European Conference ‘Partnering for Impact’

The European Conference on Corporate Volunteering ‘Partnering for Impact’, organized by the International Association for Volunteer Effort-IAVE, was held in Madrid on May 7 and 8 with the collaboration of the Fundación Bancaria La Caixa, Voluntare and Fundación Telefónica, welcoming at its headquarters in Madrid’s Gran Vía about a hundred experts, representatives of corporate volunteer programs, non-profit organizations and public administration.

20170509_103519The conference was attended by some of the main voices of the sector, such as the IAVE senior executive consultant Kenn Allen, those responsible for the volunteer programs of Fundación Bancaria la Caixa and Fundación Telefónica, as well as multinational companies such as Credit Suisse, CISCO, IBM, Schneider, Siemens, Ericsson, Disney or Ritz Carlton Hotel Company, among others, who showed how much of a positive impact this model of volunteering has, reporting on good practices and successful experiences that take place all over Europe, while presenting some its key success elements, such as 1) being promoted and led by employees themselves, 2) being carried out in collaboration with non-profit organizations, 3) being able to reflect on the mission and corporate social responsibility strategy, 4) taking advantage of the know-how of the companies and employees themselves and 5) using the ICT technologies.

The main topics that were discussed were corporate social responsibility, youth unemployment, new technologies and impact measurement, providing useful methodologies to measure the social impact of such initiatives, and the improvement of the professional skills of workers who participate in these corporate volunteer programs, and to see how volunteering affects the degree of satisfaction and involvement of the workers

One of the highlights was when Bruno Ayres introduced the V2V technology 20170509_150013application and its ability to keep the social base of companies informed and mobilized, or when Carme Artigas, from Synergic partners, presented the benefits of managing and using all the generated information and the big data. The institutional representation was led by IAVE President Mrs. Kylee Bates, the general director of the Telefónica Foundation, Carmen Morenés and the general director of INJUVE Mr.Javier Dorado.

From the point of view of a non-profit entity such as FCV, some of the conclusions of the conference are:

1) it is necessary to overcome some distrust and lack of knowledge about the social role of corporations;

2) it is necessary to recognize the successes of corporate volunteering and the relevant goals that these programs are achieving in terms of: – the promotion of volunteering, – the development and recognition of the competences of volunteers, – the use of new technologies and – the measurement of the social, economic and human impact of voluntary actions.

Therefore, it is worth analyzing how to join efforts with socially responsible companies to carry out new solidarity initiatives that, in this way, can have a greater impact and generate new opportunities for collaboration and learning between both sectors, profit and non profit.

Companies are well aware that volunteering not only means helping other people and improving the community, but is also an unbeatable opportunity to develop a set of personal and professional skills that are increasingly valued by the companies and society as a whole.

For more information about the conference and its results, or about IAVE, you can send an email to projectes@catalunyavoluntaria.cat (Lluc)