Employer Supported Volunteering (ESV)

ESV is also known as corporate volunteering, employee volunteering or volunteering leave.

“An initiative developed by the employer to assist employees in participating in all forms of volunteering that are consistent with the values of the organisation, this may be in form of a partnership between the employer and one or several VIO’s.”

How does ESV work?

ESV brings together the employer, the volunteer and the volunteer involving organisation – usually a charity or community group – to deliver activities that have an impact for all involved

Employers might organise team volunteering activities, or give staff time away from work to volunteer individually within their own community. This could include support for employees to become a volunteer board member, to participate in ongoing community activities, or to take part in one-off local events and fundraising

Charities and employers can also develop ongoing partnerships for a longer-term approach to ESV.

VS Model Of ESV V 1

ESV has real benefits for everyone involved:

  • Although many employees already volunteer in their own time outside work, for others an ESV programme enables them to participate for the first time or creates an opportunity that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
  • Volunteering can provide skills development and increased motivation for employees when they return to work, as well as contributing to individual well-being.
  • It’s a great way for employers to meet their corporate social responsibility objectives. Working with charities and building partnerships in the local community enables employers to give time and practical support to help address local needs.
  • The contribution made to volunteer involving organisations can make a real difference for beneficiaries in the short and long-term through both one-off volunteering events and ongoing partnerships.

Offering ESV opportunities

Good practice in ESV delivery is shared between the employer and the volunteer involving organisation. It’s therefore important to agree responsibilities when setting up new ESV opportunities. For example, who will cover volunteer expenses?

Volunteer Scotland recognises that there are both benefits and challenges in delivering employer supported volunteering. We can provide support and guidance for employers, employee volunteers and volunteer involving organisations to make sure ESV is effective and meets the objectives of everyone involved.

The ESV workbook

ESV Workbook CoverOur ESV workbook supports volunteer involving organisations to work together with employers to set up effective ESV opportunities. This workbook was developed by the Employee Volunteering European Network (EVEN) and has been tailored for use in Scotland by Volunteer Scotland.

Volunteer Scotland is a founding member of EVEN. The network was established by the European Volunteer Centre (CEV) to “increase the number of employers and volunteer involving organisations with the capacity and willingness to implement good quality employee volunteering and give greater visibility to these initiatives”.


Download your copy of the ESV workbook via the form to the right or contact us for further information and support.