By: Gabrielle Kay, Corporate Partnerships Manager, United Way Australia
In this series of blogs we share what we’ve learnt about the impact of corporate volunteering on three key stakeholders: employees as volunteers, the businesses that supports their employees to volunteer and our partner community organisations. In the final blog I’ll explore how United Way has responded to increase employee and corporate engagement in community to create great community impact.
In the last blog we shared how United Way’s Corporate Connect team volunteering projects impacted corporate employees as volunteers. We know employees are keen to volunteer when they do it as a team and their company supports United Way to organise and run the day for them.
We also wanted to understand how the cohort of corporate volunteers compared to the national volunteering statistics and try to understand what the impact of corporate supported volunteering was for the wider community.
The 2006 Census reports 35 % of adult Australians volunteer, yet in Sydney there is as few as 16% of adults reporting that they volunteer.
In United Way’s 2012 Corporate Connect survey results, 28% of corporate volunteers reported they volunteer in their own time. This represents results from over 500 volunteers from six capital cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra. The Census figures report that volunteering rates are lower in major cities than regional and rural Australia, so the United Way survey results are not too much lower than the aggregated national results.
What is interesting is that most of these Corporate Connect survey respondents reported they had volunteered sometime in the last year -58%. Only 16% reported volunteering in the last three months and as few as 9% in the last two weeks.
United Way’s survey results suggest that this low rate of volunteering isn’t driven by a lack of desire. Personal feedback from the volunteers suggest that there is a level of apprehension about getting involved in communities they know nothing about, a lack of awareness about how to volunteer and a need to manage the expectations and time commitments around volunteering.
With much written on the role of volunteering in building communities, there is clearly a role for corporate supported volunteering and community engagement to build links and relationships within our cities and communities.
In the next blog we explore the impact of volunteering for the business and in the final blog how United Way has developed the volunteering journey to increase corporate engagement and impact.