It’s not news that corporate volunteering is on the rise and that the business world is learning to measure the benefits. RW’s Corey Diamond posted the following stats, among others, in a recent article:
- 87% of employees who volunteered with their companies reported an improved perception of their employer.
- 64% of employees who actively volunteer said that volunteering with colleagues has strengthened their work relationships.
- Millennials who frequently participate in their company’s volunteer activities are twice as likely to rate their corporate culture as very positive.
- Among employees who volunteered in the past year, 74% say that volunteering makes them feel healthier, 94% say that volunteering improves their mood, and 78% say that volunteering lowers their stress levels.
It may be news to some that while corporations are learning to appreciate the value of volunteering, nonprofit organizations are quickly becoming savvier partners. Even Harvard Business Review is posting articles about it: Profits for Nonprofits: Find a Corporate Partner.
Despite these encouraging developments, great nonprofit/corporate partnerships are still few and far between. In fact, when I hear companies and their partner organizations share their successes on panels at conferences, even they seem surprised that things are going well. Why is this? Realized Worth would suggest the problem stems from a simple language barrier – and there are some relatively easy steps to getting on the same page.
Realized Worth co-founder Chris Jarvis and I recently had the privilege of digging into this topic as one the 35 experts in VolunteerMatch’s new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World. In the chapter, we’ve done our best to offer insight on each of the following steps:
Know Your Stuff.
Learn a few words of the language your potential partner is speaking. How do you define corporate volunteering? What are its business benefits? What are the latest trends and challenges in the corporate social responsibility space? Who are the main players.
Know Your Story.
There will be days so difficult and full of “to dos” that you lose sight of why you got into this in the first place. What’s your story? Why are you in this in the first place? What’s your fundamental why? Don’t even bother with the hard work of a partnership if you don’t have a strong grasp on who you are.
Create space …
… for your potential partner to fall in love. It doesn’t make sense to ask someone to commit to you before they’ve had a chance to get to know you. Woo your potential partner. Invite them into a space that highlights what you as a nonprofit or a company have to offer. Don’t expect anything from them. Just show them why they should choose you.
The world-changing potential of smart partnerships between companies and nonprofit organizations is nearly unlimited. Realized Worth and VolunteerMatch aim to provide the resources and expertise to help make that potential a reality. Ready to dig in to the topics above? The book is available here, but it would even more fun to discuss the issues live.
Join Chris Jarvis and me for a webinar on Thursday, June 11th, 2015 at 11 – 11:45 AM PDT (2 – 2:45 PM EDT). The webinar is titled Changing Corporate Perspective: Workplace Giving Programs and we’ll share some real-life stories in addition to discussing the trends and challenges we’re seeing, offering recommendations on how to inspire employees to volunteer, and getting some perspective on the corporation’s role in a higher calling.