Bite-Sized Benevolence by Businesses – A New Trend Emerging?
For quite a few years now, there’s been a steady push towards participation in off-site skilled traditional volunteering opportunities within an employee volunteering scheme, the UK’s Give and Gain Day being one such polarizing event.
However, the boundaries of the what, when and where of these opportunities are being pushed by the all pervasive internet, as firms are increasingly being enabled to source online skilled actions via microvolunteering platforms like SkillsForChange. As examples, some of the big name players tapping into the versatility the skilled microvolunteering concept offers, include Microsoft, Deloitte, and Barclays Bank.
But skilled online / offline opportunities do not work for every business. Consider it’s exclusive nature where volunteer roles confined to skilled professionals may not be totally inclusive for Cleaners or Receptionists to participate in. Consider also those global firms whose mobile non office based workforce may not be able to meet together for an offline skilled volunteering event. Consider as well, disabled workers whose mobility issues may prevent them from attending an off-site volunteering activity.
Cue the recent growing interest in unskilled microvolunteering actions where the inclusive, on-demand, on-the-go, and on a person’s own terms attributes are proving to be an intriguing mix for employee volunteering managers.
State Street Bank is one such firm whose employees are based all over the world working from home either part or full time. As part of their Flex Work Employee Network, they encourage participation in the unskilled microvolunteering actions featured on Help From Home’s platform. As Nicola McConville, Assistant Vice President, General Manager states,
“Activity tends to peak when we run a Microvolunteering Raffle or when someone starts a discussion thread on the activity that they have chosen. Everyone who performs a Help from Home activity during a “Raffle” month is automatically entered into our free prize draw; which is usually a 25$ or equivalent amazon voucher or State Street product.”
Food retailer Sainsburys is another firm who chose to enable their employees to participate in unskilled microvolunteering actions. The idea was initially mooted by UK based Volunteer Centre North Kesteven, and as Project Officer Steph Boyfield states,
“We thought it’d be a good idea to host a microvolunteering party for an employer already involved with the project. We had done quite a lot of work with the management staff at Sainsbury’s superstore in Lincoln, brokering team challenges and events, so we discussed the idea with them. Microvolunteering really appealed to them as a way of engaging other staff to get involved and we were invited to host a party in their staffroom.”
Unskilled microvolunteering actions are opening up whole new ways for employees to volunteer. So, in addition to schemes like Give 1% (of your time), staff can also earn valuable CSR kudos points on their commute to and from work, or via dedicated smartphone actions, or even inflight on a plane!
So to round things off, unskilled microvolunteering actions enables staff from the Cleaner to the CEO, be them abled or disabled, to contribute in meaningful ways to an employee volunteering scheme, wherever and whenever they are.
Are you tapping into it’s potential?
First published in April, 2015