Karena Cronin of Charities Aid Foundation Southern Africa presented a session at The Trialogue CSI Conference, hosted in Bryanston on 24 and 25 May 2016, exploring how employee community involvement (ECI) can enhance CSI.
Cronin defined ECI as a “freely given contribution of employee time, skills and energy for the benefit of society”, explaining how volunteering that takes place outside of office hours can be supported by an employer.
ECI should be based on a clear policy and should be planned in accordance with the expressed needs of the host organisation or beneficiaries. This form of volunteering should result in benefits for the employer, community and the volunteers themselves. Mutually beneficial volunteerism is especially crucial to keep employees interested and engaged.
Companies should think creatively if they are to derive maximum benefits from volunteering programmes. For example, they will need to think about strategic and collaborative approaches to create meaningful and lasting change.
When offering volunteer initiatives, companies should consider applying skills relevant to their business (pro-bono services) and should explore ways to provide interventions that are most needed and valuable to beneficiaries. For example, lawyers can provide their legal expertise to assist communities for free.
NPOs also have a pivotal role to play in helping to construct ways in which corporates can volunteer their services and expertise, which may necessitate the appointment of a volunteer officer. NPOs should focus on building relationships with benefactors and may have to educate volunteers on how best to undertake volunteerism initiatives.
Download the session presentation here.