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CSR & Making a Difference Q1 2022

Supporting communities through corporate volunteering

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Terri O’Brien

Corporate & Programmes Manager, Volunteer Ireland

Volunteering is increasingly seen as a ‘must have’ of any company’s CSR programme.

Corporate or employee volunteering is where a company supports and encourages its employees to volunteer to serve community needs during the working day or on the employee’s own time.

Business case for corporate volunteering

As well as supporting the communities they serve, employee volunteering offers companies the opportunity to augment employee retention, improve job satisfaction and increase employee motivation. Corporate volunteering can raise the community profile of companies, enhance brand awareness and connect businesses with communities.

Meeting the needs of the organisation

It is easy to assume there are lots of corporate-specific volunteer opportunities already designed and waiting for your teams to rock up and get stuck in. However, this is rarely the case. Volunteer opportunities take time to organise and plan and they must meet an identified need within the organisation. Companies generally come to these relationships with the upper hand, in terms of human and financial resources, and therefore need to be mindful of their requests and expectations so they support rather than overwhelm the non-profit.

Supporting education through corporate volunteering

While companies get involved in all sorts of volunteering from beach cleans to assembling food packs, gardening to sharing their professional skills, supporting youth education is an increasingly popular choice.

Employee volunteering offers companies the opportunity to augment employee retention, improve job satisfaction and increase employee motivation.

The non-profit Kinia, trains employee volunteers to support national school children via their online Reading Buddy Programme while Junior Achievement partners with businesses in areas such as entrepreneurship, employability, financial literacy and STEM. Company volunteers assist the Early Learning Initiative in a range of virtual opportunities including mentoring, STEM, language cafés, storytelling, careers events, coding and educational gaming.

Developing an in-house programme

Meanwhile, DPS Global developed an in-house programme, Aspire2, supporting students in DEIS schools to progress to third level, further education and apprenticeships. The programme offers direct financial support for students, mentoring via an employee volunteer programme, youth advisory panels, work experience and a parents training programme. The programme’s 100+ volunteer mentors are essential to supporting the 1,800 students and 10 schools engaging in the programme. The company partners with a range of organisations to ensure best practice and the programme has recorded an 8% increase in students going on to third level.

To find out more about corporate volunteering contact Volunteer Ireland or join our upcoming coffee morning on employee volunteering on February 10th/ March 10th/ April 14th.

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