When you think about giving back, what comes to mind? For many, it likely looks like a home build, a cheque presentation, or an afternoon spent serving a warm meal to those experiencing homelessness.
While all three of these forms of giving are important, there are also so many other ways we can make a difference.
I’ve spoken to numerous non-profits lately who all shared a similar experience and frustration. They are inundated with corporate inquiries through the month of December; teams available on such date, for such an amount of time, and would like to do such activity. The intention is there, but the approach could use refinement.
As an organization that supports corporations in putting their volunteer time, resources, and funds to good use, benefiting both the communities in need and their employees through the process, I believe it’s part of our role to share the following message.
Giving should fill a need.
And in many cases, needs have changed.
Access to resources is limited, volunteers are experiencing burnout, and labor shortages exist here too.
Here’s an example from a non-profit that focuses on meal deliveries for children in low-income schools. Their biggest need right now – volunteers with large vehicles (or the funds to rent them) to pick up produce and non-perishables, and deliver it to the packing warehouse.
Here’s an example from an organization that is working towards the prevention of sexualized violence in its community. Their biggest need – volunteers to spread awareness and hand out resources and condoms in the lineups of the downtown night scene.
Here’s one more example, this time from a local shelter with a high number of visiting families. Their biggest need – diapers. Of all sizes.
So, when it comes to corporate social responsibility and our ability to add purpose to our programming, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the group or cause, keep an open mind, and prepare for the tasks that oftentimes are behind the scenes but fill the biggest need.
As those prepared to donate time, resources, or money, we should be asking the question to the community group. What do YOU need? When do you need it? And where can we make the biggest impact?