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Are Corporate Volunteer Programs Fluff?


In December, Angela Parker, CEO, and Co-founder of Realized Worth published the article It’s the End of 2021: Why Are Volunteer Participation Rates Dropping? 

I knew skills-based volunteering hadn’t bounced back the way I’d expected in 2021, but the article still shocked me.

Realized Worth is a consulting firm focused on the design and implementation of employee volunteering programs and Angela thoroughly understands the SBV world. I wanted to know more, so it thrilled me when she agreed to discuss this troubling trend on my thought leadership video series.

My first question? What did Angela mean when she referred to some corporate volunteering programs as fluff in her article?

Volunteer participation numbers are down – and it’s not because communications campaigns are faulty or people are tired of Zoom. It’s because corporate volunteering, in many cases, is fluff.

We dug deep into the disillusionment that seems to create disengagement with volunteering and discussed what companies can do.

Angela calls this issue a ‘disorienting dilemma’ that will require a commitment from both the HR department and the CSR professionals to overcome. Employees and corporations must see volunteering as a conduit to lasting impact and change in the lives of all those involved.

We know SBV can be a win-win-win for nonprofits, corporate partners, and volunteers when we implement these three things:

  • Invite employees to bring meaning to their volunteer experience.
  • Create space to challenge assumptions, develop empathy, and change behaviors.
  • Position volunteer events as a step on the way to impact, not the end result.

Angela concluded our conversation by saying that real positive change is happening, but it must speed up.
Listen to this episode to learn why we must work together to create genuine, long-term societal change:

Angela Parker
CEO & Co-founder, Realized Worth

As the CEO and co-founder of Realized WorthAngela’s work focuses on identifying, isolating, and solving barriers faced by CSR practitioners while managing and growing the Realized Worth team. Her ongoing study is in the strategic and practical application of transformative learning theory in corporate settings. She has consulted with over 100 large companies globally, started and sold small businesses, worked within non-profit organizations, and provided workshops and training all over the world. Angela has been published in various books and magazines such as CSR for HR by Elaine Cohen, Cause Marketing for Dummies by Joe Waters, Volunteer Engagement 2.0 by Rob Rosenthal, and others. Angela earned her MBA from IE University in Madrid, Spain and recently completed a 3-year appointment as President of the Board for Renewal in the Wilderness.