At the 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit, held December 1-2 in Oakland, CA, we learned from corporate social responsibility experts about engaging corporate volunteers and partnering with nonprofits. In this series of blog posts, we’ll share with you the valuable insights offered at sessions and by speakers. Up today: Cause, Influence & the Next Generation Workforce.
Guest post by Amy Thayer
What inspires Millennial employees to move from the point of interest to a place of action? The 2015 Millennial Impact Report examines inﬂuence in the workplace, and the environment couldn’t be more relevant. The average American employee spends 47 hours a week in the workplace. As Millennials increasingly make up the majority of many companies, we have to shape cultures that empower this generation of “do-gooders.”
This presentation, titled Cause, Influence & the Next Generation Workforce focused on company cause work; more specifically, the focus was on serving and the factors that inﬂuence engagement in the workplace. More specifically we wanted to understand what inspires Millennials and their managers to donate through company-sponsored giving.
Here’s what we found:
The longer managers worked at their company, the less the opportunity to volunteer with co-workers motivated them to participate. More than three-quarters (77%) of managers were more likely to volunteer if they could use their specific skills, and more than half (52%) were more likely to volunteer if they were incentivized. However, among the managers who had been with their company more than 10 years, only 58% considered volunteering with their coworkers as an incentive to participate, whereas 65% of managers with less than 10 years with their company believed it to be an incentive.
The majority of Millennials engage in some kind of volunteer work. In fact, 70% of Millennial employees spent at least an hour volunteering in 2014, and 37% of Millennial employees volunteered up to 10 hours. In general, of the Millennial employees who volunteered in 2014, 45% said that some of the time they spent volunteering was either offered or promoted by their company. Those who volunteered 10 hours or less in 2014 gave at least half of those hours through their company. Notably, 79% of Millennial employees who had volunteered through a company-sponsored initiative felt they made a positive difference through their involvement.
Millennials engage in workplace volunteering for diverse reasons. The most common reason Millennial employees took part in workplace volunteering was their passion for or interest in the cause, cited by 29% of Millennial employees. Other main reasons: 25% said they volunteered because they were able to use their skills to beneﬁt a cause, 14% because a co-worker or peer encouraged them, and 8% volunteered because they received some type of incentive, such as name recognition, gifts, bonuses, extra days off, etc.
Here are a few recommendations:
OFFER EPISODIC, SHORT-TERM VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES. Most Millennial employees volunteer between 1 and 10 hours a year. These are employees who will get the most from programs like company-wide days of service. Since we also found that Millennial employees are more likely to volunteer if they can leverage their skills or expertise, companies should incorporate skills-based volunteering to increase participation and maximize the value of the volunteer experience.
LEVERAGE COMPETITIONS AND INCENTIVES. Millennial employees in particular respond to incentives and competitions as motivators. While they are often interested in and even passionate about a cause, cultivating a sense of competition around a giving campaign or volunteer project through promotions will increase involvement. Tangible incentives such as name recognition, prizes and additional time off will encourage Millennial employees to participate.
SHOW HOW PARTICIPATION MAKES A DIFFERENCE. Today’s volunteers and donors – and Millennials in particular – want to know that their involvement means something. In this study, 79% of Millennial employees who volunteered through a company-sponsored initiative felt they made a positive difference. Over time, managers and Millennial employees are less inﬂuenced by the issue or cause itself. Competitions and incentives can inspire short-term engagement, but managers should always show employees how their donation or volunteer hours made a difference in a person’s life or beneﬁted a community.
For more information and to read the full 2015 Millennial Impact Report, from which this presentation was created, please visit themillennialimpact.com. You can also view the slides from this presentation.