Conservative proposals are a welcome step towards promoting volunteering

10 April 2015

Conservative proposals to offer workers three days paid leave a year for volunteering are a welcome step towards getting more businesses to lead the way in promoting volunteering, says the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

At present, fewer than one in 10 workers are given time off to volunteer.  Nearly six out of 10 people believe that offering staff more paid volunteering leave would encourage them to give up more of their time for good causes.

In addition, many staff remain unaware of the opportunities that are available to them to volunteer, which means that many are missing out.  For people with busy lives, the chance to support good causes could be transformational and 56% of employees say that offering information on how to support charities at work would be particularly effective at getting them involved in giving.

This is a particularly important issue for future generations and 61% of young people say that they want to work for a business that supports charities.  Last year, the cross-party Growing Giving Parliamentary Inquiry called for businesses to put in place strategic plans to get more people involved in workplace giving.

Commenting on David Cameron's announcement, John Low, Chief Executive of CAF, said:

"Charities across Britain rely on the dedication and determination of volunteers to make a difference and action designed to get more people involved in volunteering should be applauded."

"Many people want to see their employer give them the chance to support good causes through work and organised workplace giving programmes can help us to develop a culture of volunteering across the UK."

"Businesses that help their staff get involved in volunteering benefit too.  Not only does volunteering help develop team working skills, but evidence also shows that it makes employees feel more engaged and proud at work, which can increase their productivity and loyalty towards an employer."

"We would like companies of all types and sizes to get their staff volunteering, potentially unlocking millions of hours of valuable time to support the vital work of British charities."


Editors notes

1. Research carried out by CAF and ComRes investigated employee volunteering and found that many staff are either unaware of opportunities to volunteer at work or unable to support good causes in this way. The full findings can be accessed here:

2. Research by ComRes and CAF discovered that information on opportunities to support charities at work would be effective in getting them involved in giving:

3. The cross-party Growing Giving Parliamentary Inquiry chaired by former Home Secretary David Blunkett, supported by fellow Parliamentarians Andrew Percy and Baroness Tyler, recommended that:

“Businesses should commit to developing a strategic plan for workplace giving based on successful initiatives and experiences elsewhere. This should build upon existing examples of best practice and include a commitment to allowing employees a range of ways to support good causes whilst in the workplace. The Confederation of British Industry and Federation of Small Businesses should build upon their existing work in this area and stress to their members the benefits of participation in workplace giving.”

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