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