CSI

Studies show there is an urge from companies and individuals to volunteer and adapt to the new world post-Covid-19

Patronella Sono, Staff Volunteer Programme (SVP) Specialist at Momentum Metropolitan Holdings.

The evolving nature of volunteering as the world moves into the next phase of managing Covid-19 pandemic, means that it is critical to look at the trends impacting volunteering so that companies can provide the right type of support for the underpriviliged.

“Employee volunteering programmes (EVPs) are becoming popular and have the ability to make a difference as the private sector recognises that it has a key role to play in overcoming socio-economic challenges,” says Patronella Sono, Staff Volunteer Programme (SVP) Specialist at Momentum Metropolitan Holdings.

Research conducted by corporate responsibility consultancy Trialogue and employee volunteering online platform forgood found that most large companies now have  EVPs in place. The survey found that a total of 71% of organisations in South Africa had EVPs in 2021, and 87% offered company-organised volunteering initiatives.

“Now many companies have realised that volunteering is an important and effective way of addressing challenges that communities around South Africa and the rest of the continent face, like poverty, unemployment and inequality,” Sono adds.

Momentum Metropolitan has an annual volunteer recognition awards programme called the Lesedi Awards with the specific aim to acknowledge and encourge volunteering amongst employees.

“We believe that the support and encouragement from the company for our employees to volunteer, meet a need for them to find a way to feel more connected to the communities they serve. Doing good, feels good, is a proven life lesson and one which we are proud to put into action,” Sono explains.

Here we share some of the the top emerging volunteering trends that companies and individuals need to look out for:

  • Virtual volunteering continues to take off: In 2021 alone, 28% of companies shifted their existing in-person and physical volunteering programmes to virtual or online options and 18% of companies introduced new online volunteering programmes. 
  • The rise of non-cash giving as the volunteer option of choice: more companies also reported non-cash giving – products, services, and time – made up to 13% of total Corporate Social Investment (CSI) expenditure in 2021. Nearly 30% of companies reported non-cash giving with a value of R462 million in 2021. Increases were largely driven by donations of goods, products and services, as opposed to employees volunteering time which accounted for only 1% of non-cash giving. 
  • Education and social and community development are key priorities for volunteers: education was the most supported development sector in 2021, being supported by 91% of organisations and averaging 39% of CSI expenditure. It was followed by social and community development, supported by 74% of businesses and making an average of 17% of expenditure. This mirrors the findings of 2020, and shows that these continue to be the main priorities for companies and their employees who volunteer.
  • The driving force for nearly all volunteers is the desire to give back to their community or country: 93% of volunteers said they volunteered to give back to their community or country, while 68% wanted to support a cause they cared about, and 29% did so to learn more about the needs in their communities.
  • More employees are planning to volunteer in the future – including those who didn’t volunteer during the pandemic – and would like to get involved in more manual, hands-on work: nine out of 10 employees who did not volunteer at the start of the pandemic in 2020 said they are planning to volunteer in future, driven by the easing of lockdown regulations. Of those who continued to volunteer during 2020, 93% did so because they felt their volunteering made a positive difference to the organisations and beneficiaries. One-third – 33% – participated in company-organised group volunteering initiatives, followed by 29% who took part in individual volunteering facilitated by their employer. Over half – 56% – said they would like to get involved in more manual labour for beneficiaries, while 46% said they would like to volunteer time as a board member of an NPO or charity organisation. 

“The report shows that EVPs and particulalry virtual volunteering is an important lever for retaining a sense of connection and shared purpose during times of crisis, and online and virtual volunteering will likely continue to serve as a popular way for employees to choose to give back and foster that sense of connection. 

“These findings further illustrate that the will to volunteer is strong. Organisations need to harness this by improving awareness of their volunteering programmes, providing more volunteering opportunities, and enabling employees to select their own causes and communities to support,” Sono concludes.







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