How Technology is Making Corporate Volunteering Easier & More Effective
Today many companies have corporate volunteer programs in place as a part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies.
Employees — and millennials in particular — are more engaged and aware about social issues than ever, and many expect companies to have CSR as part of their organizational framework. According to Deloitte, some 88 percent of millennials believe that organizations should participate in combatting social causes, and 86 percent believe that the overall “success” of an organization should be based on elements besides monetary profits.
Most managers, too, would agree that encouraging volunteering is a positive move for their image, for employee engagement, and for overall morale. But challenges to do with employee engagement, tracking activities and reporting on overall impact remain.
Digital tools can help companies to better organize and track CSR activities, thereby streamlining organizational issues and facilitating stronger stakeholder engagement.
Implementing Corporate Volunteering Programs
The differences between companies that succeed with their corporate citizenship management and those who don’t:
- A culture that aligns with their CSR values
- Engaged employees
- Connecting employees with organizations or positions that they genuinely care about
- Setting and meeting clear goals
- Stakeholder trust
- Accurate measuring and reporting
Success in a CSR as well as corporate citizenship depends on not only motivation, but also shared values and clear communication across departments and between organizations. A Data-based digital tools can help with communication flow and accurate reporting, each of which are necessary for a successful CSR strategy.
Digital tools which have the capacity to gather data in real-time can help in every step of the CSR process, as well as tighten the existing organizational structure.
One key to success is to use tools which allow all stakeholders to effectively plan, participate in, and effectively “see” the results of corporate volunteering activities.
The Benefits of Employee Volunteering Programs
According to a recent Deloitte study, even though 77 percent of people think that corporate citizenship is important, not even 20 percent of organizations claim that it’s a top priority.
So, despite the fact that consumers and employees are more focussed on social responsibility than ever before, it seems there’s plenty of room for more companies jump on the bandwagon.
Well-implemented CSR programs can help businesses to:
- Help them to stay transparent
- Improve their overall image
- Promote a growth culture
- Help employees find purpose
- Recruit well-rounded employees
- Offer leadership and engagement opportunities
Well-run employee volunteer programs are a high-value projects which, according to Deloitte, may even improve profit margins.
Making an Impact
Any company can find volunteer or even giving programs and encourage employees to “help out,” but individuals will only feel engaged if they’re matched up with organizations that match their values, skills and preferences.
It’s more likely that a volunteer or charity activity will have a clear impact when participants can “feel good” about what they’re doing, as well as “see” results. This might mean that they get a timely receipt for tax deductions on payroll donations, or that their time spent helping at a soup kitchen helped to feed x many more people.
Employees and employers alike must be clear that these initiatives are purpose-driven rather than “corporate-driven” activities in order to stay engaged. The quality of experience matters.
A New Era of Technology-Driven Corporate Volunteering
Volunteering improves engagement in a few ways, most notably by making work “meaningful.”
Still, some challenges that companies still face with employee volunteering include:
- Non-profits not being interested in taking on large groups of volunteers (not having the resources to organize / delegate it all)
- Employees not finding causes they are genuinely passionate about, or not having the ability to try
- Employees feeling confused or even resentful about the idea of volunteering “for work”
Companies can benefit from innovative digital tools like corporate volunteer platform which have the ability to connect all stakeholders and address both qualitative and quantitative issues.
Tracking and reporting using real-time data helps managers to understand the overall impact of the activity, as well as whether or not it proves to offer a solid ROI.
A digital tool which can be used as a social platform, reporting tool, a way to donate to charities, and for overall coordination between individual employees and partner organizations is an ideal solution to such challenges.
The Future of Volunteering
Long gone are the days of disorganized employee volunteer projects or unrewarded participation. Today, centralized volunteering platforms allow companies to take a collaborative approach, stay organized, and track activities through real-time data, bringing key participants together in a seamless fashion.
Per Deloitte, a socially-driven business should “elevate its actions based on its impact on society, not just the bottom line,” citing stakeholder expectations as key to successful social responsibility programs.
Well-designed digital tools can help leadership and participants plan, implement, track and report on all aspects of a given CSR initiative, so that managers are able to more easily analyze the overall impact that it has not only on its own ROI, but also on employee engagement and community benefits.
Authenticity and Accuracy is Vital to Success
The successful implementation of a corporate volunteering strategy and team management relies on efficient solutions that use real-time data to promote authentic employee engagement, direct stakeholder access, and accurate reporting tools.
Implementing real-world solutions and allowing all participants full access to a centralized tool which can double as a social tool as well as encourage employees to track their own progress helps to empower them towards growth and leadership. Having a well-implemented CSR strategy is also an excellent recruitment and retention tool.