21/11/2012 - 07:17

Corporate workers out in numbers

21/11/2012 - 07:17

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BIRD IN THE HAND: Phil Digney says the time donated by Deloitte employees to Kaarakin is immensely valuable. Photo: Annaliese Frank

ABOUT 260 Deloitte employees swapped the office for the outdoors last Friday as part of the Deloitte Impact corporate volunteering day.

Deloitte director David Hansell said the day offered staff the chance to gets hands-on experience with some of the issues that small not-for-profit groups, charities and community organisations face on a daily basis.

“While we all have our own challenges, we still have good jobs and good futures, so we should be giving back to the community,” Mr Hansell said.

“It’s also a very energising team builder that allows people from different areas of the company to come together.

“We try to optimise the skills we have to assist other organisations in need.”

Mr Hansell said he had been involved with community groups in Sydney and was a part of the establishment of the Deloitte Foundation in Perth.

Kaarakin, a not-for-profit group focused on saving black cockatoos, was one group that received donated labour and expertise.

The organisation devotes its resources to rehabilitating sick and injured cockatoos, as well as preserving their habitat.

Kaarakin general manager Phil Digney said 18 volunteers helped out with maintenance, broadacre weeding, mulching and landscaping.

Seven volunteers with expertise in corporate finance and marketing also helped the Karaakin managers improve their long-term business strategy.

“We looked at the business plan as well as our mission and goals and we identified to the people from Deloitte the problems we were having around funding and some infrastructure problems,” Mr Digney said.

“They workshopped those ideas and came up with ways we could attract more funding and get a better return on our infrastructure.”

Mr Digney said the time donated for the professional services Kaarakin received would have been worth about $3,000.

“We’re very limited in our experience with strategy and planning, so the time donated was immensely valuable,” he said.

Mr Hansell said there a number of mutual benefits that stemmed from having a strong commitment to corporate volunteering.

“Young people are socially and community minded and it’s a great opportunity for them to get out and volunteer,” he said “We notice that young people coming out of university look to these kinds of things in an employer.” This sentiment is reflected in research undertaken by Volunteering Australia.

Over half the respondents to its survey said a commitment to corporate social responsibility “demonstrated a commitment to the community,” and they “would like to work for such a company”.

A quarter of the respondents said they actively searched for employment with companies that had a demonstrated commitment to corporate social responsibility.

Other community groups around Perth that benefited from Impact day included MercyCare, Amana Living, UnitingCare West, Parkerville Children and Youth Care, Guide Dogs WA, Ngala and Rocky Bay.

In 2011, the value of the services donated nationally on Impact day was around $3.25 million, with 3,128 staff donating over 23,460 hours.

In addition, the value of the pro bono work by Deloitte employees was worth about $3.97 million, according to the firm’s annual corporate responsibility report.

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