Corporate Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity

Companies with a corporate Social Responsibility Strategy (CSR) are increasingly realising the value of employee volunteering.   Many businesses including blue chip corporations are using the skills of their workforce to meet their csr objectives whilst also providing tangible benefits to charities.  Purple Flame Media’s latest film was produced for the international housing charity Habitat for Humanity and shows just how charities and businesses can positively work together.

Habitat for Humanity's worldwide vision is aiming to eliminate poverty housing and provide people with a safe and decent place to live, which they believe is catalytic in breaking the cycle of poverty.  London is one of the richest and most dynamic cities in the world but it also suffers from poverty and a genuine housing shortage. Habitat for Humanity and corporate volunteers are reclaiming empty homes that have been a blight in the community and transforming them into homes.

The London-based programme of Habitat for Humanity has a unique partnership model to build and refurbish properties using volunteers from the local community and corporate partners with opportunities for construction trainees to be involved on a live building site. Gareth Hepworth, Chief Executive Officer said, “The refurbishment of empty property allows all concerned to achieve a positive outcome.  Families get the housing they desperately need, an eyesore in the community is bought back to life and society uses its scarce housing resources to the full.”

Habitat for Humanity has a good working relationship with local councils and is working in partnership with a number of corporate organisations for volunteer support.  Each company provides teams of volunteers who gain on-site experience and gain a chance to give back to the community.  These projects rely heavily on volunteers all of whom are closely supervised by Habitat for Humanity's skilled construction staff and qualified contractors. Many of the benefits of community volunteering reflect its unique capacity to build strong and genuine relationships with local communities and attract and maintain satisfied and motivated employees.  Corporate organisations are increasingly aware that allowing staff time off from work to volunteer for local charities can increase their commitment and motivation, improve team-working and leadership skills, enhance staff recruitment and retention and build brand loyalty. 

Volunteer projects provide employees with a welcome break from their desks, while having fun collaborating with colleagues in a unique setting and making a meaningful contribution to society.  Corporate volunteering also helps to break down social barriers in communities, which in turn enables employees and local people to exchange ideas and develop a better understanding of the social issues that exist today.

This film was produced to showcase HfH's alongside the council in reclaiming empty homes but also highlighting the satisfaction that corporate volunteers have of seeing the visible benefits of their efforts on site and how working together on the site is a unique and valuable teamwork exercise.  There are many team building initiatives available to companies but corporate volunteering offers a more satisfying, cost effective and worthwhile option.  Rather than spending large amounts of money on a conventional team building day, connecting with a local community-based organisation can provide both employers and teams with a great sense of achievement whilst also delivering to the company’s corporate social responsibility policy objectives and enhancing their corporate image.

At Purple Flame Media we have an extensive background in creating films about humanitarian work which gives us a unique perspective into corporate CSR activities.  We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Habitat for Humanity, they’re an exceptional community volunteering partner with an impressive list of corporate partners and we look forward to producing more films for them in the future. You can see more about the project and view the film on Habitat for Humanity Southwark's website here.

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