At Realized Worth, we have the privilege of talking to top CSR practitioners at some of the world’s finest organizations on a daily basis. We have a unique window into the day-to-day practice of running a corporate citizenship program – the trials and tribulations, the celebrations, the best practices, the trends. One thing that has come up in every conversation over the last several weeks is – unsurprisingly – Covid-19 and how Corporate Citizenship programs can evolve to our new reality.
As entire workforces are confined to their homes, and uncertainty swirls around us, we are presented with an opportunity to explore an otherwise under-utilized element in the corporate citizenship world: virtual volunteering – but not just any virtual volunteering. Meaningful, impact-driven, virtual volunteering that upskills employee volunteer leaders while achieving strategic outcomes for the company and the community.
Active volunteers are reaching out from their at-home offices asking their companies two things:
- How can I help people affected by the COVID-19 crisis?
- How can I continue to support the non-profits I care about?
On top of that, many first-time volunteers are looking for a chance to lend a hand and feel a sense of purpose and impact in these uncertain times. The time is now to implement new support measures to facilitate online volunteerism and provide employees with an opportunity to feel connected to the outside world in a positive way.
Where do I find virtual volunteering opportunities?
Your employees need to be made aware of accessible, vetted opportunities to support their communities, and how you are going to support them in doing so. One of the biggest challenges you will confront is finding viable opportunities in the confusion of what’s available, let alone aligning those opportunities with your existing CSR mission. If you’re short on time, Realized Worth has a solution to support you, with details at the end of this article. For now, here’s a good place to start from some of our favourites – though you will still need to hand-pick and verify individual opportunities in this list to ensure their validity:
- Points of Light published a PDF with several links that are broken down into useful cause categories.
- MovingWorlds has put together a succinct list of great organizations with specific projects that can be tackled during Covid-19. They have also included practical tips I am sure you will find useful.
- VolunteerMatch has set up a specific portal to search for Covid-19 related virtual volunteer opportunities, searchable by geographical location, on top of their comprehensive database of virtual volunteer opportunities
- Coyote Communications has created an eclectic list of examples of virtual volunteering. You may consider reconfiguring your policies around acceptable forms of recognized volunteering in order to capitalize on some of these opportunities.
- Consider reaching out to your Philanthropy Software Provider, as they may have developed free tools and resources for you to leverage when getting started (like this example from Benevity).
- Listen to this recording of Chris Jarvis featured on Engage for Good where you’ll find information about additional virtual volunteering platforms.
How can I better support virtual volunteers?
Once you have sourced viable opportunities, you need to ensure you facilitate an environment where employees engage in these experiences in a meaningful way, so they achieve the benefits of their efforts. Connecting virtually doesn’t mean you have to lose the human element – in fact, this is critical if you want to sustain long term participation and elevate to a transformative volunteering experience.
Simple injections, like guidance to volunteers and volunteer leaders on how to effectively frame a volunteering experience, can go a long way to help make your program work for your people, your business, and your community. Feel free to reach out to discuss this concept in greater detail.
Build an Integrated Virtual Volunteerism Program in 4-weeks
Realized Worth is responding to the sudden need of our partners to adapt corporate volunteering to a virtual environment due to the COVID-19 crisis. We have designed a 4-week consulting package where our team will partner with yours to create a holistic approach to virtual volunteering that aligns with your existing CSR strategy.
In just 4-weeks, our team will help you:
- Build a virtual volunteering approach that aligns with existing programs and objectives
- Identify best-fit virtual volunteering opportunities that align with your approach
- Determine the logistics and/or technology platform required to deliver virtual volunteering
- Find the volunteer leaders in your organization you need to support your program
- Design the program structure required to facilitate and support transformative experiences
- Create volunteer leader resources to sustain ongoing involvement
- Create a framework for tracking and measuring involvement and impact
In these unprecedented and challenging circumstances, there has never been a greater need to mobilize employees through virtual volunteering to support non-profit organizations in local and global communities. This is an opportunity to not only encourage your existing volunteer group to continue their phenomenal work from their own homes, but also to engage a new population of employees, who are ready to contribute in a unique and meaningful way.
Contact Realized Worth to learn how you can get serious about virtual volunteering today.