October 9, 2018 | Written by: Bee-Lian Quah
Categorized: New Thinking
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Corporate social responsibility is important. Very important. With the ability for widespread internal communications and the advantage of robust organizational structures, corporations are poised to help in a big way. And it seems the timing is right to double down on CSR for two reasons:
- Consumers want to support brands with charitable missions (see: Toms Shoes, Warby Parker and many more).
- Employees – remember, they’re consumers, too – are hungry to make an impact. I personally aspire to change the world. And I know that my fellow IBMers aspire to do the same.
And businesses have taken the hint. Fortune 500s are collectively spending in the billions of dollars to empower their employees to effect change. But to truly drive impact and get ever-important employee buy-in, the opportunity should fit the business’ mission, as well as the passions and skill sets of its employees.
Over the years, I’ve looked for opportunities to increase my impact on the community, but found it challenging to distill down the opportunities to ones that aligned with my philosophies and causes of interest. Then, I found the IBM Volunteers portal, and everything changed.
Coding for Change
I came upon 48in48 through the portal in 2016. 48in48 is a nonprofit centered around hackathon-style events to build 48 websites for 48 nonprofits in 48 hours. I loved the idea of helping so many organizations in a short period of time while using the skills I had honed at IBM iX.
IBMers volunteer their time to help nonprofits build websites with 48in48
The 48in48 experience was a lot of fun and was such a natural fit for our IBM iX team. Working with the nonprofits, our team of 10 used the same skills we use with clients – creative thinking, problem-solving, communications and website design – to build 3 websites in a weekend.
In the spirit of amplifying our impact in 2017, we served as the Nonprofit Committee for the NYC event and built 8 websites as a team of 38 people, including some P-Tech students.
Taking It Global
Our momentum continues this year. We are volunteering our time as a 48in48 Global Team, with teams of IBMers in each of the 6 event locations in 2018 – Bloomington, Boston, Raleigh-Durham, Atlanta, New York and London. We have already had 50 volunteers and have built 26 websites across the three Spring events, and we’re on track for three more 48in48 events this Fall.
I have found my way to make a mark through 48in48. Whether it’s 48in48 or another nonprofit organization, I urge everyone to find a cause they are passionate about – and to not only volunteer, but find ways to amplify their impact across their companies and networks as well.
By connecting its nearly 400,000 employees with organizations in need, the IBM Volunteers portal is just one of the ways IBM supports communities across the globe.
You can still get involved in the 48in48 event in London, which will be held at IBM iX offices, but anyone can get involved.
Know of any nonprofits needing a new website? They can apply here.