Usually this week’s Volunteers’ Week 2020 would recognise the contributions of millions of volunteers across the UK.
But like many other events in 2020, celebrations have been forced to adapt to the ‘new normal’. Covid-19 has brought dramatic shifts to the volunteering landscape. Especially so among those of our LBG Members & clients with well-established corporate volunteering programmes.
Over the past number of weeks, we’ve been speaking with many of our members including Barclays, Heathrow Community Fund, Provident Financial Group, Sage Foundation, St James Place and Zurich Community Trust.
They spoke of huge challenges faced recently: rewriting strategies, rethinking traditional activities, removing restrictions, and adapting policies for the new ‘normal’. All completed quickly, while transitioning large work forces to work-from-home. And ensuring employee safety and wellbeing is at the fore.
Many companies have brought all activities online. While difficult at times, creating new opportunities is central to the survival of their volunteering programmes. New activities include remote mentoring sessions, online skills-sharing, virtual coffee mornings. One member spoke of an online innovation jam. A chance for colleagues to convene and use business knowledge to incubate solutions to charity partner problems.
Despite being apart physically, embracing this new era of corporate volunteering has provided a sense of connection and community amongst colleagues. Evidenced clearly by the increased demand for volunteering, even in regions with traditionally low engagement.
While Coronavirus has dramatically changed the landscape of this Volunteers’ Week. It has accelerated the arrival of a new adaptation to ever-evolving global circumstances.
As restrictions start to ease, companies are embedding these innovative volunteering opportunities permanently.
A clear cause for celebration this Volunteers’ Week after all.
Over the past few weeks LBG have run a number of webinars to delve deeper into some of the issues that have emerged for our members as a result of Covid-19. We were joined by speakers from Barclays, Heathrow Community Fund, Provident Financial Group, Sage Foundation, St James Place and Zurich Community Trust.
For an in-depth report and a copy of the recording, please get in touch with the LBG Team.