Webinar Recap: Pro Bono Service on Steroids – International Corporate Volunteering

Oct 24, 2012 2:30 PM ET

Forbes states that International Corporate Volunteerism is now a “Game Changer,” as corporate social responsibility now supersedes many traditional business methods.

VolunteerMatch was happy to welcome Amanda MacArthur, the Vice President of CDC Development Solutions (CDS) , and Pascale Sejean, the founder of PepsiCorps, to speak about how you can incorporate International Corporate Volunteerism into your company in our October Best Practice Network Webinar “Pro Bono Service on Steroids: International Corporate Volunteering.”

International Corporate Volunteerism, also referred to as ICV, focuses on the social and economic benefits for international communities, as opposed to being centered on revenue. Amanda showed us why ICV programs are a win-win-win situation for every participant in the program.

Employees – One of the greatest benefits of an ICV program is the improvement of employee skills. When surveyed post-project, program participants found leadership, teamwork, and a deeper understanding of CSR to be the largest benefits of their experience.
Community – Local communities in foreign countries receive new technology and develop skills in the effort to create jobs and develop these emerging markets, such as Ghana and Brazil.
Company – The company benefits from this relationship because they improve their brand reputation. With this new reputation, recruitment and retention levels rise, leading to a stronger employee basis.

ICV programs provide amazing benefits to a company’s image and function, while simultaneously assisting international markets in improving their economy.

Pascale Sejean of PepsiCorps spoke on behalf of Pepsico’s ICV pilot program, through which a team of 8 employees from across the globe went to Ghana to help improve the local water supply and sanitation. This pilot program was an incredible success, as intense planning, skilled employees and detailed program assessments helped PepsiCorps expand their projects into India and New Mexico.

PepsiCorps Pillars
Pepsicorps’ projects are founded on three pillars: clean water, health and nutrition, and sustainable farming. Pascale advised that, when conceiving these programs, consider the strengths of the company and employees in order to target realistic deliverables for the communities that are involved.

Impact Evaluation
Immediately upon their return, participants completed an evaluation of their participation in the program to explain its relevance to their work at Pepsi. The most significant skills they developed while in Ghana were business planning, flexibility and observation skills. Not only do participants bring back these skills to the company, they create blogs, video, and other media to share with their coworkers and the public.

Reflections on PepsiCorps
When attempting to create an ICV program for your company, it is important to understand the time commitment, dedication, planning, and purpose your program requires. Pascale shared some reflections from the completion of PepsiCorps’ pilot program and how you can be successful when initiating your company’s own pilot program:

  • CDS: Leveraging CDS’ expertise helped PepsiCorps remove many of the barriers that came naturally with a program like this.
  • Leadership Program: Defining an ICV program’s direction validates to the company, management, and employees why it is so beneficial to the development of your staff and company, and ensures the sustainability of the program.
  • Qualified Employees: Select employees that represent what you are trying to convey. Whether they’re highly energetic, do-gooders, or future leaders, clarity on the application is important for choosing great candidates.
  • Targeting Locations: Rather than selecting areas of high growth, PepsiCorps chooses countries that have a basic understanding of English so the immersion is a smooth transition, allowing the program to hit the ground running.

International Corporate Volunteerism is a multi-fold concept that benefits each entity involved. Not only do you help in the development of your employee base and improve your standing as a Good Corporate Citizen, but your company assists in the development of other communities’ social and economic condition.

To watch the full webinar, click here to view.

Don’t miss our next Best Practices Network Webinar taking place on October 30th. Register for Planet Brands: Changing Behavior for Sustainable Social Good.

Casey Brennan
+1 (415) 321-3634