There are medicinal plants that simply grow and have a recognized healing power. Beneficial on many levels, Volunteering is one of these, and we advise you to reap its benefits. Projects flourish all year round, and the ones with particularly deep roots draw their strength from the rich soil of Solidarity.
For a positive awakening.
While companies are looking for solutions to help their businesses recover, let’s take advantage of the solidarity momentum created over the past few months and integrate Volunteering programs into our recovery strategies. The “post-Covid world of tomorrow,” must now be built and secured through actions.
More than ever before, society needs a commitment to solidarity
The need for solidarity has increased tenfold in these last months. Indeed, the economic and social crisis has widened the gap between societal needs and available resources. Businesses are not the only ones suffering, the philanthropy sector has also been hit hard. According to a large study jointly conducted on March 17 by Recherches et Solidarités in conjunction with the government and the national network of associations, only 22% of associations have managed to maintain a minimum level of activity.
On one hand, the older generation, who were the associations’ driving forces, were particularly impacted by the lockdown. As a more fragile portion of the population, their activity resuming is likely to be gradual, leaving the associations in need of support.
On the other hand, the associations generally have a relatively low rate of long-term contracts. However, due to economic difficulties, fixed-term contracts and internships have not necessarily been renewed.
The organizing of events is the heart of many associations. This quarantine has forced them to cancel or postpone basically all of them.
Finally, donation habits have been modified. Indeed, donations to certain associations have been redirected to others deemed higher priority, weakening their treasuries.
That said, the crisis has revealed an incredible surge of solidarity. Companies, associations, individuals, all have multiplied initiatives to help those in need. On March 1, the government announced that 45,000 people had been mobilized on the ground to give food aid and delivery, childcare and other missions via the jeveuxaider.gouv platform.
The end of this quarantine must not mean the end of this momentum, and the private actors should be at the absolute core of the association’s revival on every level. How can we find solutions to reduce fragility and bring out new drivers of sustainable economic growth?
A committed company is a company that enables its employees to be committed
The quotation attributed to Carlos Ghosn that “maximizing profit is the sole purpose of a business” now seems a long time ago. According to Emmanuel Faber, CEO of Danone, the boundaries between business, civil society and public authorities are blurring. Companies must act in “areas of expertise and inclusion that go beyond business as usual”.
At a time when the Pact law invites companies to question themselves about their “reason of being” and “mission,” their commitment can take various forms. The most classic entry point remains volunteering. Financial donations, which have been widely used since the Aillagon law of 2003, volunteering and skill sharing. While employee commitment is a competitive differentiation issue, volunteering transcends all four levels of the commitment pyramid highlighted by the Gallup Institute in 2017.
Becoming a “committed” company has been the No. 1 objective of HR policies for several years now. Therefore, “social washing” is a trap to be avoided, and the key remains sincerity. Although the benefits of social washing can be used to promote HR (Great Place to Work awards, attracting talents, employees’ search for meaning, etc.), volunteering is above all a public interest measure. Its objective is to meet the needs of associations working for the public good. Today, associations are adapting to more professional areas and their need for skills is increasing rapidly. Legal, HR, Communication, Graphic design, Accounting skills, there is a real need to be met. All skills are public goods and have a social impact!
Moreover, volunteering meets the objective desired by the government within the framework of the pension reform: to keep seniors in employment to facilitate progressive leavings.
Towards a more united dynamic?
The links forged between associations and companies are increasingly part of partnership logic. Is this left up to social innovation?
If allowing employees to devote a certain number of working hours to associations is a first step, why not imagine common responses to proposal requests, or even the creation of joint social ventures?
Today, there is no longer a single societal problem that can be solved by a single class of engaged people, public authorities, business, or civil society. In this debate, digitalization has a crucial role to play. A key factor in the emergence of partnerships between businesses and their networks, “digital technology has reduced the transaction costs of supply, communication and collaboration. It is now easier to find good partners, communicate with them, find out what they have to offer and work with them.”
If associations are going digital to increase their presence on the Internet, to raise awareness among new donors and to build loyalty, digitalization must also be an important aspect of the business-association relationship. Foundations and companies have begun to understand this and started digitizing their websites to expand the scope of their Volunteering program to facilitate easier day-to-day management of volunteers’ missions.