Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 13 seconds

Across America, volunteerism remains a strong, basic value within our nation's diverse culture. More and more corporations are requiring their employees to give of themselves, and these professionals are eager to do so. In fact, according to the Corporation for National Community Service, about 64.3 million Americans, or 26.8 percent of the adult population gave 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service worth $171 billion in 2011. As voluntarism thrives, along with that growth comes increased complexity in terms of finding ways to organize volunteers and match them with corresponding, relevant volunteer positions.

Managing volunteers and matching skills with community needs have become increasingly important but also present critical challenges for both non- and for-profit employers. Now more than ever, organizations of all shapes and sizes, for-profit and not-for-profit, are seeking talent management expertise and technological advancements to aid in meeting the rising challenge of managing volunteer efforts.

The 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey suggests that employers who "connect the dots" between talent and volunteerism will have a tremendous opportunity to strengthen employee engagement. According to the study, Millennials who frequently participate in workplace volunteer activities are more likely to be very proud of working for their employer/company, feel very loyal toward them and tend to be very satisfied with their career progression.

Since corporate social responsibility and community involvement are increasingly important to companies and their employees, there are emerging ways to incorporate today's technology solutions that allow for skills-based volunteer matching, which would effectively empower volunteers and their employers alike.

Today, technology is being used to track the pertinent skills sets of volunteers while aligning their capabilities and experience to the particular needs of a volunteer opportunity. Current applications also have the capability to ultimately assign volunteers to relevant positions, based on compatibility, timing and desire. In addition, innovative programs such as by the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation are increasing the preparedness and effectiveness of volunteers by providing access to high quality online training and skills development.

Technology-based applications now available in the marketplace also afford users and employers the ability to publish and promote available volunteer opportunities, as well as schedule alerts and notifications for specific events. Other key features such as dashboard and reporting tools also can provide visual summaries for tracking, evaluating and reporting on volunteer participation. All of these capabilities and advances are changing the way in which entities manage their volunteerism efforts.

Perhaps most importantly though is how both sides of the volunteer equation - those who manage volunteers and the volunteers themselves - can benefit from solutions that are quick to deploy and easy to use for every end-user involved in the volunteer management process. The objective is to have complete control of any catalog of specific volunteer activities and participating organizations, as well as developing a comprehensive calendar of volunteer opportunities. For-profit employers need a way to spread the word to potential volunteers, which can be done through ongoing alerts and notifications.

Recent volunteerism participation data shows that people are still highly motivated to help others as evidenced by steady increases in those wanting to give of themselves. In today's tech-laden society, managing this process can be significantly more effective through the deployment of technological-based solutions that offer structure, organization, logic and ease of use. Talent management technology is being embraced more and more and has the capability to deliver robust functionality across the platform, allowing all parties involved - for-profits, non-profits and most importantly, the volunteers who selflessly donate their talent to the community - to be more effective.

The technological advancements of our time have both the ability to positively impact volunteerism in America today as well as the potential to increase the effectiveness and level of volunteering efforts that corporations and non-profits can contribute. Deploying the right software to manage this process will enhance the effectiveness volunteers can make, and we will call witness an even bigger difference in communities served around the world each and every day.

Julie Brandt is the executive director of the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation, which leverages its expertise in workforce development, education and software deployment for community benefit. The Foundation provides the non-profit sector with the human capital management tools and assistance needed to maximize their effectiveness and increase their impact on the communities they serve. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 June 2013
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