14 February 2006
A research on "Standards of Excellence for Corporate Volunteer Programmes" was released today by LGB Associates. The Standards serve as a framework that enable companies to build highly successful volunteer programmes.
Volunteer programmes designed using the Standards may achieve, and sustain, a high level of employee participation and generate specific benefits for companies, their employees and the communities in which they live and work.
Standard I: Strategy
Companies need to develop a thoughtful strategy, one which reflects the values and beliefs of the company with respect to philanthropy, in general, and volunteerism, in particular. The strategy should incorporate a mission statement, policies and guidelines which: address why the company encourages, promotes and supports volunteerism; provide direction in terms of goals and objectives; align with existing community relations/involvement strategies; and incorporate business objectives, employee interests and community needs.
Standard II: Infrastructure
Companies need to set the scope and parameters within which their programs will operate by establishing a clearly defined program structure and developing processes and procedures to guide their volunteer programs. Similarly, companies also need to assign an appropriate number of personnel and allocate sufficient funds to effectively support, manage and run their programs.
Standard III: Communication
Companies need to develop communications strategies, leverage appropriate communications tools and deliver pertinent information and messages to key internal and external audiences aimed at generating awareness, elevating interest and driving participation.
Standard IV: Leadership
Companies need to encourage a high level of senior management buy-in and support for volunteerism, as well as participation in community and board service activities. Senior management buy-in legitimizes the value of the program, secures needed resources such as funding and personnel, and motivates employees and managers to volunteer.
Standard V: Education and Training
Companies need to educate both employees and management alike on: the importance of volunteering; why the company encourages and supports volunteerism; related guidelines, policies and programs; and the benefits they, their communities and the company enjoy. Similarly, companies also need to train employees and management on: how to volunteer/get involved; plan and organize events and activities; recruit fellow co-workers; and serve on nonprofit boards.
Standard VI: Recognition
Companies – their management especially – in an effort to recruit and retain volunteers, as well as bolster employee pride and morale, need to recognize employees for their commitment of time, talent and energy – both formally and informally – as often as possible.
Standard VII: Employee Engagement
Companies need not only actively recruit employees to volunteer, but create a corporate culture that makes employees want to get involved, by: incorporating employees’ needs and interests; making it easy for employees to get involved; providing employees with a variety of events and activities to participate in; allowing employees to volunteer during the workday; and soliciting employee feedback.
Standard VIII: Effective Partnerships
Companies need to establish effective partnerships with the “right” nonprofit organizations, those which have the knowledge, experience and capacity to successfully: plan and organize events and activities; coordinate and manage volunteer participation; recognize employee and corporate support; and utilize corporate and community resources in a responsible manner. Additionally, companies should look to establish effective partnerships with nonprofit organizations that fit with their corporate cultures/values, and ones that can meet specific needs related to individual volunteers, groups projects, signature programs and/or annual corporate events.
Standard IX: Evaluation and Measurement
Companies need to consistently and accurately track employee engagement, both formally and informally, as well as measure and evaluate process and outcome data. Companies also need to solicit feedback from employees, management and nonprofit partners.