In 2020, corporate volunteering and giving witnessed a great leap in its evolution. The pandemic led to a period of corporate and personal introspection, resulting in greater empathy, more understanding, and a positive bias for action. Virtual volunteering was at the forefront of this paradigm shift, allowing for employee engagement while adhering to lockdowns and social distancing norms.
Virtual volunteering started small in 2020 and, by 2021, turned into a way for 52% of companies to support the causes in which they believe. In keeping with this upward trend, 2022 could be the year virtual volunteering gains further prominence.
Before delving into the ‘how,’ we must first understand the critical factors behind virtual volunteering’s growth over 2020 and 2021:
- Virtual volunteering offered organizations and individuals the ability to support the causes they believe in without the additional logistics, planning, and scheduling involved in physical volunteering.
- Because virtual volunteering was a remote activity, it provided safety for volunteers at the height of the pandemic.
- Virtual volunteering gave organizations a way to measure and track engagement metrics more accurately and give more effectively.
- Virtual volunteering allowed organizations to support a range of causes and nonprofits worldwide.
- Organizations saved 33% using virtual volunteering compared to similar physical volunteering activities.
These factors made it easy for organizations to transition from physical models of employee giving to virtual volunteering. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that 91.3% of organizations currently using virtual volunteering said they are likely to continue these activities in the future.
This statistic alone shows just how prominent virtual volunteering still is in 2022. But it’s not the only one. So, let’s examine a few more reasons 2022 will be the year virtual volunteering gathers even more momentum.
1. COVID-19 is evolving, and so are working models.
While levels of infection are dropping and recovery rates are improving, the fact is that it is hard to predict the future of COVID-19.
To cope with this ebb and flow, organizations are adopting hybrid and permanently remote models of working. Virtual volunteering offers a common platform for these organizations to continue employee giving initiatives despite any impending lockdowns.
2. Consumer consciousness is growing.
As confirmed by the Edelman Trust Barometer, social responsibility has become an index of a brand or organization’s goodness that influences buyer behavior. Virtual volunteering offers organizations yet another avenue to augment or improve their social currency with employees that otherwise might engage less with company initiatives.
3. Employee purpose is evolving.
Projections show that millennials will form 75% of the global workforce by 2025. The same study states that 71% of them think business can do much more to address society’s challenges in the areas of most concern, all of which can be supported by virtual volunteering: resource scarcity (56%), climate change (55%), and income inequality (49%).
With this in mind, corporations have the opportunity to leverage virtual volunteering for employee engagement and retention. A global talent trends survey found that the highest-performing employees are 3x more likely to work for a company with a strong sense of purpose.
Younger workers are searching for impact-driven companies that champion the journey towards building a better world and take steps to effect positive change. Virtual volunteering has become a way for organizations to engage employees and attract new talent through the alignment of purpose.
4. The rise of micro-volunteering
Micro-volunteering activities are virtual actions that take only 10-30 minutes. They allow employees to partake in volunteering activities as organizations look to ramp up productivity to make up for the effects of the pandemic.
Micro-volunteering tasks can be performed at someone’s desk during lunch or in transit and do not have intensive material or training requirements. Technology such as the Karma app developed by Goodera, and Zoom, are becoming even more commonplace to facilitate micro-volunteering between virtual meetings.
Virtual Volunteering is here to stay
The pieces that will drive increased adoption of virtual volunteering are already in place. What will tie them together is the constant state of flux our world seems to be in. There are emerging crises, catastrophes, and causes to which we are all beginning to pay greater attention, and the way we work – and engage with our companies – is changing, too.
Luckily, there is also an increased awareness among corporates that it is time to act. Virtual volunteering is helping to bridge the gap between those who need help and those willing to provide it. With the way we work changing as rapidly as it is, the increased adoption of virtual volunteering is inevitable and a necessary step toward a well-rounded corporate volunteering strategy.
If you’re looking to get started with virtual volunteering, a great place to begin is Goodera’s Karma Hub – the world’s largest repository of virtual volunteering opportunities. Goodera has partnerships with 50,000+ non-profit organizations and has conducted volunteering sessions for 300+ companies. If you need help pivoting to a hybrid model of volunteering, check out Realized Worth’s Transformative Volunteering Accelerator.
About Abhishek Humbad
Abhishek is the founder and CEO of Goodera, a CSR, volunteering and sustainability management platform used globally by corporations, foundations, governments, non-profits and employees to fulfill their philanthropic goals. Abhishek has been part of Forbes 30 under 30, MIT Innovators under 35 and is a leader in the evolution of responsible and sustainable business. Humbad holds a B.E. in Engineering from BITS Pilani and received his MBA from Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.