Greg Baldwin, the President of VolunteerMatch, wrote a LinkedIn post about his vision for corporate social impact in the digital age. It was a smart exposition, highlighting what he considers the start of corporate volunteering — a 2002 Harvard Business Review article listing reasons why companies should invest in philanthropy — and its ascension from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have.
The increasing interest in these events, however, has led to a few drawbacks.
As Baldwin writes, “The problem is that successful corporate volunteer experiences must effectively align with the interests of the business, the employees, and the community — and that’s hard to do.”
That’s because most events cater to one or two of the stakeholders, but not all of them.
Companies want volunteer strategies that fit their overall messaging. It makes sense for a food company (like Kraft Heinz) to fight hunger or work for sustainable growing practices for the crops they need to make their products. That activation can weave into their overall brand story — and be a much easier sell for public relations teams.
Employees want to have fun and make a lasting impact in their community throughout their “Day of Service”. If their skills match the non-profit’s needs and they have a positive experience, one project could be the beginning of a lifelong relationship. That won’t happen if they’re bored because there are only 15 children to read to and 40 volunteers.
Similarly, non-profits want volunteers who will contribute in a meaningful way and project leaders who are aware of the organizations’ needs and know their limitations. If the goal is to refurbish a school, there’s a lot of debris left behind from the touch-up process. A good project leader who gets invited back builds in time to handle waste removal.
Baldwin suggests that technology is the solution.
The Give2Get team disagrees. For more than 20 years, our organization has been designing and facilitating corporate volunteer projects across the country. That’s because we’re committed to ensuring that the company, volunteers, and non-profits have a positive experience.
We work with corporate leaders to determine which social causes are most important and relevant. Then, we reach out to our non-profit partners to determine who fits their needs. Once we’ve chosen an organization, we determine how we can best assist them in the time we have.
A lot is logistical. We can’t refurbish a school when students are attending classes or we may have limited time. We can’t plant an orchard in an hour, but we can ready starter kits for a local community garden, build nesting boxes for birds, or make seedbombs.
Give2Get handles all types of projects, assisting executives turn company parties into service days and inserting social impact activities into conferences. We’ve also seen what happens when companies decide that they want to turn single events at one office into a larger, national campaigns with satellite offices across the country contributing. Most importantly, we can work anywhere in the world.
Now that is a CSR activation that anyone can get behind!