At the recent report launch for ‘Volunteering and the Workplace’ from Team London, the volunteering hub setup by the Mayor of London, we learned that businesses who invested in sustainable Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) saw increases in their market value by 4% – 6%, their revenues by 20% and reduction in staff turnover of up to 50%.

Of course doing good shouldn’t be driven primarily by financial return – however it does show that the sustainable businesses of tomorrow need to have CSR knitted into their business DNA if they are going to attract and retain the talented young people coming through university who aspire both to doing good in the world and working for good businesses.

Skills-based volunteering in action

A key part of CSR is mobilising employees to engage and support local community organisations –this skills-based volunteering can make a significant impact in helping charities achieve their social mission, helping them plug the skills gap they can suffer from as more people seek their help.

At the report launch, Providence Row, a charity helping single homeless people, shared their experience working with volunteers from Nataxis Global Asset Management. As well as financial support from Nataxis, provided by employees through payroll giving, they give time to work strategically with the trustees and senior management team helping them to identify problems and find solutions to grow their charity sustainably. They also volunteer to up-skill the single homeless people to increase their IT and presentation skills.

Another great example came from Citibank who signed-up to Team London’s Skill Up programme, providing skills-based volunteers into charities. Their VAT team were the highest performers for impact, providing vital support in the area of VAT and finance to smaller charities to ensure good governance and financial controls.

Employers are looking for volunteering experience on CV’s

Volunteering plays an important role in both feeding the talent pipeline and developing skills throughout an individual’s career. Recently Team London collaborated with job site, Indeed on research which found a mismatch between jobseeker and employer attitudes to volunteering. Candidates are more likely to leave off volunteering experience on a CV than include it, but employers want to see it. 4/10 businesses often ask a specific question about volunteering when interviewing candidates – and just over half say they would consider volunteering experience as a deciding factor when choosing between two very similar candidates. As the job market evolves, so too do routes into employment.

Skills-based volunteering for the next generation

At NCUB we are creating BrandU, an app to help more students find vital work experience and mentors during university. At a recent student workshop to discuss work experience, we found that many students were also volunteering their skills into charities to support them.

If this is the case, then how about employees from businesses being matched with undergraduates from university to work together and support local charities together? This duality of volunteering could only be a good thing to support charities in delivering their vital services in their communities – and at the same time will help more businesses to do good, reduce staff turnover and potentially find the star employees of tomorrow.