Employee Volunteering – A partnership between Reciprocate and OCVA       

Oxfordshire Community Foundation’s responsible business group Reciprocate and OCVA are working in collaboration to develop employee volunteering that brings a genuine double benefit: providing employees with meaningful, fun and rewarding opportunities, whilst helping voluntary organisations and social enterprises to draw on the talents, skills and experiences of these individuals and create a positive impact for the community.

We are therefore looking to build a database of exciting, innovative and purposeful volunteering activities for businesses. We are keen to explore opportunities that get away from the practical mass team building days traditionally associated with employee volunteering, and will actively support you to develop mutually beneficial activities that will open employees’ eyes to the diversity of volunteering in Oxfordshire.

If you are interested in working with employee volunteers, please use the information below to help you develop your opportunity. Once you have settled on a suitable project or task, please complete this short form which will enable us to gather the information we need to match you to a business. We will remain in contact throughout the volunteering activity and afterwards to help ensure the relationship is a success for all involved.

Key themes for working with employee volunteers

Benefits for you Benefits for employees / company

Advice

Using the skills of employee volunteers to make organisational improvements in areas such as IT, finance, communications etc.

Staff can receive personalised support e.g. with PR, budget management

Reduced pressure on staff training budgets

Employees acquire skills in mentoring/training

Flexible opportunity – could be offered over one day or over a series of weeks for shorter time periods

Governance

Targeted trustee recruitment aimed at high-potential employees or talent pool members

Benefit from energy, ideas, new approaches and skills of talented people from local businesses

Refresh your Board with a younger generation of trustees

Opportunity for high potentials/talent pool members to gain leadership and management experience – supporting their career development

Role-modelling

Finding opportunities for volunteers to mentor and encourage disadvantaged groups such as NEETs, ex-offenders etc.

Businesses are a source of successful, inspiring individuals who could provide a new perspective to someone from a very different background Flexible range of ways to be a role model, e.g. one-off presentation in a school vs a long-term one-to-one relationship with someone

Tasks

Drawing on the collective energy of a team of employees to carry out useful work, e.g. revamp your website, assist with strategy or oversee a set task at an event

 

Can have a dramatic, visible impact in a short timeframe

Opportunity for employees to work alongside service users and/or staff

Opportunity to introduce them to your organisation and possibly build a longer relationship

Satisfaction of seeing a task through from beginning to end

Flexibility to arrange over short or long term as appropriate

Possibility of spending time bonding as a team

Can bring out different strengths in colleagues

 

V Apprentice

V Apprentice is a pilot project we are running which would enable you to work with a team of volunteers from one company who have just a day to give. The volunteers would come to your office (or you could go to them) and be divided into competitive teams. Based on their skills and your need (established in advance), you set them a brief for the day e.g. reviewing your marketing materials, re-designing your website. At the end of the day they return to the ‘board room’ to present their ideas and a winning team is announced.

Benefits for you:

  • Does not require a significant commitment of staff time
  • Generates lots of ideas in a short space of time, some of which may have a very positive impact
  • You could allocate a staff member to each team for the day – a skills-sharing opportunity

Benefits for employees/company:

  • Includes a competitive/team-building element sought by many employees
  • Challenges employees to apply their skills in a new setting
  • Working alongside charity staff/current volunteers provides a chance to be involved in training/mentoring (potentially a new skill)
  • Relatively short time commitment

Further sources of help to develop employee volunteering opportunities

  • Reciprocate website: Spend time looking at the current business members of Reciprocate so that you have a better understanding of who you may be engaging with
  • Case studies: As we begin to develop new links between businesses and community groups we will publish details here so that you can follow their progress
  • Get in touch: If you have any questions, or feel you need support to develop a suitable opportunity, please contact Emily on emily.shaw@oxfordshire.org

Advice for employers interested in volunteering

If you are an employer interested in finding out more about employee volunteering opportunities in Oxfordshire, please contact reciprocate@oxfordshire.org