We asked the experts: 2016 volunteering hopes and dreams

Ben Darlington | 28 January 16

2016 is set to be a big year for employee volunteering.  David Cameron has re-prioritised his three days paid volunteering leave policy, and more and more businesses are implementing exciting, meaningful volunteering programmes. With this in mind, we set out to ask ten experts from across the field what they want to see in 2016.


corey_blogCorey Diamond, Partner, Business Operations at Realized Worth

“2016 will be the year of volunteerism evolving into activities that are transformative to the employee. Meeting people at their highest contribution requires companies to develop opportunities across the spectrum from traditional hands-on volunteering, to skills-based engagements. Regardless of the type of volunteering, elements that focus on transforming the individual will become the focus of many corporate volunteering programs.”

helenblogNatalie Tucker, Project Manager at Three Hands

“Research we conducted at Three Hands last year shows that there is a mismatch between the types of support which charities most want, and the support they actually get from employee volunteers. For example, charities would like more skilled volunteering such as pro bono support, or development for their staff. They are also keen to work with volunteers on a more ongoing basis. In 2016, I hope to see these gaps narrow.

This will require charities to speak frankly with prospective supporters about their needs, and businesses to take time to understand their partners so they can be sure they are offering the right support to organisations who will truly benefit from it. The result will be more effective employee volunteering which makes a genuine difference to community organisations and leaves volunteers feeling satisfied and engaged.”


Tom Gater, Head of Communications, Community Investment and Business Connectors at Business in the Community

“Whilst the exact detail surrounding the three day volunteering proposals from the Cabinet Office and BIS is yet to be announced, it’s clear that something is coming that could have a profound impact on levels of employee volunteering in the UK. In 2016, we hope to see two things come to the fore:

Firstly, a renewed emphasis on the mutual value of the volunteering experience – businesses and communities must get as much as one another from the exchange. Secondly, if three days is to be the figure, the only practical way of using that time is to do so flexibly, treating it as a pool of time that employees can use throughout the year – doing a couple of hours here and there, 24 hours over 12 months. This way both the volunteer and the community organisation take advantage of it in a flexible way. This year is certainly an exciting one for volunteering, and one that all organisations involved in the field should work together to take advantage of.”


Tom Levitt, Consultant at Sector 4 Focus

“I hope this will be the year that employee volunteering comes of age, becomes more highly valued by business for its social impact, its potential for engaging employees and its opportunity for developing new skills – and no longer just for team building, occupying idle hands or ticking CSR boxes.”


Justin David Smith, Executive Director of Volunteering and Development at NCVO

“Given that most surveys continue to suggest that lack of time is the main barrier to volunteering, we should be looking to develop more flexible opportunities, taster sessions and micro opportunities which fit better with people’s ever-busy lifestyles. We should also continue to explore creative ways of allowing people to combine their volunteering with their other passions and interests such as keeping fit (the Good Gym and Park Run) or cooking (Casserole Club).”

With the BBC planning a volunteering season for next year, and with London confirmed as the European Capital of Volunteering 2016, there is perhaps an opportunity to shift the media focus on charities onto a more positive plane”


Rob Powell, Head of Pro Bono & CSR at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

“It goes without saying that we’re always striving to increase engagement levels at Weil, and have a greater number of volunteers out in the community – 2016 is no different. What we’re really hoping for this year is to develop a series of metrics to measure the impact of volunteering on the personal and professional development of employees. To use volunteering as a training tool to help them develop particular skills – having metrics in place will allow us to do just that”

lucyblackandwhiteLucy Hayim, Charity Partnerships and Volunteer Executive at Benefacto 

“A requirement for businesses to offer volunteering is in the not so distant future. 2016 needs to be the year where we collectively develop the infrastructure for employee volunteering: adding meaningful value to charities, engaging and developing employees and inspiring businesses to embrace the immense value of volunteering outside of ‘team building.”

yogeshYogesh Chauhan Director of Corporate Responsibility at Tata Consultancy Services

“Our  2016 volunteering aim is to use the skills of our staff and our sector to inspire more young people into technology. We’ve partnered with StemNet and our sector skills council – Tech Partnership to provide a clear way for technology specialists from across the wider industry to help the next generation engage in a world where technology will play an increasingly profound part.  Last year 600 professionals signed up to become volunteer Tech Future Ambassadors and we’d like to grow that number exponentially in 2016.”

sheldon_blogSheldon Gardiner, Cheif Idea Officer at  VolInspire

“My hope is that 2016 is the year when corporate leaders realise when they truly care about their employees and their community, employees will care more about the companies they work for and customer loyalty goes up.  The old adage of doing good is good for business is absolutely true and my dream is that every business leader will realise this which would result in increased corporate giving and progress on some of the worlds biggest social problems.  If every business owner and CEO would realise that they can be a force for good on this planet through the power of conscious capitalism, we then could truly change the world together.”


Joe Flack, Employee Volunteering Project Manager at Volunteering Matters

“In 2016 we want to see skills based volunteering happening across the country.
We are going to engage with employers to maximise their employee volunteering impact into areas of real need. We will create even more meaningful skills based volunteering opportunities – improving employability skills in the most disadvantaged communities in the UK and motivating employees into social action.”




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Ben Darlington looks after new partnerships and possibilities at Benefacto. He has been involved with the project since its inception back in 2012, building the website and developing the graphic design. He is always looking for ways for charities, businesses and social enterprises to work together. If you'd like to work with Benefacto talk to Ben at ben@benefacto.org.