Corporate volunteer work trails goals

While most U.S. companies are doing more to provide volunteer opportunities that let employees use their skills and help nonprofits advance their social goals, companies are not communicating their goals to nonprofits or helping them track the impact of corporate volunteerism, a new survey says.

Eighty-four percent of 303 corporate managers or other executives interviewed online for the 2010 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Study believe volunteerism can help nonprofits accomplish their long-term social goals, and they increasingly are offering skills-based volunteer options to employees.

Thirty-six percent of corporate managers interviewed say the potential to address a social issue was their top priority when determining workplace volunteer activities, while 31 percent said their top priority was to help nonprofits operate more effectively and 31 percent said it was to help nonprofit serve more clients.

Ninety-one percent of companies responding to the survey believe their employees’ business skills would be valuable to a nonprofit, up from 78 percent in last year’s survey.

And 60 percent of companies surveyed offer skilled volunteerism where employees select the issue, while 64 percent offered skilled volunteerism where projects address the companies’ philanthropic focus, compared to only 50 percent in 2009 that offered skilled volunteer opportunities.

Nearly 70 percent of companies offer paid time off for volunteering.

Yet while companies have high expectations volunteering will achieve results, only 44 percent always talk with their nonprofit partners how the volunteer project can help address their short-term needs, only 43 percent talk about how the project can have a long-term impact on society, and only 45 percent talk about how the project will help the nonprofit function more effectively.

“Nonprofit organizations are not just looking for more and more people to volunteer,” says Evan Hochberg, national community involvement director at Deloitte Services, “they are looking for people who have specific skills and can help them accomplish sophisticated goals.”

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