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Business volunteering – people or profits?

By Andrew Dalglish -

People or Profits ReportLast year we started a volunteering programme here at Circle.  We’d always supported various charities through donations or fundraising, but felt that perhaps our time might be just as valuable.

So as a company we pledged to donate a month of our time in ‘man-hours’ every year to charity and worthwhile causes.  In part we did so by volunteering at an inner-city school in London.  But our focus was on donating our services pro bono – after all, we’re research professionals so surely the greatest value we can offer is in sharing this specialist expertise.   The result is the People or Profits Report.

Our goal with this project was to help charities attract more volunteers from the business community, and to help businesses implement a more successful volunteering strategy.

To do so we surveyed 200 decision makers in London businesses to understand their attitudes, motivations, practices and challenges when it came to volunteering. The results were fascinating.  For example:

  • Volunteering is widespread – 63% of businesses have volunteered in the last year (Tweet this)
  • Businesses see three benefits to volunteering – employee engagement, team building, PR (Tweet this)
  • There’s a volunteering demand and supply mismatch – 32% of businesses say addiction a top issue, but only 11% volunteer here (Tweet this)
  • Volunteering isn’t for everyone – 42% of business volunteering programmes involve fewer than half of staff (Tweet this)
  • Businesses see two barriers to volunteering – 44% don’t have time to organise and 39% struggle if people out of the office (Tweet this)

Having analysed the situation on the front-line we then sought input from leading experts including:

  • Carolyn Houseman, CEO, Heart of the City
  • Gordon McCulloch, CEO, Community Action Southwark
  • Noa Burger, Corporate Responsibility Manager, City of London Corporation
  • Kate Cavelle, Head of Pro Bono and Community Investment, Allen & Overy
  • Anne-Marie Kessleman, Head of Marketing and Responsibility, GL Hearn

We’re delighted to share the full results of the survey and commentary from these experts in the People or Profits Report – click here to download your copy.  And for those of you a bit short on time then we’ve also shared some of the key findings in two infographics below.

We hope that you find the study useful, and please do feel free to spread the word on Twitter.  After all, the more people that see it, then the greater the chances that it will help charities and businesses alike.

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