Corporate volunteering in the digital age

Corporate volunteering in the digital age: the opportunities and challenges presented by social media and online volunteering

Diane Solinger, Google (US)
Michael Evason, IBM (UK)
Lutz Ziob, Microsoft (South Africa)

Moderator: Ulrich Kaiser, Credit Suisse AG (Switzerland)

Nowadays there is an element of digital in most volunteer offerings; either as a pure digital/virtual offering or to make a new or already existing program more efficient.

Overall, we clearly can say the digital revolution has made volunteering more accessible and provides a wider choice of programs since it connects people very faster and benefits from relative short set-up time. With that offerings become more transparent and lowers barriers to accept for potential volunteers; especially for those who want to provide help, but for whom onsite-volunteering is impossible. Further, it provides insight in niche offers, which might be overlooked otherwise. Despite all these positive catalysts we shouldn’t ignore the fact how actively involved employers are. The more they focus on and support corporate volunteering the more successful it could become. For example, do they offer a platform or encourage employees to develop a platform for volunteering? Do  corporates encourage employees with taking additional days off for onsite-volunteering or providing dedicated working time for digital volunteer offerings? In case of the latter how can they control this. Unfortunately in this respect, not everyone can work for Google which allows their employees significant room for engagement. But there are still limitations to digital volunteering since you cannot solve all onsite problems, especially if the technological infrastructure is insufficient or even non-existing.

While outbalancing pros and cons, community and social benefit appear to be constant. However, trends in social media and mobile connectivity present an opportunity to rejuvenate or even revitalize the volunteer offer since you can reach out to more people than before.

Prepared by Ulrich Kaiser, Moderator


Presentation by 
Lutz Ziob, Microsoft MySkills4Afrika

Presentation by 
Michael Evason, IBM

LUTZ ZIOB is the Dean of the 4Afrika Academy, part of Microsoft’s 4Afrika program through which the company actively engages in Africa’s economic development to improve its global competitiveness. A multi-year initiative, the program aims to accelerate growth in Africa through technology and belives Africa an also accelerate technology for the world.

MICHAEL EVASON is a Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs manager for IBM, covering around 30 highly varied markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. His major focus is on Corporate Volunteering, including all aspects of employee volunteering, community engagement and pro bono technology engagements with NGOs and government organizations.

DIANE SOLINGER is the Manager of Employee Social Responsibility. She manages the GooglersGive team, which is dedicated to helping Googlers volunteer and give around the globe. Diana has 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, prior to joining Google. She has worked with hundreds of companies to design, implement and enhance their CSR programs.


ULRICH KAISER is an equity sector analyst in the Global Equity Research team at Credit Suisse Private Banking & Wealth Management covering the IT services and software, IT hardware, semiconductor, and media sectors. He joined Credit Suisse in Zurich in 1993, initially working in Japanese Equity Research. In 1992, he was awarded the Federal Diploma for Financial Analyst and Portfolio Manager (AZEK).

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