· News

Employee volunteering worth billions to charity

Employees volunteering for one hour per week could generate up to £17 billion for UK charities, according to research from Pilotlight.

Currently 21% of the workforce are using their work skills for volunteering, benefitting 8,300 charities and social enterprises every year.

The research found 45% of UK workers surveyed would like to use the skills they develop at work for volunteering, and doing so would lead to the extra funds.

More on employee volunteering:

HR charity network partners with CIPD

UK workers want to volunteer but expect employer support

Volunteering and employment: debunking the myths of youth employment strategy

Ed Mayo, CEO of Pilotlight, said a desire for volunteering reflects how much more employees want out of their working lives.

He said: "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. 

"The new data suggests a huge appetite for opportunities like this, seeing them as a source of enrichment, impact and learning – and in turn has tangible benefits for the employer."

Three in five (60%) workers surveyed felt employers should be taking the initiative to help employees explore volunteering opportunities, while 79% of those who already volunteer thought businesses themselves would benefit as well as employees.

Allowing workers to volunteer was shown to increase employee wellbeing, improve retention, and increase attraction to potential employees.

Sue George, volunteering development manager at The British Heart Foundation (BHF), said charities like BHF are benefiting from corporate volunteering.

She told HR magazine: “The British Heart Foundation warmly welcomes corporate volunteers in our shops and at our events, and their support is invaluable. You can lend your skills to a wide range of activities that have a hugely positive impact on our work.

"By helping out in our shops or supporting our amazing events like the London to Brighton Bike Ride, you are giving back and helping us fund our life saving research."

Pilotlight surveyed 4,158 UK employees between August 2020 and September 2022.