Realized Worth is proud of our partner, the RW Institute, and their recent launch of the 2021 Corporate Volunteering, Giving and Grants Review. What goes into gathering the extensive data and insights in this report? We’re glad you asked! With this 3-part series, we’re pleased to offer an inside look at the conversations that took place behind the scenes with industry leaders. Want to hear what software executives and CSR managers have to say about workplace giving and volunteering? Dive in and get the inside scoop. We hope this series will provide an additional layer of rich insight into the world of technology and for those reading and using the 2021 Corporate Volunteering, Giving and Grants Review. Enjoy!
This is part 3 of a 3-part series.
10 years from now, how do you hope technology supports corporate citizenship? How do the events of 2020 (i.e., COVID-19, Black Lives Matter) play into that vision?
Ten years from now, technology’s role should be to enable seamless ways for employees and customers to join in with the initiatives and causes that a brand cares about. As brands become more clear and articulate around what they’re “for,” customers will not only align purchases accordingly, their dollars will also follow. For this to happen, technology should remove all barriers to participation and allow people to engage as simply as possible, and even make it fun.
Is virtual volunteering here to stay? How do you think the technology marketplace needs to evolve in order to support this trend?
Virtual volunteering is here to stay. Major events like the pandemic only speed up what was naturally going to occur. The technology marketplace has to offer the seamless opportunities we just discussed and it has to do it fast. There is currently more demand than meaningful opportunities. The key here is that we cannot only try to mimic real-world volunteer experiences digitally. There needs to be new, creative approaches to actually engage both parties and make the experience meaningful. The exciting part is that we have the opportunity to fix some of the flaws of the real-world volunteer experience, while not replacing it.
What do you feel are the key features in a platform that people are asking for? What’s missing from today’s technology marketplace?
The key feature isn’t actually a feature, it’s making it easy. This will be the differentiator in the space. Too often we’re worried about collecting data or information in hopes of achieving “our goals,” and participation suffers. This makes the platform less impactful.
What stops companies from investing in workplace volunteering and giving technology?
Lack of ability to see its impact. The impact of workplace volunteering and giving extends into every aspect of the company and ultimately impacts the bottom line. Companies that do this well have better culture, their product is more attractive, and their customers are recommending the brand to others more often. They feel part of the mission.
If you had to put yourself in the shoes of your customers—the people in Corporate Responsibility making the choice to bring on a technology vendor—what do you think are their biggest priorities when looking at a solution provider?
I think the biggest priorities are increasing participation, ability to report on impact, and actually improving culture. A subliminal pressure, which becomes a subliminal priority, is to not “stop doing” legacy initiatives a few people like. However, to actually move the needle on these true priorities, you have to take risks in the short term. You may have to use technology that doesn’t communicate with your current reporting. But with a vision of where things are going, you’ll actually be setting up for greater success.
What didn’t we talk about that you wished we talked about?
The people in these roles at companies deeply care about the work they’re doing. They deeply care about mobilizing people and dollars to causes that will impact the world. Many of the platforms I see still feel too much like a platform. They don’t feel human, and they don’t seem to empower the employee or consumer. There’s a huge opportunity to empower people, and the platforms that do, ultimately have the greatest opportunity for impact.
More about Purposity
Purposity comes from the core belief that humanity finds purpose through generosity. Everywhere around us, we see people in need. We also see people who want to help others, but don’t know how. Purposity connects the dots through the power of technology, connecting people to individual needs in their community, right from their phone. Purposity is a 501(c)3 nonprofit building the easiest way to help others.
Blake Canterbury is a social entrepreneur dedicated to good and the Founder of Purposity. He currently sits on Compassion International’s Board of Directors. Blake founded his first company based on social media in 2009: beremedy. It was named one of the “3 reasons we’re still tweeting” by CNN. It was also one of the leading organizations in bringing aid to Haiti after the major earthquake. Over the past few years, Blake has worked for agencies and major brands launching national tv campaigns and mobile apps. His work has been featured in media outlets and publications internationally. Connect with Blake on LinkedIn.