Companies asked to take part in skilled volunteering schemes

Skills-based volunteering has the potential to revolutionise corporate social responsibility and provide significant advantages to businesses, employees, and charities, says a new report from Lloyds Bank Foundation.

The independent foundation has been fostering links between volunteers from its funder Lloyds Banking Group, and small charities, for over a decade.

ts new report, Skills Based Volunteering: A Win, Win, Win’, analyses the mutual benefits that volunteering offers to businesses, employees, and charities, in particular sharing professional expertise, such as management, finance, IT, HR and marketing.

Findings show that:

Skilled volunteers empower charities to navigate strategic challenges, access in-demand skills and knowledge, and unlock new connections and networks. In fact, 91% of charities reported improvements in professional skills, a third of which were significant improvements.

Having the chance to share skills and expertise through volunteering enriches employees with invaluable professional development opportunities, builds confidence and connection. Skilled volunteers said they were able to apply and develop transferable skills and widen their perspectives.

Skills-based volunteering helps engage employees and enhance the pride and sense of purpose they feel for their workplace, which in turn helps improve retention and build connection.

The report also includes recommendations to develop effective skilled volunteering programmes, including:

  • Choice and variety matter for volunteers and charities; skilled volunteering can be flexible with varying levels of commitment, in person and online options, and working as a group or individual.
  • Seeking skilled volunteer partnerships with small and local charities can maximise the impact of volunteers and charity.
  • Volunteers from businesses need support in translating their skills to a different sector.
  • Support for volunteering should come from leadership and be embedded in an organisation’s culture.
  • Relationships take time, but getting the right match and investing in the partnership generates long term payoff.
  • Identifying the needs of charities and    where volunteers can have the biggest impact is important.

Kevin Barker-Lee, Senior Manager at Lloyds Banking Group, volunteers for The Hive Avon as a trustee and became the Chair of the board. He said, “When I first became a volunteer, I was looking for a new challenge and to give something back, but I found that it gave me the opportunity to develop personally and professionally, helping me approach things with more flexibility.

“I gained new skills in facilitation, managing, coaching and governance that I could apply to my work. It felt great to help strengthen a local charity and learn more about my community.

“I love being able to work for an employer that supports and encourages this. It has certainly given me increased confidence in my ability, what I can do, and how valuable my skills are.”

André Clarke, Director of Charity Development at Lloyds Bank Foundation, explains,

“Often, when businesses want to help a charity, they opt for a team day and some form of physical activity. Our experience shows there is another way: providing opportunities for employees to share their professional skills that can be of mutual, even greater benefit for employers, charities and volunteers themselves.

“We’ve seen from the 700 charities we support each year that they are overstretched and find it difficult to find or afford professional skills. Skills-based volunteering offers huge payoffs not only for charities tackling complex issues, but for businesses themselves and their employees working together to help communities thrive.”

The full report can be viewed here.

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