Supporting our volunteers

Strong community involvement drives employers’ bottom line
By Ruth MacKenzie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/24/2012

In recent years, employers have extended corporate community investment programs beyond chequebook philanthropy and adopted robust volunteer programs that meet the demands of employees, customers and the community.

Many Canadian companies have established formal employee volunteer programs rooted in the philosophy that community involvement is a corporate concern and should be considered a measure of an organization’s social responsibility.

Corporate community involvement is growing in popularity as prospective employees are increasingly attracted to companies with formal volunteering programs. In Canada, two-thirds of volunteers are employed and most of them work full time. And more than three-quarters (79 per cent) of Canadian companies have community involvement programs, according to a 2006 survey of 990 employers conducted by the University of Lethbridge in Alberta and Imagine Canada. More than three-quarters (78 per cent) allowed staff to adjust work schedules for volunteering, 71 per cent allowed them time off without pay and 29 per cent gave time off with pay to volunteer.