Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Volunteering needed skills

Clients often ask me what I do when tax season is over! The answer is relax and do some things that I have wanted to do during tax season but was unable to do. However another area of involment is Volunteering. Personally, I volunteer in two groups:

a) the Second Time Arounders Marching band in beautiful St. Petersburg as the Treasurer
b)I am in the process of joing a fellow FSU Seminole, Tim Coyle, in getting more involved in the Polk County Seminole Boosters Club in a variety of functions....Both of these are great avenues for learning how to work within large groups and produce needed results as well as networking to further my own CPA firm.

Benefits of Volunteering-
I. Volunteering has intangible benefits, such as making a difference in a group that needs specialized training but is straped and restricted in the manner that funds may be raised. (UBI comes to mind--money collected by a non profit group can be subject to taxes if the money raising idea is not a fund raising idea that the non profit group has established to raise funds under )
II. Volunteering also has tangible benefits too.
1)It can assist in getting your name in front of many people who would not consider using you skills otherwise—
2) it can force you out of your comfort zone. Skills-based volunteerism is a powerful and cost-effective professional development tool, yet very few companies are leveraging volunteer programs for this purpose, according to a survey. The obvious problem is that a company does not want to pay a portion of a salary for helping another concern. This is a problem that presents a dilema for a company. But if it builds proficiency in a needed skill set and enhances leadership qualities isn't that as good as sending an employee to a conference for the week? Maybe...

The national 2008 Volunteer IMPACT Survey of Fortune 500 human resource managers found that, while training and development is perceived as vital to corporate success, many managers are laboring under shrinking or flat budgets, underscoring the need for cost-effective innovation. One solution could be found in an unlikely place — the company's volunteer program.
According to the American Society of Training and Development, corporate America invests heavily in training and development, spending more than $100 billion a year.
Studies revealed that the slowing economy and threat of a talent shortage are placing increased pressure on talent development programs, often without added financial resources.
Skills-based volunteer activities are perceived as a cost-effective development option; only 2 percent of total respondents believe that incorporating skills-based volunteering into talent development programs would cost more than traditional training and development options.
"Skills-based volunteer programs provide valuable experiential learning opportunities for employees that build business and leadership skills without the expense often associated with traditional corporate training programs," said Evan Hochberg, national director of community involvement, Deloitte Services LP. "As leading companies become adept at leveraging their community investments to drive key business goals, corporate community involvement programs will be positioned to deliver more business value and social impact."
However, the benefits of incorporating skills-based volunteerism into corporate training and development programs remain largely unrealized. The survey found that even in those companies that do offer skills-based volunteer opportunities, they are generally not viewed as a strategic business tool. In fact, among HR professionals who agree that skills-based volunteering is an effective way to further develop leadership skills, only 13 percent offer it to all employees.
"Corporate America has yet to fully tap the benefits of integrating skills-based volunteerism into talent development strategies and programs," said Susan Burnett, national director of talent development, Deloitte Services LP. "With a focus on learning and development, a volunteer role can become a stretch assignment that develops leadership and client service skills that benefit the volunteer organization, the employee and their company. This will be a priority for Deloitte as we ‘refresh' our talent development agenda."