This evening while speaking with the CSR manager of a large services firm, we were discussing the good impact that a CSR manager can have within the firm.
It was an interesting conversation because (1) it was centered around corporate volunteering, the structure that a corporation has in place, and the ability of a single person (who is supported) to leverage that work and (2) we compared her work against the work that I had done to build HandsOn in China that it currently operates.
For many in the space, volunteering occupies that cute and cuddly space where teamwork is a major selling point, but the power to move from cute and cuddly into a core practice that develops a partnership between internal and external engagement is in some ways amazing. Case in point, the person I was speaking with estimates that when she first joined the firm less than 100,000 hours were donated by employees of the firm. By the end of the year she was at nearly 3-400,000 volunteer hours.
Which is about the same amount of hours as some of the largest HandsOn affiliates… after 20 years of building their operations!
To be fair to the efforts of all HandsOn founders and executive directors, making that comparison is a bit unfair because the manager of the firm did not have to build an organization from scratch…. but it certainly shows the power that a corporate organization can have to make a change to their framework, leverage a system, and through the efforts of a couple key people have a positive impact on their community.
And it does not have to stop there. Successes like these can move into the core of the business mission, and as I meet with firms over the next 2 weeks to study their mission critical programs, I hope to have more examples to share with you.