- How to create an impact through employee volunteering
- Understand the key considerations for responsible volunteering
- Explore funding for programmes supporting financial stability
How to create an impact through employee volunteering
Employee volunteering programmes provide an opportunity for financial institutions to play an impactful role in empowering survivors of modern slavery, taking a long-term approach to financial well-being.
Volunteering can help financial industry employees to understand the impact of modern slavery from a holistic perspective, motivating further engagement and raising awareness.
Volunteering with support survivor support organisations creates an impact by:
- Supporting the long-term financial empowerment of survivors and contributing to systemic change.
- Raising awareness of the impact of modern slavery and the role of the financial industry in survivor financial inclusion.
- Strengthening partnerships with referring survivor support organisations.
- Providing extra human resources to increase support worker capacity and bandwidth, enabling them to empower more survivors.
Employee volunteering initiatives may include:
- Financial literacy education programmes.
- Mentoring and 1-on-1 financial literacy support.
- Administrative support for survivor support organisations.
- Finance support for survivor support organisations.
- Practical volunteering (e.g., community activities and housing renovations).
- Employee fundraising initiatives.
“It’d be interesting to have a volunteer program from different banks, of people who are more in the personal financial advisory world being assigned as financial advisors to survivors over a long period of time.”
Sara Crowe, Strategic Initiatives Director, Polaris
Key considerations for employee volunteering
By working in partnership with frontline anti-slavery charities, employee volunteering hours can help directly empower survivors. Employees should be encouraged to get involved in fundraising activities that increase awareness as well as promote survivor financial stability.
Employer-supported volunteering encourages employees to volunteer during normal working hours. Opportunities can range from ‘micro-volunteering’ on small and one-off projects to long-term commitments, which can help to build strong partnerships.
CIPD has created a factsheet on employer-support volunteering and an Employer-Supported Volunteering Guide, which can help to effectively embed employer-supported volunteering into an organisation.
The benefits of employer-supported volunteering include:
- Building strong relationships with partnering charities and giving back to the local community.
- Helping to improve your brand and reputation.
- Working on issues that employees feel passionate about.
- Enabling employees to develop key skills in areas such as coaching, leadership and organisational abilities.
- Boosting employee personal development through increased confidence, team-building skills and creativity.
Note: All survivor-facing volunteering initiatives must be developed in a trauma-informed manner by an employee who has completed training on trauma-informed practice. See our “Employee training and protecting vulnerable customers” module for further details.
To maximise the efficiency of a charity while provide effective volunteering support, financial institutions should:
- Identify the skills employees can offer and ask partnering charities if they have any work available or needs to take advantage of those skills.
- Make sure volunteering is worthwhile to the charity – volunteering can involve traditional activities such as a house renovation or a community clean-up. However, some charities have more pressing needs for pro bono support, such as helping with bookkeeping, technology or administrative jobs.
- Understand the scale of the partnering charity to avoid overwhelming the capacity of frontline staff by involving too many employees.
- Get involved in short, one-off interactions with charities when they are needed but also seek to engage in long-term sustainable projects.
Funding for programmes that support survivors
By backing projects which provide long-term support for survivors, financial institutions can help to address the systemic barriers to survivor financial inclusion and wider financial empowerment. This may include safe housing, legal support, counselling and wider long-term support services.
Two existing examples include Lloyds Bank Foundation and Nationwide’s Community Grants Programme.
Lloyds Bank Foundation works in partnership with small charities, and to date, they have been working with 31 small charity partners, supporting people who have been trafficked or exploited. Together, they have helped these charities support survivors in their recovery, including helping survivors to rebuild financial independence and reduce vulnerability to exploitation.
Nationwide Building Society’s Community Grants Programme provides grants of up to £50,000 for local organisations that provide support to help the most vulnerable people into housing, enabling them to live safely and thrive. Although not specifically focused on supporting survivors, the programme exemplifies how funding can be allocated to tackle the barriers which can prevent customers (e.g., survivors and other vulnerable people) from building financial stability.
Recommendations include exploring a dedicated funding stream that will support organisations that support survivors and prevent modern slavery. This should be advertised to all survivor support organisations and will help to build their capacity, strengthen relationships and empower greater numbers of survivors.
Long-term responsible funding
To ensure maximum support for survivor support organisations, it is important to recognise the value of long-term sustainable funding. Creating a multi-year fundraising plan can broaden the understanding of the charity, clarifying the short and long-term investments needed. Responsible funding requires listening to the needs of the charity to ensure help is met where needed.
Funding survivor support organisations or survivor-led initiatives can also help to build wider, systemic change and empower survivors to lead the anti-trafficking movement.
Match-funding incentivises charitable giving and unites funders and donors in tackling social issues. Research undertaken by Natwest Group and the Charities Trust found that match-giving significantly motivates employees and boosts donations.
For further guidance and recommendations on corporate funding, explore the Association of Charitable Foundations website.
Summary: Important guidance
- Leverage employee fundraising initiatives and bank-wide charity funding programmes to further promote survivor financial empowerment.
- Consider dedicated funding for projects which provide holistic, long-term support for survivors, acknowledging their unique needs and the drivers which will advance long-term independence.
- Seek to achieve positive impact beyond a purely financial contribution by engaging with grantees to understand their needs.
- Provide long-term, flexible funding to allow SSOs to allocate resources where they are most needed, making room for innovation, emergence, and impact.
- Encourage employees to go beyond modern slavery training by implementing schemes such as employer-match giving and employee-supported volunteering.