20 March 2018 at 8:18 am
Ellie Nikakis explores corporate social responsibility geared for millennials and the digital age.
It’s a millennial’s world, and with the generation comes a revolutionary wave of drive to contribute to something larger than the individual self.
So how does that position CSR in the current day? It’s no longer just another organisational requirement, but something representative of a workplace’s unique values. It’s a motivator to unite a workplace team, bringing a sense of purpose and morale to the work environment. Gone may be the days of spending a Friday in hairnets at the local soup kitchen, but ever-present is the dominant desire in young people to make a difference and deliver aid to the causes they resonate with.
Though the era of social media has welcomed phenomena like “hashtag activism”, young people are still turning up to rallies, raising funds and finding tangible ways to engage with their communities.
L. Moffat’s 2011 research shows three distinct motives behind young people looking to volunteer – the first consisting of youths looking outward, wanting to make a difference and connect with others. Secondly, born out of a desire to improve their own skillsets or pursue a personal interest, and thirdly a combination of the two. These motives help us to understand the millennial mindset, and clearly show that any lack of activism from young people is not for lack of appeal. So what’s stopping them?
It’s no secret that much of how a workplace operates now is via a digitised, synchronised system – offices play collectively-managed Sonos playlists while they work, use a company Uber account to get to and from meetings, or send requests via Gmail calendars to schedule in calls. Our lunch breaks are filled with chatter about the latest release on Netflix. So why can’t CSR be a part of that world, too?
Collectively managing teams in the CSR space doesn’t need to be any more complicated than ordering a meal to your door via an app. Time restraints, commitments and geographical distances can make in-person volunteer work a lot less accessible to a large demographic – enter online volunteering.
By focusing on projects that can be completed in front of a computer or remotely, more and more individuals are exposed to the opportunity to give back to a not for profit in new and interesting ways.
With nearly 200 countries already engaged in online volunteering, the success of the venture speaks for itself with one study showing an impressive 94 per cent of both organisations and volunteers reporting satisfaction. Whether it’s copywriting, data entry, research, video creation or admin work, the scope of opportunities grows as far as the imagination can reach – and no matter the skillset or skill level of the volunteer, the likelihood of finding a project match is undeniably high.
Being that the nature of virtual volunteering is not location-specific, international opportunities to work with meaningful causes across the globe easily transforms from possibility to reality.
A 2016 study by researchers at Leeds University also notes that a significant number of their participants were motivated by “a desire for learning”, showing that online volunteering provides individuals not only with the incentive to contribute positively to important causes, but also the opportunity to learn or enhance their skills.
The future of volunteering is changing, and the ways we can give back to our communities are becoming more and more diverse by the day – as are the benefits to each of us as individuals.
It’s important that Australian not for profits don’t get left behind.
About the author: Ellie Nikakis is the PR and marketing coordinator for Vollie, an online marketplace that connects skilled people to not for profits, charities, and social enterprises for skills-based online volunteering.