In this free inspiration session, we invited Rachida el Alami, Project Manager at Volunteer Centre Amsterdam, Rita Molenkamp-Szucs, Policy Advisor at the Municipality of Amsterdam, and Joel Dori, Startup Liaison for the Municipality of Amsterdam to discuss how to best involve businesses to volunteer in your municipality.
We discussed the role of the municipality, the volunteer centre, and Deedmob, looked at the benefits of the platform, discussed corporate volunteering, and how this solution can be implemented in other municipalities.
Find a recap and most important insights below!
Rachida el Alami
Rachida is Project Manager for Volunteer Centre Amsterdam. She connects organisations and companies in Business Involved and Mix and Match. She also helps people meaningful volunteer work and gives information about volunteer work.
Rita is working as senior policy advisor for Amsterdam International Business, the official foreign investment agency of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area within the Economic Department of the City Government of Amsterdam.
Joel is the startup liaison for the Municipality of Amsterdam. He oversees Amsterdam's startup ecosystem, managing data on the city's startups, co-working spaces, corporates connected to the Corporate Network, relevant events and more.
Hendrik-Jan is Founding Team Member at Deedmob. He founded a charity funding the construction of wells in Africa, runs lectures about politics for children and students, and has founded an organisation which engages young people with their local politicians.
Business Involved is an initiative from the municipality of Amsterdam together with Volunteer Centre Amsterdam (VCA) and Deedmob to organise impactful volunteering for corporate volunteers in Amsterdam. Visit the platform
The role of the municipality
Business Involved actively engages the municipality through its network of companies and VCA is in contact with thousands of organisations in the city to help Amsterdammers volunteer. Deedmob facilitates the technical side of the platform.
The platform started with request from large companies who were looking for a central hub to organise impactful corporate volunteering as part of their CSR strategy. However, a lot of companies do not find their way to the social organisations in Amsterdam because companies are often missing the roots in Amsterdam. The connection with the local volunteer centre (VCA) was, therefore, crucial to bring these parties together.
One of the main strengths is that, in the context of inclusiveness and sustainability, the Sustainable Development Goals have been included as a measurement system in the background of the platform. This way, companies can report what impact they actually have in the city. This makes participation for companies very attractive.
The role of the volunteer centre (VCA)
VCA brings in the local context of the municipality and their grassroots network of social organizations. Right now, they are the matchmaker. However, this is not always easy. Several insights are very important:
As a company, be realistic: equality is important. Social organisations and companies should reinforce each other! What do you have to offer, and what do you value?
The same holds for a social organisation: what can you offer to company volunteers! Start with the essentials: do not ask: What is there to do?, but ask: What is it you actually need or want?
It is often hard for social organisations to ask the latter question. To clarify this, the social organisations should look at what they actually want from a company. Is it a one-off? Is it an event? A durable relationship? It is often time-consuming. Do you actually have that time? Motivation is key, and organizations should also think about what they can offer. SDGs can be key in matching the right organisations to the right company. Do not connect the organisations on the basis of a help request, but on the basis of their DNA!
The role of Deedmob
Deedmob is the technology provider of the Business Involved platform. It provides technical support and is actively involved in sharing their expertise and knowledge of the volunteer sector.
But what can these organisations do in return? It is most important to give the companies a good experience. The most important thing you can do is to give back a positive effect on another. It is also important to invest in relationship management: try to build a relationship, invite the organisations and companies to several events! Apply for the newsletter, or name the other in a newsletter. Everything can contribute!
The project is currently financed as a pilot of the municipality. However, the ambition is that companies are going to carry the platform. In the next phase, companies will have to financially contribute! The platform can be a key knowledge base and community to do good! Importantly, convince companies that the platform is a service is also important. You can accomplish this by actively engaging with all parties and distributing clear one-pagers.