Corporate Volunteering Research

Corporate Volunteering Research among Hungarian Leading Companies

 

Although corporate volunteering and community service team building has been getting a spreading practise of Hungarian companies for some time, there has never been conducted a research on the topic before to introduce schemes and there are hardly any corporate volunteering literature or references available in Hungarian.


In 2010 we conducted a qualitative research among 8 leading companies with previous experience in corporate volunteering representing different sectors.  We also developed a research among 209 employees of these companies and conducted an interview with 3 beneficiaries representing the interest of different types of issues. The aim of the research is to assess the current state-of-the-art of corporate volunteering in Hungary.  The specific objectives were to explore the extent to which leading Hungarian companies engage in corporate volunteering; to identify the challenges of volunteering for companies, for their employees as well as for the beneficiaries.  The study also aimed to understand the motivations, interests and experiences of employees and community organisations. The findings reveal that corporate volunteering is considered a useful initiative among all the three groups analysed. The study finds considerable evidence to suggest that corporate volunteering offers several underused benefits and potentials.

 

Companies

The research analyses practices of such leading companies that has won already some experiences in corporate volunteering and implement unique corporate volunteering programs in terms of approach, extent and innovation. The approximately 1-hour-long in-depth interviews revealed that all of the questioned companies implement action days when employees engage in physical volunteer activities mainly on behalf of a healthcare, children institute or at playgrounds. 2 out of the 8 companies implement volunteer activity with the sense of teamwork development in the frame of community service team building programs. Professional know-how transfer is typical only in the case of two companies, nevertheless, this could be one of the most beneficial services on behalf of nonprofits. Additionally fundraising, blood donation and preparation of gifts by the employees are highlighted among corporate volunteer activities.

 

The initiatives hardly fit to the companies’ core business and only in a few cases integrate the companies’ competences on behalf of a community issue.  Findings reveal that corporate volunteering programs are planned to support initial strategic principles, however, the way of implementation do not vary massively.  Expectations towards return are not in the focus, this way the follow-up procedure of realisation of goals is not a key part of the schemes, although companies are open towards employees' ideas, recommendations and feedbacks. In line with motivation tools, the main target of communications procedures are: informing the staff, increasing loyalty, getting employees involved and recognition.

 

All the profiled companies are planning to continue and to extend their CV programs in the future. In line with this, the main goals are: extension  the scope of activity , introduction skill based services, involvement of a larger number of employees, integration of strategic considerations, utilisation of team work development effect, development of community and nonprofit relations such as introduction of follow-up procedure and measurement instruments among employees.

 

Employees

209 employees of 8 leading companies filled out the questionnaire that analysed the employees' attitudes towards corporate volunteering programs. Only one fifth of employees who returned the survey have not participated in any corporate volunteering activities yet. The findings of the quantitative phase indicate that employees consider enhanced team spirit (77 per cent) and the good feeling towards being able to help (75 per cent), as the main benefits of getting involved in volunteering. Almost all respondents (98 per cent) admitted that participants become more sensitive towards community issues as the result of corporate volunteering interventions. 141 out of 209 employees prefer to carry out physical volunteer activity with the focus on children institutes such as kindergartens or children hospitals. The survey revealed that 65 per cent of respondents rank the effort to achieve better reputation as the most significant corporate motivation over commitment (50 per cent).

 

Beneficiaries

The in-depth interviews revealed that all the three organisations are open to a cross sectorial cooperation. While the most popular type of CV programs, action days are usually announced among all employees, beneficiaries however prefer smaller volunteer groups and long-term cooperation and engagement rather than ad hoc initiatives of a limited duration. According to them a broader scale of information and preparation process of the volunteer group might increase the value of the intervention. The quality standards of the implemented activity stay sometimes beneath the organisations’ expectations.  This problem could be solved by professionals delegated internally or by a brokerage organisation. Activities are less popular among corporate volunteers that are frequently of high importance for the beneficiaries.  Therefore it is significant that volunteers are clearly informed about the community impact of their activities.

 

The research also focuses on analysing the similarities in terms of both individual and corporate volunteers' demographical characteristics and motivations.  AA recent study on individual volunteers provides evidences for analogous findings with this research, in some demographic and other characteristics such as age, average salary, qualification, position, scope of activities at working place. Analysed corporate volunteering practices prove evidences that schemes are characterised by the frequency and the length of the period of time, since specific companies have introduced corporate volunteering to their workforce and by the way of integration of global programs.

 

Further information:

Katalin Völgyi

Outdoor Mission Ltd.

Tel: +36 30 3461 107

E-mail: volgyi@outdoormission.hu