Strategic Volunteering

The goal of many corporate partnerships is to provide volunteering opportunties for staff. Now for some this is easy to offer, for others being able to offer this just isnt an option.

I have been in a situation where we lost charity partnerships because we couldn’t offer any hands on volunteering for staff, fundraising opportunities werent enough. The company wanted there staff to get stuck into the work of the organisation and get a real sense of the work we were doing, the impact of our work, so they could then engage staff in fundraising. But we just couldn’t offer that.

I think we missed a trick and should have found other ways to demonstrate our Impact to them that could have achieved this goal, but we didn’t.

I came across a  really interesting  post from Grainne Madden , writing on the O2 iedas room blog, where she challenges this commonly held view of volunteering that organisations have. I thought it was great to hear this alternative view point, addressed at companies.  Grainne says

While it might be good fun for a group of your employees to get together and paint a school or tidy up a park it probably isn’t the best use of their skills and time (unless of course you run a painting and decorating company or a landscape designers in which case they are the best people to do a really good job!).Linking volunteer effort with your organisation’s core skills means that you offer far more value and better outcomes to the non-profits you wish to serve. It’s also more likely to lead to skill development for your people – one of the sound business reasons that companies get involved in volunteering.

So when designing volunteer programmes think about the skills and expertise your company offers before agreeing to a volunteer day

For a non-profit reading this I think it gives us the opportunity to re-think this challenge. And we need to design volunteering opportunities that deliver on the skills and expertise of the company we want to partner with. I think its ok to challenge the conventional wisdom that painting a wall is what is required.


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