8. How might we prepare ESV for the future?

This section looks ahead, taking into account the challenges faced by ESV (section 6) and the external drivers likely to impact on its development in the years to come (section 7).

It also considers five key questions to help organisations prepare for the future of ESV, drawing on current practices and stakeholders’ views on what would help move ESV forward. It also includes case examples to illustrate findings.

8.1 How might we better engage volunteers in ESV?

One of the key challenges outlined in this report is that ESV makes up a small part of volunteering participation overall and future interest in ESV overall among potential volunteers is low. It also highlights the less positive experiences reported among ESV compared with non-ESV volunteers.

The barriers highlighted in section 6.2 indicate that availability of opportunities (and awareness of them) is a first step that needs to be considered. However, the findings suggest a number of other factors which could help organisations engage ESV volunteers more effectively. These draw on the eight features of a quality experience outlined in the conclusions of our main Time Well Spent report which all apply to ESV volunteers. Here we highlight the features that are most relevant in the context of ESV.

Ease and flexibility in getting involved

Our recent Time Well Spent report highlighted that among those who had not volunteered recently (not just in ESV, but generally) and those who had never volunteered, flexibility was the factor most likely to encourage them to get involved. Our focused research on ESV indicates that in this context, flexibility is even more likely to be important given work commitments are a key barrier to participation in ESV.

Employers, volunteer-involving organisations and brokers in our qualitative research suggested that increased flexibility in ESV could be achieved through a combination of volunteering opportunities which better fit around employees’ work (eg volunteering that could be done from or nearby the office, or remotely) and employers themselves being more flexible in the way they allow their employees to participate (eg allowing and encouraging employees to do their volunteering in smaller chunks of time).

It is likely that as flexible working arrangements become more common, the need for organisations to adapt ESV in these ways may also increase. Some volunteer-involving organisations in our qualitative research reported already taking steps to do this, eg looking into digital-based volunteering opportunities. Making ESV more flexible is likely not just to remove practical barriers to participation for potential volunteers, but also provide a better experience for those already participating, reducing the feeling of their volunteering being formalised, bureaucratic and work-like.

It would be good to see more digital solutions, so ESVs can give their time in a way that can fit more easily within their working day. We are starting to trial virtual volunteer sessions between volunteers and clients, via video calls, which can enable an ESV to use their hours to mentor or coach. It would be good to see companies move to a more flexible model in terms of volunteer hours.

Volunteer-involving organisation

Making ESV more of a ‘personal’ experience

The findings suggest that where volunteers are genuinely engaged with ESV, it feels personal to them and is on their own terms. These kind of tailored volunteering opportunities may become more and more an expectation among employees, with increasing demand for personalised experiences in the consumer world driven partly by advances in technology[1]. It suggests that employers need to consider different ways of delivering more ‘personalised’ volunteering experiences, digitally supported where relevant.

The findings suggest that all organisations can help ESV volunteers have more ownership of their volunteer experiences by ensuring that:

  • volunteers feel that they have freely chosen to participate. Time Well Spent has highlighted that volunteering that is (and feels) truly voluntary is one of the basic cornerstones of a quality volunteer experience.
  • volunteers are involved in shaping opportunities: examples of ways employers were already doing this included asking employees to vote for the organisations they want to volunteer for (similar to token schemes in supermarkets) or having a volunteering committee made up of colleagues from different teams to contribute ideas, act as a sounding board and share information. We also heard of brokers and volunteer-involving organisations getting employee input when developing volunteering opportunities.
  • volunteers feel prepared for what they are getting involved in: some examples of less successful ESV were where volunteers’ expectations had not been managed, leading to negative experiences. Preparing volunteers was particularly important if they were interacting with vulnerable individuals or volunteering in a different or unusual context.
  • volunteers are supported to find their own opportunities: where volunteers are self-organising ESV, employers can still play a supportive role. For example, a major retailer recently created a volunteering portal where employees could find their own local projects to get involved with. This was a major shift in how they managed and advertised opportunities previously (cascading PDF ads from the CSR contact through to staff, via regional and store managers).

As a broker, we often will give businesses a few options. Eg a business has 20 volunteers and we will give a few options that they can pick from, but suggest the employees themselves pick rather than the organiser so they are more invested.


Investing in building relationships with volunteers, not just employers

As highlighted in section 6.3, while volunteer-involving organisations are likely to invest time in trying to build long term partnerships with employers, there is less evidence of this happening with ESV volunteers themselves, in part driven by the perception of these volunteers as a short-term asset.

It is true that many ESV volunteers do not set out looking for longer term involvement in volunteering, especially in the constraints of the limited time given by employers. However, where ESV volunteers are successfully engaged, they often go on to continue their involvement with organisations, in different (and often more impactful) ways that they might not have considered at the start. One employer, for example, had employees involved in a one-off opportunity– but after a positive experience, several employees had gone on to become mentors with the organisation and one had become a trustee.

The findings suggest that if volunteer-involving organisations want to reap the full benefits and potential of ESV volunteers, they need to build connections with these individuals by investing in them and their experience. Our findings show that in many ways ESV volunteers are similar to non-ESV volunteers: when comparing the motivations and benefits of these two groups, they are broadly similar.

When you see trustee listings they can look quite cold… but having gone in and understood what that organisation is all about, it makes it much more real. People from a corporate background might be unsure, but that 'softly, softly' approach can address the fear of the unknown and it makes it more realistic and meaningful to the individuals concerned.


Our main Time Well Spent report concluded that while people move in and out of volunteering along with their life circumstances, providing a quality volunteer experience is likely to encourage them to come back to volunteering (and volunteer-involving organisations) over their life time. Our research indicates that this is no different for ESV volunteering.

8.2 How might we make ESV more inclusive?

This report has highlighted that ESV is dominated by larger organisations, both volunteer-involving organisations and employers. Additionally, for some employees, ESV can feel exclusive. Below, we consider a number of ways that could help make ESV more welcoming and accessible to all, whether they be individuals or organisations.

Providing a range of opportunities to meet different needs and preferences

Employers in our qualitative research recognised that it was important to resonate with employees’ personal motivations, but felt this needed to be balanced with accommodating a wide variety of needs and preferences. The primary way they sought to do this, was to provide or support access to a range of opportunities including those with different levels of engagement, and types of roles and activities, including skills-based and non-skills-based opportunities.

Having such a range of options was perceived to be important in engaging people across the whole organisation. The findings suggest that getting a wider range of ESV volunteers involved could increase the diversity of volunteers as a whole, given they are typically in age groups less likely to be volunteer generally.

Adopting a wider definition of skills and experience

We know that many are already contributing skills through their volunteering, but almost a quarter (23%) of recent ESV volunteers reported that they have skills and experience they would like to use in their volunteering but are not currently using – which indicates there is potential for more.

However, employers reported that skills-based volunteering in particular can feel exclusive, and suggested that opportunities could be more inclusive if a broader range of skills and experiences was recognised. For example, employees could be encouraged to share their life experiences. This would also support volunteers who actively want to offer something that is different to their professional or occupational skills.

By highlighting that a broad range of skills and experiences are welcomed, it is more likely that potential volunteers will see that there is something that they can offer. All organisations involved, however, may need to provide more support for their employees in identifying these different skills or experiences.

Recognising that small size can lead to big impact

Making ESV diverse and inclusive goes beyond looking at which employees take up ESV opportunities and extends to the organisations that are involved.

While there may be a number of challenges to working with smaller organisations, several advantages were mentioned – see below. The findings suggest that these unique benefits could be further highlighted.

For volunteer-involving organisations:

  • SMEs are more likely to provide smaller numbers of volunteers to manage, reducing the likelihood of large group activities and more suited to the capacity of smaller volunteer-involving organisations
  • while SMEs may not have money, they are more likely to put more focus on giving time –in way that is flexible in meeting the needs of organisations
  • other evidence shows that SMEs may be able to engage employees better in volunteering in raising awareness of opportunities, sometimes drawing on technology-based collaboration tools.[2]

We don’t need large team days, like big corporates look for, we just need to know in what ways we can help. Our team have experience across everything from coding to finance, proposal writing to sales training – we could give this time to charities in a way that they don’t get from traditional volunteering opportunities with big corporates.


For employers:

  • there may be greater potential to make a difference: small volunteer-involving organisations may gain even greater impacts from ESV than larger.[3]
  • smaller volunteer-involving organisations may provide more opportunities for local community impact. Differences in the size of organisation could be bridged by matching local offices of national employers with locally-based small volunteer-involving organisations.

Making ESV more ‘small-friendly’

While there is much potential that come with the involvement of smaller organisations (whether it be employers or volunteer-involving organisations), this will only be realised if opportunities and partnerships are open to them. The findings suggest that the current model of ESV does not necessarily fit what smaller organisations can offer or receive.

It suggests that more needs to tailor ESV to these specific contexts of smaller organisations to maximise its potential. This could be through supporting them to access opportunities in the first place, making them more appropriate for their size, or finding ways of getting them involved without the need for financial resources (eg collaborations). Brokers may be best placed in helping both volunteer-involving organisations and employers to think through and support this.

8.3 How might we create a more positive ESV culture in organisations?

Previous research has focused on the relationships between volunteer-involving organisations and employers. While this is undoubtedly important, our findings highlight that it is often internal challenges within organisations that can be the biggest barrier to moving forward. It also highlights that volunteer-involving organisations and employers face many of the same issues, especially around getting buy-in for ESV.

Below, we consider the ingredients for a positive ESV culture and how this might be achieved.

ESV champions at different levels

In organisations with a positive ESV culture (whether a volunteer-involving organisation or employer), the research identified that buy-in at multiple levels was a key feature. This applied to both volunteer-involving organisations and employers. Firstly, a committed lead who understood ESV and could communicate with different stakeholders including senior management, colleagues and external partners, was seen as essential for helping to drive ESV forward.

However, wider buy-in was also important:

  • Both volunteer-involving organisations and employers themselves understood the value of ‘word of mouth’ about positive experiences from volunteers themselves.
  • Senior-level buy-in was also important. For employers, senior level buy in was perceived to help, in particular, to encourage employees to feel they could take time to volunteer within their working hours. One organisation, for example, reported carrying out a campaign, led by a message from their CEO in the weekly staff newsletter, to help ‘legitimise’ volunteering time.
  • Middle management were also seen as important in increasing the sense of legitimacy among employees to volunteer, as they were typically responsible for direct management of staff and resourcing. The CVN research[4] highlights that within volunteer-involving organisations, wider buy-in was most challenging at the middle management level.

Promoting the value and benefits of ESV

Employers and volunteer-involving organisations all recognised that a key factor driving a positive ESV culture was that the value and benefits of ESV were well understood and communicated (across all the levels outlined above).

Within volunteer-involving organisations, this manifested itself in supportive colleagues, who understood the value of ESV volunteers to the organisation’s work, mission or beneficiaries and supported it.

Promotion of ESV within employer organisations was typically done through internal communications, and where ESV was embedded within organisations, it was used as a medium not just for attracting employees to get involved, but also for recognising those who participated. While employers had mixed views on the extent to which it should be formalised, there was a consensus that it was important to communicate with volunteers about their impact and celebrate it. The different ways they did this included thank you emails, internal awards and newsletters.

Ensuring a joined-up ESV offer

The findings also suggest that for ESV to be embedded in the culture of an organisations it needs to be well supported by wider organisational systems, structures and strategies. Where it was disconnected from these, it was challenging for those managing and delivering opportunities to move it forward. For volunteer-involving organisations in particular, it suggests that the relationship between ESV and other volunteering could be looked at further, where these are not well aligned.

We’re working with our Volunteering Support Unit to become a more integrated part of the volunteering operations of the charity… We hope this will make us as much a priority as general volunteering, as we’ll be included in mailers and overall volunteering policy updates, whilst allowing us to ensure the projects we get involved with are fit for our volunteer demographic.

Volunteer-involving organisation

8.4 How can organisations involved in ESV work better together?

Recognising that one size doesn’t fit all

While employers and volunteer-involving organisations recognised the benefits of long-term partnerships, this was not always what employers were looking for.

The findings highlight that there is no ‘one’ model for ESV partnerships as organisations need to establish relationships that suit their different needs. For one employer, longer term partnerships with volunteer-involving organisations that aligned with the area of their corporate strategy to create specific ESV programmes worked well. Another employer found that a model that worked for them was to not have any programmes of their own but have 25 ‘warm-lead’ volunteer-involving organisations, with whom it had developed relationships with over time. This enabled them to have ongoing relationships while still offering a range of different organisations for employees to choose from.

Charities have to accept that businesses are not easily or readily and sometime never will be able to commit to long term engagement.


Brokers could play a greater role in supporting the development of appropriate partnerships. Recent evidence suggests their support may help volunteer-involving organisations to increase the number of ESV volunteers and better identify volunteers that align to the needs of the charity[5].

Having honest and up-front conversations

While employers often drive the first contact with volunteer-involving organisations (including via brokers), the findings highlight that volunteer-involving organisations need to be clearer about whether ESV works for them and have the confidence to say ‘no’ or even signpost to others if it is not a suitable match.

Volunteer-involving organisations may feel this will impact on their ability to secure financial contributions, but prioritising these motivations may be at the detriment of fostering successful relationships in the long run, and delivering volunteering opportunities that truly meet the needs of the charity and its beneficiaries.

These honest and up-front conversations are likely to also promote a wider understanding among employers of what it takes to manage and organise ESV opportunities. This applies in particular to the issue of cost: given that tensions in this area are often driven by a lack of understanding, consistency and conversation (section 6.4), it is important that volunteer-involving organisations are clear about what costs are for and why they are necessary.

Businesses sometimes have a misunderstanding as to the type of volunteering that we might have on offer... However, in the last couple of years we have been much better at having upfront conversations with businesses to manage expectations.

Volunteer-involving organisation

Being willing to adapt

Where there were successful relationships between employers and volunteer-involving organisations, a common factor was a mutual willingness to understand and adapt. Brokers, in particular, felt it was important that employers did not come with a set, prescribed ESV in mind before discussing opportunities. On the other hand, it was suggested that more could be done by volunteer-involving organisations to understand the employer context. While in many ways their worlds are different, it should be noted, as mentioned previously, that employers and volunteer-involving organisations face a number of shared challenges.

Employers and volunteer-involving organisations applied their willingness to adapt in different ways. For some, it took the form of a journey of learning over time what worked well and less well. For others, it involved working together to put in place ways to get ‘on the same page’, eg by setting joint objectives or having yearly strategy meetings to discuss what each was looking to achieve.

8.5 How might we make ESV more impactful?

The findings have highlighted that making a difference is a shared aim for those involved in ESV but there are still too many examples of ESV which are high in resource, but low in impact. A number of areas are outlined below for consideration, in thinking about how to create a bigger impact through ESV.

Promoting a greater understanding of volunteering

The conflation of volunteering with teambuilding (as outlined in section 6.5) highlights wider issues around how volunteering is perceived and the motivations driving requests for ESV. The findings suggest that volunteer-involving organisations and brokers could better support employers to identify and address their primary motivations for ESV requests and, where required, challenge them where ESV is appropriate and not. While ESV can be a way of bringing teams together, this might not be the best way of doing so.

A lot of businesses that I’ve had contact with seem to view volunteer days as a ‘free’ team building day and often they can have a set agenda/idea of what they would like to achieve from the day… it’s important to help businesses to understand that volunteering isn’t that, it’s about sharing a skill, learning a skill and supporting the community. Once they are on board, this message needs to be filtered out to their employees.


Focusing on shared values to create a bigger impact together

We have previously shown the range of different motivations that drive each group involved in ESV and that these can lead to diverging priorities (section 5.2).

Previous recommendations have focused on volunteer-involving organisations and employers finding areas of mutual benefit to build a positive relationship. It is, however, a balancing act. We have also suggested that there has so far been less focus on the motivations and experiences of volunteers and more can be done to integrate these in the development of ESV opportunities. And, volunteer-involving organisations and brokers in our qualitative research emphasised the importance of ultimately meeting the needs of their beneficiaries.

With so many groups involved and motivations and priorities to balance, the findings highlight the need to focus first and foremost on a common purpose and shared values. This is likely to ensure that ESV has a positive impact for all involved.

Having a strategy to help drive things forward

The challenges of making ESV a priority in organisations has already been outlined, and it is reflected in the minority of organisations with an ESV strategy in place (section 3.4).

The findings highlight that having a strategy is likely to help ensure that common values are at the heart of the ESV experience for those involved. Where organisations had an ESV strategy in place or where ESV was clearly aligned to a wider strategy, ESV had a bigger internal profile and was more impactful. The CVN research33 with volunteer-involving organisations found that those with a strategy in place were 11% more likely to report very positive impacts resulting from their ESV. Employers in our qualitative research also saw having a strategy as helping to drive ESV forward.

Re-thinking measures of success

Challenges with measuring ESV (section 6.5) were perceived to be a barrier to impactful ESV. Volunteer-involving organisations and employers saw a number of ways this could be addressed (and some had already taken steps to take this forward), including:

  • challenging current measures: some organisations reported actively re-evaluating their measures of success, for example, one employer had stopped reporting on hours volunteered as they perceived it to be unhelpful.
  • looking at multiple types of impact: there was a recognition that numbers were effective in communicating to others, especially to senior management, but there was also value in looking more widely at different ways of showcasing impact, eg through case studies and stories. Some suggested that it was important to look at different types of impact such as the impact on the volunteer themselves.
  • collaboration and support: many felt it was important to work together across organisations. Both employers and volunteer-involving organisations commonly looked for more guidance and support recognising that it was challenging to know how to identify and measure impact. There was particular interest in exploring how there might be an industry standard ‘value of ESV’ and a toolkit for measuring impact, and seeing how this might work for employers and volunteer-involving organisations alike. More widely, there was interest in collaborating in this area and sharing best practice.

[There] is a drive to look more at impact than numbers (our current KPI is around number of hours given) but this is where collaboration and communication with organisations is key.


Recognising there is more than one way of delivering impactful ESV

Previous recommendations have centred around encouraging more skills-based volunteering, with evidence supporting its greater impact. In our qualitative research, some considered that progress had been made, with more employers understanding the value and moving towards skills-based volunteering. But it was also acknowledged that it was not necessarily the only ‘solution’.

Focusing purely on a particular type of volunteering may be less useful than focusing on shared values and identifying the different ways these can be realised through ESV. Different examples of ESV are shown in the case examples, highlighting that there is not ‘one’ way of delivering impactful ESV opportunities

8.6 What could organisations managing and delivering ESV consider for the future?

Through this research, our aim has been to create an updated picture of ESV, looking at where it is at now, and bringing in the unexplored perspectives of volunteers, which have been largely absent in previous discussions and research.

To conclude, we provide a number of questions for volunteer-involving organisations and employers to consider(see Table 3). The questions are also relevant to brokers, as they can help them consider where and how they can best play a supportive role across these different aspects of ESV. These questions have been developed in light of the findings, focusing on some key insights:

Firstly, the findings suggest that despite the lack of previous focus on the volunteer experience in ESV, it plays a key role and needs to be considered more.

Successful examples of ESV show us that investing in the volunteer experience is worthwhile: where ESV volunteers are engaged and have a good quality experience, there are a range of benefits gained – to the volunteer-involving organisations they help, and their beneficiaries, to employers who support and encourage them, as well as to the volunteers themselves.

This supports our overall findings from Time Well Spent which highlighted the positive impacts of providing a quality volunteer experience on future and longer-term engagement.

However, the findings show that while there are signs of increased interest among employers in ESV and more volunteer involving organisations are looking for ESV volunteers to help them meet their needs, ESV currently makes up a small part of volunteer participation overall and future interest among potential volunteers is low. Furthermore, though most are happy with their experience, ESV volunteers are less likely to be positive than non-ESV volunteers.

The findings indicate that volunteer-involving organisations need to re-direct more of their focus –which has typically centred on employer-relationships - to volunteers themselves. Employers could also do more to be less prescriptive (eg how employees give their time) and enable volunteers to participate in ways that resonate with their personal motivations.

Both volunteer-involving organisations and employers should also consider that above all, ESV volunteers (like non-ESV volunteers) are motivated primarily by wanting to make a difference: this needs to be embedded in the volunteer experience from developing opportunities to recognising volunteers’ contributions.

It is crucial that [volunteers] have a meaningful experience - we mainly offer client-facing opportunities, which often results in the ESVs seeing an immediate return on their time investment, as they can see the confidence of the clients grow over the course of the day/session.

Volunteer-involving organisation

Secondly, the findings have highlighted the importance of identifying and focusing on shared values and purpose.

Understanding and engaging with the volunteer perspective is not the only consideration for volunteer-involving organisations and employers.

While all groups participating in ESV share a common aim in wanting to improve things and help people, they each have their own motivations for getting involved. Where these are not aligned, it can have a negative impact on relationships and result in high-resource, low impact opportunities. Conversely, where volunteer-involving organisations and employers (sometimes with the support of brokers) focus on shared values and purpose, we see ESV being successful.

Underpinning ESV opportunities with these core values can also help those managing and organising ESV to consider key questions of where it is appropriate or not, and what types of opportunities can best meet needs. We have also seen that the involvement of smaller volunteer-organisations and SMEs can come with unique advantages, and can meet needs in different, but equally impactful ways.

If we join up ESV and focus on priority social issues, businesses can make a bigger contribution to helping our society and communities a better place to live and work.


Thirdly, while previously the focus has been on external relationships, internal ones matter too.

Our findings highlight that it is often internal challenges within organisations that can be the biggest barrier to moving forward. It also shows that volunteer-involving organisations and employers face many of the same issues, especially around getting buy-in.

For ESV to truly have a place and purpose within organisations (whether volunteer-involving organisations or employers), it needs to be supported, by a strategy, a structure which connects ESV with the rest of the organisation’s activities, or through colleagues who understand what ESV is for, and its benefits and value.

Having a positive culture around ESV helps us make a difference in our local communities, and that’s really important to our employees. Through repeat volunteering we’re able to see the progress and impact of where we’ve been able to help.


What employers and volunteer-involving organisations managing and organising ESV could consider for the future

Volunteer engagement and uptake

  • Do we consider volunteers’ motivations for getting involved?
  • Do we provide ways for volunteers to feed into the development of ESV opportunities?
  • Do we capture and listen to feedback and use what we’ve learned to improve our ESV?
  • Do we make volunteers feel valued and celebrate the impact they are making?
  • Do we help volunteers feel like it’s not ‘like work’ even if it takes place in work hours or they are using work skills?

Inclusive ESV

  • Do we welcome volunteers to offer a broad range of skills and experience, not just professional / occupational?
  • Do we provide opportunities that fit with organisation of all sizes, including smaller volunteer-involving organisations and SMEs?
  • Could a broker connect us to different types of opportunities or organisations that we’ve not tried before?

Positive ESV culture

  • Do we ensure that people have a good understanding of what ESV is and isn’t?
  • Can we see how ESV will help us reach our goals?
  • Is ESV connected to our wider organisational systems, structures and strategies?

ESV partnerships

  • Are we open to different types of partnerships?
  • Does this partnership meet everyone’s needs?
  • Do we recognise both what we have in common and our differences?
  • Would a broker support us to find more suitable partnerships?

Impactful ESV

  • Do our opportunities reflect shared values between the organisations involved, and volunteers’ motivations too?
  • Are we sure ESV, or this type of ESV is the best way to reach our goals?
  • Do our measures of success look beyond numbers of volunteers, and recognise wider impacts?
  • Do we have a strategy to help us drive ESV forward?

What employers could consider

Volunteer engagement and uptake

  • Are our employees aware of ESV opportunities and do we actively encourage them to participate?
  • Are we flexible enough about how we allow volunteers to participate in ESV?
  • Do we make sure employees feel it is their choice to participate, and (where appropriate) play a more supportive role for employees to choose how they participate?

Inclusive ESV

  • Do we provide employees with a choice of ESV opportunities to meet their different preferences?
  • Do we consider working with volunteer-involving organisations of different sizes, recognising that each may have unique advantages, for example, there may be opportunities for greater local community impact through smaller volunteer-involving organisations?

Positive ESV culture

  • Do we have ESV champions at all levels –at senior levels but also middle-management?
  • Are we creating a culture in which volunteers don’t feel they have to justify their time to volunteer?
  • Do we celebrate the value and benefits of ESV in our organisation?

ESV partnerships

  • Do we seek partnerships that make sense, whether it be fewer, long-term partnerships or multiple ad hoc ones?
  • Are we ‘translating’ our offer into something that is appropriate in the context of the volunteer-involving organisations we’re working with?

Impactful ESV

  • Do we know what we want to get from ESV?
  • Do we understand and make clear where ESV is appropriate and not, including that it is not just about team-building?

What volunteer-involving organisations could consider

Volunteer engagement and uptake

  • Do we help volunteers to fit their volunteering around their work commitments?
  • Do we ensure volunteers feel well prepared for their volunteering and manage their expectations before they get involved?
  • Do we put the same investment into building relationships with volunteers, as we do with their employers and non-ESV volunteers, to help them towards more longer-term and meaningful volunteer involvement?

Inclusive ESV

  • Do we consider working with employers of different sizes, recognising that each may have unique advantages, for example, SMEs may be easier to manage and more flexible?
  • Do we make people new to volunteering feel welcomed?

Positive ESV culture

  • Do our colleagues support ESV and understand the value of ESV volunteers?
  • How does ESV volunteering / volunteers fit with existing volunteering / volunteers?

ESV partnerships

  • Do we say ‘no’ or signpost to others where ESV doesn’t help us make an impact?
  • Do we support employers to understand ESV and explain costs, where they are necessary?
  • Are we clear what our organisation’s key needs are that ESV volunteers might help to meet?

Impactful ESV

  • Do we support employers to understand what ESV is and isn’t for, and challenge them if needed?
  • Do ESV volunteers help us achieve our mission?
  • How does our ESV fit with our wider volunteering strategy?


  1. Accenture, 2016

  2. Sullivan, E and Boyce, D, CSRTech.org (2019), Exploring best practice, tech and potential in corporate volunteerism

  3. CVN, 2018

  4. CVN, 2018

  5. CVN 2018

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 03 June 2019