Building the business case for doing good

Of course we all know that ethical business is a real win-win. Not only can you help to solve a social or environmental issue, but you can also get some amazing business benefits at the same time. However, convincing the decision-makers at your company to support your work and to give you enough budget can be hard work. Here are some ways to make sure your business has your back:

1) What are the benefits?

The benefits of doing good to your business’ bottom line are very real and very diverse. Here are some examples:

Increase revenue through:

  • Enhanced company reputation
  • Access to new markets

Improve productivity through:

  • More pride in the company
  • Increased employee engagement and motivation
  • Improved professional skills & leadership development

Reduce costs through:

  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Easier recruitment
  • Less attrition

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2) Useful stats

 Help get your point across with some snappy facts and figures:

  • 94% of companies surveyed believe employee volunteering provides a way to raise employee morale (Source: Corporate Citizenship & City of London)
  • 66% of employees report a greater commitment to their company as a result of their experience volunteering (Source: Corporate Citizenship & City of London)
  • 91% of Fortune 500 Human Resources Managers said skills-based volunteering with a charity can be an effective way to cultivate critical business and leadership skills (Source: Deloitte)
  • 50+% of millennials would consider leaving an employer whose values no longer matched their own (Source: PwC)
  • 88% of millennials say they want to work for a socially responsible company (Source: Deloitte)
  • Based on decreased turnover costs and improved employee performance, $2400 are generated for every employee who participates in a volunteer programme (Source: CEB)
  • £381 vs £400: it costs £19 less per employee to develop skills through volunteering compared with traditional training (Source: Corporate Citizenship)
  • 55% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. (Source: Nielsen)
  • There is a 5% – 40% increase in revenue for companies that demonstrate a clear commitment to social responsibility (Source: Nielsen)
  • There is a 74% reduction in energy use when switching to LED lighting. Whilst there is often an up front expense, payback in LED lighting is typically between one and three years. (Source: Carbon Trust)

3) Understanding your impact

The reality of the situation is that measuring impact is a scary business and it’s really hard to do it perfectly. However, the good news is that there are some small steps you can take to get started on the journey and have a much clearer idea of the impact you’re having on society, the environment, and your business.

You can start by setting some objectives for each of your projects and initiatives. These can be social or environmental goals (e.g. building the capacity of a charity partner, increasing the confidence of a young person, recycling more, etc.) or business goals (e.g. brand awareness, increasing employee skills, etc.). This is such a vital step that so many people miss out. Firstly, it ensures that you aren’t about to embark on a project that isn’t actually going to benefit anyone. It also makes sure that you plan each project carefully with your objectives in mind, so that you are maximising your impact. Finally, it gives you a clear metric against which to gauge how successful your projects have been, and to come up with ways to improve next time.

 

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4) Assigning financial value to social impact

 HACT have developed an amazing tool to help you really understand the impact you’ve been having. They’ve managed to assign monetary values to many of the social impacts that your projects and initiatives might address. It’s a really useful way to prove the return on investment that your initial budget has managed to produce.

Have a look here: http://www.hact.org.uk/value-calculator

5) Inspiration from others

There are plenty of companies out there doing fantastic work. Here are some of our favourites:

6) Compelling content

If you need to convince people about the importance of doing good in the first place, there is a lot of compelling stuff out there. Here are some ideas:

7) Who can help?

 If you still need some help there are loads of providers out there to help you on your ethical journey. Here are some we know of:

  • thirdbridge – software to help engage your employees and report on your impact
  • Project Dirt – help to organise large-scale, outdoors, team-building volunteering days with charities that genuinely need the support
  • Career Volunteer – support to find rewarding trustee positions for your senior staff members
  • Heart of the City – programme to help businesses get started with doing good
  • Credibly Green – help with all things environmental

work harder


For more information on any of the above, please feel free to get in touch on info@thirdbridge.co.uk.


How to keep your corporate volunteers coming back for more

Working with corporate volunteers shouldn’t be that different to working with regular volunteers – they’re still people after all. There are plenty of things you can do to ensure they have a great experience, make a real difference to your work, and keep coming back. The key is providing a clear and well-thought out volunteering journey – just as you’d have for your other volunteers.


 

Before the volunteering

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  • Create a great role

Start from a place of organisational need. If the volunteering isn’t addressing something you need help with then what’s the point?! Once you’ve worked out your own need, make a role that’s engaging and interesting for the volunteer as well. Then it’s time to write a role description – something like a pared down job description. That way the volunteer is clear on what’s expected of them, and knows about any skills or experience they’d need to have to take part. You can then send an application form round and encourage people to apply.

  • Prepare your volunteers

Having a brief interview process is often a useful step. If it’s a skilled role, it can be essential to make sure that people are right for the role. Otherwise, it’s a good way to get to know your volunteers, build a nice rapport, and make sure they’re enthusiastic about your charity and the role itself. Providing training is a really important step. It can be relatively light touch or much more in depth depending on how complicated the role is, but it’s always useful to get people into the right frame of mind. Even if they won’t be working with beneficiaries directly, it’s still useful to make sure everyone is ready. For example, for pro bono work it can be helpful to give private sector employees some tips on how to adapt their style to suit working with third sector organisations.

  • Collect data

It’s very important to make sure you know who’s volunteering with you. Make sure you collect and store the relevant information while complying with all data protection guidelines. Take this opportunity to gather their preferences on the types of communications you can send to them in the future as well – follow up information about this project, other volunteer roles that might interest them, information about other ways to support you, or newsletters.


During the volunteering

team

  • Brief everyone at the start

Starting the session with a brief is vital. It makes sure that everyone knows exactly what they need to be doing during the day, but it’s also a chance to motivate your volunteers. Take some time to remind why the cause is so important, and why the work they’ll be doing will make such a big impact.

  • Ensure that everyone is busy and engaged

If you’ve spent some time creating great role descriptions at the beginning, everyone should be aware of what part they should be playing. However, it’s always good to make sure first timers are made to feel welcome and guided through the process a bit. You can even use more experienced volunteers to do this – you’re killing two birds with one stone as this empowers the regulars to take more ownership of their volunteering experience and move into leadership positions.

  • Debrief everyone at the end

Providing a debrief is a chance for people to unpack their experience. Give them a chance to think about what they’ve done and the impact their efforts will have had. This part of the day is really important for keeping people engaged – by giving them the space to consider what they’ve achieved and how it made them feel, you’re allowing them to think about the way volunteering has changed them as well as the changes they’ve made to the beneficiaries or to the charity.

  • Collect feedback

By collecting high level feedback on the day, you pretty much guarantee that you’ll have at least some input from every participant. Keep it light and simple – maybe just a net promoter score out of ten, and a free text option for more details.


After the volunteering

thank you

  • Say thank you

Letting your volunteers know that you appreciate them is so important. It makes people feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves and makes them more likely to come back. Make sure it’s personal to them and not just a generic note.

  • Let them know their impact

As you gather impact information about the volunteer activities you offer, make sure to share it with those that were a part of it. Knowing you’ve made a difference is fine, but if you can put an actual figure on it or see the face of a person that’s benefitted, it feels much more real.

  • Cross-sell other opportunities

If they’ve had a good experience, they’re likely to want to come back, but they might not proactively approach you for opportunities. This is why it was so important to collect that data earlier on in the process. You are now able to send them ideas of ways to get involved, whether that be other volunteering opportunities, fundraising days, or becoming an ambassador.


Corporate volunteers can become really valuable long-term supporters if they’re treated right. Hopefully with these tips, you won’t let them slip through your fingers.


If you need any support with corporate volunteering, please get in touch on info@thirdbridge.co.uk.

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Guide by Rose Delfino – Community Development & Marketing Manager at thirdbridge