By Josephine Victoria Yam, J.D., LLM.
2016 July 18
After a decade from its inception, employer-supported volunteering (ESV) is now widely recognized as a way for Corporate Canada to meaningfully engage in local communities. Volunteer Canada heralds this significant development in its newly-released report, “Leading With Intention: Employer-Supported Volunteering in Canada”.
Through the Corporate Council on Volunteering (CCOV), Volunteer Canada and its corporate partners encourage businesses, regardless of their industry sector or size, to support the volunteer efforts of their employees. They believe that ESV strategically enables businesses, their employees and nonprofits to work together to achieve positive societal impacts in the world.
Employer-supported volunteering (ESV) is defined as any initiative “undertaken by an employer to encourage and support volunteering in the community by its employees.” It usually falls under an employer’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. It simultaneously aligns with its Human Resources (HR) strategy which covers employee recruitment, retention and professional development. Currently, there are about 4.7 million employees who are supported by their employers to generously give their time, talent and treasure in the communities in which they live and work.
Companies, who are serious about creating shared value, support ESV by enabling their employees to pursue causes they are passionate about through a diversity of community engagement initiatives. As the Taproot Foundation’s table illustrates, ESV can the range from giving financial support to employees’ selected charities, to enabling them to provide hands-on volunteering to empowering them to generously share their skills through skill-based volunteering.
Volunteer Canada’s report highlights the compelling value proposition that ESV provides to businesses, employees and the nonprofits involved as they change the world. The report states the following Triple Win that they achieve:
Canada has the second largest and most robust charitable and nonprofit sector in the world. According to Imagine Canada, 2 million Canadians are employed in the sector and over 13 million Canadians volunteer for the sector. The sector provides about 8.1% of total Canadian GDP, which is more than what the retail sector contributes and almost equal to what the oil and gas and mining sectors contribute.
So ESV as an additional strategic approach to impactful corporate community engagement that has now become mainstream is great news indeed.
As Sir Winston Churchill observed:
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”