Partnering to Harness the Potential of International Corporate Volunteerism
April 12, 2012
By Christopher Jurgens
Christopher Jurgens is the Global Partnerships Division Director in USAID’s Office of Innovation and Development Alliances.
All too often, service and volunteerism are viewed as well-intentioned efforts with limited impact. However, international corporate volunteerism (ICV) programs have significant untapped potential within the development space—potential to both contribute to U.S. development assistance, and to support diplomacy efforts in emerging markets. ICV programs can serve as valuable tools in the formation and implementation of complex development programs worldwide.
It is with this potential and value in mind that I am excited to participate in the 3rd Annual International Corporate Volunteerism Conference. This two-day conference (April 11-12) will involve participants from more than 150 companies – from small businesses to Fortune 500s – NGOs, and government agencies, and highlight best practices and lessons learned from ICV initiatives. Sample topics include how development impact is measured; what has been achieved to date; and the impact ICV programs have on the private sector. I look forward to is a discussing the Center of Excellence for International Corporate Volunteerism (CEICV), a partnership between USAID, IBM, and CDC Development Solutions.
The CEICV is a two-year pilot program that brings together private sector and development professionals. By participating, private sector participants gain access to best practices and infrastructure for developing and running corporate pro-bono consulting programs. USAID Mission beneficiaries gain access to teams of talented individuals and technical assistance. Partners hope that the CEICV will establish a self-sustaining international corporate program that will serve as a resource to:
Enhance USAID’s development efforts by leveraging the skills and expertise of corporate volunteers in the implementation of USAID projects in critical Agency sectors;
Increase the number of participating companies and active skilled business volunteers and the impact and effectiveness of their contributions; and
Track the development impact of ICV programs and create a proof of concept focused on best practices for mobilizing corporate volunteers to increase development impact.
Our partner IBM is a particularly active company in the ICV space. To date, the company has dispatched more than 1,200 of its top employees to over 100 engagements in nearly 20 countries as part of its Corporate Service Corps. These highly skilled teams of IBM professionals implement projects to improve local economic conditions, support entrepreneurship, and improve transportation, education, health care, and disaster recovery.