Cost vs Value: How much does employee volunteering cost - Social Good Connect

Cost vs Value: How much does employee volunteering cost

1 November 2021

So let’s cut to the chase: how much does employee volunteering cost?

For many businesses who sign up for employer supported volunteering (ESV), it can be an entirely new ball game altogether, and one where the costs might not seem clear. But with so many benefits to the organisation and to employees, we believe it’s more helpful to think of it as investment. 

More often than not with employee volunteering, the main investment is time. For your business to reap the benefits volunteering brings, a commitment to embedding into company culture is in order. To achieve a real impact, you need senior leadership buy-in, and active integration.

Some Social Good Connect members even include volunteering in onboarding!  And we recommend giving employees a good allowance to volunteer within company time. Volunteering is a great stress-buster, an alternative resource for skill development, and a way for your team to get to know each other better. It should be embedded deep into company culture.

We’ll talk about specific costs in a moment, but first, let’s look at the value that employee volunteering brings.

It’s about more than numbers

Social impact can rarely be measured in numbers alone. Like the feeling of helping an isolated, elderly gentleman to see his daughters face for the first time after months of lockdown as one of our volunteers, Steve will tell you. He took on a role as a volunteer befriender with Care and Share Companionship and was matched to George who he helped to set up Facetime and WhatsApp on his iPad, allowing him to better connect with his daughter during Covid restrictions.

Or the exponential impact of providing expertise as a trustee on the board of a non-profit organisation, giving them the confidence to strive more boldly towards their aims, as Suzie and Gill can attest to.

The value that employer supported volunteering brings far outweighs the cost.

Volunteering helps to attract and retain talent

We’ve spoken at length before about how employer supported volunteering goes far beyond an additional ‘nice-to-have’ social impact activity. It’s also an investment in your employees that can be advertised during recruitment as a staff benefit. 

Volunteering has been shown to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, and leave people feeling more fulfilled after their experience. Not only this, people want to work for a company that does good, with as many as 51% of people reporting that they wouldn’t want to work for a company that doesn’t do anything in the social responsibility space.

By helping to safeguard employee mental health and displaying the right attitudes, volunteering can help you attract and keep the right talent who care about purpose as much as you do. 

Where quantifying your good deeds does count

There’s good reason for wanting to quantify the social impact of volunteering: not only does it help you measure success internally, but gaining an ESG score or CSI (Corporate Social Investment) rating is a handy tool to have your belt. 

We love a good acronym at Social Good Connect, but let’s give a quick overview of them. 

ESG: Environment, Social, Governance. Basically the new-and-improved term for Corporate Social Responsibility. It’s a term used more by corporates than SMEs, and tends to be used in the context of ethical or sustainable investing. Read our explainer blog on ESG here.

Your ESG score is basically a measurement of your businesses social impact, and CSI rating is a similar tool.

The UK is the third-highest country searching for ethical investment online, coming behind the US and Japan. As sustainable investing increases in popularity, this score can be used to help attract potential investors. In 2014, the government introduced tax relief for social investors, so you can imagine why it might be a popular choice. Demonstrating your businesses commitment to good can be a valuable asset if opening yourself up to investment. 

Volunteering can help win public sector tenders 

In Scotland, businesses tendering for public sector contracts have to demonstrate certain activities as set out in the Procurement Reform Act 2014. This act requires any tendering businesses to abide by the Sustainable Procurement Duty, meaning businesses have to show how they engage with SMEs and the third sectors, as well as how they improve the social, environment and economic wellbeing of the community affected. 

Procuring businesses have to be able to transparently show who they do business with, and volunteering is an open commitment to the betterment of your local communities. Volunteering is a demonstrable way of improving community wellbeing and more, and a simple way of keeping track of your businesses charitable efforts that you can report on annually to your local authority. 

How much does employee volunteering with Social Good Connect cost

We display our pricing transparently, and with three different tiers starting at £69/month up to £999/month to suit very need. Some businesses are starting out on their volunteering journey, and some have experience with it and are looking for a routine way of integrating it into the company, hassle free. 

graphic of how much employee volunteering cost

Forget about hunting for suitable opportunities for the team and individuals, our digital platform takes the hassle away by connecting your team to great causes with the click of a button. Simple, right?

How much will it cost to have employees away from their desk? 

This will vary from business to business, depending on your individual approach to employee volunteering. No two businesses are the same, and many people worry that with volunteering there will be a mass exodus of staff away from their desks and out volunteering (we wish!). That’s not the way it works out in reality. 

Depending on your tier, we offer team volunteering, but our individual opportunities are open to everyone. This means that when and how much each individual member is out of office varies greatly. Let’s loosely compare it to annual leave, volunteers out of office will be scattered across the business at any given moment, so don’t worry, there will still be people to serve your customers! 

The internal cost will be your employees hourly/daily wage, multiplied by the number of hours/days your organisation allows them to volunteer. We have a volunteering policy we can provide members, which allows you to confirm how much time employees can volunteer on company time. For some businesses, this could be two days annually, and for others (like us) it could be two hours per week. 

But that doesn’t mean it will always cost you 

This might be a bit of an obvious one, but if the role takes place out of office hours then it’s not on company time. The needs of charities and the type of roles they offer vary greatly, many volunteers give time outside of office hours, it could be a trustee meeting during the evenings, or weekend beach clean-ups. 

Also, costs associated with employees volunteering (including wages), can be deducted as normal business expenses if your employee volunteers for a charity during company time.

What next?

If you want to find out more about how employee volunteering can help your organisation, join our community to receive news about all the benefits it brings, or book a call with our Business Engagement Manager Sarah, who can tell you about how employee volunteering works for our members. 

Written by Caitlin Fyffe

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