Virtual volunteering delivers real results during Americas Week of Impact
In 2019, one group, within one sector, inside of one IBM business unit, had an idea: let’s get together with our external clients and do some good in the community during a week of impact.
It went well—there were about 100 volunteers across 8 IBM and client teams in that inaugural event.
A year later, the recently concluded 2020 Week of Impact gives credence to the notion that a good idea knows no bounds.
Despite being fully virtual, this year’s event attracted over 900 IBM volunteers across 55 teams who were joined by more than 1200 clients throughout North America.
You don’t need to be a business consultant to know that is phenomenal growth. However, in this case, many of the volunteers are in fact consultants and practitioners in the IBM business unit responsible for management and strategy consulting, systems integration and application management services.
Think local, act local (virtually)
A leadership team of IBM volunteers, with strong executive support, coordinated team leaders, who in turn motivated and organized other volunteers to create and deliver community projects—all through virtual engagements.
There were examples about the type of projects teams might consider and guidance on how to engage a charity or not-for-profit organization, but generally teams were free to define their own Week of Impact.
Rachael Grossman and Madeleine Barker, two of the principal volunteer leaders, describe it as creating a vision and a flexible framework that supports what is most important to the volunteers and how they want to help their communities.
Some of this year’s projects included donation challenges, Charity Miles and mentoring with organizations such as Salvation Army, City Harvest and more. You can read more about the Week of Impact—including the names of client companies and volunteers who participated—in the team’s blog, The Conscious Consultant.
For others looking to start their own grassroots initiative, the IBM team put together some recommendations on how to get started:
- Leverage your network
- Get leadership aligned early
- Use competition to motivate
- Recognition is a powerful reward
- Lead with your passions and others will follow