Baby boomers, millennials, corporate employees, executives and students are responding to the national call for a new generation of service: Skilled-Based Volunteering (SBV). SBV is when company employees and/or individuals offer nonprofits their personal talents or professional competences to help organizations meet their demands. From the COO offering free strategic planning advice to the millennial offering social media trainings, these well-needed services can easily be found and help transform an organization.
SBV is based on an individual’s strengths. It is important to acknowledge this because while some of us volunteer way too much, for others volunteering is a brand new endeavor. The Federal Agency for Service and Volunteering claims that only 23% of residents in Florida volunteer. Furthermore an impact study done in 2006 by Deloitte and Points of Light found that while 62% of nonprofits work with corporate volunteers, only 12% of agencies align roles with skills.
Placing a willing volunteer in a wrong position can have a damaging effect on an individual’s experience.
However, connecting a volunteer with the right skills to the right project at the right time will allow getting a greater impact and building stronger relationships between volunteers and the nonprofit sector. More importantly the volunteer feels accomplished and valued, which is often times worth more to an organization.
Two local companies using SBV to impact their communities are Stiles and Nipro Diagnostics. Ken Stiles, EVP of Stiles, along with his Leadership Broward’s class project teammates, are working with the Covenant House of Florida to build a Serenity Room for teens at the shelter. Ken has been instrumental in using his construction project management skills and industry contacts to move the project forward. Nipro Diagnostics is using SBV in the war for talent. Their Executive Director of Manufacturing & Operations, Patrick Graesch, who is also a former University of Phoenix professor, is partnering with Boyd Anderson High School’s Manufacturing/Global Logistics Program to provide feedback on a curriculum that will better equip students to enter the field of manufacturing.
Companies looking to get involved with the SBV movement can take the pledge at A Billion + Change (www.abillionpluschange) – a national campaign to mobilize billions of dollars of skills-based volunteer services by the end of 2013. The campaign is looking for company employees to fill the critical gaps in community needs in areas such as financial and legal services, education and environmental initiatives and programs for veterans and senior citizens.
But it is not just company employees who can participate in SBV. Individuals looking to place their skillset with the right nonprofit can sign up at HandsOn Broward (www.handsonbroward.org) – a national volunteer organization with a local chapter in Broward. When signing up, individuals can designate the type of skill and/or activity type they are looking for and the organization will match them with volunteer opportunities available.
SVB is a great tool to engage both employees and volunteers. And as the demographics in the workforce and country begin to shift and more socially-conscious millennials enter the workforce, companies and nonprofits will need to offer attractive employee engagement programs like SBV to stay relevant and competitive.