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How Nonprofits Can Tap into Emerging Corporate Volunteering Trends


When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, it marked the beginning of a tumultuous time in which uncertainty and confusion reigned. However, one bright spot did appear – people were inspired to give back to the world around them, and many nonprofits saw goodwill increase. According to a 2020 Gallup survey, more U.S. adults said they planned to increase (25%) rather than decrease (7%) the amount of money they gave to charity in the coming year. Now, two years later, organizations have settled into an evolved landscape, pivoting operations in order to capture long-term success. Many nonprofit leaders are looking back at that initial increase in goodwill and considering how they can maintain or recapture high donation levels. One area these leaders are focusing on is the corporate sector as businesses consider volunteering and donations as a way to rebuild a feeling of teamwork among displaced staff members.


Here are three ways that nonprofit leaders can use corporate volunteering and donation trends to their advantage.


1. Fostering a feeling of togetherness. Though employees have widely embraced remote working, some employers are eager to get staff back in the office to maintain and even rebuild a sense of community and teamwork that they feel has been lost in remote or hybrid work environments. Nonprofit leaders can tap into this desire for togetherness by finding companies to partner with by positioning volunteering as a teambuilding exercise. Doing good for the world comes with a plethora of benefits — and when in the workplace, can help employees create deeper connections with each other.


2. Tapping into the ESG focus. As the business world slowly shifts toward sustainable strategies to create long-term value, there is an opportunity for nonprofit leaders to be a part of this change. Though traditional environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts are focused more on internal operational changes to make a business more sustainable, public-facing action can also improve the business’s reputation in the eyes of investors and stakeholders more broadly. Nonprofits whose mission is focused on sustainability and bettering the world can tap into this sustainability-driven mindset and work with corporate employers to build a better volunteer base while furthering their mission.


3. Catering to the socially conscious generation. Gen Z is now flooding into the workforce in droves, and their priorities are somewhat different than those of the generations they will coexist with in the workplace. Gen Z expects to feel a connection to their work and wants a job to align with their values – a LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Survey found that 69% of Gen Z would switch jobs to one that better aligns with their interests or values, as compared to 59% of millennials, 45% of Gen X and 40% of Baby Boomers. Nonprofit leaders can tap into this need for organizations to cater to Gen Z job seekers by partnering with businesses looking to attract new talent. This helps the nonprofit ensure they have a steady flow of volunteers while also allowing the company to promote themselves as community-focused and driven by more than just profit.


While COVID-19-related pressures still weigh on the nonprofit industry, new opportunities are on the horizon. Staying tapped into corporate volunteering trends can help nonprofit leaders build new and lasting relationships, ensuring they can continue to serve the communities they support and further their mission far into the future.


Written by Andrea Espinola Wilson and Adam Cole. This article originally appeared in BDO USA, LLP’s “Nonprofit Standard” Blog (April 8, 2022). Copyright © 2022 BDO USA, LLP. All rights reserved. www.bdo.com.

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