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Millennials: Changing the Landscape of Employee Volunteering

Many Millennials see volunteering as a way to further career goals while making an impact. While most employees (of all ages) expect their employers to be socially responsible companies, Millennials further expect their employers to support their own involvement with causes. This includes being allowed to volunteer during company time.

The benefits of employer-supported volunteering are increasingly well-documented. A study by The Carroll School of Management Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College, for instance, finds that most companies believe that community involvement overall contributes to key business goals, including improved reputation and the attraction and retention of employees – like Millennials.

But it is volunteering that is “the core around which companies are building employee engagement strategies” according to new research from America’s Charities. Snapshot 2015: The New Corporate DNA—Where Employee Engagement and Social Impact Converge, explores how companies are responding to employee expectations as well as the strategic role of employee volunteering.

Perhaps the most compelling finding of the survey of 120 companies is that nearly 84 percent of respondents said they expected year-round volunteering in the future, whereas in a similar 2013 survey, year-round volunteering was not even among the top eight expectations for future engagement programs. In addition, the 2015 survey found that more than 70 percent of respondents expect future programs to include skills-based volunteering – great for career- and cause-minded Millennials -- and nearly the same amount foresee volunteer release time for employees. 

These changes present exciting opportunities for employee volunteers to make an even bigger difference in their communities. Whether you are a Millennial pushing for more robust employee volunteer opportunities, or a corporate manager hoping to create deeper engagement among employees, your United Way can help you navigate the changing landscape of volunteering.