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Creating Impact Through Volunteering – Part 3: A Win for the Business

Creating Impact Through Volunteering – Part 3: A Win for the Business

By: Gabrielle Kay, Corporate Partnerships Manager, United Way Australia 

In this third blog reflecting on the impact of ten years of United Way’s Corporate Connect team volunteering, we examine the impact for the businesses supporting their employees to volunteer.

With another 195 Corporate Connect team volunteering projects under our belt in 2012 we were keen to understand the impact of this program for the businesses supporting their employees to volunteer.

With responses from over 500 of the 3,000 corporate volunteers, an impressive 94% reported they are more willing to contribute to the business as a result of being given an opportunity by their company to volunteer. Whilst this one question does not substitute for a full employee engagement survey, it does give a strong indication that there is an alignment between corporate supported volunteering and employee engagement.

In the first two blogs in this series, we reported how United Way’s Corporate Connect program is aligning employee’s and business’ values to give back and make a difference in our local communities.

Whether it is engaged employees that volunteer or employees becoming more engaged when their company supports them to volunteer, we do not know definitely. What is clear is the global and Australian research reporting a strong relationship between employee engagement and business performance. The 2011 Macquarie Economics Research ESG report references global research findings of 16% higher profitability, 12% higher customer satisfaction ratings, lower staff turnover, fewer safety incidents, fewer quality issues, as well as similar trends in Australia. The business case on employee engagement is clear.

The companies United Way partner with make a commitment to ensuring their employees create an impact by working with United Way’s national team of corporate volunteering managers who identify community needs, put together a fully scoped project, so that volunteers have a safe, fun and meaningful volunteering experience. We know our project management works, as 100% of volunteers said again in 2012 that they would recommend a United Way team volunteering project to their colleagues. As well, 99% of volunteers rate highly their volunteering experience with United Way.

Corporate partners who work with United Way are doing more than giving their consent for employees to have a day off to volunteer. These businesses are investing in their employees and the communities in which they live and work. The evidence is strong that the investment in United Way’s Corporate Connect team volunteering pays off for the business.

In the final blog we explore how United Way has developed this volunteering journey to create greater impact for the employees, business and the community. Before we get there we will go back in our next blog to the community and share their perspectives on corporate volunteering.