Website Helps SMEs Support Volunteers

Voluteering England

National development agency Volunteering England has launched a website to encourage more small-business owners to create employer supported volunteer (ESV) schemes.

Voluteering England

Volunteering England liaises with local volunteering agencies to offer employees opportunities such as reading to school children, preparing and delivering meals to housebound people, and running yoga sessions at local hospitals.

The website contains tips for small businesses on how to set up an ESV scheme, along with a beginners’ guide to employer supported volunteering, case studies and links to local agencies that offer volunteering opportunities.

According to research from Volunteering England, 14 % of SMEs are currently involved in ESV schemes, compared to 20 % of companies with more than 250 employees.

“Volunteering presents the same opportunities for small firms as for big businesses – such as improving their reputation in the community – although they may not have as much time and money,”

said Cathy McBain, head of ESV at Volunteering England.

“We’re not saying to small businesses that they should down their tools and stop what they’re doing, we’re saying do it in a way that fits in with your business, even if that is just encouraging employees to volunteer outside of working hours,” she said.

“Many SMEs do a bit of fundraising and so forth, but what they lacked was somewhere where they could find information quickly and easily on how to develop their community projects, and that is what this section of the website gives them,” said McBain.

The ESV scheme is backed by the British Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Forum of Private Business.

According to BCC director general, David Frost:

“An ESV scheme can help firms raise profiles, reach new markets, and recruit the best employees.”

“Volunteering England has provided an excellent web portal to help SMEs achieve these tangible business benefits through employer supported volunteering.”

Information on corporate social responsibility is available from the Business in the Community website

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