Volunteering doesn’t just make workers feel warm and fuzzy. It also increases engagement.

Ahead of the holidays, workers may be feeling more magnanimous, new data from the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals suggests. The majority of respondents told ACCP that their workers are increasingly participating in company volunteer activities.

The ACCP surveyed its pool of members in the “corporate social impact” industry for its 4th annual CSR Insights Survey. In discussing the uptick in employee volunteering, the November 2023 report noted how employers are making room for these charitable actions to take place. 

One-third of employers offered individual options, more than half offered group volunteer opportunities and 26% offered virtual options.

In-person vs. virtual volunteering

The report from ACCP emphasized that even in this hybrid corporate landscape employers are championing in–person volunteering. 

Data from this firm is supported by the 2023 edition of “Giving in Numbers,” an annual report by the Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose. 

While in-person volunteering still holds, the significance of virtual options cannot be understated, CECP researchers said. They underscored how virtual volunteering has longevity and is a highly accessible option.

Namely, the ability of international employees and domestic workers to participate together makes the virtual option indispensable. “Virtual volunteering allows for international employees to be included, and learn about communities and geographies around the world without needing to travel,” researchers said.

L&D, retention make a business case for volunteerism

In contrast to its findings on international workers, the CECP also called attention to a key form of volunteering that was growing popular (an almost 6% increase) among domestic workers: board leadership. Researchers called attention to the learning and development benefits in volunteering through company leadership

Similarly, 3 out of 10 respondents in the CSR Insights Survey noted that they had introduced skills-based volunteering or had put more emphasis on it this year.

Beyond highlighting the learning and development angle, ACCP continued to emphasize the engagement benefits. This includes retention and attraction. 

Carolyn Berkowitz, the firm’s CEO, said in a statement that implementing a volunteer program is a way to “tangibly align corporate values with those of employees” — something workers continue to say is critical.

“In today’s highly competitive talent market, employee volunteerism and giving are essential strategies for recruiting, engaging, and retaining staff,” Berkowitz added. 

And finally the data leaves statistical room for increased holiday cheer: 11% of ACCP survey takers noted they added opportunities for inter-employee “random acts of kindness.”