Businesses all over the world are exploring avenues to give effect to their social engagement. How to put those noble intentions into practice? The municipality of Amsterdam, Netherlands, decided to deploy Business Involved to make this happen. This innovative digital platform provides an environment where companies and valuable social initiatives can find each other. Next, employees can contribute to the city of Amsterdam through corporate volunteering. A shining example of public-private partnership in 2022.
Business Involved is the result of the collaboration between the municipality of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam volunteer centre VCA and Deedmob. It is a digital platform where companies from the Dutch capital and VCSEs in the Amsterdam area can get to know each other. Business Involved provides an easily accessible and user-friendly means for companies and their employees to explore suitable corporate volunteering opportunities.
Of course, the VCA is well-connected with the VCSEs in Amsterdam. The volunteer centre is part of a network with more than 2,000 organisations in the sectors of care and well-being, education, nature, sports, arts and culture, and charities and events. As such, it is firmly rooted in the Amsterdam landscape. VCA staff is very familiar with the developments and needs of the various social initiatives. This places the volunteer centre in a unique position to create connections with and for the business community.
Corporate volunteering is an effective and modern way for companies to work towards the SDGs. Passionate corporate volunteers in Amsterdam explore their volunteering opportunities on the Deedmob-built platform, where they find suitable options by themselves.
Companies and VCSEs can easily create a custom profile on the platform, which is facilitated by the municipality of Amsterdam, the VCA and Deedmob. The municipality has the responsibility to promote Business Involved among the business community, while the VCA raises awareness with community organisations. Deedmob takes care of the IT infrastructure and provides technical support. The result of the partnership is a combination of expertise that leverages each partner's strengths.
In the current set-up, social initiatives and companies are complementary to one another. A sustainable relationship unlocks many potential benefits for both. In other words: a real win-win.
Businesses have a lot to offer to VCSEs. In general, they have the resources, funds, talent and expertise that many social organisations dearly miss. Unfortunately, we’ve seen that many partnerships traditionally concern one-off collaborations concentrating on sponsorship, donations or a one-time volunteer day – to the detriment of both partners. With Business Involved, partners can take things a step further. The platform helps companies and VCSEs to nurture meaningful, sustainable relationships. This ensures that a company's engagement is not limited to a one-off event, as the business can get truly involved with the local community.
Such a partnership delivers tangible benefits for a company. We see that the importance of sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is growing by the day, making a company's social impact objectives highly relevant. Today, employees and customers (and potential employees and customers!) assess organisations on their CSR objectives. We also know that these stakeholders want to be more involved with those objectives. As such, companies stand to gain from making their impact as meaningful and sustainable as possible.
In addition to a company's social impact, connecting with social initiatives is also important for the work environment and the individual development of employees. In fact, various studies show us that corporate volunteering programmes boost productivity and employee engagement, and have a positive impact on attracting and retaining employees. Besides, a corporate volunteering programme encourages employees to grow and develop themselves, while contributing to HR values like diversity and inclusion.
The digital platform – powered by Deedmob – provides a podium for social initiatives and companies alike, giving them the visibility they deserve. VCSEs and companies create their own profile on Business Involved. Next, they customise it according to their needs and desires. This ensures that every organisation has its own, unique identity, which they showcase on the platform. As soon as their profile is live, VCSEs can publish their volunteering vacancies, inviting companies or employees to respond. Companies can put their aid offer online as well, so that social initiatives can reply. In short, the platform works like a genuine marketplace for positive local impact.
The platform Business Involved supports both VCSEs and companies in making that perfect match and executing their mission. This may be achieved through:
· Inspiring sessions and workshops on the needs of organisations and how to formulate a request for or offer of help
· Individual guidance during every stage of the matching process
· Presentations and information sessions with tailored advice on the execution of CSR objectives
· A unique combination of public and private parties empowering each other
Present on Business Involved: Wipro
Indian multinational Wipro was one of the first companies on Business Involved, setting a great example for other companies on how to make the city even better. The Wipro Foundation was established more than 20 years ago, with “a future that works for everyone” as the objective. The foundation drives the company's activities for sustainability and support of local communities worldwide. Wipro employees in the greater Amsterdam area volunteer through the platform Business Involved with local organisations, to support in their sustainability efforts.
Present on Business Involved: Het Koffiehuis
Foundation Het Koffiehuis is one of the social organisations on the platform. Ever since the launch of Business Involved, they’ve been busy! Het Koffiehuis, a coffee bar in the centre of Amsterdam, welcomes one and all. Undocumented and homeless people visit the location to enjoy a coffee and make a little money. One way to do this, is by sweeping the streets of the city centre. After their work, the street sweepers get to enjoy a free lunch at the Koffiehuis, which is paid for and catered by the volunteering company. The conversations between company employees and the Koffiehuis guests drive truly sustainable relationships, because the speakers are looking for real interaction. This sustainable relationship is a win-win for all those concerned.
These matches would never have been made without the platform. Business Involved makes everything on the platform truly visible and measurable. Organisations can publish their volunteering opportunities, while business post their offering. Because this is all united in a single environment, any organisation in need, and any employee or company providing support can make a suitable match right away.
The Sustainable Development Goals serve as a familiar guide for a match. Ever more relevant, the SDGs form a shared framework for the business communities and the social sector, as they work towards common goals. By using them as one of the guidelines for a match, sustainability gets a boost at the local level, and the created impact can be made visible in an internationally respected framework. This makes it easier for companies to report transparently about their CSR efforts.
The platform provides valuable insights, at the front-end as well as the back-end. It makes impact visible at a micro and macro level, by deploying intuitive impact analytics based on the SDGs, time invested and other variables. Impact is visible at neighbourhood level, which allows for targeted measures, while providing a fair and accurate picture of the impact in the city.
Since the launch of the platform, more than 150 corporate volunteers have been matched with more than 100 social initiatives – and this during the pilot! And this growth is still accelerating, most likely as a result of the growing awareness of Business Involved in the greater Amsterdam area.
With its social approach and measurability, the platform contributes to the Amsterdam business climate. As sustainability and making impact are becoming ever more important for companies and employees, Business Involved provides a user-friendly means for businesses to get to know and give back to the community. The platform proves to be a solid foundation for sustainable impact for businesses and local communities alike.
The resources, people, funds and expertise that companies have are invaluable for social initiatives. Yet, we now know that traditional models of sponsoring and donations are not always the solution. And while this is often the starting point of a relationship, it is Business Involved that facilitates the meaningful, sustainable relationships between companies and social initiatives. And that is the real value of the platform for all parties – both private and public.
"Business Involved is really designed to create sustainable impact. It boasts many technical features and makes our work a lot easier. We just want companies and organisations to be able to find and connect with each other. Employees bring unique skills and invaluable experience to the table for an organisation, while these organisations have a lot to offer to the corporate community as well. This allows us all to really contribute to society and our city!" - Rachida el Alami, Project Leader Business Involved (VCA)
● Community platform, including vacancy database, matching and communication features
● Custom website with an easy to use CMS and no-code website builder
● Hosting, maintenance and continuous development of the platform
● Support by Deedmob expert and access to user community