THE WAY FORWARD
Employees in the Community Programme Manager
The Wellington Volunteer Centre.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 1
CONTENTS ..................................................................................................................................................... 2
INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................................. 3
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY.................................................................................................................................. 4
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................................................................................................................................. 7
PART ONE: CORPORATE VOLUNTEERING: THE POTENTIAL ....................................................................... 8
WHAT IS CORPORATE VOLUNTEERING? ....................................................................................................... 9
CASE STUDIES ............................................................................................................................................. 10
THE EXTENT OF INVOLVEMENT .................................................................................................................. 16
CORPORATE VOLUNTEERING: THE WIN-WIN-WIN .................................................................................... 17
BENEFITS TO EMPLOYEES ....................................................................................................................... 17
THE BUSINESS CASE ............................................................................................................................... 19
BENEFITS TO THE COMMUNITY .............................................................................................................. 24
CRITICISMS OF CORPORATE VOLUNTEERING - ISSUES TO MANAGE ........................................................... 27
RELEVANCE TO NEW ZEALAND .................................................................................................................. 31
PART TWO: CORPORATE VOLUNTEERING: THE WAY FORWARD FOR NEW ZEALAND ................... 35
HOW CORPORATE VOLUNTEERING RAPIDLY GREW IN THE UNITED KINGDOM ........................................ 36
RECOMMENDATIONS TO DEVELOP CORPORATE VOLUNTEERING IN NEW ZEALAND ................................ 41
IMPLICATIONS ............................................................................................................................................. 46
REPORT CONCLUSION ................................................................................................................................. 48
APPENDIX .................................................................................................................................................... 49
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 2
Corporate Volunteering is businesses supporting and encouraging staff involvement in the
community. This report overviews the potential of Corporate Volunteering. Overseas experience
shows that this activity can provide a significant positive impact on New Zealand (NZ) society,
benefiting businesses, employees and the non-profit sector. By examining the experience in the
United Kingdom (UK) this report provides an understanding of how this activity has grown to be a
natural part of business practice and presents the way forward to foster its growth in NZ.
The report is principally based on a study of Corporate Volunteering in the UK, conducted mid-
1997. It also includes some background of US programmes and direct NZ experience from the
perspective of the Wellington Volunteer Centre that has pioneered a programme to promote
Corporate Volunteering in NZ. The UK field study involved interviewing over 40 people in the field,
representing: executives of businesses with leading programmes, facilitators and promoters,
community groups who host employee volunteers and actual employee volunteers.
The report is produced as the outcome of a Winston Churchill Fellowship and also as an outcome
for a contract with the Department of Social Welfare. The report is relevant to the various
stakeholders who could benefit from Corporate Volunteering: businesses, non-profit groups,
employees, Government and the wider community.
My background includes work in an executive role at the Wellington Volunteer Centre, one of
Wellington's key non-profit groups. My current role there is to manage and develop the Centre's
“Employees in the Community” programme, NZ's first and currently only programme established to
foster the growth of Corporate Volunteering. Before moving to the non-profit sector, I worked for
Mobil Oil in their marketing and technology areas. I have undertaken a number of voluntary roles,
including work for Special Olympics.
Employees in the Community Programme Manager
The Wellington Volunteer Centre
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 3
BodyShop give four hours
Executive Summary release time per month for staff
to volunteer in areas they
Corporate Volunteering is about businesses supporting and collectively decide upon. NZ
encouraging staff involvement in the community – for mutual benefit. examples include the St Lukes'
branch staff working with a
It is a widespread business practice overseas. A recent survey shows
teenage pregnancy group.
that of large UK companies have formal employee involvement
programmesi. It is even more developed in the US. There a survey EDS’s Global Volunteer Day,
shows 92% of large US companies support volunteerismii. where staff get together in
teams to undertake local
Businesses overseas are integrating employee involvement with core community projects. NZ
business functions. There is growing evidence of the benefits of examples include: training
Asthma Foundation staff on
Corporate Volunteering through external studies and through
computers and taking blind
businesses that evaluate their programmes. See Table 1 below. people for a day trip to Somes
TABLE 1: BENEFITS OF CORPORATE VOLUNTEERING Employees of Royal &
Business Employees Non-profit Government & SunAlliance who actively
community Wider support a voluntary
Groups Community organisation within one of the
Staff development: Access to Access to business Enhanced social company's community areas
teamwork, morale, opportunities skills cohesion are eligible for awards of £500
skills training, otherwise not - going to that voluntary group
flexibility aware of Access to “new” Enhanced
volunteers understanding Marks and Spencers -
Enhanced Real incentives incorporate community
reputation that make Leads to further Greater placements in their staff
volunteering easier partnerships participation training programme. This year
A high-impact way 150 staff will undertake 100
to invest in a Ability to be Extending service Capacity building hour "Development
healthier involved with and taking on new the non-profit Assignments" in local non-
community & peers projects sector profit groups, using their
trading expertise in a new environment,
environment Business- e.g. merchandising plans,
community marketing strategies or profile
26 Professional Firms Groups
have been established in the
Employee Volunteering has huge potential in NZ to create a significant UK. Each group or network,
positive impact for employees, business and communities. The has a mix of professional
precipitating factors that led the growth of Corporate Volunteering in companies including
the UK are relevant here. However, Corporate Volunteering is very lawyers and PR firms. Each
new in NZ. The few practitioners here are typically affiliates of participating firm agrees to
multinationals e.g. Otis, EDS and Body Shop. give approximately 100 hours
expertise free to community
This presents both an opportunity and a challenge. Corporate groups. Projects are submitted
Volunteering only developed in the UK and US through an through a community broker.
infrastructure that acted as a catalyst. The benefits came through a
Targeted at tackling high levels
proactive campaign to promote Corporate Volunteering and to of illiteracy, Time Warner
provide practical assistance to businesses that wanted to get involved. (US) partnered with a non-
profit group to develop "the
The key to the infrastructure is a specialised organisation - in the UK, Time to Read programme".
Business in the Community - in the US, the Points of Light Time Warner staff volunteer to
tutor people learning literacy
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 4
Foundation. These organisations are catalysts for business engagement in the community. They
provide the following roles:
promoting the benefits of Corporate Volunteering
providing a vehicle to recognise the success of early adopters
assisting businesses to source community partners and to determine community needs
explaining different models of involvement
facilitating volunteer placement programmes
communicating principles of best practiceiii
There is no equivalent organisation in NZ
that promotes business engagement in the
EMPLOYEES IN THE
community. Without an investment in an COMMUNITY:
infrastructure we will not see widespread THE CORPORATE
introduction of Corporate Volunteering in
NZ. The investment required is not large. VOLUNTEERING
Much of the work can be added to the work DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
of existing organisations. A successful model
has already been developed by the
Wellington Volunteer Centre that has
promoted Corporate Volunteering,
established practical programmes and an
advisory service. This work has resulted in a
number of large businesses supporting
The proposed infrastructure for NZ is the
“Corporate Volunteering Development
Network” ” - for branding purposes called
“Employees in the Community”. This
network builds on the work of existing
organisations and is built from:
enhancing Volunteer Centres with the
introduction of a programme manager
and three “Corporate Volunteering
Development Officers” - in the three
a Corporate Volunteering Leadership Group to provide a governing role for the development of
Corporate Volunteering with representatives from the Volunteer Centre, business leaders and
a membership network of businesses either by creating new membership network or by
partnering with existing business networks e.g. Business in the Community, Business for Social
Responsibility or others.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 5
Within five years the network could:
promote Corporate Volunteering using vehicles such as Awards for Excellence in Employee
Involvement, specialist publications, presentations and individual approaches to businesses
provide a resource base for advice and consultancy to help businesses develop in-house
run the Corporate Community Challenge – a brokered programme for business teams undertaking
run the Development Assignment programme – a brokered programme for individual employees
undertaking short-term secondments in community groups
establish Professional Firms Groups – networks of professional companies that each agree to donate
100 hours free per year with projects submitted by non-profit groups through the network.
establish a Business on Board programme– providing placements and training for employees to be
Board members of non-profit groups
In line with overseas experience this network would be resourced through a balance of funding
sources. This acknowledges the spread of benefits the programme provides:
local & central Government
businesses through activity fees
sponsorships and donations in kind
The Corporate Volunteering Development Network is a very practical vehicle that can increase the
level of business engagement in the community through employee involvement. For many businesses
the barrier to expressing their corporate citizenship is not so much “why should we get involved?”,
but more “how do we get involved?”. The Corporate Volunteering Development Network provides
answer to this question, making it easier for businesses to make a difference.
Although complete in itself this initiative has the ability to be a building block for a wider
infrastructure that supports business engagement in the community. The beauty of this building
block is that it is very practical, is action oriented, builds on existing organisations and their
networks, is relatively inexpensive and brings results both at a grassroots and societal level.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 6
New Zealand is full of people with the passion to make a difference in an area of their interest and
expertise. Through the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust I have met a number of people who have
been given the chance to explore their passion and make a real difference. I thank The Winston
Churchill Memorial Trust Board for its work and choosing my project. Although the world is
becoming smaller we still can learn a lot from other countries. I also thank Minister Roger Sowry,
and the Department of Social Welfare for some initial funding for development work. I am certain
that this sort of investment pays huge dividends.
A great number of people gave their time willingly to contribute to this work – an acknowledgement
that people do volunteer if give them the chance by asking them!
Most importantly, I would like to thank David Halley of Halley Associates, UK. David is an ex-patriot
and was a key player in the growth of Corporate Volunteering in the UK. As an example of employee
volunteering himself, he undertook a transitional secondment for IBM to be the Project Manager for
the Action Resource Centre (the first agency in the UK specialising in Corporate Volunteering). He
continued with the movement when Business in the Community merged with the Action Resource
Centre. His experience, expertise and networks were invaluable. David single-handedly arranged over
40 interviews that formed the basis of the study. He has also invested time in developing Corporate
Volunteering programmes in NZ by investing his time and expertise to “train” the centre in the
principles and practices of sound Corporate Volunteering. Thank you David.
My appreciation goes to the team at Business in the Community, London who hosted me for three
weeks. Their organisation provides a great example of a catalyst “greasing the wheels” for business
involvement in the community. Studying their organisation was like going through a laboratory
where around every corner someone was developing some new element of business community
Thank you to all the individuals from community groups, businesses and others who allowed me to
interview them on the exciting subject of Corporate Volunteering (see appendix for a complete list).
The interviews showed me that, although some things are very different in the UK, many things are
much the same.
I thank Roger Tweedy and Jenny Trafford, Board members of the Volunteer Centre. They have
provided mentoring, guidance and wisdom to steer this study in the right direction.
Thank you to Michael Player, Adrienne von Tunzelmann and Leslie Smith for your input that has
added to this report.
Finally, thank you to my partner and friend Kathleen, my niece Tracy and new son Cass – for putting
up with me while I completed this report, communicating with no one but keyboard and screen.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 7
PART ONE: CORPORATE VOLUNTEERING:
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 8
What Is Corporate Volunteering?
Definition: Corporate Volunteering is businesses supporting and encouraging staff involvement in
It is all about employees undertaking voluntary roles within non-profit community groups with the
endorsement and assistance of their employer. For the purposes of this report, the term Employee
Volunteering is used interchangeably with Corporate Volunteering. In the UK, the generic term is
Employee Community Involvement. While this term may be more technically correct, the term
Corporate Volunteering or Employee Volunteering seems to convey the most meaning for people
new to the concept.
Employee Volunteering programmes can take a variety of forms as summarised in the Table 2 below:
TABLE 2: CORPORATE VOLUNTEERING: A SUMMARY
HOW BUSINESSES SUPPORT HOW EMPLOYEES GET WHO EMPLOYEES
EMPLOYEES WHO INVOLVED VOLUNTEER FOR
Making More Attractive Individual Activities Non-profit Groups Selected By
culture that values volunteering self-selected volunteering employees individually or by
time off development assignments committee
flexi-time transitional secondments company sponsorship partners or
legitimate use of company board placements Community Investment Areas
facilities mentoring community need
recognition a broker sourcing and presenting
matched fundraising Team Activities relevant opportunities.
awards schemes (“dollars for challenges
doers”) staff Committees
Making More Accessible Company Wide Activities
presenting opportunities community partnerships
in-house brokerage cause-related partnerships
the Volunteer Centre
opening doors to community
facilitating team formation
involvement in distributing
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 9
Corporate Volunteering is best illustrated by case studies of established programmes. These examples
are of UK programmes, some established, others relatively new. Each case study identifies the:
types of activities and roles employees undertake in the community
kind of support provided by the employer.
Overview of the cases studies:
1. KPMG UK - offering staff a menu of volunteering options and managing the company‟s altruism
2. Professional Firms Group (UK) - networks of professional companies that each agree to donate
approximately 100 hours per year of free expertise
3. Barclays – offering transitional secondments to staff who are becoming redundant
4. Royal SunAlliance UK - a comprehensive staff involvement programme integrated with the
company community investment strategy
5. Business on Board (UK) - providing placements and training for employees to be Board members
of non-profit groups
6. Marks & Spencers UK - short-term secondments as a training and development tool
7. Challenge UK and Corporate Community Challenge NZ - a brokered programme for business
teams doing community projects
8. Grand Metropolitans Kids And the Power Of Work (KAPOW) UK (&US) - business
involvement in education through employee volunteering
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 10
CASE STUDY: KPMG, UK - MANAGING ALTRUISM
KPMG created a new department within their organisation called the Community Brokerage service. Through this
new service they offer staff a menu of options for voluntary involvement in the community. The options utilise the
skills of staff. Each option has required careful planning to establish models, rewards and community partners.
Before establishing the programme they surveyed 900 staff.
Historically they had a very ad hoc approach to company giving with requests for pro-bono work coming from a
number of areas and approved at a number of levels. The driving force was to bring a system that would manage
the companies altruism from an informal system to one that adds value, is fair, creates leverage, can be directed
and is measurable. The intention is to make a significant contribution to the community particularly in education
and to assist staff, both those already volunteering and those who may wish to.
Like many other early leaders, KPMG are happy to promote to others. For example KPMG have set up a working
model through their Head Teacher Mentoring programme and are now asking other businesses to be partners.
One function the community broking service administers is the community bank, a cost centre and budget for
community activities. As time is KPMG‟s product, any voluntary activity that uses company time is "charged" to
the community bank. Through this KPMG get a very clear picture on staff and company giving. All involvement
requesting KPMG support must be approved by direct managers and colleagues to ensure the work of the team is
not disrupted. Note, KPMG established special professional indemnity insurance for these activities.
The KPMG programme illustrates how “behind the scenes” work can make it easier for staff to volunteer. By
developing options and relationships with community partners, voluntary work is more accessible to KPMG staff.
Team Challenges: groups of employees undertake team-building activities by tackling short-term community
projects. Brokered by Business in the Community, possible projects done in the past include designing a mural for
blind children, redecorating a hostel for the homeless people and organising a party for elderly people. Projects
require planning, working to a common goal, communicating and delegating responsibilities.
Prince’s Youth Business Trust: acting as business advisors for young unemployed people starting their own
business through the PYBT programme.
Head Teacher Mentoring: Running a school can be in many ways like running a business. KPMG staff act as
mentors for staff who may not have had business training. Mentors can use up to two hours of company time per
month, and many do work in their own time also. Typically this is for more senior staff
Roots & Wings – Student Mentoring: Focussing on schools in depressed areas, staff can mentor a secondary
school student on a one to one basis. The objective is to provide a role model and assist students with their
development. The mentor could assist with grades or preparing for work. They mentor every fortnight for an hour.
Often more junior staff assist primary school children with reading skills. This requires a weekly commitment of
half an hour. Staff are given training for both roles and many fit the time over an extended lunch. Examinations
equivalent to school certificate show an improvement of 20 percent for mentored students versus non-mentored
Development Assignments: Short-term 100 hour community secondments brokered by Business in the
Community. Staff are given time off during work time. (See Marks & Spencers Case Study).
Individual Volunteering: Staff are also supported and encouraged to do their own volunteering. KPMG assist by
communicating requests and opportunities from the community through email and web pages. The Community
Broking Service also helps with the charitable donations budget distribution - priority is given to groups staff
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 11
CASE STUDY: PROFESSIONAL FIRMS GROUP: MAKING EXPERTISE ACCESSIBLE TO NON-
A professional firms group is a network of 10-20 organisations with specialist expertise who each pledge
to give 50-100 hours of free time to projects in non-profit groups. Company participants include accountancy firms, law
firms, public relations firm, engineering consultancies, design firms, management consultancies, etc. Brought together
by Business in the Community UK there are now 26 PFGs' throughout the country. These groups meet regularly and are
presented a list of projects from local non-profits, screened and brokered through Business in the Community. Many
projects are done in a multi-disciplinary way involving more than one business. Each group has a chairperson &
secretariat and all input is voluntary. With a working model a new group can achieve a lot, for example the Nottingham
PFG, Chaired by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, completed 60 community projects in its first year. Examples of projects
completed by PFG‟s include: Grant Thorton who saved Grove Day Centre 17,500 pounds in VAT by negotiating with
customs & excise, a law firm who advised one group on how to apply for registration of charitable status and
purchasing a property, a PR firm gave a Housing & Homelessness Trust advice on carrying out a customer satisfaction
Benefits: The key benefit to participants is managing their altruism by giving a channel to put requests through. They
get to work on projects that have been pre-qualified, they network with other businesses and they get developmental
opportunities for younger members of staff. For community groups they get access to expertise that would be otherwise
unavailable and, as requests go through a broker, all groups have an equal opportunity.
CASE STUDY: BARCLAYS (UK) - EMPLOYMENT TRANSITION
Barclays have gone through a period of significant downsizing. With the expectation of a job for life gone the
relationship and “contract” between employer and employee have changed. This has meant that while the company
cannot offer security it can develop staff while they are there to ensure staff remain competitive and employable.
A reality for many staff is that they will face redundancy. For many this can cause considerable stress and insecurity.
Many Barclay‟s employees have been with the bank for much of their working life. The prospect of having to look for
alternative employment is very scary. Many people have their identity and self-image tied up with their role at work.
Barclays assist people in the transition to new employment through transitional secondments.
Transitional Secondments: Staff who face redundancy are offered the option of working on a project in a non-profit
organisation for six months to two years. Staff remain on full pay and benefit package while on secondment. Examples
of what has been achieved by secondees:
Repositioning marketing material and publications and assisting at events and conferences for National Head
Teachers in Industry.
Business Development Manager for Farming & Wildlife Group developing a National membership scheme.
Financial Controller for John Grooms Association for the Disabled. Secondee also shadowed Chief Executive for
more experience in the voluntary sector.
Barclays find that transitional secondments help employees to identify their transferable skills and maintain their
confidence. Some secondments result in continued employment with the charity they are seconded with. The scheme
sends a very positive message to all staff that the company is committed to the needs of employees even beyond
employment. Approximately 100 people in Barclays are on transitional secondment per year
Other Employee Volunteering Schemes: Barclays has established over 60 employee volunteering groups. Barclays
gives between 100-1000 pounds to each new staff group that set up volunteering initiatives. They also encourage staff
who wish to fundraise for charities by matching pound for pound what staff raise. Barclays provides merchandise,
posters, advice, and examples of previous projects that were successful. The support does not generally involve time off
unless granted through management. However flexi-time is available. Staff select their own projects but in many cases
they need an outside broker to identify projects of need in the community. One example is a Barclays team from
Northampton who assisted a newly formed charity set up to brighten up young peoples lives called “Leg up in Life”.
Team members gave a 12 month pledge of support and put their energy into developing a riding facility. They
redecorated the stables and raised the 2000 pounds required to build and open a menage area. Volunteers also regularly
work with the children on a one to one basis offering the organisation continuity of volunteers.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 12
CASE STUDY: BUSINESS ON BOARD
Business in the Community manages a programme that assists employees to become Board members for local charities,
schools and other governing bodies. This programme promotes Board positions and provides an avenue for non-profits
to submit requests for Board members. It matches people with positions and assists with their transition and training.
Companies such as IBM, Whitbread, and Natwest have programmes that encourage and support staff to be Board
members. In many US corporations service on external boards is already a virtual requirement for executives seeking
promotion to the highest levels. These companies assist staff to become Board members by:
helping them to find suitable places
training and briefing on what a Board member involves e.g. Natwest sponsored a booklet “Good Trustees Guide”.
allowing time off work or time in lieu for board meetings and other duties
donating an amount to the host organisation
allowing the use of meeting rooms, photocopiers, computers and other company facilities
providing access to an experienced mentor or an in-house Board member support network.
Employees who volunteer as board members find the experience enables them to:
be more flexible and outward looking
enhance their skills in governance, managing relationships and interactions, management style and decision
have greater understanding of the community
gain greater networks in the community.
And just as community groups need the skills of business people, the non-profit sector has many practices business
people can learn from e.g. mission, values and strategy alignment, consultative styles etc. As Charles Handy points out
“just as [non-profit] organisations are becoming more businesslike, so we may see business looking to the non-profit
arena for new models for themselves.”
CASE STUDY: ROYAL SUNALLIANCE UK - INVESTING IN THE COMMUNITY
Royal SunAlliance (R&SA) created a community investment programme in three years. They did extensive research to
determine where in they should focus the resources of the company. They were looking for areas in the community
there was a clear need, the concern is shared by employees and where making a difference has a direct business impact.
Through this they identified five focus areas: providing safer communities, education and training, social and welfare
issues, health and safety, and the environment. The key way they make a difference in these areas is through employee
involvement. They offer staff a menu of options for involvement. The focus is on empowering staff to make their own
choices. For each option R&SA provide different types of support. To receive any support from R&SA, activities must
be within the five focus areas.
Staff can volunteer for:
Community Partners – R&SA carefully selects five community partners where they offer a long-term financial
sponsorship and complement that with staff participation. An example is Roadrunners, a charity set up to teach young
people how to drive safely. The local R&SA regional manager sits on the local committee to organise training days and
network with local leaders to gain their support. In addition teams of staff assist with publicity.
Young Enterprise programme with whom R&SA has established a relationship. Staff act as business advisors for
small businesses created by groups of secondary school students.
Local staff committees. These are the cornerstone for staff involvement. Through these, staff organise their own
voluntary activities and charities. There is one staff committee in every branch. Committees are given a manual to
provide guidelines. Any staff involved in voluntary activity can apply for an award from R&SA of £500. If successful,
this goes to the charity they volunteer for. Additionally, if staff raise money for a charity R&SA matches this pound for
pound up to £1000.
School Board of Trustee Programme - staff receive a briefing and £50 for their school if they become a Board
Development Assignments: Short term community secondments brokered by Business in the Community. Used as a
training tool. Completed during work time. (See Marks & Spencers Case Study).
Retiree programme providing information to retirees on ways they can be involved in the community.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 13
CASE STUDY: MARKS & SPENCERS
Employee Volunteering forms a key element of Marks & Spencers (M&S) staff training and development programme.
This programme is a good example of an employer directed programme. The programme is run through the Human
Resources department with senior management input and with a close connection with the Community Affairs
Department. Marks & Spencers have written a code of practice to ensure principles are maintained. In operation for
over 20 years, the initial approach was very philanthropic - focussed on "helping the community". The programme has
become more strategic and business related. The emphasis now is to provide benefits to staff. Through the success of
the programme and continually proving its benefits they have managed to grow their budget over the years and increase
the numbers of staff who are involved.
They have a very strategic approach which is formalised with a community investment policy. With input from staff
they have determined the areas they wish to be involved in. Any activity seeking M&S support must fit within the areas
of Health & Care, Community Development (capacity-building community groups, Environment or Arts & Heritage).
The company does not provide support to activities relating to sport, animals, individuals, third party appeals, capital
endeavours or overseas placements.
Full-time secondments: Here staff are seconded to community groups for defined projects for three months to 2 years.
Staff who are on full-time secondment receive the full benefit package. The participants tend to be middle managers
and above and tend to apply mid-career or at the end of their career as a transition to leaving the organisation. M&S
secondments started in 1978. In 1997 M&S had 35 full-time secondees. Examples include a personnel manager who
undertook an assignment at the Prince‟s Trust Volunteers to develop employer participation in their programme.
Another secondee, an operations manager, undertook a secondment at the Schizophrenia Fellowship. His project
included developing and implementing a national quality strategy for the organisation.
Development Assignments: Staff undertake assignments for 100 hours in local community groups. The projects
undertaken must have defined objectives with a clear start and finish. The projects focus on using the employee‟s skills
as a base and extending them in an unfamiliar environment. The assignments provide staff with a project to manage
with a high degree of autonomy. Examples of projects include a young graduate creating and implementing a
merchandising plan for a local opportunity shop. Another is an assistant manager who worked for the St Basil‟s Centre
for homeless young people to find ways of increasing the Centre‟s profile in the community.
Development Assignment are offered to staff alongside a menu of other training options after development needs have
been identified through the training need/ appraisal process. The projects are carefully matched to the development
needs of the assignee. Typical assignees are management trainees within their first two years of recruitment, or deputy
supervisors or middle manager. This programme started in 1988 and in 1997, 150 M&S personnel went on
M&S receives assistance from Business in the Community a specialist agency supporting Employee Volunteering
programmes. They assist by sourcing suitable projects and facilitating the development process.
The benefits. So how does M&S justify releasing staff during work time to take on community projects? Most
importantly, Secondments & Development Assignments are valued as a serious training tool with measurable benefits.
Each assignment is carefully evaluated in terms of the developing competencies. The training and development
outcomes tend to be developing the softer skills that are difficult to train through traditional methods. The competencies
developed are: increased confidence and belief in own ability, initiating and risk taking, negotiating and influencing,
communicating, managing diversity, understanding the community, planning and time management. Candidates enjoy
placements because they can assist career progression and because they get sense of personal achievement. The
outcome: more effective rounded managers.
M&S philosophy is that “healthy back streets mean healthy high streets”. They see that it is in the companies‟ interest
to invest in the communities in which they trade. Making a difference with issues such as crime, poverty and safety
have a direct relevance to profits, customers and staff.
Enhanced PR is a downstream result and not a principle reason for involvement. M&S do not spend a lot to advertise
the outcomes of its programme. PR benefits arise at a more grass roots level, achieved by relationships, which create
positive word of mouth. M&S has had its programme recognised by an Employees in the Community awards (run
yearly by from Business in the Community). M&S openly encourages other businesses to follow its lead and happily
shares details of their programme.
Note: This model has been used successfully in NZ with employees from Royal & SunAlliance through the Wellington
Volunteer Centres Development Assignment programme
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 14
CASE STUDY: CHALLENGE UK – TEAM BUILDING WHILE MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Companies in the UK have discovered how teamwork can be developed through practical and worthwhile community
projects. Challenge UK is an event that runs for a month across the UK. Managed by Business in the Community,
businesses are challenged with local community projects require teams of volunteers for short-term projects. Projects
include Ogilvie & Mather helping with a publicity campaign, including teams of staff pasting up 40-foot billboards.
Another Challenge was Wimpey Homes, whose employees combined with suppliers and sub-contractors to build a
garden centre for an organisation that helps people with learning difficulties. Whitbread employees put up fences and
paint old ones for John Grooms Association for Disabled people. And Sony UK refurbish a training room and a creche
for the Thomas Coram Foundation. They also did a security audit and a marketing plan. The activity saved the
organisation £2000 and made the crèche available for use three months ahead of schedule.
Started in 1994, Challenge has grown to be a national event and now involves hundreds of businesses and thousands of
employees involved in community effort. It has been a very good introduction to Corporate Volunteering for many
businesses and has led them to explore other ways that staff can be involved.
Note that New Zealand has its own version of Challenge. In 1997 The Wellington Volunteer Centre launched the
Corporate Community Challenge with the assistance of Mayor Blumsky and Wellington City Council. In its first year,
teams of employees from BRANZ, Computerland, EDS, Lever Rexona, Body Shop, Transit NZ, Civil Aviation, ECNZ
and the Mayors Office under took a variety of projects assisting Riding for the Disabled, NZ Red Cross, Forest & Bird
Refugee & Migrant Service, Mary Potter Hospice, Newtown CAB and Pablos Art Studios. Projects included painting
the riding arena for Riding for the Disabled, acting as auction assistants for the Pablos Art Auction that raised $18,000,
and creating an ethnic recipe book with clients from the refugee & migrant service. This challenge involved Lever
Rexona staff using a hall with communal cooking facilities, migrants demonstrating recipe and staff interpreting and
scribing them, inputting them into laptops and designing the book layout.
CASE STUDY: GRANDMETROPOLITAN: KIDS & THE POWER OF WORK: KAPOW
GrandMetropolitan is more readily known for the brands and franchises it manages e.g. Burger King, Smirnoff,
Haagen-Dazs, Baileys etc. The UK GrandMetropolitan Employee Volunteering programme evolved from its success in
the US. It was introduced in the „90‟s, which was a very difficult time to implement the programme as it was during a
period of significant downsizing – from 35,000 staff to 8,000. Some principles GrandMetropolitan used:
give people the opportunity to participate but don‟t force them
package opportunities detailing the when, what, how and why
put in energy to get people involved
aim to raise the numbers of staff involved.
Keep putting the needs of the community in front of people
KAPOW - Kids and the Power of Work (one of GrandMetropolitan's EV programmes):
Being a large multi-national, Grandmet has had many successful models that could be called upon that already have
information material, processes, rewards and evaluation systems developed.
KAPOW was developed as a curriculum intervention that provides children with a window to work through which they
can see the links between what they learn in class and a successful working life. The programme shows students that
their education does have links to a successful career.
In the US the programme is run in 16 US states and has involved 4,500 students, 400 company volunteers and 200
educators. The programme has now been franchised to other US companies. It was successfully piloted in the UK in
1994 and by 1996 five schools have invited Grandmet to add KAPOW to their curriculum.
KAPOW is based on a professionally designed curriculum for children between 6 and 12. Staff are involved as
volunteers and receive training to prepare them for their roles. It offers employee volunteers valuable opportunities to
develop their skills and broaden their perspectives. Volunteers form teams and are assigned a class in a school. They
visit their class once a month over a year, delivering eight pre-packaged lessons. (Staff and teachers have some
flexibility on how information is presented). The lessons cover: career and vocational awareness, a work-site visit,
positive work habits, self awareness, interdependence, decision making and overcoming bias and stereotyping.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 15
The Extent of Involvement
Corporate Volunteering is an accepted and common business practice in the
UK and US. In the UK programmes rapidly developed in the 80‟s and 90‟s. A
1995 Charities Aid Foundation study showed one in three large UK businesses
have formal employee volunteering programmes.. In the US, Corporate
Volunteering is a Volunteering is even more established. A survey in the US of the 1,800 largest
widespread and companies showed that 92 percent of the respondents encourage volunteerismii.
well accepted The forms encouragement take is shown in Table 3.
in the UK and US
Table 3: How US businesses support &
involvement is developing in encourage employee volunteering ii
Europe. Marks and Spencer
now runs Development
Assignments and Transitional
Secondments in France, Spain
and Belgium; GE Lighting does
major team challenges across
countries; Saga Oil in Norway
has a volunteering programme
and there are various
programmes in Holland. To
illustrate the spread of the idea,
The Community Investment
Manager of Royal &
SunAlliance was recently asked
to visit a company in Siberia -
to outline how and why they
established their programme
and the benefits the company
But Corporate Volunteering is
not just the domain of large
companies. A 1996 survey by
the British Chambers of
Commerce showed that eight
in ten companies donate money and one in three their time and services. More
than half say that, in principle, they would let staff have time off for community
Closer to home, Corporate Volunteering is on a more modest scale and in many
cases less formalised. The concept is very new to New Zealand. There are a few
leaders, particularly affiliates of multinationals that have localised their overseas
programmes e.g. Body Shop with their staff release policy, EDS and their Global
Volunteer Day and Otis with their partnership with Special Olympics.
Anecdotal evidence, based on an increase in unsolicited enquiries from
businesses to the Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington Volunteer Centres,
suggests there is growing interest.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 16
Corporate Volunteering: The Win-Win-Win
The key to sustainable employee volunteering programmes is that they benefit
all parties - employees, their businesses and our community. Businesses with
sound programmes have proven the business case, employees willingly
participate because they can answer the question "what's in it for me" and the
community partners acknowledge the benefits of the partnership. It's about a
about finding the
each party benefits
Benefits to Employees
The volunteer must have a positive experience for volunteering to be
sustainable. When their needs are not met, volunteers typically leave and do not
return. Whether an experience is judged positive or not depends on how well
expectations are met and how well the experience matches the motivation of the
Why people choose to volunteer varies widely. The traditional view was that
people volunteer for purely altruistic reasons. However even people “doing
good” have needs they are fulfilling through voluntary work. In the 90‟s it has
become more accepted that volunteering is a win-win, where people volunteer
for reasons additional to altruism. Many people are now clearer about their own
needs they are seeking to fulfil through volunteering. For many the content of
the voluntary role is just as important as the context (cause).
A study by Helen Carter at Mary Potter Hospice shows a new group of
volunteers is entering their organisationv. The “new breed” of volunteers are
typically women in part-time paid work. Contrasted with the motivation of
existing volunteers, who claim no other motive than altruism, the “new breed”
are seeking skill development in addition to altruistic contribution.
People in paid work seeking to do voluntary work may be trying to fulfil a variety
of needs, including:
enhancing work performance
making a difference
meeting other people
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 17
fulfilling a need to contribute
developing transferable skills to assist transition to other employment.
In 1991 a National Survey of Volunteering in the UK discovered an interesting
finding was that the majority of people who volunteered did so because they
were askedvi. It suggests a pool of “latent” volunteers who may not proactively
look for voluntary work but would volunteer if presented with the right
Many people do opportunity and were asked in the right way. This is one of the reasons why
want to volunteer. Corporate Volunteering programmes can be so successful, as many people do
want to volunteer but they just need encouragement, and options brought to
programmes break them.
down barriers that
There are many barriers to stop those in paid work from volunteering.
from volunteering Employers can help to remove these barriers through effective Corporate
Volunteering programmes. By removing the barriers they increase the chances of
people participating by making voluntary work more accessible and attractive.
TABLE 4: CORPORATE VOLUNTEERING PROGRAMMES: REMOVING
BARRIERS TO VOLUNTEERS
BARRIER STOPPING PEOPLE EFFECTIVE STRATEGY OF EMPLOYER
Lack of discretionary time Time off policy
Opportunities available only in work Flexi-time
Ignorance of opportunities available or Assistance with finding volunteer roles e.g.
perceived lack of suitable opportunities relationships with Volunteer Centres, community
Community groups not “ready” for Carefully selecting (screening) partners with sound
volunteers i.e. unclear, expect too much, voluntary management practices
no structures to support
Resistance to volunteering alone Facilitating formation of teams of work colleagues
Feeling that one person can‟t make a If the programme focuses staff energy on a particular
difference issue, collective action can achieve significant impact
and individuals can feel they have contributed to that.
Complementing volunteering with other resources of
the company means employees can do more for the
community than if they were doing it in isolation. e.g.
meeting rooms, dollar for dollar matching scheme.
Wouldn‟t consider it unless asked Presenting opportunities is asking.
Voluntary work not valued – not aware of Providing a culture that recognises the value of
benefits volunteering and volunteers. This could include a
policy, inclusion in the company mission statement,
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 18
The Business Case
Perhaps the most powerful evidence of the business case is the widespread
growth of Corporate Volunteering in the UK. A significant number of high
profile businesses have invested in Corporate Volunteering programmes. These
The strongest companies have proven there is a strong business case. And this is the main
business case is reason that this activity has so rapidly been accepted. Early leaders have taken a
the wide scale
hard look at their programmes to determine whether to continue, cease or
Corporate expand them. Some of the impact is difficult to measure and is backed up by
Volunteering anecdotal evidence. However, there is a growing amount of research and a
proliferation of evaluative tools that enable businesses to measure the return on
Corporate But it is not just about short-term bottom line return. Adrienne von
Volunteering Tunzelmann explores the importance of the social environment in terms of
contributes to the strategic governance of a company. Attention to the relationship of the company
long term value of with the social environment can protect and enhance the value of long-term
an organisation as
well as providing strategic assets. “If directors are not paying attention to these tasks, they may well
short term benefits be ensuring that their governance is value subtracting, rather than adding
As Corporate Volunteering can contribute to the strategic value of an
organisation, programmes need to be developed as an integral part of business
strategy. Because of this, businesses need to be very clear about the objectives for
introducing Corporate Volunteering, as a variety of outcomes are possible. A
Board placement programme, for example has a different emphasis than a team-
based programme. Broadly speaking, the business benefits of Corporate
Volunteering programmes are grouped as:
developing better employees
making an effective investment in the community in which the business
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 19
Developing a better workforce
As part of an ongoing research effort begun in 1992, The Conference Board and
Points of Light Foundation Surveyed professionals in 1,800 US companies, and
found that respondents believe that company-sponsored volunteer activities
build employee morale, skills and loyalty to the company.
Table 5: Benefits of Corporate Volunteering: US Survey
The focus of many
programmes is to
develop staff. The
transferable skills ,
A set of studies commissioned in 1989 and 1992 by IBM and conducted by
UCLA professor David Lewis examined 156 companies and found that
employee morale was up three times higher in companies actively involved in
the community. It also showed the level of company community involvement is
positively related to financial performance (Return of Investment, Return on
Assets, and employee productivity).
Another study by MSS Market Research found that, among senior executives
from the UK‟s top 100 companies, 63 percent said that employee involvement
in community issues was an ideal form of team-building, and 71 percent
believed that if employees were involved in the community, employee morale
would be raised.
“It is good to meet and work with people from other departments. This was, in
fact, one of the best aspects of the project".
Burger King Volunteer
"We encourage employees to work together on community activities, both for
their own personal benefit and because it helps with team building and improves
people's morale and motivation". Nigel Snell, Head of Corporate
Communications, Nationwide Building Society
But the results are not just about improving morale and teamwork, they are also
about developing skills and broadening staff's experiences. A study was put
together by PRIMA with the support of seven companies with significant EV
programmes: British Airways, British Telecom, GrandMet, IBM, Kingfisher,
Natwest Group and Whitbread. The report, titled “Employees in the
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 20
Community: How successful companies meet human resource needs through
community involvement”, looks at the HR benefits of Corporate Volunteering
programme and how companies evaluate success. The report includes a model
developed by Grand Metropolitan. They identified competencies developed by
various types of placements in the community.
Table 6: Competency Development and Employee volunteering
M&S and Nationwide Building Society Bank have evaluated their secondment
programmes and have shown that competencies can be considerably developed.
One sample showed development gains in time management, collection and
analysis of data, self-motivation and individual risk. In addition, other skills such
as communication could be exercised in a low commercial risk environment.
“Companies increasingly need managers who are resourceful and independent,
who can adapt quickly to new situations, who are able to influence rather than
direct staff and who will play a greater role in developing their people. Business
in the Community's Development Assignments in the community meet this need
Clara Freeman, Divisional Director Personnel, Marks & Spencer PLC
“I would never have thought myself capable of a marketing career had it not
been for employee volunteering.”
Daryl King, Whitbread PLC employee
A survey of NatWest‟s Trusteeship programme showed that of the 772
participants who responded eight out of ten reported their role as a
trustee/treasurer had assisted their personal development, with six out of ten
stating competencies most developed were communication, team skills and
Worthy of note is that many studies show that the competencies developed are
more the “softer” skills, i.e. influencing, consulting, communicating, etc. These
are beginning to be acknowledged as the skills of high performance. And
typically, these skills are very hard to train using traditional methods. This
research acknowledges learning does not have to be developed solely through
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 21
formal training courses.
It is also worth noting that volunteering per se does not develop skills. Only
certain voluntary roles will be effective, and they must be carefully matched to
the development needs of the volunteer.
Without a doubt there is more pressure than ever on businesses to be
responsible citizens. This comes from all stakeholders: customers, shareholders,
Government and the community. Several studies have shown it is in business‟s
own interest to be responsible - and to be seen to be responsible.
Companies face Research surveys by MORI UK have found that:
demands from 59 percent of consumers prefer to buy from a company they know has a
strong record of community involvement
50 percent of employees prefer to work for a company they know is involved
in the community
60 percent of institutional investors say their impression of a company is
Corporate improved if they know it is involved in the community
Volunteering is a Company reputation can be important to attract staff, as a Prince of Wales
way to enhance Business Leaders Forum survey showsviii. In this survey 699 students from 23
reputation. It can countries (mainly business graduates) were questioned about their potential
increase the employers. The most important factor was career growth potential, the second
company’s radius was company‟s good reputation – ahead of pay and fringe benefits. This survey
of trust and make
the it more indicates the expectations and values of the young business leaders of today and
attractive to tomorrow.
employees – both For businesses committed to being a responsible corporate citizen, Corporate
existing and Volunteering can be a practical way to bring to life the sentiments contained in
potential. a mission statement. It terms of reputation Corporate Volunteering programmes
make a difference at a grassroots level
are perceived to be sincere since involvement is through people's
provide positive word of mouth
build goodwill in the community, helping to “create a license” to operate,
developing a wider radius of trust
are a way for businesses to determine a community's perception of company
“I was watching a member of staff talking to senior managers from other
companies about volunteering. 1 was struck by his pride in his achievements and
his pride in representing Allied Dunbar”.
Sandy Leitch, Chairman, Allied Dunbar Assurance PLC.
“Our employees are our best ambassadors in the community. They show what
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 22
range of skills we have in the company as well as the commitment to service
which is essential for business success”.
Barrie Morgans, Chief Executive IBM (UK) Ltd
"Go along to any Challenge event and you will see 50+ teams of Allied Dunbar
staff demonstrating the company's values".
Sandy Leitch, Chairman, Allied Dunbar Assurance PLC..
Investment in the community in which businesses trade
Extreme social circumstances in the US and UK have forced businesses to
intervene to create healthier communities. Precipitating factors have been
education systems failing to produce people with the skills needed in industry,
high levels of crime, low literacy rates and large sections of the community
It is in their own marginalised through poverty.
businesses to As the role of state has been redefined, business involvement in the community
invest in the
also redefined. With the rise of the free enterprise culture in the 80s coinciding
which they trade with the crises in the welfare state there has been growing conviction that such
activities are also the preserve of business. Business has a part to play and indeed
a vested interest in a stable and cohesive society, and Corporate Volunteering
can be a significant investment towards that.
The UK enquiry “Tomorrow's Company” suggested that “…only by giving due
weight to the interests of all key stakeholders can shareholders‟ continuing value
"Our employees live and work in the communities and therefore understand
better than most their changing expectations. It is in our interest to encourage
our employees in business-linked community activities, both to better their
communities and enable them to indicate to us what social problems need to be
Miles Templeton, Director, Whitbread PLC
"The huge army of volunteers that can be raised by employers provides a
massive human resource to benefit the community. It enables the community and
the voluntary organisations working within it to forge an on-going relationship
with local employers and allows them access to professional skills and company
Ian Anderson, Manager Community Investment Programme, Whitbread PLC
"Royal Mail is a vital part of every community throughout the UK. The support
we are able to give, therefore, to our employees in their active involvement in
community projects brings real benefits both to our business and to our
Richard Dykes, Managing Director, Royal Mail
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 23
Benefits to the Community
Business can contribute to our community in a number of ways, summarised as
the 5 Ps: profits, power, premises, product, and people. The growth of
Corporate Volunteering acknowledges that groups not only need money, they
also need people with the right skills and perspective. Just as people are the
greatest asset in companies so too are they the key to strong community groups.
Corporate Volunteering benefits the community at two levels:
1. individual non-profit group
2. the wider societal level
Access to skills - Capacity building non-profits
The roles between Government and the voluntary sector have changed
significantly over the last few years. Non-profit groups carry a greater share of
enables non-profits essential social services than in the past. Non-profit groups are under increasing
groups to access pressure from funders, the law, clients and, indeed in the new contestable
business skills. environment, competitors. All demand greater accountability, efficiency,
professionalism, integrity and service. Non-profit groups operate in a more
complex environment than other sectors. Challenges include:
need to attract people with appropriate skills without market salaries
rostered staff, including many volunteers
managing the conflicting demand of social equity while being forced to
recoup the cost of service delivery
typical funding horizons of one year or less
The private sector
can learn a lot from low or no reserve base to develop and innovate.
learning is two
Although there is a wealth of brilliant people within the sector, most community
way. groups find the drive to be more businesslike leaves a gap in their skill base.
Business skills tend to come at a higher price than many groups can afford, and
people attracted to the sector do not typically have these skills. Business skills
particularly in demand in non-profit groups are: setting realistic objectives,
planning and budgeting, marketing and promoting, exploiting technology,
achieving quality, satisfying customers, project management, and measuring
performance. Corporate Volunteering can make people with these skills
Case Study: Austin Centre, Derby. This Charitable Trust was trying to address the
issue of entrenched benefit dependence. The barrier for many sole parents
wanting to return to the workforce was childcare. A local disused hospital
building was identified as a potential location for a new childcare facility.
However, to make this a reality the centre needed business skills it didn‟t have.
It went to the local Business in the Community Professional Firms Group. The
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 24
group got an engineer's report on the building‟s soundness, an architect worked
out the layout, an accountant did a business plan, and a lawyer worked through
the lease. This resulted in a successful funding application to the National
Achieving more for the community
Many social services are limited by the resources available, not by community
need. Having access to volunteers with the right skills can extend the work of
existing staff and allow for extending programmes and developing new projects.
Case Study: Princess Trust Volunteers. This large organisation delivers a number of
programmes focussing on young people and assisting them to meet their
potential. The large number of Employee Volunteers involved allows the
organisation to assist more people. Volunteers are involved both in the planning
in community groups and delivery of their programmes through long-term and short-term
being able to do secondments, mentoring roles, and as team leaders.
more. It also raises
the level of
understanding of TABLE 7: ISSUES TARGETED BY
community issues. CORPORATE VOLUNTEER PROGRAMMES (US)ii
And it creates
further partnerships. 74% education
47% youth in crises
41% the environment
41% the homeless
Increasing understanding of the community
The mission of most non-profits includes educating the public about important
social issues e.g. Samaritans and the issue of depression and the need for
Through Corporate Volunteering many people get involved in issues they were
Many community groups find it difficult to establish sponsorships from
Corporates because of the lack of business networks or lack of profile. By
hosting volunteers from businesses vital relationships develop which have the
potential to grow into closer partnerships. Many groups see that getting
corporate volunteers on board not only directly contributes to their work but
indirectly leads to other opportunities e.g. sponsorships, use of premises, etc.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 25
Case Study: Crisis UK, a centre for homelessness has a full-time Corporate
Partnerships Manager. The centre has an annual Homelessness Day that
includes a portion of employee volunteering activity. One of these volunteers
peeling potatoes on the day was a senior marketing executive of a major
corporate. Crisis took the opportunity to speak with her, which led to the
Corporate Partnerships Manager presenting to the board of that Corporate –
establishing a significant sponsorship.
Lowering the cost of recruiting volunteers
Agencies recruit volunteers from a wide variety of sources. Establishing a
relationship with a business can create an ongoing stream of volunteers with a
wide variety of backgrounds. Also, when projects turn up that require groups of
people these groups have access to ready-made teams of people.
Getting more people volunteering
A recent study of volunteering in the UK showed the majority of people who
volunteered did so because they were askedvii. This suggests that many people do
want to volunteer if they are just asked. Business encouraging staff involvement
in the community provide this “ask” – in effect increasing the numbers of
people involved in their community.
Developing social cohesion
Given our history as an egalitarian society there is much concern that our society
At a wider societal is becoming divided between the haves and have nots. Many clients that
community organisations serve are on the fringes of society, victims of social
voluntary participation exclusion. The biggest threat to a cohesive society is one where people work and
and increases the play within their own silos. Little mixing with others from different perspectives
links between different results in ignorance, stereotyping, and insensitivity. Volunteering that involves
groups in the
getting employees from large corporates involved in community issues gives
The result is a these people an opportunity to gain a wider perspective. It increases society's
healthier, more linkages and networks.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 26
Criticisms of Corporate Volunteering - Issues
A Public Relations exercise?
The focus of
many Many people are cynical that Corporate Volunteering is just a public relations
programmes is exercise for businesses. In some cases it can be. Some programmes are focussed
more on people on making the company present a positive image with no sincere attempt to
than public ensure staff benefit from the activity and no attempt at a real partnership with
relations. There the community. However, such programmes do not tend to last.
relations Sustainable Corporate Volunteering has a natural balance where all parties gain.
opportunities but The key mechanism to finding this natural balance is that all groups enter into it
these must be voluntarily. Staff will not tend to choose to be part of programmes that are just
managed. about making the company look good. And this disinterest can easily turn into
resentment. Similarly, community groups will lose enthusiasm for partnerships
that are one-sided.
It is interesting to note that most programmes featured in this report focus on
building a better workforce through enhancing morale, teamwork, and skill
development. For these companies Public Relations is a downstream benefit,
which results from sound programmes. Businesses do provide tangible support
to meet employees in the middle and therefore can take credit if they have
assisted their employees to be involved. However, these companies are acutely
aware that putting too much emphasis on publicity can stifle the benefits of the
Companies that get involved in issues of social responsibility need to be sincere
and think them though. Adrienne von Tunzelmann explores this in her book,
“Using a „social responsibility‟ label for image-building and social marketing
could give a company a short-term comparative advantage, in their own sector,
but at a long-term cost. As an executive from one large NZ corporation put it “it
can‟t be just done issue by issue, just when the company has a problem. People
will see through that. And the company misses out on one of the most
important benefits of community involvement, which is building networks in
the community to keep the company in touch with consumer trends and learn
about community concerns ahead of the problem””.
Is it volunteering?
Volunteering is generally defined as unpaid work in the community done
through one's own free will. Corporate Volunteering doesn‟t always fit that
definition. For example, because a person on secondment is being paid are they
a volunteer? By definition perhaps not, but in spirit yes. For many reasons the
term now used in the UK is Employee Community Involvement. This removes
The key issue remains, though, are employees free to be in or out of
programmes? Successful programmes provide positive encouragement without
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 27
coercion. They aim to raise morale and company loyalty. This is not achieved by
dragging people into programmes. Most formal programmes have charters that
hold dearly to the principle that involvement is voluntary. By keeping
programmes voluntary, companies always have a measure of their worth – high
Having said that, some companies place a high expectation on staff to
participate. For example Body Shop release staff during work hours and expect
staff to participate. They see community involvement as a key part of Body
Shop's mission in its role as a responsible Corporate. In many US corporations
service on external boards is already a virtual requirement for executives seeking
promotion to the highest levels. However, programmes that push staff into roles
need to be mindful that effective volunteers require motivation from within
rather than from without. Requiring community involvement as a duty can
create resistance and resentment. This requirement can end up achieving the
opposite effect from that intended, ie higher morale and loyalty.
Should employer supported volunteer work be included in appraisals?
Businesses grapple with this issue. Some staff feel that if their company supports
their involvement and benefits from it then it should be acknowledged in their
appraisal. However, others feel this may create too much pressure to participate.
Some companies manage this dilemma by leaving this option to the individual.
Not a core part of business?
For companies to receive the full benefits of Corporate Volunteering they need
to treat it as an integral part of their business strategy that adds to company
As Adrienne von Tunzelmann notes in her study, “a company which invests
For companies to
resources (time, money or people) in corporate social responsibility activities to
receive the full
benefits of meet specific purposes should regard this as normal business activity and apply
Corporate the normal disciplines of commercial management. This means incorporating
Volunteering they social responsible activity into the formal planning and management approaches
need to treat it as
the company uses for managing strategic assets, reputation and differentiation,
an integral part of
their business over time. Typically…include establishing a goal or goals matched by specific
strategy that objectives and agreed strategies which are all incorporated into a strategic plan
adds to company implemented by executive management employing operational procedures,
budget expenditures and regular management control.”x
A report by Bain & Co in the UK showed more companies are moving away
from traditional forms of philanthropy towards more comprehensive integrated
Corporate Community Involvement schemes. “Companies are finding that the
more they operate their community programmes as an integral part of their
business, the greater the impact they are able to have on the community and the
more they themselves benefit,” the report argues.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 28
A substitute for sponsorship?
There is a growing focus on measuring corporate community involvement in the
UK, to account for all types of giving, including sponsorships, donations, in
kind support and employee involvement. Indexes and frameworks have been
developed, including the work of the Per Cent Club and the European
Foundation for Quality Management. However there is still a way to go before
all companies use a consistent measurement framework.
Although not all studies agree, according to the Charities Aid Foundation, cash
donations of the top 400 UK Corporate donors rose in real terms over the three
year period (94/95 to 96/97), but did not rise as a percentage of profits. The
study shows that non-cash contributions are significantly higher than cash
contributions. During the same period, non-cash contributions rose but not to
the same extent as cash contributions. Jane Banks from Charities Aid
Foundation comments “Employee volunteering is not becoming a substitute for
sponsorship…it is fair to say that companies are now considering all the options
rather than just throwing donations at charities as they may have done in the
past. In the UK, charities are having to "pitch" to companies for support and the
corporate will choose from a number of different causes as to who they will
support - with any number of the portfolio - be it charity of the year, employee
volunteering, donations, payroll giving, special events, sponsorship, or social
Only for big business?
Many large organisations have formal Corporate Volunteer programmes with
dedicated personnel e.g. KPMG‟s Community Broking Service, Whitbreads
Although the Employee Involvement in the Community Manager.
programmes are However, many of the programmes can be scaled to smaller organisations e.g.
in large staff flexitime or team volunteering projects. The models are as relevant for
businesses, organisations of 50 people as they are for 5,000.
many of the
models used can Not all programmes will be suitable for small businesses, and how they are
be scaled to
managed will be different. Smaller organisations tend to manage programmes
companies. through their CEO, HR, employee relations or communications functions. This
does make a case though for contracting this function out to a specialist
A 1996 survey of smaller organisations by the British Chambers of Commerce
proves company giving and Corporate Volunteering are not just the domain of
large companies. Results showed eight in ten small firms donate money and one
in three donate time and services. More than half say that in principle they
would let staff have time off for community activities.v
True partnerships with the community?
The imbalance of resources available to business and community groups can
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 29
cause imbalanced partnerships. This can result in businesses perceiving
themselves to be the saviours of “helpless” community groups. This outlook,
although philanthropic, is patronising. It can result in arrogance where
businesses bring their understanding of what is needed, ignoring the knowledge
and desires of the community. One example of high-profile Corporate
Volunteer activity that went very wrong was a large company that came into a
community and built a youth group hall in a depressed area. Without buy-in of
the community and without reading their needs the facility has fallen into
Companies with good community involvement practice respect the autonomy,
knowledge, and expertise of their community partner. These businesses make a
sincere attempt to understand the issues and needs of the group and work
alongside them. They agree on objectives, priorities, and methods to implement
them. They consider themselves as equal partners. They work “with” the
community rather than “on” the community. The result is businesses using their
resources to empower communities.
It is very important to remember that business involvement in the community
results in a two way learning process. Just as community groups gain from access
to business skills, so business people can learn from the people, values, and
practices unique to the non-profit sector.
Tackling real social problems
How do you ensure companies tackle serious social issues rather than those that
are popular and have positive public relations opportunities? Points of Light
Foundation have some principles they recommend for businesses considering
1. Acknowledge that the corporation‟s community service involvement and its
employee volunteer efforts contribute to the achievement of business goals
2. Commit to and establish, support and promote an employee volunteer
program that encourages the involvement of every employee, and treat it like
any other core business function
3. Target community service efforts at serious social problems in the
Companies with sound programmes base their involvement on issues that are
important to their stakeholders including customers, employees, Government,
and the community. One key challenge for local and central Government is to
provide clear information on what are areas of serious social need. Funders
invest heavily into research and community consultation to determine priorities
and need. The Department of Social Welfare Community Funding Agency‟s
needs index is one example. This information needs to be more accessible to the
public. Businesses can use this information, and complement it with its own
sources, to target serious social issues.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 30
Are community groups ready for employee volunteers?
Creating a positive experience for volunteers requires a lot of commitment. It
requires being oriented to the needs of voluntary staff and also having structures
in place that support staff, e.g. clear goals, adequate supervision and training,
etc. Managing volunteers does cost money and requires a considerable amount
Many groups of work before the volunteer arrives. While many groups are “ready” for
need training in
sound volunteer volunteers, many are not.
management The knowledge and commitment to sound volunteer management practices is
practices in order
to capitalise on beyond many community groups. These groups do not always understand the
the benefits that changes occurring in volunteering such as why people are volunteering and who
Employee is volunteering. Many hold on to the belief that the cause alone is enough to
Volunteering attract and retain volunteers.
This issue is a serious one for the capacity of the voluntary sector. Groups that
do not have sound volunteer management practices cannot attract and retain
volunteers and therefore limit the service they provide.
Agencies with well-developed volunteer programmes will be in a better position
to meet the needs of Corporate Volunteers. For this reason they will be more
attractive to businesses seeking partnerships that include employee involvement.
The above criticisms of Corporate Volunteering show that it is not necessarily a
panacea. For programmes to be a positive force for building people, enhancing
organisations, and contributing to the community they need to be thought
through. A few cases of “getting it wrong” will stifle the introduction of
Corporate Volunteering in New Zealand.
This reinforces the need to have a group that manages the development of
Corporate Volunteering - providing guidance, principles of best practice, and
pitfalls to avoid. Acknowledging the need for this in the UK, Business in the
Community produced a publication “Principles of Corporate Community
Relevance to New Zealand
Is all this activity relevant to NZ or has it been developed for needs particular to
the UK? Are the conditions in the UK that led to the growth of Corporate
Volunteering relevant to NZ? The current general awareness and policy focus on
issues such as social responsibility, social capital, values, “local is better”, and
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 31
leadership tend to support the introduction of Corporate Volunteering. It
supports these concepts in a very practical way.
Changing roles between Government, the Non-Profit Sector and
Like NZ and other Western countries, the relationships between these groups
have altered and roles redefined. Many governments in Western countries have
become “smaller” and the non-profit sector has developed a larger role in the
delivery of essential social services. In many cases non-profit groups contract
directly with Government. With deregulation, businesses have been given more
of a free reign, and there has been a corresponding blurring of the line between
public and private.
Changing demands on non-profit groups:
More is expected from non-profit groups - by the law, funders, the public, and
consumers. This expectation requires groups to be more sophisticated,
professional, and more familiar with business practices. In both the UK and NZ
there is a growing demand from community groups for business skills.
Increased demands of businesses from stakeholders
Businesses are receiving more pressure to look at their role as corporate citizens
from stakeholders - customers, shareholders, Government, employees, and
communities. In both countries the question for businesses is not “why” should
we be involved – this has already been accepted. Many are now asking “how” can
we get involved. Corporate Volunteering provides a very practical answer to this
Changes in the world of work
In both countries, significant changes have occurred in the way people work.
With present systems of managing the distribution of resources, unemployment
for a certain percentage is here to stay. There is a large growth in part-time work
and Corporates have experienced significant downsizing. Gone are the days of
the job for life. Working beyond the bounds of a traditional organisation is
becoming more common. Contracting, working from home, and self-
employment are on the rise. And as the workforce casualises there is also a
growth in skills-based contracting.
The common issue through these trends is that the only constant is change. The
other issue is that people‟s employability is based on their transferable skills.
People will now face several significant transitions in their life as they move
through cycles of learning, employment, and unemployment. The role of
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 32
volunteering as a vehicle for transition and self-fulfilment is becoming very
Studies on volunteering participation show a large percentage of the community
volunteers. In the UK, the 1991 National Survey of Volunteer Activity showed
that 51 percent of people 18 and over volunteered at least once in the last twelve
months. New Zealand‟s 1996 census showed 46 percent of New Zealanders 15
years and older volunteered (outside their home) in the previous four weeks.
An interesting finding of the UK study shows that 51 percent of people who
volunteered did so because they were asked – suggesting many people willingly
volunteer if asked. Corporate Volunteering programmes basically involve asking
staff to volunteer. Corporate Volunteering can be an effective way to raise the
level of volunteer participation.
Although a generalisation, in both the UK and NZ modesty is typically valued
when it comes to doing good. Perhaps this comes from the Christian ethic of
service, i.e. doing something for others without expecting anything in return.
This is relevant for the ways people like to be recognised and rewarded for
volunteering. Many US Corporate volunteering programmes have a focus on
external recognition as a reward. From general impression, the focus on UK
Corporate Volunteering programmes is more about developing staff than
enhancing public relations. The UK emphasis on the intrinsic benefits of
volunteering seems to better fit the New Zealand attitude.
Size of businesses
Companies with workforces of 50,000 are not uncommon in the UK. In NZ
there is only a handful of companies with a workforce larger than 5,000 people.
However, Corporate Volunteering programmes can be scaled to smaller
organisations. One survey has also finds that many small UK companies are
supporting staff involvementv. See section - Criticisms of Corporate
Volunteering – Is this just for big business?
Infrastructure to support volunteering
The infrastructure to support volunteering and the non-profit sector is more
Although it has developed in the UK. There a government department is specifically responsible
developed for volunteering and the voluntary sector. There is also a specialist agency for
overseas, volunteering – the National Centre for Volunteering. This provides a number of
functions from research to promotion and advocacy. Volunteer Centres have
very relevant to been established there longer and, unlike NZ, there is a National Association for
New Zealand. Volunteer Centres that supports the development of an effective national
The Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 33
that gave rise to
its growth in the
UK are similar
volunteer centre network. Lacking this infrastructure in NZ:
there is no one place to go for funding for initiatives that could increase the
number of people volunteering
not as many people are aware of the benefits of volunteering nor of the
existence of their local volunteer centre
Volunteer Centres are not as effective as they could be
legislation can sometimes be volunteer unfriendly e.g. ACC legislation
community groups are not always trained to provide a positive experience for
the voluntary sector has little political influence.
While an in-depth study is not possible, the general circumstances that gave rise
to Corporate Volunteering in UK are very relevant to NZ. Similarities include
the changing roles between Government, non-profit and business sectors and
the pressures experienced by individual community groups. In addition, the
business case for Corporate Volunteering proven in the UK is portable to NZ.
At the programme level not all models developed in the UK will be relevant
here as they have been tailored to the needs of the local community partners.
However, a large number of these models are portable and could operate in the
NZ context. Each Corporate Volunteering model must be looked at on its own
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 34
PART TWO: CORPORATE
VOLUNTEERING: THE WAY
FORWARD FOR NEW ZEALAND
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 35
How Corporate Volunteering Rapidly Grew in
the United Kingdom
Corporate Corporate Volunteering in the UK has not developed in a vacuum. It has been
Volunteering in the
UK has not
fostered, supported, and developed by a proactive campaign. This has involved
developed in a many groups, some working in isolation, and some working together. To
vacuum. It has understand how Corporate Volunteering can grow in NZ it is useful to look at
been fostered, the work of these groups.
developed by a
proactive Business in the Community UK (BITC)
Formed by the merger of Action Resource Centre and Business in the
Community, this organisation has developed to be the prime catalyst for the
growth of Corporate Volunteering in the UK. Their mission is to "support
A key player is
Business in the economic and social regeneration of communities by raising the quality and
Community UK an extent of business involvement in the community and by making that
organisation involvement a natural part of successful business practice”. Although they work
specialising in with all forms of business involvement the primary method for business
Community contribution is through involvement of employees.
engagement. The BITC UK was founded in 1982 and has 400 members including more than 75
primary method of
engagement is of the FTSE top 100. It has developed a national network in response to
through Employee demand from businesses wanting nation-wide support. At the other end, it has
Volunteering. well-developed community links. In some areas it partners with Volunteer
Centres to make use of their community networks. Their patron is The Prince
of Wales and is very active. They have over 200 staff nationwide with a budget of
£7.2 million. Funding for Business in the Community comes from mixture of
government grants (25%), membership fees (27%), sponsorships & activity fees
(48%). See appendix for their annual report.
They promote BITC works at two levels: Campaigning and Practical Assistance
Volunteering by Campaigning: they put many resources into raising awareness and interest in
communicating the Corporate Volunteering. They do this through promoting the successes of early
successes of adopters. A term they use is “bully pulpit”, i.e. those on the high ground
through awards, encourage those not involved to get involved. Campaign tools they use include:
seeing is believing - getting groups of CEOs from large businesses on
vehicles. organised visits to community programmes to see firsthand what‟s needed
and how they can be involved.
awards for excellence in Employee Community Involvement. They set award
criteria around principles of best practice. Through this they reward,
recognise, and educate.
providing businesses with opportunities to publicise their achievements, e.g.
through a supplement in the Financial Times.
running campaigns on targeted issues, e.g. Businesses in Education,
Opportunity 2000 (equal opportunities), Business in the Environment.
Per Cent Club - a club with over 400 top businesses where you join by
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 36
agreeing to give a certain percentage of profits to the community.
Contributions can be in the form of cash, sponsorships, donations in kind,
secondments, staff volunteering, etc.
Practical Assistance: Getting businesses involved is more than just promoting
Business in the the business case. Once interested, businesses need practical assistance. BITC
Community UK UK does this through:
makes it easier for
interested brokerage - sourcing appropriate community partners, projects, and roles
businesses to be
involved. They advice and consultancy
assistance by techniques to evaluate programmes.
placements and In addition, they package volunteer opportunities, offering structured
placements in the community. BITC‟s packaged programmes include:
Challenge UK (see case study) - a programme encouraging businesses to enter
teams in an annual event lasting a month. Teams take on short-term community
number of projects. For example staff from Ogilvie & Mather helped with a publicity
“packaged” campaign, KPMG made a children‟s play and learning space at a Hospital. In
programmes less than four years Challenge has grown to be a national event involving
thousands of staff from hundreds of businesses.
Professional Firms Group (see case study) - BITC has created networks of local
professional groups. In the UK it has established 26 Professional Firms Groups
(PFG‟s). Each PFG has about 18 professional businesses involved, covering all
skills: Accountants, Lawyers, Public Relations, Engineers, etc. Each business
pledges approximately 50-100 hours free to community projects. BITC then
brokers projects from non-profit groups and every quarter presents a range of
projects to each PFG meeting. Many of the projects are done by participants
working in partnership.
Development Assignments - a programme with a focus on training and
developing individuals through placements in community groups doing 100
hour projects. Examples include marketing plans, business strategies, feasibility
Transitional Secondments - transitional placements of three months to two
years for employees who are being made redundant. While on secondment
employees receive their full benefit package.
Business on Board Programmes - board placements on local community
groups. The programme provides candidates with induction and training for the
(It is interesting to note that the major catalyst for Corporate Volunteering in
the US (the Points of Light Foundation) provides roles very similar to those
provided by Business in the Community UK. They foster Corporate
Volunteering by facilitating the formation of local Corporate Volunteering
Councils, provide a resource library, a consultancy service, awards for excellence
in employee volunteering, publications, training, forums and promotional
vehicles including a supplement in Fortune Magazine.)
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 37
Volunteer Bureaux (Centres)
The principle function of Volunteer Centres (or Volunteer Bureaux as they as
called in the UK) is to link individuals who wish to volunteer with voluntary
Some Volunteer jobs in non-profit groups. In the UK there are 400 volunteer centres (in NZ
Centres in the UK there are 10). They vary in their degree of sophistication. Some of the more
have widened established centres have expanded their role and developed programmes that
their brief to support Employee Volunteering. Two case studies are outlined below:
development of Case Study: Edinburgh Volunteer Exchange: Serving a population of 500,000, the
Employee Edinburgh Volunteer Exchange assists 1,000 volunteers and 300 community
groups every year. In addition to their core service of linking volunteers to
Using their community groups they commenced “The Lothian Employee Volunteering
community Project” or LEVP - thanks to a critical three year commitment from the home
networks as a office for £15,000. Subsequently they have received a grant for a further three
base they have
created a years through TSB Lloyds Fund. The programme benefited by “Volbase”, an
network of IBM initiative that links volunteers to community groups through a computer
business application. After three years, they have managed to get 65 percent of their
budget through fees for service and memberships. The project employs 1½ staff.
offering them a
range of services. They have twelve active businesses and directly assist 175 employees per year.
The services they offer local businesses and their employees are:
1. “Signals – free to all”
listing of current voluntary vacancies - both individual and teams roles
advice about the voluntary sector
a quarterly newsletter
2. “Breakthrough to Volunteering” – costing £1,000 pounds per business (form
co-ordination and placement of up to four team challenges and four
individual volunteering positions.
2 free days consulting and discounts for further days
“Signals” as above
3. Advice and consultancy – to develop “in-house” programmes for businesses
Case Study: Westminster Volunteer Centre, London: In operation for 10 years, the
Westminster Volunteer Centre sees approximately 1600 volunteers and 160
community groups yearly (similar size to the Wellington Volunteer Centre).
They have recently developed a Corporate Volunteering programme working
closely with a few large businesses, the public sector, and local community
groups who have formed an “advisory” group. It has ensured the programme is
owned and is sustainable.
Launched as “Time & Talents” this programme acknowledges that businesses
can offer employee time and expertise as well as physical resources. Westminster
Volunteer Centre links needs in community groups with employees and
businesses. Each participating business pays a £2,000 donation to the scheme.
For this the Westminster Volunteer Centre promises opportunities for
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 38
involvement in at least four activities that include:
Xmas Challenge – team projects similar to Challenge UK
Trusteeship Scheme – Board placement service
skills register – circulating voluntary opportunities to employees and
registering the skills of interested volunteers
second-hand office goods recycling scheme
a high profile civic evening where they invite all participants and
acknowledge their involvement and achievements.
Large Community Groups
Some Large sophisticated community organisations have also driven the growth of
sophisticated Corporate Volunteering. These organisations have seen the opportunities
community Corporate Volunteering presents. In some cases large community groups have
proactively staff dedicated to initiating and co-ordinating Employee Volunteering
developed partnerships. These community groups look at their organisational needs in a
partnerships with holistic way. All needs are defined: money, networks, publicity, equipment,
people, and skills. They put this together as a portfolio and present it to
employee potential business partners. It gives businesses the flexibility to select the ways
involvement. they would like to contribute.
Through this approach businesses have begun to learn that community groups
“don‟t just want your money”. This has made businesses look to their employees
as a resource that can add value to the community.
The UK Government Investment
Healthy volunteer infrastructure: sustainable volunteering does not happen
without sound structures. In the UK the Government has made an investment
in key structures that support and develop volunteering:
The local and National Centre for Volunteering: provides research on volunteering,
Central training in good practice for voluntary management, promoting
Government in volunteering, e.g. volunteer awareness week and an advocacy service for
the UK have
invested in an volunteers
infrastructure that National Association for Volunteer Bureaux (NAVB)- an organisation that
promotes assists a network of over 400 local volunteer bureaux to delivery a consistent
volunteering. and effective service.
Network of 400 local Volunteer Bureaux. Many are funded through local
authorities with the focus being community development. (In NZ there are
10 Volunteer Centres each funded autonomously and from different
Business in the Community has received considerable financial support for
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 39
programmes that increase employee volunteering. Support has included, e.g.
sponsoring awards for excellence in employee volunteering.
“Make a Difference” campaign: this initiative was a partnership between
government, business, and the voluntary sector. The aim was to “produce a
strategic framework for the development and promotion of volunteering into
the next century”. The recommendations focus on strategies to:
encourage and enable people to become & remain volunteers
maximise the involvement of volunteers and the impact of volunteering
improve the organisation and infrastructure of volunteering
communicate the importance, effectiveness, and value of volunteering
Through this initiative, over 5 years £20 million was released to:
meet gaps in the Volunteer Centre infrastructure. This resulted in 60-70
new Volunteer Centres to be created in less than two years.
strengthen a further 70 Volunteer Centres to allow them to operate
create new roles called Youth Volunteer Facilitators with the aim of
encouraging young people to volunteer
run a media campaign to encourage people to volunteer. Format was
basically “0800 volunteer” linked to local Volunteer Centres.
Clear accountability and responsibility: There is a department within the home
office with responsibility for the voluntary sector and volunteering. This helps to
ensure legislation is “volunteer friendly” and the role of the sector is valued. It
establishes a political voice for volunteering and perhaps most importantly it
ensures there is a budget to centrally fund volunteering initiatives.
Leverage from business leaders
Leaders in Employee Volunteering such as NatWest, Marks & Spencers,
Whitbread & Royal Mail saw it was in their interest and the interest of the
Business leaders wider community to encourage other businesses to be involved. The key to
have used their
harnessing the energy of early adopters has been BITC. BITC has created a
promote Corporate vehicle for publicity where achievements can be visibly recognised. Without
Volunteering within BITC early adopters would not have a platform from which to encourage others.
organisation and to Much of the growth of Corporate Volunteering can be attributed to CEOs who
other businesses value Corporate Volunteering. They have used their influence and networks to
encourage others to be involved. This “power” has been harnessed in the form
of Leadership Groups. These are groups of business leaders whose mission is to
foster the growth of Corporate Volunteering in their cities. It is interesting to
note that a key mechanism for developing Corporate Volunteering in the US is
through a similar mechanism called Corporate Volunteering Councils.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 40
Early leaders get more businesses on board by:
openly sharing their models of success
sponsoring resources e.g. Natwest sponsored “The Good Trustees Guide”.
supporting the facilitating organisation, Business in the Community
establishing the business case by thoroughly evaluating their programmes
using their networks, at a CEO to CEO level
actively and visibly promoting the benefits of Corporate Volunteering.
Recommendations to Develop Corporate Volunteering in
Corporate volunteering can be developed in NZ by investing in an infrastructure. As shown in the
UK, through a sound infrastructure the introduction of Corporate Volunteering can be
accelerated, managed, and directed. Without such an investment we will not see the widespread
introduction of Corporate Volunteering here. This section looks at what the infrastructure needs
to do, how it can be done, who will do it, how much will it cost, and how long will it take.
Roles of a catalyst
An infrastructure to develop Corporate Volunteering in NZ will be different from one in the UK.
However, the roles will be the same. An infrastructure that accelerates, manages, and directs
Corporate Volunteering needs to fill the following functions:
Campaigning and Promoting – raising awareness of the potential benefits through proactive
campaigning. Promoting successes of early adopters in NZ and overseas helps to illustrate the
business case for involvement. It also provides an opportunity to reward companies for being
leaders. The tools that could be relevant for campaigning here are: awards for excellence in
employee involvement, the Per Cent club, case studies, and a specialised publication.
Advice – it is not enough to raise awareness. Businesses interested in initiating programmes need
support in a number of areas, e.g. what is needed in the community, what will employees want to
do, how should they evaluate their programme, etc. This requires expertise that shares principles of
good practice. This resource base includes material on overseas programmes, self-help manuals, and
an advisory service.
Brokering - in many cases, participation is easier through a community broker that sources
community projects and partners. A broker can assist businesses to see what opportunities are
available and to find something matched to their needs. A broker also gives a fairer chance to
smaller groups that have less public profile.
Developing replicable programmes models– Structured programmes require careful planning,
piloting, evaluation and refining. Programmes can be developed for sharing.
Providing an understanding of the non-profit sector - To be involved, businesses need to have an
understanding of the community and non-profit sector. A catalyst must be firmly rooted in the
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 41
community so they can assist understanding on issues such as culture and values of the sector,
community needs, networks, and key people.
Networking – Linking business leaders through forums to share common interests can share ideas,
best practices, and grow enthusiasm.
Leaders - There is a need for leaders who are prepared to take a risk and become role models for
those who follow. In many cases business leaders will come from affiliates of multinationals who
have developed proven models overseas.
Training - In order to raise their ability to effectively use employee volunteers community groups
need training in volunteer management.
Funders - An infrastructure takes time and resources to develop. Funders can look to organisations
such as Business in the Community UK and Points of Light Foundation US to see that it is a wise
investment. The ripples and energy catalysts created far outweigh the costs.
Identifying Social Need - Businesses wanting to be involved in social issues need to have good
information on which to base involvement decisions. Government needs to provide accessible
information (i.e. not just for their own use) that outlines key issues such as what the current
situation is, what the needs are, what the priorities are, where the gaps are. Government, both local
and central invests a lot in research and community consultation to determine community
priorities and need. Businesses may wish to use this information, and compliment it with its own
sources, to come up with creative solutions to serious social issues.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 42
Proposed Catalyst: The Corporate Volunteering Development Network
EMPLOYEES IN THE
Much of the infrastructure to develop Corporate Volunteering can be built on the work of existing
organisations. It requires enhancements to these organisations and co-ordination between them. A
proposed infrastructure is “The Corporate Volunteering Development Network” - for branding
purposes called “Employees in the Community”. It has three components:
1. an enhanced Volunteer Centre network
2. a link with a business membership organisation
3. an overseeing Corporate Volunteering Leadership Group.
1. An Enhanced Volunteer Centre Network: The Wellington Volunteer Centre has already
established a successful model to promote and support Corporate Volunteering. Called the
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 43
Employees in the Community programme, in less than three years it has:
assisted a number of businesses to involve employees in the community. These include: Royal
& SunAlliance, EDS, ECNZ, Body Shop, Computerland, BRANZ, Civil Aviation, Transit New
Zealand, Lever Rexona, ANZ Funds Management, and Mobil.
worked with its established base of 300 community groups to educate them on the principles
and opportunities of Corporate Volunteering. It has also assisted a number of groups to host
promoted Corporate Volunteering by publishing articles and hosting overseas leaders from key
Corporate Volunteering agencies i.e. Business in the Community, UK, and Points of Light
developed a resource base of expertise including case studies, self-help manuals, and evaluative
created practical programmes to involve staff:
Corporate Community Challenge - for teams of employees
Development Assignments – for individual employees undertaking short term secondments
involved central and local government
successfully recovered a portion of its costs through contracts, activity fees, and consultancy.
This has all been done through the employment of just one key worker. Enhancing the Volunteer
Centre network requires appointment of three such key workers (“Corporate Volunteering
Development Officers”) and an overall Programme Manager. The role of these key workers is to
raise the profile of Corporate Volunteering and to assist in the delivery of Corporate Volunteer
programmes. It is recommended that key workers be placed in each of the Auckland, Christchurch,
and Wellington Volunteer Centres. They are based at Volunteer Centres so they can use the
community networks they have established. Ultimately they report to the Corporate Volunteering
Leadership Group (see below). For day to day activity they report to their Volunteer Centre boards.
The larger cities are chosen as they have the highest concentration of businesses and community
groups. However, presence in these cities does not mean other areas will not benefit. Many of the
models developed will be replicable in other parts of the country. The results of the network in
these three cities will help to indicate the need for the infrastructure to spread to smaller cities and
towns. It is interesting to note that Business in the Community UK developed a nationwide
structure but they are finding that an alternative to providing coverage is to develop models and
“franchise” them to local non-profit groups in smaller areas.
2. A Business Network Partner: Although Volunteer Centres have strong community networks
they typically don‟t have strong business networks. A strong business network can bring financial
security through membership fees. Establishing this link requires creating new business networks
or partnering with an organisation with an established network.
The business partner could be Business in the Community NZ, a national network providing a
business to business mentoring programme. It would require them to expand their existing brief to
be more like their UK counterpart. Or it could be the newly formed Businesses for Social
Alternatively it could be a new leadership group, who have broad-based appeal within the business
community. If this were the case the Volunteer Centres could refer to the membership models
used by Edinburgh Volunteer Exchange and Westminster Volunteer Centres (see case studies in
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 44
section “How has Corporate Volunteering has Grown So Rapidly in the UK”).
3. A Corporate Volunteering Leadership Group: To provide a governing role for the development
of Corporate Volunteering a small leadership could be established with representatives from the
Volunteer Centre, the business network partner, business leaders, and Government. They would
oversee the Corporate Volunteering Development Network. Reporting to them are three
Corporate Volunteering Development Officers and a Corporate Volunteering Programme
What can be achieved and when
By building on the work of existing organisation and using established models much can be
achieved in a relatively short time. Below is an outline for objectives for the first five years
Establishment of the Corporate Volunteering Development Network:
appoint key workers in Volunteer Centres and an overall programme manager
establish business membership network
establish Leadership Group
Programme Delivery: Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington including:
Corporate Community Challenge (see case study) - programme for business teams doing
Development Assignment programme (see case study) - programme for individual employees
doing short-term secondments
Professional Firms Group (see case study) - networks of professional companies whom each
agree to donate 100 hours free per year. The network would broker community projects for
Business on Board (see case study) - providing placements and training for employees to be
Board members of non-profit groups
Ongoing training programme for community groups in volunteer management and employee
promotion through leveraging the networks of the leadership group and existing practitioners
awards for Excellence in Employee Involvement
specialist Corporate Volunteering publications
advisory resource base - expertise, self help material, and library of overseas information
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 45
Estimated costs and how the Corporate Volunteering Development Network
should be funded:
Estimated costs for the above model are $350,000 per annum. This estimate is based on the
experience of the model developed by Wellington Volunteer Centre (projected $65,000 p.a.to
run). This $350,000 includes: salaries of the three Corporate Volunteering Development Officers,
salary of programme manager, administrative expenses, promotional costs, resource materials, and
Leadership Group expenses.
The principle is that these costs are shared between the groups that benefit. Contributions come
activity fees - charged to business participants for involvement in programmes
sponsorships - typically from early leaders
donations in kind
Government grants - perhaps delivered through a “Make a Difference” initiative (see above
section “The Government Investment”.)
membership fees - businesses paying to belong to an organisation that assists business
engagement in the community
TABLE 8: ESTIMATED BREAKDOWN OF CONTRIBUTION TO THE
CORPORATE VOLUNTEERING DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
Central & Local Govt. 50%
Business Activities 15%
Membership Fees 25%
Act as an “enabler” of business-community involvement through investing in the Corporate
Volunteering Development infrastructure as outlined above. It is desirable for this to be
centrally funded as this programme provides very holistic benefits. A strengthened non-profit
sector and greater social cohesion span across the briefs of individual departments. Breaking
these down to their components is not helpful. This programme is developmental and requires
an extended commitment and gestation period. The programme requires funding from a
number of sources and fragmented funding of the Government portion can result in a barrier
to innovation by introducing more complexity, additional costs, and potentially conflicting
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 46
Be an active player in initiatives that promote business-community engagement. This includes
providing forums for dialogue.
Provide accessible information that will assist businesses to target serious social issues. This
means making it possible for businesses to see the results of their community research and
consultation. Businesses will be able to complement this with their own information on social
issues, assisting the formulation of their community investment strategies.
Invest in a healthy volunteering infrastructure. This could be done through a “Make a
Difference” initiative. This campaign would focus on creating a framework for promoting and
developing volunteering. Initiatives include supporting the 2001 International Year of the
Volunteer, assisting the development of a National Centre for Volunteering, securing funding
Volunteer Centres, and appointing a government department to be responsible for issues
relating to volunteering. (This was done in the UK – see section “How Corporate Volunteering
Grew So Rapidly in the UK”)
Understand that one key capacity of the non-profit sector is its ability to recruit and return its
key resource, ie volunteers. Initiatives include investing in ongoing training programmes
targeted at improving volunteer management practices.
Acknowledge that there is a strong business case for supporting employee involvement in the
community - as evidenced by overseas successes and a wide body of research.
Incorporate Corporate Volunteering as an integral part of the business strategy.
Understand the benefits of having of an organisation that facilitates Corporate Volunteering.
Support the proposed Corporate Volunteering Development Network.
Respond to employees who request support for their community involvement.
Involve employees in company giving policy.
Listen to community groups who are saying “we don‟t just need money, we need people also”.
Develop Corporate Volunteering programmes targeted at serious social problems and those
that employees are committed to.
For Community Groups:
Ensure volunteer programmes are sound and provide positive experiences for volunteers. Focus
on training, supervision, induction, clarity of goals, etc.
Acknowledge that the relationship between Government, Business and the Community has
changed dramatically and new solutions need to be looked at that involve new ways of
addressing social problems.
Acknowledge that businesses have more to offer than just money and that employee
involvement brings a wide range of benefits. Consider approaching business with the
organisation's portfolio of needs.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 47
Corporate Volunteering works on mutual benefit. Understand the benefits to your
organisation and also understand what‟s in it for the business.
Expect support from your employer for your community involvement if they benefit from it.
Explore opportunities for personal and professional development through volunteering.
For Volunteer Centres:
Understand the opportunity to be a catalyst for Corporate Volunteering and what this involves.
Understand the potential Corporate Volunteering can bring to the community and volunteers.
Understand the business case for Corporate Volunteering.
Corporate Volunteering has huge potential for businesses, employees, non-profit groups and the
wider community. As Corporate Volunteering has been established for a number of years overseas
we have a wealth resources available in the form of success stories, models, research, and best
practice principles. By observing how Corporate Volunteering was fostered in the UK to become
an accepted business practice we can see a clear way forward in NZ. Through a planned
approached, working with existing resources and a modest infrastructural investment, Corporate
Volunteering can be fostered in NZ to develop better businesses, more capable employees (and
citizens), and healthier communities.
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 48
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 49
Charities Aid Foundation, Guide to Company Giving, UK, 1998
Conference Board Report, Corporate Volunteer Programmes: Benefits to Business”, US, 1993
Business in the Community, UK “Principles of Corporate Community Investment, 1997
British Chamber of Commerce Study, 1996
Helen Carter, Mary Potter Hospice Volunteer Study: Motivations for Joining Hospice and Work
National Centre for Volunteering, UK, “National Survey of Volunteering”, 1991
Adrienne von Tunzelmann , Social Responsibility and the Company, Address to Chartered
Institute of Corporate Management, NZ, 1997.
Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum, “Corporate Reputation in Tomorrow‟s Marketplace”, 93
Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, UK, “Tomorrow‟s Company: Role of Business
in a Changing World”, 1995
Adrienne von Tunzelmann , Social Responsibility and the Company, NZ, 1996. P93 .
Corporate Volunteering: The Potential and The Way Forward, by Darren Quirk Page 50