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A World of Volunteering by Global Corporations

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It’s not very likely that the barrista serving your morning latte, the receptionist checking you into your vacation hotel, or the bank manager deciding whether to approve your home renovation loan are thinking about volunteering as they go about their daily work. But their corporate employers back at headquarters might be doing just that – especially if they are one of the major global conglomerates whose products or services are prominent in shopping malls and main streets all around the world. Many of these global mega-companies coordinate volunteering by their staff as one practical way to help the communities where they do business.

Corporate employee volunteering is, of course, nothing new to organisations involving volunteers. But in this Along the Web, we penetrate the glossy Web sites of various global corporations to see what they reveal about their volunteer or service programmes. Even if the information is often hidden away and sometimes not very easy to access through page links, such Web pages can be a useful first source of information to organisations considering recruiting new volunteers from major employers worldwide. As we explore, we see how some corporations measure their programme’s social and environmental impacts; how others link volunteering to their Corporate Social Responsibility or Global Impact policies and to business goals; and how some connect their financial donations, ‘in kind’ giving, and volunteering activities. We also consider whether improving clarity and transparency would make some corporations’ Web sites more useful to recruiters seeking workplace volunteers.