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Social Responsibility: How to Redirect Corporate Volunteer Initiatives

When it comes to your company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, your organisation has options. This new era of welfare reform that we now live in is instilling the importance of volunteerism within every facet of our globalised lives.

image by BradFrom educational curriculum maintaining mandatory volunteer hours, to companies whose staff plant trees on Arbour Day – volunteering is everywhere.

Volunteering has always been and likely will always be a controversial topic. At this point in time, there is no unified system or process for volunteering and each organisation that facilitates volunteering oft does it ad hoc, on the fly, as needs come and go.

On the controversial front, the discussion about internships, which are a form of volunteering, has come under fire as “slave labour”, while on the other side of the coin age old debates rage on over how a company is to execute their social responsibility campaigns.

Here we will browse through five different ways that your organisation can redirect their volunteer initiatives and add value to their CSR plans.

1.  Sponsorship and Mentoring

The idealised go-to example for sponsorship mentoring comes in the form of local sports team sponsorships and coaching or Thailand volunteer programs by Friends for Asia.

Painting this example with a little more detail, the benefits of this type of corporate volunteering are as follows: 

  • Greater brand visibility; sports jerseys and signage at each event will feature corporate logos and slogans 
  • Creates a positive impact within the community 
  • General improvement of company morale; often children of employees will take part and local sports events can become another way to enhance your team-building

However, with this method there are also additional challenges:

Who decides which outside organisation is sponsored? Shareholders, employees, upper brass –whose money is it on the table and who makes the final decision?

2. Employee Volunteering in the Community

This is another great way to enhance brand visibility in the public and enrich local communities. Encouraging volunteerism through incentives or allowing employees to volunteer on company time are quite common. However, this method too has its caveats.

If there are weak incentives or volunteering is encouraged “off the clock”, company morale could be negatively affected – why should an employer be able to put its logo or take any credit for what its employees choose to do in their own time?

If there are notable incentives or volunteering is encourage on company time, some non-profit organisations may view the efforts put in by company employees as disingenuous.

3. Job Creation and Welfare Program Participation

In this example, companies can team up and partner with their government to create entry-level positions specifically designed for less skilled staff to employ Welfare recipients even if they don’t have the right skillset.

And there are options in regard to how this one can be facilitated; companies can either train Welfare recipients themselves with staff who are either being paid or volunteering themselves –or they can engage with another third party to have them come on board and train Welfare recipients.

In addition to this, your organisation can also offer workshops on the premises which will bring Welfare dependents closer to employment and independence.

4. Create Tools and Infrastructure

Another great way to enrich your organisation’s local community is to partner with a non-profit organisation to create tools and infrastructure which will help and serve the public trust.

For example, your company could partner with the YMCA and fund new programs or services – or even take it one step further; partner with an organisation like the YMCA (or YWCA, of course) and say, another local non-profit like a church or a soup kitchen to provide daycare services.

Through this kind of strategic partnership, you are not only getting visibility – you’re getting visibility beside another well recognized philanthropic organisation or two.

5. Be a Good Employer

At the end of the day, there are few better ways to help a local community than by investing in your employees by providing world class training, health benefits, and generally treating your employees well all around.

Creating optional internal training seminars and allowing employees to learn about the responsibilities of other positions within your company will provide them with a well-rounded view of the big picture, create a platform for succession planning, promotions, and improve employee cohesiveness.

This article is contributed by Media Buzzer.

 

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