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Flexibility is key to grow employer-supported volunteering

15 June 2014

Flexibility is key to grow employer-supported volunteering

Aligning workplaces with volunteering opportunities allows busy employees the chance to give back to their communities during working hours.

Businesses can make a significant impact on their local communities by donating some of their employees’ time to voluntary causes. Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ) advocates for businesses to implement Employer Supported Volunteering (ESV) policies in order for all parties to enjoy the benefits of giving back.

VNZ Chief Executive, Vanisa Dhiru says, “Any form of volunteering is great, but it is most beneficial for groups to be more flexible when it comes to giving time. We want to see wider range of volunteer time offered by businesses – and hopefully to break the mould of the strict ‘one volunteer day a year’ policy.”

“Rather than sending a whole department or team out for a day of volunteering, smaller groups offering a few hours over several days or weeks can have a greater impact, give more meaningfully and reduce disruption to daily operations for both business and community groups."

When managing giving in this way, employees can experience the personal development and team building that are inherent in volunteering. Individuals learn new outlets for their skills, develop confidence in an unfamiliar setting and become stronger as part of their volunteer unit.

The community organisation or cause can also manage the volunteers easier. “You try and manage 10 or 20 extra people for one day in your business. It can take a lot of time to plan these sorts of initiatives. Many groups would be planning for weeks to organise a large intake of human resource,” says Vanisa.

Productively engaging with volunteer causes over time also provides the perfect opportunity for building community awareness of the organisation’s brand.

Vanisa explains, “Connections between businesses and volunteer groups should create valuable networks within our local communities. We want to see partnerships growing between business and community – no matter how big or small each organisation is – for the greater good.”

Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ) is an association of New Zealand organisations that have a commitment to volunteering, such as volunteer centres, national and other organisations. Their mission is to promote, support and advocate for volunteering. www.volunteeringnz.org.nz

ENDS

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