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Employer supported volunteering (ESV) can unlock real benefits for both
businesses and voluntary and community sector organisations.
Every business is unique, with its own objectives, ambitions and skills. But
what so many businesses do share is a desire to make a
difference. Employer Supported Volunteering (ESV) unites charities and
businesses in that desire.
Through ESV, voluntary organisations benefit from enhanced volunteer
capacity and increased awareness of their cause in the community.
Sometimes it is the start of a longer relationship and ongoing support from a
business.
And there are benefits for the businesses and their staff too. ESV can
increase team morale, help with skills development for staff, and enhance
their reputation with customers and partners. For some businesses, a strong
volunteering profile also brings that vital external recognition needed to
attract the best employees.
The findings of this new research, commissioned by Cambridge City Council,
show that organising ESV can be challenging, but the case studies
demonstrate what can be achieved when companies and charities get ESV
right. The recommendations from this report identify ways in which we can
ensure that volunteering maximises skills, community connections, and
impact for individuals, businesses and voluntary organisations.
I hope that this research helps bring ever more rewarding and fruitful
relationships for businesses and charities in Cambridge. Not all of the
recommendations can be met with existing funding in the public and
voluntary/community sectors. We want to see ESV to be developed in
partnership with businesses and their employees. If you feel strongly about
increasing the scale and impact of ESV in Cambridge and the surrounding
area, please contact us to discuss how you can help us turn the
recommendations in this report into actions.
FORWARD
Councillor Anna Smith
Deputy Leader (Non-Statutory) and
Executive Councillor for
communities
Cambridge City Council
WHY WE DID
THE RESEARCH
This research arose out of a need to
inform Cambridge City Council’s
approach to encourage more local
employers to offer skills to charities
tackling issues relating to poverty. The
Council wanted to collate existing data,
undertake qualitative research with local
charities and businesses, and come up
with some recommendations and
actions.
The skills that local charities are most interested in are IT, strategic planning,
fundraising and leadership through trustee roles.
What we found
Business employees with specialist professional skills have heavy demands on
their time, so to engage them, volunteering needs to be more appealing and
flexible.
Businesses are motivated to engage in skilled volunteering as it develops staff
leadership skills, builds community links, aids employee retention and supports
employee health and well-being.
Unskilled team volunteering activities, are popular with businesses because
they are appealing to employees, but these activities are resource intensive
for charities and are regarded by most as not delivering direct benefit,
Relationship management is crucial to successful partnerships between
businesses and charities. Skilled volunteering is most likely to arise out of an
existing relationship.
RECOMMENDATIONS
These fall into three
distinct areas
Enlighten
For relationships to happen, there has to be
an understanding from both parties about
how the other party works, what drives
them and what motivates them.
Engage
Once there is greater understanding of
business in the charity sector, and of
charities in the business sector, then we
have to develop ways to bring them
together to build relationships
Enable
To work effectively, it is essential that the
necessary skills and resources are in place
for charities to make the most of
opportunities.
Enlighten
More has to be done to promote the benefits of skilled volunteering
with local charities to businesses that are not currently offering support,
especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). There is also a need to
ensure that businesses are aware of the number of different charities
that exist, the different opportunities, sizes, geographies and causes.
Enlightening business
Charities need to understand businesses; they need to understand their
motivation for wanting to get involved, as well as what type of support
they can offer. Charities also need to understand how to develop and
build relationships with businesses.
Charities need to create volunteering that offers flexible, manageable
and appealing opportunities to engage business employees.
Enlightening charities
In order to increase the prevalence of Employer Supported
Volunteering, there has to be a programme to raise awareness in
both the business and the charity communities. Enhanced
communication is key to addressing the current mismatch in
expectations.
Engage Enlightening both businesses and charities is not enough. We have
to create as many points of contact between them as possible to
allow them to engage with one another.
Once businesses and charities have a desire to find out more and look
for possible opportunities, they need to have somewhere to go to help
them on to the next step. Inevitably, this first port of call will be a digital
one.
Somewhere to go
It is important that businesses and charities can get to know one-
another. This is especially important to widen the charities in the
running for support, but also to help those where there are no personal
connections.
Activities
There is a need to look at existing and new ways to help organisations
to come together and to make that process as painless as possible.
Encourage brokerage
Enable Charities need to have the skills, confidence and support to enable
them to make their pitch to business and to develop the
opportunities and products that will appeal. Charities will need
training and support, which can be delivered as a combination of
networking opportunities, online tools, training and peer mentoring.
It is important that charities can self-serve and access tools and
information that will help them develop their corporate engagement
strategy.
Develop a resource bank
Charities need to be able to articulate their needs in terms of the impact
business input will deliver to their beneficiaries, and at the same time
business employees want to use their skills to drive positive change.
Charities need to develop their pitch, their services and their strategy
for building, and maintaining, relationships.
New training
Charities can work together to identify common needs and share
skills. Charities that have been successful have a story to tell that can
inspire and support others.
New networks
CONCLUSIONS
This research has to lead to change. Without doubt, the
funding environment for charities working in and around
Cambridge is getting tougher. This is especially so for smaller
charities without professional fundraising staff (the majority of
local charities). Working with businesses is not a golden bullet
that will solve an organisation’s or the sector’s funding
problems, but there are opportunities for more charities to
work with more businesses to mutual benefit and to the benefit
of the charity beneficiaries.
The City Council, CCVS, the wider charity sector and the
business sector need to think about how this research can be
acted on, and what an action plan to deliver more connections
between charities and businesses looks like.

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Making connections website presentation

  • 1.
  • 2. Employer supported volunteering (ESV) can unlock real benefits for both businesses and voluntary and community sector organisations. Every business is unique, with its own objectives, ambitions and skills. But what so many businesses do share is a desire to make a difference. Employer Supported Volunteering (ESV) unites charities and businesses in that desire. Through ESV, voluntary organisations benefit from enhanced volunteer capacity and increased awareness of their cause in the community. Sometimes it is the start of a longer relationship and ongoing support from a business. And there are benefits for the businesses and their staff too. ESV can increase team morale, help with skills development for staff, and enhance their reputation with customers and partners. For some businesses, a strong volunteering profile also brings that vital external recognition needed to attract the best employees. The findings of this new research, commissioned by Cambridge City Council, show that organising ESV can be challenging, but the case studies demonstrate what can be achieved when companies and charities get ESV right. The recommendations from this report identify ways in which we can ensure that volunteering maximises skills, community connections, and impact for individuals, businesses and voluntary organisations. I hope that this research helps bring ever more rewarding and fruitful relationships for businesses and charities in Cambridge. Not all of the recommendations can be met with existing funding in the public and voluntary/community sectors. We want to see ESV to be developed in partnership with businesses and their employees. If you feel strongly about increasing the scale and impact of ESV in Cambridge and the surrounding area, please contact us to discuss how you can help us turn the recommendations in this report into actions. FORWARD Councillor Anna Smith Deputy Leader (Non-Statutory) and Executive Councillor for communities Cambridge City Council
  • 3. WHY WE DID THE RESEARCH This research arose out of a need to inform Cambridge City Council’s approach to encourage more local employers to offer skills to charities tackling issues relating to poverty. The Council wanted to collate existing data, undertake qualitative research with local charities and businesses, and come up with some recommendations and actions.
  • 4. The skills that local charities are most interested in are IT, strategic planning, fundraising and leadership through trustee roles. What we found Business employees with specialist professional skills have heavy demands on their time, so to engage them, volunteering needs to be more appealing and flexible. Businesses are motivated to engage in skilled volunteering as it develops staff leadership skills, builds community links, aids employee retention and supports employee health and well-being. Unskilled team volunteering activities, are popular with businesses because they are appealing to employees, but these activities are resource intensive for charities and are regarded by most as not delivering direct benefit, Relationship management is crucial to successful partnerships between businesses and charities. Skilled volunteering is most likely to arise out of an existing relationship.
  • 5. RECOMMENDATIONS These fall into three distinct areas Enlighten For relationships to happen, there has to be an understanding from both parties about how the other party works, what drives them and what motivates them. Engage Once there is greater understanding of business in the charity sector, and of charities in the business sector, then we have to develop ways to bring them together to build relationships Enable To work effectively, it is essential that the necessary skills and resources are in place for charities to make the most of opportunities.
  • 6. Enlighten More has to be done to promote the benefits of skilled volunteering with local charities to businesses that are not currently offering support, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). There is also a need to ensure that businesses are aware of the number of different charities that exist, the different opportunities, sizes, geographies and causes. Enlightening business Charities need to understand businesses; they need to understand their motivation for wanting to get involved, as well as what type of support they can offer. Charities also need to understand how to develop and build relationships with businesses. Charities need to create volunteering that offers flexible, manageable and appealing opportunities to engage business employees. Enlightening charities In order to increase the prevalence of Employer Supported Volunteering, there has to be a programme to raise awareness in both the business and the charity communities. Enhanced communication is key to addressing the current mismatch in expectations.
  • 7. Engage Enlightening both businesses and charities is not enough. We have to create as many points of contact between them as possible to allow them to engage with one another. Once businesses and charities have a desire to find out more and look for possible opportunities, they need to have somewhere to go to help them on to the next step. Inevitably, this first port of call will be a digital one. Somewhere to go It is important that businesses and charities can get to know one- another. This is especially important to widen the charities in the running for support, but also to help those where there are no personal connections. Activities There is a need to look at existing and new ways to help organisations to come together and to make that process as painless as possible. Encourage brokerage
  • 8. Enable Charities need to have the skills, confidence and support to enable them to make their pitch to business and to develop the opportunities and products that will appeal. Charities will need training and support, which can be delivered as a combination of networking opportunities, online tools, training and peer mentoring. It is important that charities can self-serve and access tools and information that will help them develop their corporate engagement strategy. Develop a resource bank Charities need to be able to articulate their needs in terms of the impact business input will deliver to their beneficiaries, and at the same time business employees want to use their skills to drive positive change. Charities need to develop their pitch, their services and their strategy for building, and maintaining, relationships. New training Charities can work together to identify common needs and share skills. Charities that have been successful have a story to tell that can inspire and support others. New networks
  • 9. CONCLUSIONS This research has to lead to change. Without doubt, the funding environment for charities working in and around Cambridge is getting tougher. This is especially so for smaller charities without professional fundraising staff (the majority of local charities). Working with businesses is not a golden bullet that will solve an organisation’s or the sector’s funding problems, but there are opportunities for more charities to work with more businesses to mutual benefit and to the benefit of the charity beneficiaries. The City Council, CCVS, the wider charity sector and the business sector need to think about how this research can be acted on, and what an action plan to deliver more connections between charities and businesses looks like.