American companies have high hopes for their employees’ volunteer efforts, but few businesses do enough to shape and measure the impact of those efforts, a new study has found.
More than eight out of 10 companies believe that offering skilled volunteers can help nonprofit groups operate more effectively, serve more clients, and reach their long-term goals, the report said. But less than half of the businesses communicate with the organizations they serve about how best to meet those needs. And fewer than four out of 10 companies work with the groups to measure the volunteers’ impact.
The survey was commissioned by Deloitte, a consulting firm, and is based on online interviews with more than 300 executives in charge of volunteer programs at companies with at least 1,000 employees. The study focused on skilled volunteerism—when employees who have expertise in such areas as finance or marketing donate their time—a growing trend in corporate philanthropy.
Nine out of 10 respondents agreed that their employees’ business skills would be valuable to a nonprofit organization, up from fewer than eight of 10 who said so in Deloitte’s 2009 survey. And this year’s poll found that six out of 10 companies offer skilled volunteer opportunities to their employees, up from just half last year.
“This data tells me that employers are getting it, understanding the power of skills-based volunteerism,” says Evan Hochberg, Deloitte’s national director of community involvement, adding he’s also pleased that businesses are seeing benefits from corporate volunteerism beyond the bottom line.
Companies in the survey were twice as likely to cite alleviating a social problem or helping a nonprofit group function more effectively as a top priority for their volunteer program than such profit-related benefits as building loyalty to their company’s brand.
Now, Mr. Hochberg says, companies need better execution to match their expectations: “They need to communicate with the nonprofits; set up volunteerism with a clear strategy; and have disciplined measures of effectiveness.”
For more information on the 2010 survey, go to http://www.deloitte.com/us/community.