Skills-Based Volunteering: A good way of doing good
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Skills-Based Volunteering: A good way of doing good

New research confirms skills-based volunteering presents a win-win-win for volunteer, corporate and NGO.

Every year, thousands of people around the world volunteer their professional expertise in marketing, finance, legal services, HR, strategy and IT to support non-profits. And this includes individuals participating in company-led volunteering programs. Volunteering is also part of Credit Suisse's social commitment. In 2014, Credit Suisse employees volunteered a total of 190,790 hours. However, it is not just the partners who benefit from pro bono work: Participants develop a new perspective and stretch their skills, while hopefully taking some of the new culture and expertise they gained back to their daily lives and professional roles. Firms also benefit from staff who return from such volunteering assignments with increased motivation, loyalty and broader experience. Local partners not only benefit from access to skills that might otherwise be out of reach, but also profit from working with someone who has a different – external – perspective and therefore approaches problems in a new way.

Latest research confirms value of skills-based volunteering

The value of skills-based volunteering programs is confirmed in a new study by Emerging World. Over 300 volunteers from five multinational companies (including Credit Suisse), all of whom had completed international skills-based volunteering experiences in the past ten years responded to the survey. The outcomes demonstrate that, in addition to creating social value, these programs deliver a strong return on investment in terms of leadership development, career mobility and employee engagement: 79 percent of employees who participated in international skills-based volunteering programs have made positive changes to the way they work as a result of their experience. Subsequently, 66 percent have moved to roles of increased scope and seniority.

A second study, led by LBG Associates, also confirms the value of skills-based volunteering programs for the receiving NGO or social enterprise. The organizations reported that 82 percent of projects undertaken by volunteers in the past three years were completed and the deliverable implemented. 97 percent said the deliverable was at least somewhat useful; more than half said it was very useful or extremely useful. These positive results have meant that 75 percent found the end product a good return on their investment of time and resources. On both sides, a key component for the success of the experience, both for the receiving organization and the participating employee, is effective preparation (which includes identifying a real need for the work) and management of the experience before, during and after the employee's engagement. More detailed information can be found in the complete study.