Close this search box.
Global Skills-Based Volunteer smiling in front of laptop

3 Reasons You Need a Skills-Based Volunteer Program

Global Volunteer Month celebrates the power of donating time to the communities in which we live and operate. While every April shines a spotlight on volunteering, Pyxera Global’s skills-based volunteering programs empower companies to dedicate volunteer hours to under-resourced causes year-round.

With corporate social responsibility (CSR) impacting so many business decisions, your company likely has a long history of philanthropy in the form of grants, donations, and traditional volunteering. Now you want to build a more deeply strategic program that multiplies your existing impact.

Skills-based volunteering programs achieve multiple objectives concurrently, and the success of each objective reinforces the others. It leverages one of your most critical resources—your employees—to make a difference while simultaneously increasing the value your employees bring to your own operations.

Building a program with Pyxera Global meets these objectives:

  1. Employee Engagement and Retention
  2. Employee Skill Development
  3. Employee Recruitment and Pipeline

Drive Employee Engagement & Retention

Skills-based volunteering puts your core values into action by providing opportunities for your employees to identify with and embody your culture in concrete ways. Volunteering also fuels your employees’ passion for social change and aligns them with your overall mission. It’s no surprise, then, that employees who participate in programs designed by Pyxera Global’s Global Pro Bono service have more enthusiasm in their day-to-day work and a greater commitment to their employers.

In an interview with Reuters, SAP’s Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Alex van der Ploeg, praised the impact of SAP’s Social Sabbatical, a Global Pro Bono program implemented by Pyxera Global more than a decade ago:

“It has a significant impact on employee engagement. We have seen the figures on our end: there is higher retention among Social Sabbatical participants. When employees come back, they are more motivated to do their job and look for ways to incorporate that learning into their own business environment. They come back inspired about what they can do to improve things.”

For reports on the program’s long-term impact on SAP employees and social sector partners, please visit SAP’s Social Sabbatical landing page.

Create Opportunities for Employee Skill Development

Another way these programs engage employees is through professional development. Employees value learning new skills and applying established skills to fresh, complex problems. Of course, this has an equally great impact for your company.

Global Pro Bono programs impart new skills and knowledge, improve intercultural and cross-sector competencies, and expand networks. These experiences improve your employees’ day-to-day efficacy, whether they’re in a volunteer position or leading a key project for your team.

One of the greatest challenges in executing a skills-based volunteer program is convening internal stakeholders, all of whom bring different perspectives, goals, and interests. Pyxera Global is uniquely situated to unite your leadership behind a shared vision that meets everyone’s goals, including those of human resources and the organization as a whole. We also help you measure outcomes to ensure that your efforts have an outsized benefit for your workforce.

Reflecting on BNY Mellon’s multiple pro bono programs, Tim Dinneen, Vice President of Global Philanthropy, explained:

“There’s no question about the power of a well-designed pro bono program to supercharge the impact of our non-profit partners. But by making the connection internally to other business imperatives like attracting and retaining the industry’s top talent, this work garners more credibility, interest, and resources—which only enables the program to make a greater impact. Fortunately, it’s an easy case to make, as participants, their managers, and the data resoundingly support this thesis and demonstrate the ability of pro bono to develop hard and soft skills and foster entrepreneurial thinking. And in a way that’s more purposeful, interactive, and effective than I’ve seen with anything else.”

Attract Top Talent & Expand Recruiting Pipelines

Employees are increasingly interested in meaningful work. They want to be part of a company that shares their values. They want their contributions to be socially and environmentally sustainable. Naturally, companies with social responsibility integrated into the employee experience have a competitive edge over those with a more hands-off approach to CSR. By building skills-based volunteering opportunities into your employment pitch, you enhance your reputation as an employer of choice within your industry.

Jessica Clancy, Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at NBCUniversal, expressed that:

Our pro bono efforts are an integral part of our company volunteering ethos. We are always storytelling to our employees. We leverage all of our internal assets to speak to employees, including Town Halls, Employee Newsletters, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), and our internal website, as well as external channels such as @workatNBCU and LinkedIn, as well as employees taking to their own social media to bring exposure to the work.”

Global Pro Bono programs also expand recruiting pipelines. In the process of working directly within their communities, companies engage with and even develop the talent of potential employees. For example, NBCUniversal’s pro bono programs empower digital storytellers from diverse backgrounds. In terms of creating future career pathways for underrepresented communities through pro bono, Clancy notes:

“We understand and see the immense value in investing in and strengthening the pipeline for the next generation of creatives pursuing careers in the arts and digital media. A focus on supporting that next generation is core to who we are and important to drive a more inclusive creative economy.”

15 Years of Designing and Implementing Skills-Based Volunteering Programs

Through our Global Pro Bono service, Pyxera Global has designed and implemented skills-based volunteering programs for socially conscious companies for more than 15 years. Our early entry into this area of corporate social responsibility puts us at the forefront in terms of the breadth of programming we offer, our international scope, the number of social enterprises we work with on the ground, and the resources we bring to bear on your project.

Drawing from our extensive experience and global networks, we create bespoke programs that match your company with ambitious social enterprises in your field. We consider your corporate culture, resources, objectives, and industry positioning.

Whether your company is new to skills-based volunteering or if you have an internally-led pro bono program, Pyxera Global can help you achieve your business goals while making a positive impact on the world.