Corporate volunteering is good for your business. It’s also good for the community. It’s a win-win, and that’s why it’s a good investment in 2018 and beyond. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, “88% of Millennials gravitate toward companies with proven corporate social responsibility programs.” Here’s what corporate volunteering will look like in 2018 and beyond.
Skills-Based Volunteerism Is on the Rise
Skills-Based Volunteerism (SBV) is the trendy buzzword in corporate volunteering for 2018. It happens when workers use the uncommon skills they already have to volunteer. For instance, a copywriter could tutor high school students in English. Or a digital marketer could teach Adobe Photoshop to owners of boutique marketing agencies in the Philippines.
Andrew Chamberlin is the chief economist for the large jobsite Glassdoor. He opines that “ U.S. companies often complain that workers don’t have the skills needed for the jobs available.” This cry is heard around the globe. Well, one fix to this quandary is corporate volunteering. Employees who participate in skills-based volunteerism report a 142% increase in job-related skills as opposed to traditional volunteers. Moreover, the benefits don’t stop with these “hard” skills. Volunteers also develop “soft” skills such as leadership, communication, and empathy for others, which are vital for success in management, vital for moving up the corporate ladder.
The importance of SBV really can’t be overstated. Traditional volunteering is great, but SBV is the cherry (plus the whipped cream) on top. Here’s one last eye-opening stat on the issue. True Impact says, “Volunteers involved in SBV programs are 47% more likely to report job satisfaction than traditional volunteers.” SBV is the trend in corporate volunteering to watch for in 2018.
Public Relations Is Getting Tricker. Can Corporate Volunteering Help?
One job has changed dramatically in the last 15-20 years. That would be the duty of a public relations manager. The advent of social media means it is so much harder to control the PR message. In the 20th century, PR was done via television, radio, and newspaper. Now social media has flipped those ideas on their head. There’s a lot more noise, and it’s much harder to be heard than before. Also, news travels a lot quicker these days, and putting the genie back in the bottle, so to speak, is nigh impossible.
Corporate volunteering won’t solve all of a company’s PR issues. It would be folly to pretend that it did. Yet, it certainly can help. PR is more about getting your company’s name in the newspaper, a tactic that is becoming less effective than ever. Pew Research reports that newspaper circulation has fallen for 28 years in a row. Corporate Volunteering is about making contacts in the community, which helps heaps with PR. Pulse Survey says, “40% of a company’s reputation is determined by volunteering and corporate social responsibility.
Volunteering boosts your PR. Naturally, you don’t do it for that reason alone, but it is a pleasant benefit.
Corporate Volunteering and Networking
Business networking has been essential for hundreds (if not thousands) of years. For instance, the epic battle over the future of electricity between Tesla and Edison was largely determined by Edison’s contacts, connections which were more robust. Volunteer work is a great way for companies to build connections with other companies and entities.
One key question remains. Is corporate volunteering a viable alternative to traditional networking, such as your average conference or meet-and-greet? Business Insider has food for thought. They opine that “The best networking happens when you’re not networking.” In other words, many times the magic happens in life when you’re not thinking of yourself. It lowers the stakes, reduces the pressure of networking, allowing companies to develop contacts in a more organic way.
Corporate volunteering should be done with networking in mind. The opportunity is too valuable to miss. Naturally, volunteering provides so much more value than just adding contacts to the phone. That being said, the chance for networking to add value to a business is unprecedented.
Volunteer Work and Company Loyalty
Employee turnover is a big (and expensive) problem for corporations. Zane Benefits says that it costs “6 to 9 months salary” to replace an employee. If someone is making $100,000 a year, it takes $50,000 to $75,000 to replace them. That’s a lot of green.
Perhaps surprisingly (as there is a widespread idea that people don’t like to spend too much time at their job), employees who do volunteer work are more loyal to their company. A study from Deloitte says that more than half the employees who volunteer are “very loyal” toward their company, and would “likely recommend” their company to a friend. The idea is that employees connect with each other in fresh ways when they do a volunteer project together. And naturally, when you like your coworkers, you’re more likely to stick at your job.
One key point is that volunteers get the most satisfaction from their efforts when they have meaningful involvement. If someone feels unable to help, unable to contribute significantly, they won’t get much out of corporate volunteering. That’s why SBV (skills-based volunteering) is so important. Companies should take on projects that match their employee’s unique strength. If employees have a special/rare skill, it’s ideal to help them share it.
Tracking Corporate Volunteering
The American Fitness Chain LA Fitness has a memorable motto, “What gets measured, gets improved.” The idea applies to many areas of business and life. Corporate volunteering is no exception. Corporate Volunteering has a lot of benefits, but if companies don’t track it, they’re unlikely to consistently increase it. One trend for 2018 will be to track volunteer stats, so companies can see where they are. What can be tracked? There are various stats such as employee participation rates, number of hours volunteered employee satisfaction from volunteer work (done anonymously via surveys), and other ways too. Also, getting other feedback from surveys, such as ideas for future volunteer events, is a good way to keep employees happy.
Did we miss anything? How else do you think corporate volunteering will change in 2018 and beyond. What changes are on the horizon? Do you think corporate volunteering is getting more popular or less popular? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Author: Benjamin Shepardson is a contributing writer for (publication) and the founder of NoStop Blog Writing Service. With an extensive career in digital marketing and web development, Ben’s knowledge of the industry has enabled small businesses to scale and grow through well-crafted content and strategy.