Building a better corporate giving program

by Miklos Bolza27 Jun 2016
A lack of time is the main hindrance to corporate volunteering, according to the Corporate Giving Survey 2015 conducted by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC).
Quek Shi Yun, the centre’s assistant director of corporate giving, discussed how firms could overcome this issue and form a better corporate giving program.
“Companies can consider establishing policies such as paid volunteer leave for employees to utilise when they volunteer,” she told HRD.
One reason to do so is that employees are more engaged if they find meaning in their work or are employed by companies that are seen to do good, she added.
“Having an employee volunteer leave system sends out a strong signal and message to employees on the companies’ commitment to do good, and provides support for employees’ passion in giving back to society.”
For firms seeking to increase their employee volunteering rate, the leave system provides incentives for staff to contribute to the success of any corporate giving initiatives.
Other ways in which firms can provide employees with extra time to volunteer include giving back to society through team-building activities and corporate retreats, said Quek.
“In doing so, companies plan their programs with charities and non-profit organisations to meet their needs. At the same time, employees are given the opportunity to be exposed to the work of charities or non-profit organisations and can explore future engagements with these organisations.”
HR departments can support corporate giving by institutionalising policies, systems and incentives, she said, suggesting the following options:
  • Setting up paid employee volunteer policies so staff use time off to volunteer with the company or on their own
  • Incorporating values of giving back or doing good as part of the recruitment and appraisal processes so staff are aligned with the philanthropic vision of the firm
  • Establishing components of giving back as part of talent development, allowing staff to be seconded to work on assignments with charities or non-profit organisations. This can help employers address societal needs while building knowledge, social awareness and skills
  • Providing opportunities for skills-based volunteering and board matching so employees can leverage existing interests and professional capabilities to help charities and non-profit organisations
  • Setting up recognition and award programs to acknowledge the good work of employees who have given back and inspire other staff to do the same
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Two of Singapore’s biggest banks are using this HR strategy
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