Top 7 CSR and Employee Volunteering Trends & Challenges

Corporate volunteering and giving programs promise inspiring global impact, but the short-term can be wrought with challenges. One of those challenges is simply a sense that you’re out there on your own. 

The following list is intended to assure you that you’re in good company and offer a few action steps. Scroll to the end for upcoming events where these topics will be discussed!

7 Trends & Challenges

I. Identifying What’s Going On, Locally & Globally

Companies are confident that their employees are giving and volunteering all over the world, but they’re not always sure exactly what’s going on. Now and then, stories trickle in from a plant or a global site about a backpack drive or a disaster relief effort, but the barrier to capturing this information remains. Workplace giving platforms and intranet sites help, but the mechanism is less of a challenge than motivating employees to share their stories in the first place.

II. Measuring Impact

CSR practitioners are typically people who believe in the inherent value of giving and volunteering. However, the people they work for need to see proof. What is volunteering doing for employees? Are they more engaged? How do we know? Is there a real contribution to the company’s bottom line? What about the community? Does planting a few trees really make a difference? Companies need help identifying the measures of success and tracking and reporting impact.

Here are some great measurement firms and consultants who can help!

Also, watch for Realized Worth’s program scoring tool, set for an early 2019 release!

III. Choosing a Workplace Giving Platform

Identifying what’s going on and deciding how to measure impact both lead inevitably to a conversation about workplace giving platforms. The availability of these tools and the features they offer are increasing rapidly, which only makes the decision more difficult to make for CSR practitioners who are already overworked and under-resourced.

How can you choose the best tool for you? Watch for a comprehensive report comparing platforms and guiding decision-making in Spring 2019 by the RW Institute! 

IV. Engaging Mid-Level Managers

Of all barriers corporate volunteering and giving programs encounter, mid-level managers are at the top of the list. Many managers do not understand the benefit of allowing time for their employees to volunteer. In the majority of cases, they do not have a stake in the program and have not experienced the benefits of volunteering for themselves. At many companies, program participation rates are due almost entirely to the buy-in (or lack thereof) of each business area’s managers.

Let’s talk about it! Realized Worth is gathering strategies for engaging mid-level managers from companies around the world. Contact us to share your ideas or hear early reports on the ideas of your peers.

V. Increasing Broad Participation

Typically, a small group of employees volunteer consistently at the same type of event. While these volunteers are valued and appreciated, companies want to know how to recognize both employees who never volunteer as well as employees who volunteer sporadically and engage them in a meaningful way.

What can you do? Many companies try to address this barrier by disseminating leadership and creating Volunteer Champion Networks. They’re on the right track, but unfortunately, Volunteer Champion Networks only work when key volunteer leaders are trained and equipped to grow and scale the program on their own.

Want to learn more about training volunteers? Contact us here.

VI. Implementing Skills-Based Volunteering

Skills-based volunteering is a trend on the rise and companies know they need to get with the times. With this particular topic, most companies are in a “collecting” stage, asking questions like:

  • What are some examples of skills-based volunteering?
  • What other companies are doing it?
  • Are there organizations that offer skills-based volunteering opportunities?
  • Can it take place online? In teams? What does it cost?

Companies need answers to these questions along with education. Want to discuss how to make all volunteering skills-based? Contact us or attend one of the events listed below where this topic will be at the top of the list!

VII. Vetting Nonprofit Partners

When it comes to vetting, companies have encountered major challenges. According to Global Employee Engagement: Challenges and Solutions, a recent research study by LBG Associates, “… almost every company and vendor interviewed … said that vetting a nonprofit outside the home country is the biggest challenge it has … the process includes deciding whether to even get involved in vetting local NGOs and if the company does decide to vet, how deeply it wants to vet for different programs, who will do the vetting, and how much it is willing to pay for that.” Some companies have come up with temporary solutions, but no one has cracked the vetting nut.

So what do we do about these challenges? Let’s talk! Join us at one of the following events this fall:

3BLForum (formerly Commit!Forum)

  • Date: October 23-25, 2018
  • Location: MGM National Harbor, MD
  • Brief Description: “The Role of the Corporate Responsibility Professional as Companies Build for the Future
    Amid Pressure to Prioritize Profit Today”

IMPACT2030 Leadership Forum

  • Date: October 9, 2018
  • Location: TD Bank, 77 King Street W, Toronto, ON
  • Brief Description: The formation of one or more Action Teams, Insights on the employee volunteering capacity of the GTA, SMART Plan Development; find out more at the event link.

Out and Equal Workplace Summit 

  • Date: October 1 – 4, 2018
  • Location: Washington State Convention Center, 705 Pike Street, Seattle, WA
  • Brief Description: Join over 4000 employees including executives, Employee Resource Group members, HR, and Diversity & Inclusion professionals to discuss best strategies and practices.

Realized Worth offers consulting on employee volunteering and giving programs. We are a global agency that specializes in program design, employee volunteer training, and employee engagement. Contact us to learn more!

Angela Parker

Co-founder, CEO

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