Can you imagine a future where collectively 500 companies decide to lead social change and tackle the most pressing challenges of the 21st century through skills-based volunteer service? Where thousands of communities tap into the skills and talents of businesses to address specific needs? Where millions of employees grow professionally while championing causes they believe in? Or where companies pledge billions of dollars in corporate service to address the most complex challenges facing our country?
This is the vision of A Billion + Change, a national campaign to mobilize the power of pro bono and skills-based volunteer services in America’s business community by 2013. As a representative of HavServe, I recently had the opportunity to join the campaign at a special forum, “A Billion + Change in Action: Connecting to the Future of Corporate Service” at the White House on June 27, 2012.
HavServe offers pledge companies a unique opportunity to build partnerships to address the significant social, economic and environmental challenges in Haiti. Inspired by Haitians’ great passion for soccer, HavServe’s Youth Soccer Program is using sport as a tool for development to help Haiti achieve the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Through community-led development, education and training, Haitians will play an active role in determining their own futures.
At the forum, leaders in industry, civic engagement and policy discussed the opportunities for businesses to scale efforts and partnerships to meet the challenges of the 21st century through skills-based volunteer service. Most importantly, leaders inspired businesses to challenge themselves to reach the phenomenal possibilities of collective action, working in partnership with nonprofit professionals to change communities for the better.
In less than a year, nearly 200 companies have joined A Billion + Change and have pledged an estimated $1.8 billion worth of skills-based services to build nonprofit capacity. This outpouring keeps the campaign on track inspiring 500 companies to create or expand a skills-based volunteer program in their workplace by 2013.
Recently, companies of all sizes have begun to reap the benefits of pro bono service – strengthening their communities by expanding nonprofit capacity and boosting the skill set and morale of their own employees. According to True Impact, skills-based volunteers are 142 percent more likely to report job-related skills-gains than traditional volunteers, and 82 percent more probable to report that volunteerism generated new recruits for their company versus conventional volunteers. For nonprofits, the value of skilled support in areas such as general operations, technology and professional services can be 500 percent greater than the value of traditional volunteering.
When companies join A Billion + Change, they gain access to a national network of exclusive resources and connections that will help them maximize the benefits of their pro bono work.
To see a full list of companies that have taken the pledge, and to learn more about A Billion + Change, visit: www.abillionpluschange.org.