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Employer Supported Volunteering

ESV is an initiative developed by an employer to help employees in participating in all types of volunteering that are consistent with the values of the organisation.

What are the benefits of offering volunteering to your employees?

Offering volunteering opportunities to your employees is an amazing way to address the organisations commitment to social responsibility. It empowers your staff with new leadership behaviours, has a positive impact on their social and teamwork skills, and can help you change and improve the culture within your organisation.

It will also:

  • Provide your business with a role in making a local social impact
  • Have a positive impact on your organisation’s staff recruitment and retention
  • Offer great Career Professional Development (CPD)
  • Improve your organisation’s brand in the local community
  • Provide your staff with new skills including social skills, work-readiness skills as well as improve their motivation 
  • Improve teamwork, leadership skills and enhance empathy in your organisation’s workplace
  • Improving communities and the life of individuals

How does ESV work?

ESV combines the employer, the volunteer and the volunteer involving organisation – usually a charity or community group.

Employers often organise team volunteering activities, but they can also give staff the opportunity to take time away from work to volunteer individually within their own community. This might include support for employees to become a charity trustee or board member, to participate in on-going community activities, or to support local events and fundraising appeals

 ESV has benefits for everyone involved:

  • Many employees volunteer in their own time outside work, for others an ESV programme enables them to participate when they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.
  • Volunteering can provide skills development and increased motivation for employees when they return to work, as well as contributing to individual well-being.
  • It’s a great way for employers to meet their corporate social responsibility objectives. Working with charities and building partnerships in the local community enables employers to give time and practical support to help address local needs.
  • The contribution made to volunteer involving organisations can make a real difference for beneficiaries in the short and long-term through both one-off volunteering events and ongoing partnerships.

Staff from the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group who spent their employee volunteering hours assisting with gardening in the grounds of St Elizabeth Hospice.


Whether you are an organisation wanting to set up an employee volunteering programme, or you already have a programme but you want to inspire your staff to get out and get involved in their local community, we can help!

Why not start by looking at all of the amazing roles and organisations which are hosted in the Volunteer Suffolk database to see the variety of what is happening across the county to give you some ideas of what you might like to be involved in. In addition to these roles there are also lots of other ways your staff can be involved in the local places they work and live in.

Some other things to consider are:

  • Are you looking for team volunteering or for staff a to volunteer individually or in smaller groups?
  • Can staff spread their hours so that this becomes a longer term volunteering role? (for example, 3 days is the equivalent to 24 hours- this could be 12 weeks of 2 hours of volunteering)
  • Could a team within your organisations ‘pool’ their days and then spread their skills into a charity? (for example, a sales team of 10 are given 2 days each, in smaller teams of 2/3 over several days they could go and have a big effect on a local clean up, rather than 10 people for 2 days).

Consider what the ‘host’ organisation will gain from your staff volunteering, sometimes receiving large numbers of people for only a short period of time can be hard to manage and resource, as well as train and communicate to so that everyone is ready to start from the same place of understanding. If your staff can be deployed on mass then it may be that one off event support is suitable.

One-off event volunteering

Some volunteering roles need regular commitment but there are many one-off special events, some with opportunities for a workplace team to work together for the day. The website has an events calendar packed with interesting events from community festivals to litter-picks. The events offer an excellent introduction to volunteering from trusted partners, allowing individuals to develop new skills and grow in confidence whilst supporting a worthwhile cause.  With a diverse range of sports, cultural and heritage events, there are opportunities to suit many varied interests.  Perfect for teams or individuals with limited time!

There are many ways in which ESV can be approached and we understand every organisation as well as every individual and opportunity is different. We are happy to help to work out the best way to implement a bespoke ESV service. 


Volunteers are a really important part of an active and vibrant community. They’re the selfless people who make things happen that otherwise might not. They’re the people who put the needs of others before their own. Often, they don’t even realise they’re volunteering, because helping people is just what they do.

If you would like to know more about employee volunteering as part of ESV, first talk to you HR Team to find out what your employers policies are for this. Different employers ‘gift’ different amounts of time, some  give 1 day, other give more and for some this is done in a much more ad hoc way. 

Once you have found out about your organisation’s policy why not start  by looking at all of the amazing roles and organisations which are hosted in the Volunteer Suffolk database to see the variety of what is happening across the county to give you some ideas of what you might like to be involved in.

If you have not found what you are interested in, please get in touch and we will do our best to support you or a team of colleagues into what you are looking for.

Employer Supported Volunteering Week11th-15th March 2024

Community Action Suffolk is celebrating this year’s Work Of Heart – Employer Supported Volunteering campaign.

This is our annual focus on celebrating and supporting ESV endeavours across the county.

It’s our opportunity to tell the stories of how companies have successfully introduced and integrated ESV practices, and to provide genuinely useful and supportive advice, for those employers keen to adopt the approach.

Why do we think this is such a great time to focus on ESV?

Well, with the more complex landscape for recruiting and retaining staff, and with the world now feeling a sense of greater ‘normality’ post-Covid, this couldn’t be a better opportunity to look with more detail at ‘how’ employees want to be served.

Yes, of course staff want to be paid well, and rewarded in such a way as to support their lives and that of their family (particularly in the midst of a cost of living crisis).

But at the same time, a great number of candidates entering the job market, and those in existing employment, are feeling strongly about particular causes or crises in and around their community.

Such a strength of feeling means that when people to look to apply for a job, or to consider their future in a particular company, they’re seeking to know that the culture of that business is such that it embraces the individual’s passions.

ESV gives an employer an opportunity to really evidence that ethos.

It can be led by an organisation in any number of ways, but essentially supports and encourages individuals to be involved in activities or causes which directly affect their community.

It might mean giving individuals time within their working hours (perhaps monthly) to partake in an activity for a particular charity.

It might take the form of a team of employees choosing a cause or project on a regular basis, and getting involved in this for the benefit of a charity or social enterprise.

Community Action Suffolk is just one example of an employer doing this very thing.

We provide our staff with the chance to spend two days volunteering as they wish – fully paid.

They’ll discuss the intended activities as part of their recruitment and appraisal process, and the feedback is always positive.

Not only is it serving that individual with an opportunity to get hands-on for a cause they care about, but it’s helping them channel their skills (and gain new ones), build new friendships, learn about being effective as a team – and it’s clearly helpful for mental health too.

We would love to see many more organisations and businesses adopting an ESV strategy during our campaign this March.

In addition, we welcome individual requests for support and advice at any time, and we’re always happy to put you in touch with other businesses from across Suffolk who have successfully implemented ESV.

To receive the Employee Volunteering Best Practice Toolkit or to get involved with your own employee volunteering activity email: [email protected]

Contact Information

The Volunteering Services Team
Email: [email protected]

Complete the ESV enquiry form:

Partnerships for Purpose is an initiative of Community Action Suffolk. We create opportunities to facilitate partnerships between sectors – businesses, public sector, charitable organisations, social enterprises and community groups – through promoting innovative opportunities that will make a sustainable impact on people and community.