Effectively communicating the time your company gives, and how that in turn supports your partner charities will boost any volunteering programme.
From the perspective of participation, celebrating your volunteering will make others want to join in. It also allows colleagues to bond over their shared experiences and reinforces your culture as a rewarding, socially conscious place to work.
From a board-room perspective, emphasising the causality between volunteering and happy, engaged people, and demonstrating uptake and impact can help your case for further support and funding for the programme.
In this article we’ll explore why so few CSR practitioners record data effectively or use numbers to tell their story. We’ll also introduce a new feature of Benefacto’s platform that we hope will make both tasks much easier.
At first glance, it’s easy to see why people are hesitant to start quantifying their volunteering efforts. As we’ve said many times, impact measurement and reporting can be a real red herring.
Nonetheless, with volunteering at least, defining the basic data-points is fairly straight-forward. You should aspire to record how many individual people volunteer, how many hours they do and what they’re up to.
It can be really tempting to brush over the significance of recording your efforts: with every hour invested in measuring feeling like it’s an hour not directly working on improving the programme. But whilst impact reporting doesn’t deliver the instant positive outcome of helping charities, it’s a slow burner that can in the long run make a huge difference to the success of your programme.
Making sure you have a clear, stream-lined process for volunteers to book and log their hours is a must (if you can create a time code for it, all the better!). You won’t want to be chasing up on email at the end of the year to try and work out what people have done.
Film director Werner Herzog once said,
Herzog knows that an audience isn’t interested in a deluge of facts with no story behind them; nor are your colleagues!
A great maxim for reporting your work is that every story should be backed up with data, and all data supported with a story. Numbers bring credibility and a frame of magnitude to your work, whilst the personal stories demonstrate the real life-changing impact for charities, their service users and your volunteers.
Big numbers can be really indigestible and rapidly loose their meaning (who can really picture what 80,000 hours of volunteering time looks like to a charity). So try and break down numbers into the causes you’ve supported and what some of that time actually means.
If all this sounds like a bit of a headache, Benefacto have released a new feature called ClicData, which is available to all members.
ClicData allows you to monitor the number of volunteering shifts your colleagues have completed through Benefacto, how many future bookings you have, and if you have had any cancellations.
It works through an online dashboard, but you can also pull the data in excel format.
We’ve also developed a new impact model with our partner charities that gives a further level of insight into the social impact of every volunteer’s work. ClicData records the number of:
Once you have accurate impact stats as well as volunteer numbers, the CSR world is your oyster!
Our hope for ClicData is that by having your volunteering numbers always to hand, celebrating your collective efforts will become a stalwart of the messages you send out about your community investment.
We recommend running a “Thank You” campaign after every year of volunteering. Seeing your collective impact in tangible terms such as emergency food parcels prepared empowers employees and encourages newcomers to get involved and the old hands to head out again.
It’s certainly got to make it easier to explain to upper management what great things their money is achieving too!
To find out more about ClicData, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some examples of the “Thank You” campaign we run at Benefacto:
We're helping companies big and small run more effective employee volunteering programmes