Business in the Community Ireland are the experts on sustainability in Ireland. For the past 17 years, we have advised companies of all sizes on various sustainability issues. One of our key specialist areas is helping companies develop strategic employee volunteering programmes.
From our experience, we know employees, especially millennials want to work with values-driven companies. They want to work for companies with a solid reputation who care about local communities and causes. By offering engaging and unique employee volunteering opportunities, companies can often differentiate themselves from their competitors when it comes to the war on talent.
In Ireland, we are witnessing the emerging trend of Professional Skills-Based Volunteering. Simply put, this means that someone can use their professional skills to help local communities.
A great example of this is the work we did with Google on developing an exciting volunteering programme whereby we matched the skills of Google employees with the needs of NGOs in the local area. The programme was called Google Local Leadership and has been running since 2015.
We worked with Google to identify what they wanted to achieve from their volunteering programme. For the Local Leadership Programme, the key was to focus on impacting local NGOs in the vicinity of their offices in Dublin whilst also offering development opportunities for their employees.
This step was key to exploring what skills could be of relevance to local charities and community groups. From experience, we know many smaller NGOs struggle with resources to develop their online presence and reach their target audiences. Google employees offered a perfect set of skills which could help these groups make their websites work harder for them. Note: At this step, it’s always important to bear in mind the limited internal resources many local groups have.
We ran a community outreach project to identify NGOs in the area who would most benefit from a partnership with Google and from the skills of Google employees.
It is always important to set measurable targets from the outset so with Google, we had a target number of NGOs to help and a target of Google employees who would volunteer.
We worked with Google to continuously evaluate the success of the programme for both the company and the NGO. Crucially, it’s also important to celebrate milestones of the project. After each programme cycle, Google gathered all the NGOs and volunteers together to celebrate their achievements but also gather feedback on how the programme could be improved.
RESULTS: Since 2015, 22 NGOs have been helped by 40 volunteers at Google. The NGOs have benefited enormously from the expertise and insights of the volunteers and have reported significant improvements in their online presence and reach. The Google volunteers found it hugely motivational using their skills to help good causes whilst also developing their own professional skills.
Watch the video to hear from the NGOs and Google employees about the impacts of the programme:
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