Realized Worth spent a good chunk of 2020 hosting virtual volunteer events and trainings in partnership with various organizations, such as Goodera. Goodera has generously offered to share a selection of key insights from their programs via the guest blog below. Want to learn more about Goodera? You can check them out here!
Virtual volunteering for corporates: 9 Crucial insights from Goodera.
2020 has been a year of realization. We realized how quickly tables can turn and how even the most resilient structures can come undone overnight. We struggled, succumbed at times, and persevered – only to emerge stronger, armed with a renewed set of skills, and more resilient than ever before. Albeit through the force of circumstances, we found new ways to live, work, and connect with one another.
As organizations began to shift their workspaces to their homes, the importance of team wellness and social responsibility grew substantially. This shift amplified the urgency to carefully plan and implement CSR programs, employee engagement activities, and wellness initiatives.
As the world entered lockdown, employees continued to work long hours, isolated from their peers and unable to support causes in the way they are used to. In the doing good space, virtual volunteering offered a path forward for corporates by championing acts of kindness, enabling employees to support noble causes remotely. What started as experimental CSR and engagement programs eventually turned into full-blown employee volunteering programs. Non-profits stepped up their game to connect the sudden surge of willing volunteers with beneficiaries who desperately needed their help.
From the fruitful experiences of facilitating volunteering for corporates and non-profits, I have gleaned 9 crucial insights about corporate volunteering, that I am eager to share with you.
Here’s a quick look:
- Virtual volunteering is a great team-building exercise.
- Virtual volunteering creates a wide-reaching impact.
- Virtual volunteering nurtures employee wellbeing through engagement.
- Organizations must know how well their CSR programs are performing.
- It is best to find a cause that is aligned with your company vision.
- Virtual volunteering help cultivate empathy and socio-cultural literacy.
- Virtual volunteering can help with employee retention.
- Virtual volunteering helps improve your reputation within the communities you volunteer in.
- Virtual volunteering triumphs over pandemics and other disruptions.
Now, let us take a deep dive into these crucial learnings and see what they mean for your organization:
1. Virtual volunteering is a great team-building exercise
According to a recent survey, 52% of the respondents from a global list of companies embraced virtual volunteering in their business, out of which 60% did so to boost employee engagement. This is not surprising, seeing how well virtual volunteering connects employees remotely and encourages team building. Successful virtual volunteering programs can witness increased engagement levels, especially with team-based activities.
2. Virtual volunteering creates a wide-reaching impact
Most corporate volunteers have reiterated the beauty of being able to contribute to causes they care about, in any part of the world – thanks to virtual volunteering. Sitting in the comfort of your home in NYC, for example, your employee can contribute to causes in any nation of your choice. Digital has unlocked a world of opportunities. All you need is the right non-profit partner and a good internet connection to access them.
3. Virtual volunteering nurtures employee wellbeing through engagement
How many times have you had to reimagine employee engagement during the lockdown phase? With little to no face-to-face interaction between employees, it has been hard for organizations to keep the spirit of camaraderie going. But they were soon to realize the immense benefits of virtual volunteering in this regard, as employees started communicating better and contributing to causes that make a real impact. It turned out that a sense of purpose was the exact missing piece in the engagement puzzle. And virtual volunteering delivered.
4. Organizations must know how well their CSR programs are performing
This might be the most crucial insight into virtual volunteering programs. Even while realizing the importance of virtual volunteering, most organizations lack the resources to measure their impact and success. With insights on key indicators like volunteer hours, engagement, and value delivered, you can chart out your reports and victories better. This makes the process transparent and visible to your non-profit partners, employees, and other stakeholders.
5. It is best to find a cause that is aligned with your company vision
While choosing philanthropy and volunteering opportunities, it is always wise to ensure that the chosen causes align with your company vision. I have particularly seen how well an extensive range of causes have helped companies easily discover areas that match their company vision and goals better. This freedom of choice can help improve your industrial standing and define your brand.
6. Virtual volunteering help cultivate empathy and socio-cultural literacy
How brilliant does volunteering across geographies sound? It feels amazing, according to volunteers whom I have closely interacted with. Virtual volunteering can open doors to opportunities in several different countries, helping employees work across borders. On a higher level, this enables your employees to develop a deeper understanding of cultures and learn from different knowledge systems.
7. Virtual volunteering can help with employee retention
Virtual volunteering helps employees by giving them a channel to focus on their philanthropic mission. As you visibly improve the work environment, your employees have a natural incentive to keep working with your organization. This is especially important since millennials are more driven towards purpose-driven organizations that enable them to contribute to causes that span the society and environment.
8. Increased reputation in the communities you volunteer in
Most organizations that have actively taken up virtual volunteering have opted for causes that impact their immediate community, positively. This provides an edge especially for companies that do business in these communities. Inspired by the philanthropic quotient of your business, customers will be more eager to support and stay loyal to your brand.
9. Virtual volunteering triumphs over pandemics and other disruptions
It is nearly impossible to predict pandemics. COVID-19 showed us that. Most of our responses were reactive, taking us time to reimagine life and work. In this aspect, virtual volunteering stands tall as a solution that can transcend disruptions as huge as the recent one. It showed us that there is always a way to do things – you just need to think about it differently. Thanks to virtual volunteering, nothing can limit you and your organization from doing good.
Volunteering is here to stay
Now, let us address the biggest question that companies have when it comes to virtual volunteering: What will happen when the world returns to the new normal? When we have the option to volunteer in-person once again and enjoy the emotions that face-to-face connection brings, will virtual volunteering still be needed?
Without a doubt, yes. The future of volunteering is a hybrid of traditional and virtual volunteering. Bringing the right balance between the two is key to creating programs that are both engaging and enriching.
What do you think of virtual volunteering?
If you have run pilot virtual volunteering programs as an organization, I am sure we share many if not all of these crucial insights.
As the wisest of all say- doing good is important but doing good together is vital. If you have not yet tried virtual volunteering, there is no better time than now for you to start!
Begin your virtual volunteering journey and do good like never before.
A very happy New Year and the best of luck!
Abhishek is the Founder and CEO of Goodera, an employee volunteering, CSR, and ESG management company that enables corporations, foundations, governments, non-profits, and employees across 90+ countries. Featured in the Forbes 30 under 30 list and the MIT Innovators under 35 list, Abhishek is a leading voice in the evolution of responsible and sustainable businesses. Abhishek holds a BS in Engineering from BITS Pilani and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
Considered the Airbnb of Volunteering, Goodera empowers companies to provide engaging and impactful virtual volunteering experiences to their employees globally. In the process of scaling to accommodate demand during the Covid-19 pandemic, Goodera transformed into the world’s largest virtual volunteering platform.
In total, Goodera enables 200+ companies (including 40 in Fortune 500) to channelize 1mn+ employee volunteers and 500mn+ CSR capital to 40,000+ non-profits. Among the first few VC funded companies in the “doing good” space, Goodera’s investors include Omidyar Network, Nexus Venture Partners, Elevation Capital, Teneo Ventures, and Ursula Burns.