Impact Story: Corporate Volunteers Transforming Lives Through Skilled Volunteering
In this interview, we explore the transformative journey of Ami who works at Slalom – a leading consultancy firm – as she engaged in Skilled Volunteering through Link UP London. Her experience sheds light on the profound impact of Skilled Volunteering on volunteers from corporate backgrounds, and the benefits it brings to both employees and employers.
“Working with a charity was very different to working with our usual clients! I was very aware of the direct and immediate impact that our work had on the charity and the community that they support. This made the volunteering feel so rewarding.”
Please briefly describe what you do professionally.
I am a Principal Salesforce consultant. We support clients around the globe with implementation and development of Salesforce, which is a Customer Relationship Management cloud platform solution.
How did you learn about Link UP and what made you decide to get involved in a Link UP project?
Some of my colleagues had previously worked on other volunteering projects organised by Link UP, so I was keen to get involved as I had heard good things!
Can you tell us a little about the organisation you supported and the project you worked on?
I worked together with a fellow Slalom colleague on a project for Young K&C over 12 weeks. They are a charity based in Kensington & Chelsea supporting member organisations to work with disadvantaged children and young people. They needed support with Salesforce, improving how they capture and report on equality and diversity information. We also did a more general tidy up of their pages and fields to make it easier for the team to capture accurate information about their member organisations and grants quickly and easily.
Did you enjoy Skilled Volunteering? What impact has it had on you professionally?
I really enjoyed working with Young K&C through Link UP. The skilled volunteering allowed me to act in a different way compared to my day-to-day work. I covered project and change management responsibilities in the skilled volunteering, whereas I typically perform Salesforce configuration and solution design in my day job.
This meant that I could practice soft skills that were newer for me in a low pressure context, which was a really valuable learning experience. This has given me confidence to bring these skills back to my ‘usual’ work, enhancing my performance with our corporate clients.
It was great to make use of the volunteering hours that Slalom gives all employees in such a direct way with Young K&C. Hearing about the impact that the charity has on their community really made me glad that I signed up to help.
Did you find working with a charity different to how you work within the corporate space?
Working with a charity was very different to working with our usual clients! I was very aware of the direct and immediate impact that our work had on the charity and the community that they support. This made the volunteering feel so rewarding.
The pace of work was also a little slower (and calmer!), as we weren’t working towards contractual or business deadlines, which was a nice change. The charity team were all so lovely and very appreciative of our time, it was a really friendly and warm experience throughout.
Did you learn anything about yourself as a result of working with a charity?
Young K&C’s requirements and team size were quite different to what I usually encounter in my day job This meant that I had to really think about the best approach , as well as coming up with creative ways to meet their requirements in the time available. I reached out to some of my Slalom colleagues to learn about best practices and how others had approached similar requirements. This allowed me to expand my professional network and improve my Salesforce knowledge too.
Have you done any other types of volunteering (as opposed to Skilled Volunteering)? Was the experience of volunteering your skills different in any way to front-line volunteering?
I’ve previously done other kinds of volunteering: helping clear outside spaces and doing other manual jobs to support charities in a more physical way. Skilled volunteering was a refreshing change – I felt like I was bringing my professional expertise to the charity. This made me feel that I was personally making a difference, as opposed to doing a physical job that could be done by almost anyone – it made me feel a little bit more special!
Do you think Skilled Volunteering is a valuable way for corporates to support their employees?
Skilled Volunteering is absolutely valuable for corporates and their employees. It is a great way to practice all sorts of skills that you may not have the opportunity to develop in your day job.
If you volunteer as a pair or small team then you get to work with colleagues you may not usually encounter, as well as with charity staff, which all brings a different dynamic compared to working with large corporate clients. This allows you to build new relationships as well as really seeing and understanding the impact of your work very quickly.
What would you say to others who are thinking about getting involved in Skilled Volunteering?
I’d tell them to give it a go! It’s a really rewarding way to share your expertise and skills, as well as to do something that benefits wider society and gets you out of your usual work routines. Lovely to do something so rewarding!
Learn more about Link UP London’s work with corporate clients by joining our Social Impact Solutions Corporate Skilled Volunteering newsletter here