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As the new year approaches, it is the perfect time for businesses to re-evaluate their goals and formulate a new plan to achieve them. While generating profits is an obvious reason for the existence of a business, it is equally important to consider the commitment to social value and volunteering.  

"What is social value?" you might ask. Well, put simply, social value refers to the positive impact that an organization and its supply chains have on society, beyond just the profit they make. It involves working collaboratively with society to improve the community, economy, and environment around the organization. 

Applying a figure to generalise the social value weighting in various companies’ and organisations’ tendering and procurement processes can be challenging. However, it is noteworthy that the trend of prioritising social value in the procedure is becoming more prominent, especially after the pandemic. Creating a positive community impact can contribute to the success of a business. 

Studies [1] say that volunteer programmes have a positive impact on employee engagement, productivity, and hiring and retention in businesses. In fact, workplace volunteering has been a common practice for corporate community engagement for many years.  

It is important to reconsider its primary purpose as an employee engagement tool. Instead, companies should prioritise the community first and foremost when designing their volunteer programmes. Companies must pay attention to this approach as it can result in significant business benefits. 

When crafting a volunteering programme, it is important for management to avoid taking the easy route by imitating what they see successful companies in their industry doing or focusing their corporation’s volunteer programmes purely around their personal charitable-giving preferences. Both approaches suffer from the same shortcomings, with the volunteer programme not originating from the community, making it challenging for employees and the community to establish an emotional connection between the programme, the community and the company. Such a program inevitably leads to decreased employee participation and less impact on the community, making it impossible to realise the potential benefits to the business. 

Business benefit will follow 

Workplace volunteering programs can have a significant impact on the community, and they can also benefit businesses in various ways. The primary results and value produced through such programs are related to social impact and meeting community needs. In addition, companies that implement successful volunteering programmes can also experience ripple effects in terms of their business results: 

  • Improvement in reputation 

People tend to trust companies that are actively involved in community development. By doing so, companies can establish themselves as responsible and caring organisations committed to giving back to society. 

  • Enhance customer loyalty 

Through volunteering, companies can demonstrate that they care about social causes and are willing to take action to impact the community positively. This helps build a strong relationship between the company and its customers, as they tend to support companies that align with their values and beliefs, leading to increased customer loyalty. 

  • Meaningful employee engagement 

By aligning the workplace volunteering programme with the community's needs, volunteers will have a better grasp on the impact of the programs they participate in and become more motivated, positively amplifying their contribution. It simultaneously conveys the company's values and beliefs to employees, making it a meaningful communication method. 

  • Potential win in tendering process 

As previously stated, an ever-growing number of customers and companies are placing greater importance on social value and reputation when making purchasing decisions and during the tendering process. This means that creating a positive impact on the community could significantly increase the chances of winning business contracts.   

It is obvious that the impact of workplace volunteering is directly related to the relevancy of the programme with the community, and it will be even more pronounced when community members believe that volunteering makes a genuine difference in their neighbourhood, which can lead to increased sales and profits for the company. 

Considering the above factors, designing workplace volunteering programmes with intentionality and authenticity is crucial to ensure their success. It requires a deep understanding of the needs of stakeholders in the community. 

By placing the community’s needs as the first and foremost position, the management has laid down the foundation for the success of their workplace volunteering programme, with successful employee engagement and business benefits being realised. We support businesses to understand their impact on wider society and how to harness this to become a more attractive business to prospective employees, customers, suppliers and partners. Our team of specialist advisors have significant experience of delivering social value projects and supporting SME’s to positively increase their impact on society. Interested parties please contact Nadir Sultan, Social Value Business Advisor on to discuss the programme. 

BGH Match, GM Business Growth Hub’s free business connector network, provides opportunities for businesses across Greater Manchester to network and learn about the fully funded business support available. In January, businesses from Greater Manchester are invited to FC United of Manchester for a morning to discuss social value and volunteering. Please register for the event with the below link: 

BGH Match – Social Value and Volunteering - North Manchester | GM Business Growth Hub 

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