Employers urged to do more to encourage staff to volunteer during national disasters

05 Dec 2023 News

By Elroi/Adobe

There is appetite among employees for the firms they work for to enable them to use their time and skills during national crises, according to a new survey.

Research by the National Emergencies Trust and Business in the Community (BITC) shows that 76% of employees want their companies to “play an active role” during crises in the UK such as floods, terror attacks and pandemics.

Published today, the research finds that nearly a third of employees would like to be supported so that they can volunteer their time while just over a quarter would like their employer to support them so that they can raise funds for those affected. 

The survey was conducted by Opinium Research between 19 and 22 September 2023 and received responses from 4,000 UK adults, of which 2,420 were working. 

Meanwhile, National Emergencies Trust launched its Appeal Partners Programme, which invites networked organisations and UK companies to raise funds and awareness of its appeals for those affected by national disasters. 

Companies should ‘play an active role’ in times of national crises

Some 29% of respondents said they want their company to enable them to volunteer their time during national disasters while 26% said they would like their company to support their own fundraising efforts. 

People working in the charity sector are keener to volunteer their time (46%) than those working in emergency services such as police, fire brigade and ambulance (41%) and those working in government (40%). 

Just over three in 10 respondents would like their employer “to provide wellbeing support to any colleagues who may be affected” in the aftermath of national crises. 

Similarly, 32% said their employer should step up for other people affected by donating items and raising funds or making a donation (31%).

Almost four in 10 said that companies playing an active role during national crises is a way for them to “show they care about the communities they serve”, and 30% felt “it was a way for companies to strengthen their culture”.

‘Clear societal benefit’

Mhairi Sharp, chief executive of National Emergencies Trust, said: “This research reinforces the incredible appetite to help, that we saw during the pandemic when our Coronavirus Appeal benefitted from the expertise of hundreds of volunteers, while company fundraising contributed more than 40 per cent of the £100m raised.”
“We’ve developed the Appeal Partners Programme to build on this appetite. It invites companies and networks across the UK to stand alongside our incredible corporate patrons during future national emergencies. By pooling our collective resources, channels and expertise at speed, we can make a meaningful difference to people’s lives when it really matters.”
Mary Macleod, chief executive of BITC, added: “Whether it’s another pandemic or a nationwide cyber-attack, many of the risks the UK faces would have nationwide implications, meaning a whole-society response will be vital. 

“Businesses have the expertise and networks to be central to this, so it’s essential to continue to create clear pathways for them to play their part. Many people want to volunteer and help when national disasters occur but don’t know how.

“The UK has nearly 33 million employees, meaning there is a clear societal benefit if employers encourage their teams to help others during a national disaster. National Emergencies Trust’s new programme will enable more employers to do this, and that’s why Business in the Community is proud to be a founding partner.”

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