Deloitte Finds Corporate Volunteerism Programs are Good Business

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June 3, 2011; Source: Deloitte (PDF) | The big accounting firm Deloitte conducts an annual survey on corporate volunteerism, generally looking at volunteerism from the corporate employee’s perspective. In this year’s survey, conducted in February of 2011 with a sample size of 1,500 interviewees working at companies with 1,000 or more employees, the focus is on the perspectives of millennials (age 21 to 35) in corporate workplaces that offer volunteer activities and programs. Deloitte’s findings indicate that volunteerism programs make millennials feel better about their corporate employers.

  • Millennials who frequently participate in their company’s volunteer activities are:
  • Twice as likely to rate their corporate culture as very positive, as compared to millennials who rarely or never volunteer (56 percent versus 28 percent)
  • More likely to be very proud to work for their company (55 percent versus 36 percent)
  • More likely to feel very loyal toward their company (52 percent versus 33 percent)
  • Nearly twice as likely to be very satisfied with the progression of their career (37 percent versus 21 percent)
  • More likely to be very satisfied with their employer (51 percent versus 32 percent)
  • More likely to recommend their company to a friend (57 percent versus 46 percent)

In other words, it’s good business for companies to support employee volunteerism, but the millennial volunteers have their own interest as well: “Half of millennials (51 percent) surveyed say they want volunteerism to benefit them professionally.” Deloitte recognizes that millennials often leave their jobs due to “lack of career progress” and suggests that “skilled volunteerism” opportunities can help millennials feel like they are being given professional development and leadership opportunities through their employer that might mitigate the impetus to change jobs.

In light of these findings, Deloitte thinks that corporate volunteerism should be thought of as more than simply nice, feel-good stuff, but as a strategic business initiative helping the corporation’s bottom line by reducing staff turnover and increasing staff satisfaction among millennials.—Rick Cohen

  • Krista B.

    Excellent point. I have seen this method in action, and let me tell you – it really works! When employees are supported by their employers and encouraged to get involved with nonprofit organizations, it usually has long-term positive effects. As you mentioned, it helps employees feel like they are being given professional development opportunities, which can lead to a higher level of job satisfaction.

    One problem that a lot of people have is that between balancing work and families, they simply have no time left to volunteer. From personal experience, a local company that I know of allowed employees a few hours each month of “volunteer comp. time” where they could actually leave early from work to take part in volunteer activities. This was such a huge benefit to employees because it allowed even the busiest of people to get involved in volunteer opportunities, since they could participate during normal work hours. I completely agree with this article and know from personal experience that corporate volunteer programs are good for everyone involved!

  • Christine Truhe

    The target population, ages 21-35, of this study makes it particularly interesting to me. This cohort appears to be less inclined toward voluntarism than their more senior fellow citizens. I won’t speculate here on the reasons for this, but I will affirm the finding that implies that corporations and workplaces of all sorts, can make a significant impact on worthy causes and our nation by incenting their people to volunteer. By rewarding their employees for good citizenship by including it in their appraisal processes. I would like to see more corporations implement rewards for voluntarism. The benefits accrue to us all.

  • Julia Masi

    I’m a regular volunteer at several New York City non-profits and I always look forward to working along side of corporate volunteer groups. Volunteerism builds team spirit and allow co-workers to see themselves in a different light. Serving soup to the homeless or reading to disadvantage kids forces everyone to drop their business as usual stance and show an endearing, vulnerable or silly side. Its human nature to want to be around people who share your values and corporate volunteering is a way to build loyalty through a common humanitarian interest.