Colombia-MICE is part of the Pelecanus Travel Group. We are located in Bogota, Colombia. We are specialized in corporate travel and all services around Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions.
Companies, big or small, have an impact on society. Essentially, people fund enterprises whether to solve a particular necessity in their region or to offer innovative products that make human life easier. Right? But sometimes they focus on generating profits and what’s behind it gets often forgotten.
Good news: Businesses can increase their impact through volunteering! Whatever their sector is, they can contribute positively to their communities and countries.
What is Corporate Volunteering?
This is the kind of volunteering supported by companies in which the action of employees (volunteers) represents a great contribution to social problems as they transmit their professional knowledge. It can also mean their commitment to solving specific issues inside the non-profit organization, based on the company’s expertise.
Important to clarify is that corporate volunteering is a program regulated within the company and there usually is a policy that states how much paid time off employees have per year to indulge in social work. Remember, some of your employees volunteering in a charity on weekends is a whole different thing.
So, why volunteering?
Volunteering is an excellent way to strengthen key skills within companies such as teamwork and problem-solving. And when the top management gets involved in these activities, volunteer employees show greater satisfaction and commitment to society and the company.
From this perspective, corporate volunteering has a triple impact.
Companies win. Employees become more committed, the work environment improves and so does the company’s internal and external reputation. As a result, business performance increases while the company understands different realities and leaves a positive impact on society.
Employees win. Employees develop personal satisfaction as they feel important as to have a role in a cause leading to sustainable development. And, at the same time, they get to develop or strengthen their communication, leadership, and teamwork skills, their empathy, innovation, creativity, flexibility, and many more qualities.
Society wins. Many people are benefited from the collaboration that different NGOs and institutions get from committed and capable people in several action fields.
Corporate volunteering is evolving from giving economic contributions and donations to actively participating in and committing to social causes, involving intellectual or interpersonal skills. The idea is volunteers are increasingly aware of their contribution and, at the same time, get trained on how to donate their time, knowledge, and experience to organizations.
Volunteering during the pandemic
The landscape of corporate social work is changing due to Covid-19. A study made by Osmia – an organization promoting volunteering in Latin America, to 128 big companies from 10 Latin American countries, revealed that 80% of volunteering projects changed to virtual modalities during 2020.
In the words of Verónica Aftalion, a senior consultant on corporate social responsibility and sustainability:
“If the role of volunteering was already important for society, it becomes much more relevant in the current context. In this regard, technology offers us opportunities for volunteers to remain agents of positive change in society”.
But how could you volunteer online?
- Donations: Some groups of employees have reunited efforts to donate equipment for health workers or products of the basic market basket for people in need because of the lockdown measures.
- Telephone support: Depending on the interests of your team, you could be of help and emotional support to elders or ill people who live alone, or all of those who have been negatively impacted by the quarantine.
- Online scholar support: You could also help children from foundations to understand better certain topics and teach them new interesting stuff.
- Online mentoring: Sharing your professional knowledge to entrepreneurs, small companies, or social organizations as a team is a great opportunity. They’ll learn – and you too!
Corporate Volunteering in Colombia
Although helping others can take many forms and means, in-person experiences are preferred overall because interacting face-to-face tends to feel more enriching and rewarding. And choosing the destination for volunteering can be hard, there are so many variables to filter from. But whatever you are looking for, Colombia may be the right choice for you.
Colombia is a country almost twice the size of Texas, with 32 departments, 50 million people, and the second-largest biodiversity in the world. But it also has a vulnerable economy and society due to inequality, corruption, violence, among other issues. Despite that, Colombians are extremely hard-working, joyful, and supportive people who fight for overcoming difficulties and achieve fair development every day.
This is why volunteering in Colombia is special. And here you can find immense opportunities in several cities with different environmental, economic, social, and cultural backgrounds.
The corporate volunteering market in Colombia is experiencing significant growth and each time more businesses – national and international, engage in social activities to empower local communities and help conserve the ecosystems.
The first corporate volunteer study in Colombia was carried out by the Foundation Dividendo por Colombia – United Way in 2017 and 40 of the biggest local companies participated. As an interesting founding, women are leading the way in this field. 65% of volunteers and 77% of volunteering program coordinators were women. So, these programs are a starting point for developing gender equity within national companies.
Now, let’s get to the point. What kind of programs or action fields can businesses find in Colombia for volunteering?
Education volunteering programs in Colombia
Most of the programs of foundations in Colombia are focused on education. And this is because there is a huge education breach in the country which means children living in rural and remote zones don’t even have access to primary school. In this field, activities include donating funds for scholarships, sharing time with vulnerable kids, and mentoring them on skills such as foreign languages, maths, problem-solving, creativity, leadership, and even teaching peaceful solutions to conflicts.
Environmental volunteering programs in Colombia
Another popular focus of volunteering initiatives is the environment. Opportunities to plant trees, work in community gardens, and help local farmers are among the most common. Programs related to the conservation of animal and plant species and ecosystems, in general, can also be found. These experiences help participants understand the context of rural Colombia and cherish the availability of natural resources, among other topics.
Business volunteering programs in Colombia
This category often requires the participation of professionals with experience in business management, business strategy, marketing, advertising, and other similar fields to help foundations and small enterprises to create and develop appropriate strategies to reach their goals in a sustainable way. Also, it can be supporting the commercial and customer service areas.
Technology volunteering programs in Colombia
Similarly to the last field, tech experts can volunteer in organizations and small businesses that need to develop websites or implement specialized software to make their processes more efficient and impactful.
Logistics volunteering programs in Colombia
Programs that involve events and complex itineraries look for volunteers with excellent organization, leadership, and communication skills so that they can be in charge of planning great events, carrying out fundraising strategies, making alliances with other organizations, and leading big groups of collaborators.
Vulnerable groups volunteering programs in Colombia
Of course, there are also programs for volunteer experts in psychology, social work, health sciences, and arts. We are talking about programs that target elders, homeless, handicapped people, displaced people, violence victims… vulnerable groups of people, in general. These initiatives seek to support them emotionally, spend quality time with them, and empower them through many tools and ways. For example, creating a life project, or teaching them art/entrepreneurial skills to leave their hurdles behind and progress in life.
If you are interested in a corporate volunteering experience in Colombia, contact us. We will find the volunteer program that bests aligns with your teams’ motivation and your company’s mission and values. This way, employees and organizations can work together for improvement, for a real change in the country.