Accounting: Promoting a culture of corporate volunteerism helps retain employees

By Bonnie Simmons
A study from Council of Non Profits found that there are over 1.5 million registered not-for-profit organizations in the United States, and that number is growing steadily each year. Their findings also indicated not-for-profits contribute significantly to the economy, with almost 10 percent of all U.S. wages and salaries coming from these organizations.
Each one of these organizations has an important mission and, as this industry grows, there is more and more competition for donor dollars.
It is becoming increasingly important for not-for-profits to be creative in order to compete for funds and recognition. Luckily, with the rapid growth of online networks and social media, not-for-profits have more tools than ever before to create awareness and attract donors.
Unfortunately, as not-for-profits try to attract donor dollars, they are also grappling with some of the same issues as their for-profit counterparts: attracting, developing, and paying the necessary talent to carry out their mission. Rising employment costs are burdensome to small businesses, especially not-for-profits. On the bright side, corporate volunteerism is on the rise and is considerably helping these vital organizations carry out their missions. What’s more, these corporate volunteer programs are also serving as a retention tool for the businesses offering them.
Baby boomers may be growing tired of talking about how to better embrace millennials in the workplace, but millennials currently make up 35 percent of the working population, and are the future of our organizations, so it is an important topic of discussion. Studies show that when millennials are considering taking a job, they look beyond compensation and benefits and tend to focus on a company’s work culture, which often include opportunities for involvement in community service and charitable causes.
Millennials are not content with simply making payroll deductions on behalf of charities. They take part in company-wide volunteer days to be able to band together with their coworkers and volunteer as a team, to support organizations they truly care about.
For a business, this kind of activity is great leverage for creating a team-based company culture, and can be less expensive than other types of company outings. If staff retention is an issue, corporate volunteerism should be carefully addressed as part of the overall strategy to keep employees happy and engaged. Not only is it a great way for coworkers to engage, team build, and get to know each other, it is a great way to provide the much-needed support for not-for-profit organizations to achieve their missions.
Bonnie Simmons is a partner in Citrin Cooperman’s Braintree office. She can be reached at or (781) 356-2000.

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