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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

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Giving employees time to volunteer would create £17 billion-worth of vital support

This news post is about 1 year old

The potential of employee volunteering is huge

New research from pro bono charity Pilotlight reveals strong demand for employers to do more to support skills-based volunteering in the community – and help generate a potential £17 billion-worth of support.

The research, published this week in a report called “Give your culture a workout”, includes new attitudinal research on the public support for employers to do more in this area and outlines the tangible benefits this would bring for the employers themselves. 

In addition to the desire for employers to do more, 45% of adults would like to use the skills or knowledge they have developed at work to help out charities, good causes or community groups on a voluntary basis.

If they were given the chance to do so, it would generate a potential £17 billion of skilled support.

Pilotlight defines a ‘workout culture’ as one where employers build a stronger, more progressive culture by actively encouraging and supporting employees to use their time and skills to support charities and get involved in their community.

Ed Mayo, CEO of Pilotlight, said: “Work is changing. Now, the new patterns of work that people want are more porous, with learning, participation and purpose that goes beyond the predictable. In this context, there is a new dynamic emerging of ‘pro bono’ volunteering, in which people can use their skills in a charitable setting. In the post pandemic context, this is good for business.

“We believe more and more employees are looking for a ‘workout culture’, one that actively supports them to get involved in causes and their community. From our experience we know this is a really powerful way to attract and retain the best employees.”

According to the new report, the benefits for employers of a strong “workout culture” are: increased employee wellbeing; better staff retention and loyalty; better and stronger links with charities in their local community; and a strengthened licence to operate in their sector or industry.

Angela Halliday, director of social impact for Sodexo UK & Ireland, is urging employers to do more in this area: “We continuously give our culture a workout, recognising the need to evolve in order to progress, engage, retain and recruit talented colleagues in the belief that talent comes from all walks of life,” she said.

“Our colleagues have undertaken pro bono volunteering through Pilotlight to help some charities doing vital work - generating lasting social impact and feeling tangible benefits across our business. I believe every business should be doing this.” 

In light of this new research, Pilotlight is issuing a rallying call for more employers to develop a stronger workout culture and understand its benefits in order to recruit and retain the country’s best talent and have a positive impact at the same time. 

Sally Bailey, Chair of Trustees for Pilotlight, added: “In our post-pandemic context, what is new is not the fact that business can help charities. It is the recognition that charities can help business. Skills-based volunteering is good for both. Our research suggests that the practice is growing fast and has the potential one day to overtake charitable donations from business.” 



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