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United Way Blog

Taking a Closer Look at Employee Volunteering

Companies increasingly have organized volunteer programs to encourage their employees to volunteer in the community. We need more research that explores workplace volunteering, so United Way decided to contribute to a new study that takes a closer look at corporate volunteering programs and employee motivations for participating.

Employee Volunteering Report: A Global Study of Employee Motivation to Engage in Corporate Volunteering Programs is the result of a collaboration between The London School of Economics and Political Science, The University of Georgia Terry College of Business and United Way Worldwide.  United Way sees employee volunteering as a growing trend, and we want to partner with more companies to create sustainable change. Understanding why employees volunteer, and why they don’t, is helpful in our work to engage more employees as volunteers.

United Way Australia, United Way Brasil, United Way of Greater Toronto and United Way Mumbai joined 24 United Ways in the U.S. in participating in the study. Each United Way invited local companies with employee volunteer programs to be involved, with 237 employees at 52 companies participating.

Among other insights, the study found that volunteers were more satisfied with their jobs and more committed to their employer than non-volunteers. The top reasons employees don’t volunteer with their company?  Anxiety of engaging in new experiences or the desire to keep work and home activities separate. Understandable reasons, and it is good to know about employee attitudes like these as we reach out to companies and employees with opportunities to volunteer. Another key finding is that while companies track employee volunteer activity, not many are tracking metrics of success. Creating impact is an end goal of volunteering, so I look forward to working with United Ways to help more companies measure and achieve impact through employee volunteer programs.

Read the summary or full report, learn more about employee volunteer programs, and tell us what you think. What works for employee volunteers at your company? What would inspire you to get involved in volunteering through your workplace?