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Guest Post: Driving Good Intentions to Greater Impact

by Guest

The following is a guest post by a Cone client. Evan Hochberg directs Deloitte’s national Community Involvement program where he provides strategic direction for philanthropy, volunteerism, pro-bono and workplace giving.

It has been 10 months since the Serve America Act was passed into law. During that time, the tremendous buzz created by President Obama and others on the subject of service has been palpable. However, much of the discussion has been focused on driving numbers – volunteers and volunteer hours. Today, as the corporate giving community celebrates International Corporate Philanthropy Day, I encourage the corporate philanthropy and nonprofit communities to extend the service dialogue beyond transactional goals and metrics. If volunteerism is to be a powerful driver of social impact and business value, we must focus not just on more volunteers, but on more productive volunteering.

It is not enough to simply encourage our employees to volunteer, when volunteerism too often equates to unskilled labor. Nonprofits are sophisticated organizations and they need more from us. When it comes to impacting critical issues through volunteerism, we must remember that this is not an area where more volunteers necessarily equals greater impact. Volunteers are a means to making a positive contribution to society, but it's what these generous people do with their time that is really important. We must design volunteer efforts that can truly make an enduring difference. For example, at Deloitte, we have developed initiatives that harnesses and contributes the best thinking of our people, including our $50 million pro bono program, our Deloitte Center for Leadership and the Community, and many other skills-based volunteering programs. By sharing our personnel’s critical business skills and knowledge, we are able to deliver more valuable outcomes to the nonprofits with whom we work and to the communities that depend upon them.

Deloitte has also been proud to serve as a co-convener of Reimagining Service, a coalition of leaders from the government, nonprofit and corporate sectors who seek to increase the impact of volunteers and their ability to address our country’s most pressing social issues.

Too often, talented people with good intentions are given volunteer tasks that do not leverage their skills and knowledge. A key to our success as a service nation is not just getting people to care, but also helping them figure out how they can make the greatest difference, given their time, their skills and the pressing needs of the community. 

- Evan Hochberg, National Director of Community Involvement, Deloitte Services LP 




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Christine Crawfis

Good points. Thank you for sharing them. I'd like to advance your idea of leveraging the precise skills of corporate volunteers to better advantage for nonprofits and the communities they serve.

By better utilization of the volunteers' knowledge base and critical business skills, nonprofits will not only see a greater impact on their ability to address urgent social issues, but the individual nonprofit organization stands to gain valuable long-term supporters. The degree to which a volunteer feels valued in the volunteer-organization exchange has a direct impact on his or her sense of involvement. And, over time, high levels of involvement directly equate to higher levels of philanthropic support and a greater willingness to recommend the nonprofit to others (Prince & File, The Seven Faces of Philanthropy, 1994, pg. 187).

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