The majority of employees care about how their organisation impacts society and communities. They want to see visible signs of commitment and understand how this makes a difference. Corporate volunteering programs can be very powerful examples of this commitment.

It’s a close run race when deciding who gets the most out of corporate volunteering; community sector organisations or corporate businesses, according to Robyn de Szoeke the 2017 NSW Corporate Volunteer of the Year.

Robyn holds a busy senior executive role with the Australian arm of international accountancy consultancy firm Deloitte. She matches her time at work as Chair at Dress for Success Sydney, a not-for-profit business that empowers women to achieve financial independence by providing free professional attire, career support programs, mentoring and coaching to any women who need support.

She is also heavily involved in Deloitte’s Corporate Volunteering program which includes a range of community involving opportunities for employees to help support a diverse array of organisations across the not-for-profit sector.

Corporate volunteering, also known as employee volunteering, is when staff take part in unpaid work for a community organisation during work hours, providing benefits to not-for-profit businesses, the individual and their employer. An Australia survey in 2011 found that 24% of volunteers worked for an employer that had an employee volunteer program.

Robyn said corporate volunteers offered wonderful access to skills and expertise or often just some willing hands to support the work of the charity.

It is an excellent way to tap into the passion and purpose of staff in an organisation, many of whom are very willing to provide their time and services, Robyn said.

Often this cements the relationship with the corporate leading to leveraging employee giving programs, pro bono work assignments, access to grants and introductions into foundations and the philanthropic arm of organisations.

However, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Encouraging employee volunteering can boost staff engagement helping to attract and retain high quality people.

The majority of employees care about how their organisation impacts society and communities, Robyn said.

They want to see visible signs of commitment and understand how this makes a difference. Corporate volunteering programs can be very powerful examples of this commitment.

They allow employees to choose volunteering assignments to take time out of their work life to join with their colleagues in providing services and support for a selected charity. This gives them an insight into the work of the charity and first-hand knowledge of how they can make an impact.

Research from Volunteers Australia also showed that volunteers are happier, healthier and sleep better than those who don’t volunteer, helping to build highly engaged and productive employees.

Robyn said recognition of the efforts of volunteering both in and outside the work place was an important way to encourage greater volunteering, but also just to say thank you.

“I felt incredibly proud at being recognised so publicly as the NSW Corporate Volunteer of the Year last year,” she said.

“And not just personally, I genuinely accepted the award on behalf of all of the corporate volunteers at Deloitte as well as the many, many dedicated volunteers at Dress for Success who ensure the work of the charity continues to expand to support vulnerable women seeking new opportunities through employment.”

The volunteering at Dress For Success give 16,000 hours of their time each year – the equivalent of eight full-time workers.

“They give their time so willingly and make such a difference to our clients. They are an incredible group of people.”

Nomination are now open for the 2018 NSW Volunteer of the Year awards run by The Centre for Volunteering. The awards are the largest celebration of volunteering in Australia.

People can be nominated for one of seven award categories, including the NSW Corporate Volunteer of the Year (individual) and the NSW Corporate Volunteer Team of the Year.

Nominations close on Friday July 13. Nominate now!

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