A client recently asked why we focus our Volunteerism ROI Tracker surveys on active volunteers instead of the broader employee population. Doesn’t focusing on the employees who have drunk the Kool-Aid of CSR skew results?
Indeed, taking the temperature of your entire employee base's interest in volunteerism is important for understanding the reach and awareness of your volunteer program. Adding a question to the annual HR survey will also measure volunteer rates if you suspect that employees are not reporting or tracking their actual volunteer hours. In light of the low usage rates of "dollars for doers" programs, non-volunteers might tell you if your program is really as user-friendly as you think.
Several studies explore employee awareness and perception of corporate community involvement programs. The results? Most employees value volunteerism and CSR initiatives, even if they don't volunteer. An interesting insight, but not very useful for improving the value of your volunteer program for employees or the community.
We approach data collection by focusing on how information can make real change. It’s what the Boston Center for Corporate Citizenship calls actionable measurement, one of their Seven Drivers of Effectiveness for employee volunteer programs. Volunteers are best equipped to inform volunteer managers on, for example, skills gained and networks developed. Employees who don’t volunteer might offer insight on how to make your volunteer program more convenient, but not how it drives business and social ROI.
What non-volunteers can tell you about your employee volunteer program:
- Convenience and resonance of volunteer program with employees
- General belief about the importance of volunteerism and CSR
What volunteers can tell you about your employee volunteer program:
- The impact of volunteerism on job satisfaction
- What professional skills are gained and strengthened by your community initiatives
- If engagement develops new relationships with potential clients, partners, and other stakeholders
- New recruitment opportunities
In addition to your own volunteers, the best informers for improvement are other companies. The Volunteerism ROI Tracker provides a benchmarking scorecard ranking your impact with data from volunteers at some of the wold’s most respected companies, so you’ll have real context for your social impact and business performance.