Another indicator is whether the consultant (or their firm) has appropriate experience is by whether or not they provide training, seminars and education specific to volunteering and employee engagement in volunteer activities. This can take many forms of course, but typically the more a consultant is asked to speak on the topic of volunteering, the more depth of experience they are offering their audiences.
A competent consultant will be able to bring together all of that knowledge, experience and skill to provide a client with the required help. Expecting a consultant to be competent feels like a no-brainer, but consultants will have varying degrees of competency based on the type of work required.
For example, when starting a new employee volunteer program, many companies are merely looking to plan and execute a successful half-day employee volunteering event. If that’s what you need help with, you actually have quite a few options, such as:
- The Hands On Network – USA
- Canadian Business for Social Responsibility
- Volunteer Match – large network of nonprofits in the USA
- Volunteering Australia – online guides
- Business in the Community – ‘turn-key’ programs in the UK
- Community Business – practical help and training in Hong Kong
- Hungarian InterChurch Aid
- Volunteer Canada
If you want a consulting organization with competencies specific to skills-based volunteering you can check out these organizations:
Another indicator of competence is in how a consultant responds to your hiring inquiry. If they are well-informed about the field, they will understand that not all companies want the same thing when it comes to employee volunteering. They will ask you about your company, your CSR history, and your long-term goals. Essentially, a competent consultant will assess you as much as you’re assessing them. You may or may not be a good fit as a client and they will not want to take on someone that’s not right for them.
We use the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship matrix when figuring out whether or not a client is a good fit. You can watch this video for our description of the 5 Stages of Corporate Citizenship. Basically, if the company is Stage 3 or higher, it might be a great fit. Otherwise, we recommend looking for a consultant with competencies specific to planning corporate volunteering events that will provide a strong foundation while yielding good PR elements.
If you are looking for some help designing and implementing a quality employee volunteer program, here is a short list of consultants that we can vouch for as more than competent:
USA: Bea Boccalandro is a Boston College Center instructor and is president of VeraWorks, a global consulting firm that helps companies with their community involvement. She has helped Aetna, Bank of America, Levi Strauss & Company, The Walt Disney Company and others develop and enhance their community involvement through research, strategy design, program development and evaluation.
Canada: Peggie Pelosi, Founder and CEO of Orenda. Peggie has spent her career inspiring international business leaders through her speaking, coaching and writing—all based on 20 years of personal sales success. Her greatest inspiration, however, has come from corporate philanthropy—a means for companies to move forward by giving back.
Brazil: Mónica Galiano, Senior Researcher at Global Corporate Volunteer Council (GCVC) and the President of Iniciativa Brazil. Monica recently helped produced the report “Global Companies Volunteering Globally” by the GCVC of the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE).
USA: The good folks at the Entrepreneurs Foundation. EF is able to provide help to companies that may be lacking resources to build employee volunteer programs. They offer comprehensive approach for building corporate philanthropy and community involvement programs.
Drop us a line
Our own work at Realized Worth is focused on designing and implementing ongoing employee volunteer programs. We work with clients toward a sustainable approach that uses the leadership and influence of the employees instead of relying on staff alone. If you’re interested, you can read more here or give us a call. We’re happy to discuss your consulting needs and help direct you to the help that’s appropriate for you.