Corporations and Volunteering
On September 19th Kenn Allen, a leading international expert on corporate volunteering, spoke at a seminar organized by the HSE Center for Studies of Civil Society and the Non-Profit Sector on ‘Corporate Volunteering: a Global Perspective’.
Kenn Allen is internationally renowned as one of the first researchers into corporate volunteering. He headed the National Center for Voluntary Action for twelve years and was also President of the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE). During his visit Kenn Allen showed Russian audience the recent results of the first complex study into global corporate volunteering.
The Global Corporate Volunteering Research Project was carried out between 2009 and 2011by the Global Corporate Volunteer Council under the initiative of the IAVE. The council is a network which brings together over 30 international companies. The aim of the study was to develop a theoretical understanding of corporate volunteering, as well as to study the existing international practices of corporate volunteering, which can help companies improve the effectiveness of their activities.
During the study, representatives from commercial and non-commercial organizations, the academic community, consultants and experts were surveyed. 48 global companies from the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, Latin and North America took part in the study.
The key results of the study into the situation in corporate volunteering (Global State of Health) can be described as the following. Corporate volunteering is a dynamic global power which is operated by companies willing to make a considerable input into solving serious global and local problems. At the same time, there are no general principles for everyone. The forms and tools of corporate volunteering depend on the cultural traditions.
Corporate volunteering allows companies to improve their image, but the first question asked was “what is the correlation between the advertising expenses and the expenses for corporate volunteering?” According to Kenn Allen, the question on which is more effective, advertising and PR or corporate volunteering, is not the correct one. Corporate volunteering gives a long-term positive effect and improves a company’s reputation.
The experts who participated in the seminar were delighted with the results. According to Irina Mersiyanova, Director of the HSE Center for Studies of Civil Society and Non-Profit Sector, ‘the study needed quantitative data’, and the use of quantitative methods will allow us to better study the state of corporate volunteering in different countries including Russia. She expressed her confidence that this need will be met by the implementation of the Russian stage of the Global Corporate Volunteering Research Project which will be carried by the Center and will cover a broad selection of Russian companies. This project is possible thanks to the established institutional partnership between the HSE and the IAVE and the support of the HSE Programme of Fundamental Research.
Andrey Shcherbakov, HSE News Service
Photos by Ivan Moryakov
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