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VIOs and ESV: The business case

Many charities and volunteer involving organisations (VIOs) already provide volunteering opportunities to employers and a great many more are considering ESV as a away to attract new, skilled volunteers as well as possible new funding streams. Recently, this has been driven by the economic climate, reductions in statutory funding and the need to do more with less.

Fortunately, at the same time employers are increasingly looking for volunteering opportunities for their employer supported programmes which is creating a growing market for ESV, volunteering leave provided for employees and funding for activities.

Sports organisations tell me they have more than enough volunteers who come up through the club. Where they need help is finding particular skilled volunteers for essential roles such as treasurer, secretary etc. Katy Chason, ESV Manager, Volunteering England.

The market

Employee involvement 2011According to the LBG 2011 annual report[1], employers are continuing to invest in the Community despite the challenging economy. However, the nature of their investment is changing with a reduction in cash donations, but an increase in donations of time through pro bono and employers supported volunteering as well as in kind donations.  The same report also showed that supported employees are increasingly reaching into their own pockets to donate through payroll giving and volunteering in their own time.

The growth in employer supported volunteering is the result of employers recognising the potential to develop their employees and business by sharing their skills and time with the community and targeting their support to be most effective

More than 70% of the FTSE 100 companies have an established ESV programme (although less than a quarter of small and medium sized companies have a formal ESV programme) .These typically provide time flexibility or paid time off for volunteering. In some cases, employees can volunteer for up to six months using paid leave although this is still unusual. More commonly, employers provide 2 -3 days per year volunteering leave to their employees. Government Departments and other public sector employers also provide generous volunteering leave for employees.

Skilled volunteers and additional capacity

Employer supported volunteers can bring new skills, ways of working and useful contacts to invigorate and build capacity. Even those with very little time to give can make a real impact. For example, a business mentor could donate an hour a month, or a team of employees can each give a couple of days to a project.

Funding

Building relationships with employers from business and the public sector can bring new sources of funding and support:

Organisations that provide cash donations often also look for ways to provide volunteering opportunities for employees and ways to include community organisations in their supply chain.

Employee volunteers are increasingly also reaching into their own pockets to donate through payroll giving.

Skilled volunteers can carry out fundraising activities such as marketing and events.

Many employers already pay for volunteering activities and team events, often using their training budgets or carrying out fundraising for the fee.



[1] LBG Annual Report 2010, Engagement of employees is  on the up, with 15% of the members’ workforce taking the opportunity to support their communities through volunteering day allowances (it was 13.2% in 2010). This upward trend in employee contributions spreads wider than simply volunteering in work hours. With the support of LBG members, more employees are reaching into their own pockets or giving their own time. In 2011, 9.3% of employees contributed through payroll giving schemes (up from 7.4%) and 10.6% volunteered in their own time (up from 6.2%).

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