The time around Thanksgiving traditionally sees an uptick in volunteerism from people of all ages. However, it is often overlooked that Americans are among the most charitable citizens in the world, year round. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), around 26 percent of the adult population (over 60 million) gives some 8.1 billion hours of volunteer work annually, a value of $158 billion per year.
Volunteering brings a number of benefits to both the volunteer and the local community, and lately organizations are finding out that Employee Volunteer Programs (EVPs) can confer even larger benefits to their workforces. Best practice EVPs have the potential to:
- Increase the likelihood that employees will recommend your company
- Increase job satisfaction levels
- Increase morale and positive word of mouth about the company
- Increase retention rates
Not only that, EVPs can help attract those young, hip millennials you keep hearing about. According to a Stanford Graduate School of Business study, recent MBA graduates are willing to sacrifice up to 14.4 percent of their expected income to work for a socially responsible company.
In addition, several companies tie volunteer efforts to core values or business functions, which can seriously boost overall employee engagement and performance. A recent study focusing around a company in Ireland found that 82 percent of their employees felt more committed to their organization after volunteering. It doesn’t stop there: EVPs can be leveraged to enhance employee skills, add an extra layer to recruiting/retention efforts, improve public relations, and they also provide excellent marketing opportunities. All of these elements work toward increasing the reputation of the company, and the bottom line.
In the spirit of giving, here are some great resources to help you get started creating your own EVP:
- JA Worldwide’s Benefits of Employee Volunteer Programs has everything you need to make a business case.
- Points of Light’s Seven Practices of Effective Employee Volunteer Programs white paper has tons of stats, case studies, and thoughtful observations about what makes a world-class volunteer program.
- Charity Navigator is a handy website that rates charities based on volunteer experiences, helping you select one that is reputable and suits the culture of your company.
So we encourage everyone to not stop at Thanksgiving. Employee Volunteer Programs can provide a bevy of benefits to the workplace while helping nonprofits give much-needed services to those in need at the same time – it’s one of those rare “win-win-win” situations.