Tens of thousands of employees of Deloitte & Touche USA LLP set aside their regular work and made their communities their client on Friday, June 8, for the organization's 8th annual IMPACT Day, a one-day example of its year-round commitment to volunteer service. Deloitte's nearly 40,000 employees are encouraged to engage in a variety of projects, many of which involve the contribution of their business knowledge and experience to help nonprofits deal with strategic, operational and financial business challenges.
"Whether you're leading a multi-billion dollar enterprise or a grassroots nonprofit organization, the management challenges are similar. How do you operate with greater efficiency? How do you stretch a finite budget? How do you motivate and develop people?" said Barry Salzberg, chief executive officer of Deloitte & Touche USA. "Deloitte professionals help our clients deal with these challenges every day. So we can have the greatest impact in the community when we draw upon our experiences and insights to help nonprofits in the same ways we advise our clients."
IMPACT in action
On IMPACT Day, Deloitte employees participated in more than 500 projects in more than 70 different communities. Some of these were one-day projects, while many others are kick-offs or continuations of significantly longer-term endeavors.
In Chicago, a team of human capital consultants from Deloitte Consulting LLP have created a leadership and management workshop for public school principals to support the city's ambitious REN2010 education-reform initiative. On Friday, Salzberg and other senior leaders were on-hand to help deliver the training, which is part of a new multi-year partnership between Deloitte and Chicago Public Schools.
In Detroit, Deloitte volunteers kicked-off an eight-week pro bono project to build a customer relationship management database for Gleaners Community Food Bank. The project, an extension of a three-year relationship between Deloitte and Gleaners, will help the nonprofit improve communications with its network of 14,000 volunteers in time for its 30th anniversary celebration later this year.
In collaboration with Community Partners, a provider of incubator services for start-up nonprofits, Los Angeles volunteers from Deloitte led a series of workshops to help nonprofit executives operate efficient, cost-effective organizations. Topics during the day included marketing and communications, human resources management, business development, strategic planning and assessment, and budgeting and financial management.
Deloitte volunteers in Washington, D.C. commenced work on a two-year project with the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington to develop and test a regional strategic plan that defines the nonprofit sector's role in disaster response and recovery in the nation's capital. On IMPACT Day, leaders from more than 40 nonprofits convened to develop business continuity plans for their organizations.
In San Jose, Calif., Deloitte volunteers spent IMPACT Day at InnVision, the Silicon Valley's largest provider of housing and services to homeless and at-risk families and individuals. They provided job-hunting, resume-writing and financial literacy workshops to help InnVision's clients become self-sufficient.
A social and business need for skills-based volunteerism
Deloitte's National Director of Community Involvement, Evan Hochberg, points to research the organization conducted last year that shows a need among nonprofits for these types of skills-based contributions from corporate volunteers. He noted that more than three-quarters of nonprofit leaders think their organization's business practices could improve significantly if volunteers were to donate their professional skills. Yet, only 12 percent of nonprofits say they actually work with volunteers in this capacity.
"The business community has an opportunity to leverage its support by contributing its most valuable asset – its intellectual capital and business know-how," Hochberg said. "There's a clear need from the nonprofit community for skills-based volunteerism and there is also business value to the companies that provide these resources."
Hochberg said the business value of skills-based volunteerism can come in many forms, including employee recruiting, workplace morale, professional development, and the opportunity to showcase knowledge and experience.
"People enjoy working for and with companies whose mission, vision and values align with their own," he said. "Our 2007 Volunteer IMPACT Survey found that's especially true with younger, Gen Y employees. Companies that are deeply and authentically engaged in their communities have a short-hand way to communicate their values, which can make them more attractive employers, business partners and members of the community."
Deloitte's 2007 Volunteer IMPACT study found that 97 percent of Gen Y volunteers believe companies should provide opportunities for their employees to volunteer their work-related skills or talents to non-profits. More than three out of five of those surveyed (62 percent) said they would prefer to work for companies that offer them these skills-based opportunities.