Team volunteering that delivers social impact and employee engagement

BITCI News - Members News - Uncategorized - Jul 29, 2013

Each year, on IMPACT Day, Deloitte encourages its 45,000+ people nationwide to make nonprofits their top clients for the day by setting aside their work and contributing their time and talent.

In Ireland, this single day of action is an important part of Deloitte’s CSR strategy and has proved to be most effective in engaging hundreds of employees on social and environmental projects .

Many companies undertake team volunteering but few do it on the scale of Deloitte.  With their usual client focus, preparation begins three months ahead.  They invite employee suggestions for community projects which can range from schools to community gardens or animal welfare organisations.   Deloitte also likes to maintain relationships with community organisations and has returned to Merchants Quay Ireland, Matt Talbot Trust and Cheshire homes to undertake new projects.  The challenge of finding sufficient projects for up to 500 staff in Dublin and Munster means that Business in the Community is involved in visiting community organisations to identify their needs that can be met by the energetic and enthusiastic volunteers.

Once a list is ready, the Deloitte management team assigns a project manager to each project.  This is an opportunity for individual employees to develop skills outside of day-to-day work, to raise their profile and build connections within Deloitte. Each project manager conducts a risk assessment, judges how many volunteers will be required and develops a list of material requirements for the day.

Recruiting volunteers is never a problem.  Support for Impact Day is high across the business and at all levels.  Building paths, planting trees, shovelling gravel, all are taken on board with enthusiasm.   Working side by side with community partners and their service users, the volunteers gain awareness of social issues and their work provides a huge morale boost for the community organisations.

In addition to their own quality reviews on the day, Deloitte asks Business in the Community to conduct a qualitative impact assessment afterwards to get objective feedback from the community organisations and ensure that the next year will be even better.

Orla Graham, Head of Human Resources, reflected, ‘ Although impact day is all about making an impact in our community, the positive impact on our people is a wonderful added benefit. It is a great opportunity for our people, who may not ordinarily work together, to shed the daily routine and the suits and get to know each other whilst making an impact in the community. The sense of achievement, camaraderie, team spirit and pride it engenders is palpable and encapsulates our ‘As One’ vision.’

Impact Day is team volunteering at its best.   The Community and corporate partners share a mutual respect and a focus on achieving the best outcomes for everyone.   And despite the hard work, it’s fun too.