As the world closes out the first half of the year, leaders in corporate social responsibility may begin thinking about how to maximize the remainder of their company’s social impact budget. More than likely, their thoughts turn to determining how to use it in support of their employee volunteer engagement goals.
At Points of Light, we encourage these leaders to think of the many ways they rely on their grantees and nonprofit partners to provide meaningful, relevant and impactful employee volunteer programs to support their company’s social impact strategy. There is no better way to ensure that those community organizations have the right resources and infrastructure in place to create these service opportunities than by investing in volunteer engagement.
Consider the amount of effort, assets and staff time that goes into having volunteer opportunities at the ready. While many companies employ volunteer leaders who help plan and manage projects for their colleagues, there are often unseen costs to the nonprofit partner. When corporate volunteers go hand-in-hand with budget to support their work, so much more can be achieved. Funds can be used for volunteer management training, expanding the ways volunteers support an organization’s mission or even recruitment materials to welcome in community volunteers.
The Funders Guide to Investing in Volunteer Engagement, a 2017 ground-breaking resource from The Leighty Foundation, gives grantmakers and nonprofit organizations common data and common language to jointly create innovative strategies to better utilize critical volunteer energy for the good of our communities. A strategic investment in building organizational capacity to engage volunteers can leave an impact that far outlasts a one-off corporate volunteer project.
We invite everyone involved in corporate social impact and employee volunteering to read The Funders Guide for more compelling reasons to include these types of investments in grantmaking plans for the rest of this year and beyond. To access more research around this topic, check out the 2022 report, “Investing in Strategic Volunteer Engagement: A Qualitative Study” which explores the dichotomy between the need for more volunteers and adequate funding to engage and manage them.
Our thanks to The Leighty Foundation for continuing to champion and bring to light the importance of effective volunteer engagement in the nonprofit sector.