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If the World is Changing…Can Volunteerism Stay the Same?

Corporate volunteerism has many benefits. It is a great way to promote brand value,  improve public perception, employee engagement and increase retention.  A smart organization understands that doing “good” and doing  “well” are closely aligned. Despite the apparent self-interest, communities benefit when organizations choose to mobilize their  resources to address social concerns. However, times are changing. The world of volunteerism is being injected with new ideas and activities that are moving the philanthropic sector beyond its traditional roots. Here are some of the latest trends in corporate volunteerism.

Corporate giving meets the internet…
In a world of smartphones, hashtags and selfies it is clear that technology has had a huge impact on our daily lives. However, technology can be used to serve the greater good of the community.  Virtual volunteerism is expected to become a fast growing trend in 2017.1 The great thing about volunteering online is that it can be done from a distance, increasing the freedom and flexibility of volunteer engagement. Volunteers can donate their skills to worthy causes like curriculum development, tutoring, proposal writing, software development, research and fundraising, bettering the world one click at a time.

The ROI of corporate volunteering…
Everything is about movement, where you start vs. where you end up. The question is, how do you measure corporate volunteerism? Is it measured by the boost in morale, or the camaraderie gained? Well, it depends on who you ask. Today, companies are moving away from more traditional volunteerism in favor of smarter, skills-based activities that allocate know-how instead of brawn. Organizations are giving “beyond the check” by using skills-based volunteering and pro-bono work to connect the dots between corporate goals and social responsibility.2 According to the Taproot Foundation, only 3% of nonprofits have access to the services they require.3 “Smart” volunteerism helps to improve volunteer engagement by connecting employees to causes they are passionate about, while fundamentally impacting the fabric of the organizations they service.

The use of social media to support corporate giving…
Social media creates boundless opportunity for organizations to connect with volunteers in new and more effective ways. While CEO involvement in volunteer and corporate giving programs is critical, many organizations are ditching traditional methods of communication for a bottom-up-approach, empowering employees to take on a more active role in corporate philanthropic efforts by engaging their social networks. In addition to being a powerful tool in recruiting and promotions, social media can also help to increase participation rates and volunteer engagement. There is also the added benefit of peer advocacy that connects volunteers as they work together towards impacting social concerns. 

While there are undoubtedly changes that are revolutionizing corporate volunteerism, what should never change is each organization’s commitment to purpose-filled work. By testing new approaches, corporations can successful and continuously improve volunteer involvement.


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