Involve Gloucestershire exists to match your charity or community organisation to volunteers drawn from local employers. Employer Supported Volunteering is a relatively untapped well for many charities and community organisations in Gloucestershire. Accessing the expertise, know-how and labour that 'corporate volunteers' provide can help you deliver important outcomes for your beneficiaries.
What is Employer Supported Volunteering?
Employer Supported Volunteering (ESV) forms part of many employers' Corporate Social Respospinsibility strategy. Generally, ESV relates to volunteering activity that is endorsed by an employer for their employees. This most often takes the form of volunteering leave which sanctions employees to take a number of paid hours or days per year to support a cause.
Engaging with volunteers through ESV can be a one-off interaction, or the start of a menaingful long-term relationship with an employer.
What kind of support can Employer Supported Volunteering offer?
The type of support offered differs between employers, depending on their individual aspirations, policy and culture.
Many employers are happy to release groups of employees to take part in 'micro-volunteering' - typically a challenge with a practical basis that can be completed within a specific time frame . This could be to rennovate a garden or outdoor space or support with the refurbishment of a community premises.
Some employers are starting to realise the importance of skills-exchange opportunities, whereby staff are matched with a project to share and develop their existing expertise within a community or charity setting. This could be to support a specific objective, for example to help develop a marketing campaign, or may have a longer term objective, such as mentoring an employee within a charity or community organisation. Skills-exchange volunteers can also be deployed to work directly with beneficiaries, delivering IT workshops or job skills coaching, for example.
What are some of the challenges around Employer Supported Volunteering for Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise organisations?
Locally and nationally there are some barriers to effective Employer Supported Volunteering. A recent comprehensive study by the University of Hull and University of Sheffield has identified four 'gaps' that hinder ESV best practice:
Skills gap: the skills being offered by employers don't match up with what VCSE organisations are asking for or are in need of
Capacity gap: VCSE organisations lack the infrastructure to accommodate volunteers, and also the expertise and capacity to pitch the benefits of a relationship to employers
Knowledge gap: Employers and VCSE organisations struggle to understand each other and communicate effectively about what their expectations are and how to achieve them
Infrastructure gap: The resolution of the other gaps is undermined by the lack of infrastructure available to both parties to help them navigate the pitfalls and make meaningful connections.
How can Involve Gloucestershire help?
Relationships between employers and Voluntary, Communtiy and Social Enterprise organisations work well when they’re ‘brokered’ – there is a benefit to someone looking at each party’s needs, and matching them successfully.
We work with you to understand how ESV can support you in the work that you do. Whether you need a group of volunteers to help transform your premises or take part in a fundraising event, or are looking to recruit expert support, we will use our growing network of relationships with local employers to help to match you to the right 'offer'.
Our services are free of charge for VCSE organisations.
How do I receive support from Involve Gloucestershire?
Please complete one of the online forms below to register your needs with us. You will be taken through a registration process which will allow us to come back to you and plan a way forward.
Alternatively, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or via 0300 365 8999 ext. 109