Employer Supported Volunteering

Just what is Employer Supported Volunteering?

June 1st – 7th is Volunteers Week, an annual celebration and week of recognition for the many unsung heroes in our communities who quietly give up their time to share their skills and knowledge with others through volunteering. Whether someone is spending an hour once a week chatting with a person who has limited social contact, or spending a day manning the till in a charity shop, volunteering opportunities come in many shapes, sizes and places!

There are many myths about what volunteering is or isn’t, such as you need to give up a lot of time for it, you must have certain skills or experience, or you can’t do it if you’re working to name just a few. Happily, these and probably most of the other things you’ll have heard are indeed just myths!

The main myth we’re going to look at here is the idea that you can’t volunteer if you’re working. Now, anyone who is involved in a sports team of some sort, organisations like the Scout, Guides, the Cadet Forces or other evening and weekend activities is quite likely to be working full or part time and giving up their own time outside of work. They may even occasionally request annual leave to ensure they can have time off for a special event they’re involved with running. No issues there – they’re still in work and doing the day job after all!

However, there is another way. How does boosting staff engagement, providing professional development opportunities, developing stronger workplace relationships, and meeting your environmental, social and governance responsibilities by making one change in practice sound? Sounds good doesn’t it!

Employer Supported Volunteering – ESV – can deliver all of the above and more. With a little bit of time, thought and planning, you can create an ESV scheme that works for you, your business, your staff and the wider community. Whether you are wanting to develop a corporate volunteering project, where staff are encouraged to engage with a specific activity or charity, or you would rather enable staff to choose their own voluntary activities, the options and opportunities are potentially unlimited! You may choose to allow staff paid time off for volunteering and recognise and reward time spent by staff volunteering with certificates or other incentives. Whatever you choose to do, involving staff teams in designing the scheme is vital to make sure that it does deliver the wider benefits you want.

Setting up a scheme doesn’t need to be overly complicated, in fact the fewer restrictions involved the better in terms of successful employee engagement. There are a variety of sources of help available to organisations looking to establish an ESV programme – here in Pembrokeshire the County Voluntary Council, PAVS (Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services) can offer a range of support to help you create a successful programme that’s right for you and your employees. For more information on how PAVS can help you get your Employer Supported Volunteer Scheme up and running, give us a call on 01437 769422 or email volunteering@pavs.org.uk.

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