of the interaction,” he says.

While that may be true, I’ve also heard from others at this same company that doing team activities like food bank sorting offers valuable team-building and bonding opportunities.

How do employers reconcile this push for skilled volunteer opportunities with the parallel desire for group and team-building opportunities?

It’s actually very simple. Group volunteer projects that use your employees’ specialized skills.

There are plenty of opportunities for group volunteer activities that involve skills. If they don’t already exist, you can create them. For example, skilled-volunteer employees at Appirio complete pro bono tech projects. And employees at MUFG Union Bank venture out together to teach financial literacy.

If you’re struggling to find your company’s fit, start by offering variety. Offer volunteer time off so that employees can choose their own ways to get involved with their skills. Offer company-led group volunteer outings to get people’s minds off work for the afternoon, even if it’s not skills-based. Most importantly, listen to employees. Find out how they want to get involved, and make that possible.

Remember, co-worker bonds lead to employee happiness and retention. Both the Millennial Impact Report and my personal experience show this. So why wouldn’t you take advantage of this easy way to build co-worker relationships?

Learn how VolunteerMatch Solutions can support your company’s group volunteerism.

You’re Invited: CECP’s Giving In Numbers Survey

Logo for CECP (the Committee for Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy)Would your company like to be represented in the leading research on corporate philanthropy trends?

Giving in Numbers is the leading benchmark on corporate giving and socially motivated employee engagement programs. Last year, 261 companies participated, including 62 of the largest 100 companies in Fortune 500.

This year, the theme is Making the Business Case, and CECP wants your input.

Why participate?

  • Leadership: Establish your company as a leader in corporate responsibility.
  • Data: Use the results to benchmark your company’s programs. Help make your case!
  • Peer Learning & Collaboration: Exposure to, and recognition from, leaders in global CSR.
  • Recognition: Your company name would be prominently displayed on the publication and CECP website.
  • Free copy: Participants receive a hard copy of the Giving in Numbers report in the mail.

Participants are asked to complete survey questions across 6 categories on their 2014 contributions (basic company information, total giving, international giving, employee engagement, corporate foundation structure, and impact evaluation & measurement).

The survey will only remain open until Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

Interested? Learn more.

Meeting the Challenges of Global Employee Volunteerism

Meeting the Challenges of Global Employee VolunteerismThe trend toward taking employee volunteer programs global has been growing for years. And as we announced in April, VolunteerMatch is going global as well, piloting its employee engagement solutions outside the U.S. for the first time. The initiative will begin in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia and we are evaluating additional countries and regions.

As part of VolunteerMatch’s commitment to serve our clients with overseas locations, we were pleased to sponsor LBG Associates’ research on global employee engagement. For the report, “Global Employee Engagement: Challenges and Solutions,” LBG Associates interviewed 36 multinational corporations about the issues they encountered taking their programs overseas and the solutions that have worked for them.

LBG Associates determined that the three biggest challenges global companies face are:

  • Managing a global employee engagement program
  • Vetting non-governmental organizations (NGOs) outside the home country
  • Paying small, employee-directed grants

The report also identified challenges and solutions that are unique to specific employee engagement programs, such as volunteerism, workplace giving, Matching Gifts and Dollar for Doers programs.

With respect to volunteerism, one of the many challenges highlighted was the difficulty companies have finding appropriate NGOs to provide volunteer opportunities for employees. Although local employees can provide insight into different potential partners, the company still has to vet an NGO to make sure it is what it claims to be.

A potential solution, according to the report, is to use third parties like VolunteerMatch to source volunteer projects. To quote the report, “Third parties can be extremely useful, as they likely know the community, the issues and the nonprofits better than the company. They aren’t driven by personal passions, family relationships, political leanings or other factors that can skew employee-sourced volunteer projects.”

Another important point from the research is that companies have to make sure that NGOs are actually ready to host volunteers. In some countries, nonprofits are unfamiliar with the concept of employee volunteers and don’t understand what volunteers can do for them. The report has a handy checklist to assess NGO readiness.

The highlights of the report will be presented at a webinar on July 16, 2014 at 1 PM Eastern.

You can register for the webinar or get the full report at www.lbg-associates.com or by calling LBG Associates at 203-325-3154.

Why Smart Companies Volunteer

Why Smart Companies VolunteerWhy do so many smart companies have workplace volunteer programs? Well, if recent research is right, it might not be the reason you expected.

VolunteerMatch works with some of the best workplace volunteering programs in the world. And when we ask them why they believe volunteering is good for business, they are quick to point out that it: attracts and keeps talented employees; improves community relations; strengthens brand value; improves customer relations; demonstrates corporate values; builds teamwork; amplifies leadership; and when done well, expands an organization’s capacity to impact the issues most relevant to its long-term success.

These are all great reasons, and they reflect a changing business environment in which doing good and doing well are increasingly aligned. Smart companies have realized that dedicating themselves to big ideas with a clear sense of purpose has become a fundamental ingredient of success.

Take Google as an example…

Read the rest of Greg Baldwin’s post about how research shows that good business and good purpose are linked in unexpected ways.

What’s Your Giving in Numbers?

If your company has revenue of more than $2 billion, you can participate in this year's CECP Giving in Numbers survey.How does your company’s giving stack up against others? CECP’s annual Giving in Numbers report helps answer that question, and each year the insight becomes more valuable as more data is collected from more companies. This year, we’re helping spread the word to companies who can participate in the survey.

The source for the most comprehensive look at corporate giving trends year to year, CECP, in association with The Conference Board, has opened its 13th annual Giving in Numbers survey. This is the only rigorous study of corporate societal engagement available for public download at no cost. The data is gathered through a survey of approximately 250 of the largest companies in the world, and will capture information on total giving, program areas, employee engagement, predictions for 2014, and more.

Not only does the survey allow for year-over-year tracking of key industry giving benchmarks, but this year will also include new perspectives on key trends such as:

  • Societal impact measurement
  • Global giving, including questions on total giving using the CECP Global Guide valuation guidance and giving data by country
  • Employee engagement and company gift-matching programs

CECP's annual Giving in Numbers report.All companies with $2 billion or more in revenue are invited to join the free benchmarking project by contacting CECP. The submission deadline for inclusion in the analysis is April 1, 2014. CECP will provide an exclusive look at the findings from the survey to its affiliated companies at the CECP Summit on May 20, 2014 in New York City and will share results with the media later that day.

If your company has revenue of $2 billion or more, contact CECP to participate in the 2014 Giving in Numbers survey!