Employee Volunteer Program

This is the 2nd in a five-part series on Small Business Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility.

At Davis & Hodgdon Advisory Group the practice of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is part of our fabric. A multi-year development of a CSR policy has enabled the firm to practice what it preaches and facilitate the same for interested parties. The entrepreneurial spirit of this firm is evidenced by its actions locally and statewide.

In part one of our series on CSR we summarized the importance of formal yet reasonable CSR policies for businesses of ALL sizes – not just corporate giants.  While the desire to be socially responsible may be just as prevalent among small- to medium-sized businesses, it is usually not practical to implement the same formal (and often more cumbersome) policies that are used by larger businesses.

Click here to read Part One: The Triple Bottom Line for Small Business.

As part of Davis & Hodgdon’s “scaled-down” CSR policy, there is an intense focus on “Community Works” and the belief that a business’ relationship with the community is the foundation of its success. By contributing to a vibrant local economy, we can support a generation of like-minded entrepreneurs and a sustainable business community.

The CSR policy’s Community Works efforts are organized into three categories:

  1. Employee Volunteer Program
  2. Charitable Giving
  3. Signature Partnership

This second blog post in our series of five focuses on the Employee Volunteer Program of our Community Works efforts.
Volunteering is one of the most powerful ways to support charitable organizations in our community. Through pro bono, skills-based, and grassroots volunteering, we can strengthen the nonprofit sector and have a positive impact with our neighbors. Few would argue that involvement in the community is good for business.

The firm’s CSR policy encourages and promotes employee volunteerism in four ways:

  1. Employee Volunteer Hours: All Davis & Hodgdon employees are offered time off with pay for at least one day or eight hours per calendar year.
  2. Employee Initiated Events: Implementation of internal, employee-led, workplace-based charitable initiatives, which provide employees with the opportunity to raise money and donate their time to causes they care about. Examples: food, clothing and toy drives, charity walks, and other organized fundraising drives.
  3. Team Volunteer Day: Actions speak louder than words! We recognize the benefits of giving back, both for the community and our dedicated staff. Each year we take action as a team, leave our desks, and volunteer as a group where we live, work, and play. We work with our community partners to identify community service projects where we can really make a significant impact. We plant trees, build houses, cook meals, plant gardens and paint fences. Along the way we build meaningful relationships, learn about important causes, and return to work feeling energized and inspired. It’s a win-win.
  4. Pro-Bono Work: With the implementation of the firm’s CSR policy, our pro bono work became aligned with our overall giving strategy and we directed our pro bono services to organizations that were a nice fit with our philosophy and cause areas. For Davis & Hodgdon, those areas include: financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and Vermont’s Green Economy.

Truly, one of the greatest benefits of the firm’s CSR policy has been the ability to align all of the Community Works efforts (especially the pro bono and volunteer work) with our three cause areas. By doing so, we are able to focus efforts and make the most valuable impact that we can.

As you begin to document your business’ CSR policy, we highly recommend that the identification of your own “cause areas” be a top priority.
Not to be overlooked are four critical details that should be included for each component within your business’ CSR policy:

  • Criteria and eligibility
  • Process
  • Administrative plan
  • Tools and resources (forms and tracking reports)

For example, the four details within the “Team Volunteer Day” might look like this:

Criteria and eligibility

  • Scope and quality of work
  • Timing and location of project
  • Potential impact
  • Fit with business’ identified cause areas
  • Alignment between employee interest and volunteer jobs

Process/Administrative plan

  • Researching, evaluating and recommending project ideas to the managing partner, who will make final decisions about projects
  • Coordinating evaluation
  • Working with a nonprofit partner to ensure a successful project and enjoyable volunteer experience

Tools and resources (forms and tracking reports)

  • Community Works tracking report in the form of a spreadsheet documenting: organization, number of participating employees, number of hours, date, etc.

Click here to return to part one of our series.

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