Businesses urged to make volunteering easier

Fewer than one in ten workers is given time off to volunteer, according to new research.

Only seven per cent of employees said their employers gave them paid time off to volunteer and nearly a quarter (22 per cent) did not know if this opportunity was available to them, according to a ComRes survey of just over 2,000 adults commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

In the survey, published on 26 January, nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of employees said they did not receive this benefit.

The research also found that nearly a fifth (19 per cent) of respondents had never volunteered before but would like to do so in the future. Almost six in ten people believed offering staff more paid volunteering leave would encourage them to give up more of their time for good causes.

Now CAF, which helps people and businesses support causes they care about and provides banking and fundraising services to the charitable sector, has urged companies to do more to encourage employees to volunteer their time.

According to national volunteering organisation Volunteering England, just under a quarter of small and medium-sized enterprises offers some kind of volunteering scheme to staff.

But it says that employer supported volunteering programmes – such as giving employees time off for their own volunteering activities or developing an ongoing arrangement between a business and a charity or community partner – make good business sense.

It says: “Consumers overwhelmingly prefer to buy from organisations that demonstrate their corporate social responsibility, employees are more motivated, engaged and learn new skills that they bring back to the workplace.”

CAF chief executive John Low said: “Our research shows a worrying lack of support being offered by some employers, and in many cases a lack of knowledge that this support even exists. We would like companies of all sizes to get their staff volunteering, unlocking potentially millions of hours of valuable time to support the vital work of British charities.”

Moore Thompson has a strong track record in supporting employee volunteering within the firm and can provide advice to businesses or charities interested in becoming involved in this type of initiative. For more information, please contact us.