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Corporate Volunteerism on the Rise

Benevity Inc., the leading provider of global corporate purpose software, released The State of Corporate Volunteering, a report from Benevity Impact Labs, that reveals a surge in corporate volunteerism as companies seek ways to address the challenges of employee connection in a hybrid work world. The data reveals a 57% year-over-year increase in the rate of global employee volunteering participation and a 41% year-over-year increase in the total number of volunteer hours dedicated by companies and their people. Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a 15% increase in the prevalence of companies running volunteering initiatives as part of their employee engagement programs.  

The surge in volunteering comes at a time when companies are looking for ways to more effectively engage their employees, both in the office and remotely, while driving social and business impact. The report finds in-person volunteering is on the rise, with participation 3.6 times greater than the previous year. At the same time, 51% of hours associated with volunteer opportunities on the Benevity platform are virtual (compared to 23% before the pandemic), allowing remote or hybrid employees to participate and donate their time and skills to nonprofits they care about from anywhere.  

As companies increase their investment in employee volunteering programs, there is an influx of new volunteers—65% of volunteers logged their first hours in the past year—providing a vital source of support for nonprofits who are struggling to attract and retain talent in a volatile economy. The report delivers data-backed insights into how companies can create a culture of sustained volunteering to maximize the social impact of their programs, improve cross-company connections, and build team cohesion no matter where teams work.  

Other key findings from the study are below.  

  • Companies see 12 times the participation when providing flexibility by promoting both volunteer opportunities created by the company and opportunities initiated by employees.  
  • On average, companies that leverage team volunteering see 7.5 times the volunteering participation rate; companies that support employee-created volunteer opportunities average nearly three times the volunteering participation rate and those who promoted company-wide volunteering events see more than two times the volunteering participation rate.  
  • Approximately 60% of companies offer rewards, such as dollars employees can donate to the nonprofit of their choice in exchange for volunteer hours; rewards are correlated with further engagement, with the average number of volunteer hours per volunteer 50% higher in companies that offer rewards.  
  • While volunteering still encompasses traditional corporate volunteering events, the majority of programs now include Volunteer Acts of Kindness, which include mutual aid or positive actions that are not in direct support of a nonprofit, such as helping a neighbor in need, attending a learning session sponsored by an Employee Resource Group, or participating in a beach or park cleanup; 80% of companies allow these acts of kindness and the category makes up 35% of total volunteer hours. This can act as an entry point for further social action, particularly for Gen Z workers, who are not as engaged in traditional volunteering as their millennial or Gen X counterparts.  
  • European and Asia-Pacific countries show higher rates of participation than those in North America, reflecting how volunteering in those regions is a more common, accessible, and culturally valued way of giving back to one’s community.  

“We know that workers who are engaged in company social impact programs are less likely to leave their companies, and a recent study showed that among corporate wellness programs, participation in charity or volunteer work stands out as one of the few interventions that leads to improved well-being,” says Sona Khosla, Benevity’s chief impact officer. “As we enter an election year that is sure to create divides, volunteering offers an antidote to polarization and a way to build bridges. Volunteering alongside people who come from different walks of life broadens our horizons and fosters a sense of compassion and empathy within us that helps to improve us as people while also enhancing teams, companies, and communities.”  

The report analyzed data from 473 companies with active volunteering programs on the Benevity platform from April 1, 2022 to March 30, 2023, representing 18 countries and 12.9 million users.

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