Employers offer skills-based volunteering options to staff

Employers have moved from primarily offering team and physical volunteering programmes to staff to providing access to skills-based volunteering opportunities, according to a report by Community Service Volunteers (CSV).

Employee volunteering – who is benefiting now?, interviewed 40 organisations to explore the relationship between employers, employees and community groups engaged in volunteering programmes.

The report found that there has been a move away from purely practical, team volunteering opportunities to skills-based opportunities.

However, it also highlighted the difficulties involved in defining skills-based volunteering and a need for more advice for all sectors.

The report recommends the following points for consideration:

  • Increased communication and understanding is needed, for example, regarding expectations and realities of employee volunteering.
  • Publicise employee volunteering opportunities and associated benefits, sharing best practice and innovation.
  • Consider how to make small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) more ready for employee volunteering.

Angela Schlenkhoff-Hus, development manager at CSV, said: “Employers want to be able to offer the skills of their workforce to charities that need them, but they need to take into account people’s different motivations.

“[Corporate social responsibility] strategies are moving away from practical team volunteering tasks to include skills-based volunteering, but employers will need to support their staff to do this.”

Gennie Franklin, director of programmes and employee volunteering at Business in the Community (BITC), added: “Five years ago, 99% of team challenges were physical [such as] gardening, painting. Now, it’s more 60% with 40% being skills-based or individual.

“More than 10 years ago, when BITC brokered employees into communities it was [through] skill-based programmes, and the trend is now coming back around.”

Bob Thust, director of corporate social responsibility at Deloitte, said: “As a highly-skilled professional services firm, effectively using our people’s expertise is at the very heart of our corporate responsibility approach and the impact we want to create.

“As the report highlights, doing that effectively requires a proper understanding of the needs on both sides so it truly adds value in the community, and provides our employees with a rewarding and developmental experience.”