July 4, 2012
The Big Tent: Corporate Volunteering in the Global Age
Download your copy of The Big Tent here - this new publication is based on IAVE’s Global Corporate Volunteering Council research project - “The Big Tent: Corporate Volunteering in the Global Age” includes insights and experiences from 26 NGOs and 48 global companies, including Telefónica, IBM, Samsung, UPS, C&A, Vale, Tata, Standard Chartered Bank, Eli Lilly, Ford, GE, Kraft Foods, Pfizer, Ska, and National Australia Bank.
Written by Kenn Allen, “The Big Tent” is an analysis of the origins of corporate volunteering, its benefits to companies and society, and the ways that companies can develop their own corporate volunteering programs.
Good corporate volunteering programs can help companies increase their brand value and reputation, develop current and future workers, operate more efficiently, reduce occupational hazards, and even make more money, grow in size and open new business opportunities.
Those benefits would convince any business to encourage its workers to volunteer. But what makes a good corporate volunteering program? In “The Big Tent” Kenn Allen identifies some key factors to successful and sustainable programs, including commitment and support from the management, and partnerships with NGOs.
When he is asked about the title of the book, Kenn says corporate volunteering is "like a big circus, with a vast assortment of actions taking place simultaneously, so that wherever the audience looks it always finds something thrilling". It takes a “big tent” to cover the full range of activities that fall under the scope of corporate volunteering.
The concept of a big tent also helps companies understand that they need to find the volunteer program that suits their specific needs. In other words, there’s no best way to do corporate volunteering; rather, it includes a very broad range of activities, philosophies approaches. There are also regional and cultural variations in how volunteering is understood and practiced. Kenn highlights three areas of activity: (1) NGO partnerships, (2) individual and organizational learning through volunteering, and (3) the new skill-based volunteering without borders.
Finally, Kenn examines ways to collect data on volunteering actions, analyses the challenges for corporate volunteering, and suggests future paths of development.
The book is sponsored by Fundación Telefónica.
The Big Tent is available online, at no cost. At the top of the page, you can select either the English or Spanish and find The Big Tent or La Gran Carpa further down in the list of publications. Or you can simply download the English version below.
Kenn would be happy to hear your reactions to the book, so please add a comment below.
(Photo: Marian Juste Picon, Director of Voluntarios Telefónica and Ken Allen, by Fundación Telefónica)