Look around… the professional world we live in today is significantly different from what it was just a few decades ago. Today’s professional environment is less about what an employee can do for a company and more about the type of working environment a company can offer its employees. Workers today want more meaning from their work-life and are quick to jump ship if their aspirations aren’t met. And research from the Yale School of Management shows that employees who value their employer’s social contributions are more engaged, more productive and more loyal, so workplace giving initiatives are key to employee engagement. But one-size does not fit all and corporations need to tailor their corporate philanthropy programs to match their employees’ diverse interests and talents… and one way of doing this is by leveraging each worker’s unique strengths into skills-based volunteering (SBV).
Moreover, with April 12-18 celebrated as National Volunteer Week, this is a great time for corporations to inspire, recognize and encourage their employees to volunteer their skills for causes they most deeply care about. Already, over 500 of America’s biggest corporations are involved in delivering over $2 billion worth of pro bono and skills-based services to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges in fields such as education, youth programs, community revitalization, environment, women’s rights, healthcare, poverty, hunger, homelessness and disaster relief.
And, as an article by Kimberly Dulin points out, skills-based volunteering is the common thread that connects non-profits with skilled professionals and corporate philanthropy, and imparts a greater sense of purpose to professionals who make an impact by sharing their skills. Skills-based volunteering is highly effective and impactful for non-profits, meaningful for employee volunteers, and one of the fastest growing trends in workplace giving.
While SBV clearly provides a strategic level of volunteering to non-profits, it also helps employees hone and develop their professional skills. Research by Deloitte Consulting shows that:
- 78% of those who volunteer feel less stressed
- 76% report feeling healthier
- 87% developed improved teamwork and people skills, and
- 81% develop stronger relations with their colleagues at work
Employee volunteers also report developing a sense of warmth and pride towards their companies, which translates into higher employee engagement and productivity, which significantly boost sales, corporate reputation and profits. Research shows that about 35% of all employees are not fully engaged at work, and a Gallup poll shows that this disengagement costs companies thousands of dollars per employee, so programs such as skills-based volunteering go a long way in benefiting employers while making the world a better place.