Considering the interdependence between business and social development, companies can be strategic in their efforts to support both their business goals and the communities in which they operate. In doing this, they must identify the social issues that matter both to the company and the community. The better the match, the greater the opportunity to leverage company resources and benefit societyStrassburg, S. 2011. How can companies foster volunteer action for development in the SADC region?. As with human health challenges (e.g. HIV and Aids), youth employability is an area where there is a significant overlap.
“When a well-run business applies its resources, expertise, and management talent to problems that it understands and in which it has a stake, it can have a greater impact on social good than any other institution or philanthropic organization” Porter & Kramer 2006:14
We have already explained why youth volunteerism is a significant opportunity to make young South Africans more employable.
Essentially for-profit support for youth volunteerism must happen in the context of business-NGO partnerships, which might involve any or all of the following:
According to a survey by the National Mentorship Partnership in the US, young adults who had mentors, were more likely to report engaging in productive and beneficial activities than youth without a mentor. These activities translate into higher self-esteem and self-confidence that are necessary traits for youth to engage in teamwork and community work, and to be successful in life.
Internationally and also in South Africa, many companies are supporting ‘employee volunteerism’ and creating opportunities for such action. There is of course a business case for this strategy. Read here why they are doing it.
Mentoring and coaching of youth volunteers placed at non-profit organisations by ‘employee volunteers’ can add value to the volunteership, as well as to the lives of both the mentor and mentee. Companies or businesses can work with non-profit organisations to create a mentorship programme or if you are a small business, you could consider using our simple coaching and mentoring guidelines.
In summary, there is a business case for companies to invest in increasing the employability of young people and to stand behind the work of civil society – supporting youth volunteerism caters to both of these. Businesses can assist youth volunteerism by partnering with NGOs around the following:Before partnering with an NGO on youth volunteerism, ensure that the volunteership opportunity is structured in a way that would ensure that the opportunity prepares them for work. See the ‘For non-profit organisations/community initiatives looking to host volunteers’ section.
|⇧1||Strassburg, S. 2011. How can companies foster volunteer action for development in the SADC region?|
|⇧2||Before partnering with an NGO on youth volunteerism, ensure that the volunteership opportunity is structured in a way that would ensure that the opportunity prepares them for work. See the ‘For non-profit organisations/community initiatives looking to host volunteers’ section.|