Modern companies know the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Many of them are actively looking for charitable activities that can enhance their reputation, suit their schedule and fulfil their employee engagement requirements – but are companies really offering what charities need?

Whilst a ‘fun team day out’ volunteering is one of the most popular charitable activities companies seek for, 40% of charities admit that they do not benefit from unskilled short-term activities. 60% of charities do not support group unskilled volunteering and almost 30% don’t have the infrastructure to cope. The startling results revealed by our UK pilot study supports the findings of a think thank NPC (NPC_CSR): 50% of charities have taken company volunteers they did not actually need, out of fear that they might upset their company partners.

Any company working with a charity should be seriously concerned about the above findings. Why should their employees want to volunteer if their effort makes little positive impact or, in the worst-case scenario, becomes a burden to the charities?

We at whatCharity.com are equally concerned with the mismatch between what companies are offering and what charities truly need. Whether you call it CSR, corporate citizenship, company citizenship or purpose-driven organisation, we all want the same – to create a positive impact on the environment the company operates in and a united sense of purpose within the company. Doing good should not be complicated and here are three tips from us to guarantee a company volunteering experience that is meaningful both to the employees and to the charities:

1. Connect with local charities

Sometimes, instead of supporting big household names, employees would be more motivated to set aside personal time to support local charities. More often than not, the causes that are closest to their hearts can be found right in the neighbourhood. Research shows that 30% of employees would volunteer more if they could find local opportunities. Don’t know your local charities? You can use the ‘Charities on Map’ search function on whatCharity.com to discover some worthy causes in your local community.

2. Do more skill-based volunteering

Donating money alone is not always the best solution when it comes to employee engagement – and charities appreciate other resources too! According to our survey, 70% of the charities would benefit from skill-based volunteering but only 40% are currently receiving this. 60% of the charities would value strategic development-related mentoring that can help shape the future of the organisations. Many of the charities on whatCharity.com have listed the resources and types of volunteers they need the most. Why not take a look at what they really need and share your valuable skills with charities to help them grow in the long run? Charities welcome short term project help, even a few hours worth of consultation if a longer term commitment is not something your employees wish to do.

3. Let employees choose the charities

Volunteering is also a great way of relationship building – with the beneficiaries as well as the teammates. As a result, the ability to forge genuine relationships and make real commitment rests on the question of whether the employees truly want to volunteer to the charities. So the simple way to ensure this is to let employees choose the charities. Further academic research findings show that charitable activities and causes chosen by the employee, with the structural support of the companies, are most impactful when it comes to volunteering and employee experience. Our professionally designed company tool, for example, is a great tool to facilitate that first contact point your employees have with charities. Our charity profiles are designed to serve well-informed decision making by company data of official government data, charity´s impact, peer to peer resources and how you can support them: time, skills, money, goods and services.

With our donor-driven platform, you can easily achieve the win-win situation without hiring consultants or burdening HR departments with the task of finding skilled volunteering opportunities and much more.

Tiia Sammallahti

CEO

whatCharity.com

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