Corporate Social Responsibility writer for Justmeans, Antonio Pasolini is a journalist based in Brazil who writes about alternative energy, green living and sustainability. He also edits Energyrefuge.com, a top web destination for news and comment on renewable energy and Elpis.org, a recycled paper bag/magazine distributed from health food stores in London, formerly his hometown for over a decade....
Volunteering: Companies and Websites Can Help
The internet represented a massive boon for socially responsible organization and activists in general, particularly after the advent of the so-called Web 2.0. With access to more sophisticated publishing and networking tools, the potential to collaborate on and draw support to any given cause is huge. Finding volunteers and volunteer work also has become easier as websites link volunteers to organizations and causes in a much more agile and precise way.
One website that does so VolunteerMatch. It makes available application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow for the incorporation of its listings into a website or application. VolunteerMatch's search engine can be customized according to the user's specific needs. This way, anyone can search for volunteer opportunities and organizations without having to visit a third-party website. For instance, a major healthcare corporation can display nationwide volunteer opportunities in hospitals or hospices. A municipal website could show local opportunities within their city. A blogger can show volunteer projects related to families or any other
causes they write about.
VolunteerMatch has two API versions available. One of them is the Public-Use API that is available for free for non-commercial purposes. It allows web developers to pull information on volunteer listings and nonprofit organizations from the VolunteerMatch database. It also offers a commercial use API which requires a fee but features more capabilities, including completing the referral loop, hours tracking, and access to data points from the VolunteerMatch Network. Those looking for volunteer work throughout the globe may turn to
Volunteer Global for help.
The organization started as a research project by Sarah Palmer in 2005 when she was working as an intern with Peace Corps in Washington, D.C. Back then, she began looking into alternate volunteer abroad programs suitable for college students or others who wanted to volunteer abroad outside of Peace Corps. She
created a simple table of volunteer travel groups, comparing them by cost, location, type of work, and more, and then posted it online for others to use. Since then, Volunteer Global has grown and morphed into
a network through which volunteer organizations of all sizes can market their work.
Besides the internet, socially responsible companies also encourage volunteering by allowing staff to volunteer on company's time. This seems to be the case in Canada where a study called Employer Support
of Volunteering released by Statistics Canada found that 57% of employees in Canada who did volunteer work reported that they had received one or more formal means of support to do so from their
It makes business sense for companies to offer incentives to employees who would like to volunteer. Several studies indicate that a company's CSR policies increasingly factor into a jobseeker's decision to work
there. For example, a recent survey conducted by ICMA International found that a company's commitment to the community does factor into how attractive a company is viewed by jobseekers.
Canada-based recruitment company Randstad Canada said time scarcity is a barrier to volunteering so companies can help by allowing employees to volunteer during working hours. The payback of strong CSR is better recruiting and retention. "When people are engaged and happy, they don't leave. Allowing volunteering leave can make your company an attractive place to work and allow you to attract and retain the
quality talent that will drive your organization forward, said Stacy Parker, EVP of marketing for Randstad Canada.
Image credit: VolunteerMatch