Modern consciousness and the critical need to sustain the World brings an expectation on corporations to take responsibility. We hear the term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) bandied about and it feels like a heavy undertaking for most businesses but it really does not have to be. It simply calls for a commitment to make basic changes and embed these into your values, no matter how large or small your company is. Those that are visibly making the commitment see great return for their business and one of easiest changes to make is to support meaningful employee volunteering.
This doesn't just mean team days out to paint a fence or dig a garden, it means employees accessing opportunities to share their skills and energies with causes that resonate with their own intrinsic values.
Most charities need additional support for their current campaign activities and fundraising or access to skills they don't have funding for - marketing, sales, IT, accounting, creative, maintenance, legal and so forth. Releasing your employees for the smallest amount of time will of course have a tremendous impact but, as undeniably evidenced across a multitude of studies, it'll be exponentially positive for your business too:
91% of consumers expect businesses to operate responsibility (Cone Communications/ Ebiquity Global). Companies that apply good CSR practices, such as Employee Volunteering, see increased business performance from improved reputation and client loyalty. In fact, a recent study from Kenexa High Performance Institute in London demonstrated a 19 times higher return on assets compared to those that don’t practice CSR.
Millennials value purpose over money. 64% won’t take a job if a potential employer doesn’t have strong CSR practices and 75% would actually take a pay cut to work for one that does (Cone Communications). Employer Supported Volunteering (ESV) attracts decent people with strong ethics and increases employee engagement. Statistically, those who are most engaged with their employer perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave (Corporate Leadership Council).
Through volunteering, employees develop new skills from exposure to varying environments and teams, (CIPD ‘Volunteering to Learn. report cites many examples). Additionally, 76% of people who volunteer feel healthier and 94% experience a positive impact on their mood (UnitedHealth Group survey).
The financial benefits can far outweigh the cost of providing extra paid time off. An ESV program that provides 24 accumulative hours each year might cost an average of £6,960 for 20 employees but retaining just 1 of them (data suggests this would be more) could save over £8,500 in recruitment and training. Add to this the improved business performance, increased employee productivity and skills development then that’s a wonderful ROI.
Implementation is simply deciding how much time to give, putting in place a policy and delivering the great news to employees. Installing a service like Vtues, where individuals connect directly with causes through a matching platform, means low business impact and management time with easy, automated, reporting and validation of support.
61% of people aged 16 - 64 who contributed to the Community Life Survey (2017) said they do not have time to volunteer because of work commitments. They represent 19 million people in UK who want to help but can’t. With easy ESV implementation this is 456 million hours to be made available every year so skilled and passionate people can change the World for good!
I'm looking forward to meeting forward-thinking Gloucestershire charities at the Tech For Good Programme (https://www.thegrowthhub.biz/workshops/workshops/981) on 6th December at Growth Hub.
I'll be talking through the opportunity around Employee Volunteering and getting hands-on with the Vtues platform. Some other great speakers over the 2-days including Dan Sutch from CAST and Steve Mitchell There's still a little more time to register if you're a charity with high-growth potential. #techforgood #employeevolunteering
Vtues has launched to liberate people so they CAN volunteer for causes they care about. We are connecting our first charity and CIC members with socially-conscious businesses and employees. Beginning in the Midlands & South West before reaching the rest of the UK.
Over the last few weeks we have engaged with so many great organisations who focus on important issues including nature preservation, domestic and sexual abuse, animal welfare, disability, community, waste-reduction and child protection. All of whom depend on volunteers to achieve their purpose.
I volunteer time for a number of charities including, very recently, a small animal sanctuary which is very close to my home and has rescued many thousands of animals from abuse and neglect with 500+ currently under its protection. I have provided general support including tidying, gardening and supporting fundraisers. For other charities I help with marketing and strategy.
The sanctuary is situated less than 2 miles from my home yet, despite the physical closeness and the fact that I am a dedicated animal supporter, it took me nearly 3 years to reach out to them. For all of that time I had been subject to critical barriers that had prevented me from helping sooner.
The barriers were that there had been no communication channel to fix the santuary in my consciousness, that the opportunity to volunteer there had to be sought out with effort and that I would need to define and carve-out time from my busy life in order to help.
These awareness and time barriers exist universally and are reflected on in a number of sector studies. The latest Community Life Survey conducted by DCMS (a government survey of over 10,000 representative participants across the UK) revealed that more than 66% of 25 – 65 year olds do not regularly or formally volunteer because of work commitments. Additionally, 24% of those who do not volunteer said they don’t know of any groups to help or haven’t heard about any opportunities.
I am deeply inspired and excited to deliver ways to help overcome these barriers through Vtues - connecting a large network of volunteers, charities, social enterprises and businesses to drive up awareness of causes like my local sanctuary and liberate peoples' time to volunteer. Vtues gives volunteers access to short-term, flexible, opportunities that they can easily achieve through paid volunteering leave from supporting employers.
#LiberatingVolunteers #EmployeeVolunteering #SkillsMatchedVolunteering #MicroVolunteering #CSR #Volunteering #vtues
Charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations...
Imagine if you had an on-demand, matched, resource for your every need, to change the World for good
A majority of Charities, Non-Profits and Social Enterprises are entirely cash restricted and depend on external funding for marketing, to manage their operation and engage voluntary support. This hand-to-mouth existence is detrimental to growth and achieving your purpose and you are so reliant on relatively few volunteers.
The vision for Vtues is to create a network of millions of individuals who can and want to respond to the needs of the causes they care about and share their knowledge, passion and skills.
Much research from Government and sector bodies such as NVCO has gone into determining the number of people who actually want to volunteer. The most recent data from Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport suggests that up to 75% of people over 16 would volunteer with certain barriers removed. That’s about 39,000,000 potential volunteers in UK alone. BUT there are barriers – life commitments, relevance and awareness of opportunities.
To address this, volunteering has to be made more visible, attainable and engaging to all. There is a clear need for a culture shift towards Micro Volunteering where any individual who wants to support a charity can do this around their existing commitments and is not obliged to give regular, ongoing, hours.
The largest barrier to volunteering is due to work commitments and this applies to over half of potential volunteers so there is a critical need to engage employers to introduce and manage volunteering leave. Vtues will address the barriers:
1. We make it easy for organisations that need volunteers to post and promote opportunities
2. We will engage and connect you with a massive network of individuals who could volunteer
3. We have a platform to match volunteers with you based on skills, location, availability & more – think marketing person, designer, plumber, lawyer, driver, research support, scientist, animal carer, entertainer, fundraiser…and the list just goes on
4. We will encourage Micro Volunteering with a recommendation of 24 hours each year – that’s not say folks won’t give more. They are likely to once they experience the many personal benefits
5. We will record, reward and incentivise the efforts of volunteers and they will benefit from skills development, variety and improved wellbeing
6. We will consult with Employers to help them introduce Employer Sponsored Volunteering and give paid employee volunteering leave to unleash those who are currently constrained by their work
7. We will promote, accredit and support the good companies that implement employee volunteering
Right now, we will focus on specific parts of the UK to ensure there is a balance of volunteers and businesses for voluntary organisations in those area. We will eventually build up relationships across the entire UK so that the platform is open to all. Beyond that, the rest of the World.
Of course, Vtues doesn’t negate the need for committed employees but it provides a vast opportunity to raise your profile, increase funds, reduce costs and innovate.
Giving just a little amount of who you are can make significant and perpetually positive changes to the world and return a lasting sense of satisfaction and reward.
Traditional volunteering demands a lot of time and asks for a great deal of ongoing commitment. It’s also very difficult to find opportunities that fit in and around life and work. For these reasons most of us do not volunteer, even as charity supporters and we’re left feeling helpless and guilty.
Micro-volunteering allows you to give any amount of time you have, when you can give it, to those that you can help. This could be anything you like. Perhaps a couple of hours looking after someone in your community, time spent fundraising with friends or a day helping out at your local animal shelter.
You may have specific skills and knowledge that charities are looking for - marketing, sales, web or graphic design, plumbing, legal, accountancy, business strategy, art, music etc. You can be certain that they are needed.
If you are fortunate to get paid leave under an Employer Support Volunteering program, then you can apply to volunteer through Vtues under that scheme. Otherwise, we can help introduce a program where you work.
If all companies supported their employees in this way then it would unleash billions of hours to create a surge of energy to support serious social and global issues.