Amanda Bowman: 10 Steps to Success in International Corporate Volunteering

By Amanda Bowman, IBLF

10 Steps to Success in International Corporate Volunteering

By Amanda Bowman, IBLF

In Part 1 of this blog, I looked at how 2011 had been a good year for International Corporate Volunteering (ICV). We define ICV as being one distinct form of employee community engagement – placing employees in foreign country assignments and contributing their skills to support the improvement of communities, social organisations or solutions to specific challenges.

Companies report that ICV programmes provide a high impact intervention. However, it is clear that these programmes also demand a significant level of support in project scoping, management, partnership development and evaluation. And so for many companies, ICV remains an important but small part of an overall community engagement or corporate volunteering approach.

Despite the challenges, more and more companies want their share of the benefits of this employee community engagement and are setting up ICV programmes.

IBLF’s 10 Steps to ICV Success come from working with and learning from companies and their community partners. They are worth considering if you are thinking about setting up your own ICV programme in 2012. They will help to ensure that anything you create, or build upon, has more chance of effectiveness and impact:

  1. Set tangible, clear and SMART objectives for your ICV programme
  2. Start small – find your internal champion and pilot before rolling out more widely
  3. Allocate appropriate resources to project management
  4. Work with NGOs or social partners that you know well and trust
  5. Develop processes and implementation plans that align with your company culture
  6. Scope and plan assignments with as much detail as possible to ensure that everyone involved knows what is expected of them
  7. Seeing is believing – talk to people who have already established ICV programmes to learn from their experience and take senior colleagues to visit your programme assignments to inspire them and create ambassadors
  8. Communicate, communicate, communicate – internally and externally
  9. Plan from the beginning for how to measure and evaluate impact on all parties involved
  10. Consider scale at the outset – is this something for a selected few employees or something you want to scale across the organisation?

Interested in learning more about ICV? Have a look at the report Global Companies Volunteering Globally or CDC Development Solutions’ ICV Benchmarking Study – both published during 2011, the International Year of Volunteering +10

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