Why should we create a business culture of volunteering?

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The benefits of a volunteering policy are far wider than simply ‘giving back’ and ESG work, says Ian Girling, CEO of Dorset Chamber

Hello and welcome to my April column. At last it feels Spring is with us, and it’s brilliant to have the lighter evenings and mornings!
This month I’d like to talk about the value of volunteering; not just for individuals, but how this is a fantastic concept for both employers and employees to really embrace. Many businesses are now focusing on this as part of their ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) work, and this can really be a win-win for all involved.

Why is volunteering so important?
Over the last few years, the 3rd Sector has been called upon to deliver more and more as funding for public services has been reduced. The 3rd Sector plays an incredibly important role and this has never been more evident than over the last couple of years with Covid and now the terrible situation we see in Ukraine.
Many charities and voluntary groups are being stretched to their limits in terms of capacity. These organisations can hugely benefit from volunteering – and enabling volunteers to offer their expertise to help.

Build it into the business
There are a huge amount of volunteering opportunities of all types available. Many employers now support
a specific charity or cause each year, and will also give employees an allocated number of paid days to volunteer. This enables these employers to make a positive contribution to support the community and voluntary sector, and to support the vital work the sector delivers.
Importantly, this isn’t about PR – many employers go about this very quietly. For the employer, it also results in motivated employees who are able to help make a difference.

An attractive workplace
Many employers also report real recruitment challenges; it is very much an employee-driven market. Employees will now often have a very clear idea of the type of business they want to work for – businesses that are a force for good, with strong values and ethics. Businesses that embrace volunteering will be attractive to many future employees.
If you are interested in volunteering, you can see a range of opportunities on the Volunteer Centre Dorset website www.volunteeringdorset.org.uk.

Until next time
Ian

by Ian Girling

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