Traditionally, unpaid support for third-sector organizations or public institutions includes preparing meals for the poor and homeless, performing cleaning work (e.g., cleaning public places, painting walls, planting trees, etc.), cooperating in the organization of various events, or caring for the elderly and ailing (e.g., in a hospice).
What is skills-based volunteering – table of contents:
However, we can note that recently there has been a growing popularity of a form of involvement referred to as Skills-Based Volunteering (SBV). Below we explain what distinguishes this form of helping, as well as the benefits it entails for the organization and the company.
Skills-based volunteering – what does it consist of?
Skills-based volunteering is an innovative strategy for engaging individuals willing to provide unpaid support that goes beyond traditional, familiar forms of assistance. This is because it focuses on specialized skills and professional experience to contribute to solving specific problems and challenges of nonprofit organizations.
Those willing to do so engage in projects that are related to their daily area of operation – such as marketing, project management, graphic design, copywriting, finance, business consulting, and law (depending on the needs of the organization). This type of support can be the employee’s initiative, but can also come from the employer (in cooperation with selected organizations and in the form of granting employees time off for this type of activity).
Organization vs. benefits of skills-based volunteering
There is no doubt that skills-based volunteering supports the development of non-profit organizations. This is because such entities often do not have specialized capabilities, for example, in the areas indicated above.
However, thanks to the involvement of willing individuals, they can improve their operations (improve budget management, SM communication or team relations), strengthen capabilities, increase operational efficiency, and thus – achieve goals that would not have been possible without this type of support. Still, its key aspect concerns cost reduction, which makes ideal NGOs (as they usually face financial difficulties).
Does skills-based volunteering benefit the company?
Nonetheless, among employers focused on achieving established business and marketing goals, there may be some doubt whether offering this type of support will provide the company with any positive effects (or merely take away necessary resources).
However, we can point out that in such a way, employees first have a chance to improve their skills in practice, gain new experience and develop professionally outside their workplace, which undoubtedly has no small impact on the organization and the results achieved by employees. Among the additional benefits for the company, we will also mention:
- team-building effects – joint involvement in social goals and problem-solving fosters team integration, increase a sense of community and can improve the effectiveness of internal work while strengthening employees’ soft skills,
- better external image – this type of involvement makes perceived in the eyes of potential job candidates, partners, investors or community members. In this way, the company builds an image as a socially responsible entity that emphasizes the welfare of others,
- employee motivation – engaging in skills-based volunteering can bring about satisfaction, motivation and pride for employees in translating their knowledge and abilities into community action. Employees will experience greater job satisfaction knowing that their skills help others and make a positive impact on the community. If well catered for, it can influence their future career.
Skills-based volunteering – summary
Of course, organizations in the third sector or public institutions (hospices, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) still need support in performing traditional “physical” activities. Still, they are increasingly noticing how similar their activities are to running a business.
They have hands-on experience in managing budgets, organizing marketing activities or improving teamwork, which makes them more willing than before to turn to the specialized knowledge and capabilities that marketers, graphic designers, lawyers, accountants or analysts offer. Given the benefits described above, such a situation is a win-win for all parties involved – both the organization and the company that allows employees to provide this type of support. Entities that want to stand out in the labor market should consider implementing skills-based volunteering into their daily operations.