What is Corporate Volunteering

What is Corporate Volunteering?

Corporate volunteering (also called employee volunteering) is a simple and effective way for businesses to contribute to the community.

Companies give their employees an allowance of paid time off annually, which they use to volunteer at a charity of their choice. This enables staff to make a difference in as little as an afternoon, and has lots of potential for community impact.


Does my business have to do it? | How much volunteering leave do companies give? | Who’s doing it? | What isn’t it? | Case Study | What does it cost? | How to get involved

Does my business have to do it? What are the benefits?

Businesses in the UK don’t have to have an employee volunteering programme, or even allow employees to have time off.

However, in recent years we’ve seen more and more businesses introducing employee volunteering, and recognising its beneficial effects on the employee, the business and the community. Employee volunteering (EV) is fast becoming the norm, and a successful EV programme is crucial when it comes to staying ahead of your competitors as it increases:

  • employee’s health and wellbeing
  • talent attraction and retention (especially with millennials and younger)
  • employee engagement

Find out more with the business case for employee volunteering.

How much volunteering leave do companies give?

Through GivX, we recently asked 111 companies how much volunteering leave they give their employees. The below graph shows the most common amount for companies to give was 16 hours (two days).

To find out more about how many businesses offer time off to volunteer, and how much, have a look at our employee volunteering statistics, which paint an interesting picture of the state of volunteering nationally.

So who’s doing it and what are they doing? 

Businesses large and small are running amazing projects. Here at Benefacto, we’ve seen volunteers from companies such as The Bank of England, Kellogg’s and ITV run CV and employment workshops, maintain ancient cemeteries, and repair bikes to be used by refugees. If you’re looking for inspiring examples, Benefacto’s ‘Volunteer Buzz’ in Manchester is a great place to start. Over 100 professionals rallied together to support local charities across the city.

What isn’t it?

It’s also worth pointing out what isn’t employee volunteering. Your employees probably take part in loads of charitable activities already, from sponsored runs and bike rides, to volunteering in their spare time. This is great – but it’s not employee volunteering. Employee volunteering must be a structured company policy, that not only supports its employee’s own efforts, but gives them the time and opportunities to do so.

Case Study: Katy, a volunteer from Ashurst

“I volunteered with Barnardo’s at a charity shop in Marylebone. It’s a great opportunity to meet lots of new people and do something really meaningful with your day. I think it also gives you a good sense of perspective when you return to work.”

What does it cost?

There are two costs involved in an employee volunteering programme: first, the cost of brokering and organising the volunteering; and second the lost staff time whilst they’re volunteering.

However, employee volunteering does wonders for engagement and productivity, and often even a tiny increase in staff productivity or reduction in staff turnover will offset these costs. In many cases, employee volunteering actually saves companies money.

Sounds great – how do I get involved? 

  1. Get buy-in
    Convince your colleagues to set up a corporate volunteering programme with the business case for employee volunteering
  2. Set up your volunteering policy
    Read our advice on what you should include in your employee volunteering policy and download our template to help you do it.
  3. Book volunteering through Benefacto

At Benefacto we help organisations build fantastic, high-impact volunteering schemes in London, Leeds and Manchester. Get in touch if you’d like a tour of our online booking portal and to discuss how we can get your colleagues volunteering.

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We've helped over 100 companies develop their volunteering programmes and we'd love to help you too

This article is part of Benefacto's KnowledgeHub. For more help and advice on building an incredible employee volunteering programme, use the navigation above or visit the KnowledgeHub Homepage

Ben Darlington looks after new partnerships and possibilities at Benefacto. He has been involved with the project since its inception back in 2012, building the website and developing the graphic design. He is always looking for ways for charities, businesses and social enterprises to work together. If you'd like to work with Benefacto talk to Ben at ben@benefacto.org.