Online volunteering

The pandemic, along with its effects on economic development, is causing sleepless nights. The lack of a direction to follow leaves entrepreneurs and employees insecure in their jobs, and some implications of this are already visible.

In this scenario, many companies that have already implemented corporate Volunteering programs have doubts on how to move forward in the face of this new challenge. As most volunteer actions involve agglomerations and situations that can help spread the new coronavirus, the orientation is to postpone all activities that involve direct contact between people.

This is a significant loss, as we know how much voluntary work makes teams more integrated, engaged, and collaborative. So, how should we keep this flame burning?

The alternative

One of the options is to transfer Volunteering to the digital age. But this has become a controversial topic as some CSR professionals believe that non-profit organisations are more effective when there’s a physical human presence: “The human connection can’t be outdone by any number of emails or video calls,” explains Jerome Tennille in one of his articles.  

Jerome also believes that the whole CSR industry will have to go through great changes soon due to the pandemic: “A culture shift recognising we need a greater diversity of thought in the field instead of self-preservation. Just like we need more professionals with traditional business acumen in the non-profit sector, we need more professionals to be hired in CSR roles whose original professional experience is that of human services, education, fundraising, volunteer engagement, and activism.” 

While it is true that online Volunteering will struggle to close the gap of the human presence, using it as a tool during these pandemic times might be a way to help society while also engaging staff. After all, NGOs around the world struggle to find the right volunteer to do projects as social media specialists, developers, copywriters, illustrators, and so on. 

Why is volunteering important at the moment?

The HR manager with over ten years of experience in the field, Julie Toussaint, believes this is actually the best moment to engage employees through volunteering programs: “The world was profoundly shaken in the past few months, and as one of its consequences, community needs became more important than ever. In a social distancing context, Volunteering can appear more complicated to organise, and companies could be tempted to put it on hold. But this is a mistake. We cannot let uncertainty stop us from working together to help each other through difficult times. Offering employees some ways to build a piece of the solution plays a big role demonstrating that your business understands that it is part of a global picture in making the world a better place.”

Once again, It’s up to responsible corporations to take a stand and encourage their employees to give back to society, especially in difficult times like these. Certainly, with a lot of creativity and working as a team, businesses and employees can find solutions to alleviate the economic situation triggered by this severe health crisis.