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6 June 2024

Businesses Urged to Share Skills Rather than Time Through Volunteering

Volunteering is more powerful when it involves sharing professional expertise rather than taking part in a one-off activity.

That’s the finding of a new research report from the independent Lloyds Bank Foundation. It says there is added value when employee volunteering goes beyond a one-off physical activity to volunteers sharing professional expertise such as management, finance, IT, HR and marketing with charities.

The report – Skills Based Volunteering: A Win, Win, Win – aims to encourage businesses and charities to work together to embrace skilled volunteering as an opportunity for mutual growth that offers potential for helping transform communities.

It says that 91% of charities who worked with skilled volunteers to navigate strategic challenges reported improvements in professional skills, a third of which were significant improvements.  Skilled volunteers said they were able to apply and develop transferable skills and widen their perspectives.

The report also captures learnings and recommendations for developing impactful skilled volunteering programmes, including:

  • Choice and variety matter for volunteers and charities; skilled volunteering can be flexible with varying levels of commitment, in person and online options, and working as a group or individual.
  • Seeking skilled volunteer partnerships with small and local charities can maximise the impact of volunteers and charity.
  • Volunteers from businesses need support in translating their skills to a different sector.
  • Support for volunteering should come from leadership and be embedded in an organisation's culture.
  • Relationships take time, but getting the right match and investing in the partnership generates long term payoff.
  • Identifying the needs of charities and where volunteers can have the biggest impact is important.

The Foundation encourages all businesses large and small to draw on these lessons and consider the opportunities in skilled volunteering, encouraging their employees to share and use their skills to help charities grow and develop.

Kevin Barker-Lee, Senior Manager at Lloyds Banking Group, volunteers for The Hive Avon as a trustee and became the Chair of the board. He said:

“When I first became a volunteer, I was looking for a new challenge and to give something back, but I found that it gave me the opportunity to develop personally and professionally, helping me approach things with more flexibility. I gained new skills in facilitation, managing, coaching and governance that I could apply to my work. It felt great to help strengthen a local charity and learn more about my community. I love being able to work for an employer that supports and encourages this. It has certainly given me increased confidence in my ability, what I can do, and how valuable my skills are.”

Holly Quincey, Talent Acquisition Director, Lloyds Banking Group, said:

“Skills based volunteering is a brilliant way for professionals to deepen expertise and develop new skills; connect with a community and learn about some of society’s most complex issues. The impact to the organisations supported is often immediate too, with genuine expertise and knowledge in areas such as finance, marketing and project management helping to support long-term solutions and creating a lasting impact. I’d encourage more businesses to build this into their employee development planning and recognise the power of skills-based volunteering for all involved.”

André Clarke, Director of Charity Development at Lloyds Bank Foundation, explains: 

“Often, when businesses want to help a charity, they opt for a team day and some form of physical activity. Our experience shows there is another way: providing opportunities for employees to share their professional skills that can be of mutual, even greater benefit for employers, charities and volunteers themselves. We've seen from the 700 charities we support each year that they are overstretched and find it difficult to find or afford professional skills. Skills based volunteering offers huge payoffs not only for charities tackling complex issues, but for businesses themselves and their employees working together to help communities thrive.”

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