What’s the outcome you hope for when your fellow employees volunteer? Besides the impact that it’s made on an important cause, you might hope that employee volunteers walk away with a new or deeper understanding of a problem and those affected by it.
How do you achieve that same outcome while in-person service is limited? Deep understanding of a community issue can come from opportunities to listen and learn. Providing employees with opportunities to learn about their community and its challenges can spark longer term engagement and civic action—even when you’re not there to guide them.
Listen and Learn is a foundational activity of the Civic Circle®—Points of Light’s framework for all the ways an individual can make positive change in their community. While actions will move an issue forward, listening and learning is the key to getting started. The current issue of Points of Light’s Civic Life Today digital magazine focuses on this important concept.
Companies are embracing this idea as they deal with limitations brought on by the pandemic. They are providing employees with expanded educational opportunities, workshops, and lectures at an unprecedented rate. Many companies now host wraparound webinars ahead of virtual volunteer projects. For example, volunteers might spend an hour spent learning about the root causes of food insecurity ahead of a virtual meal packing service project, with a follow up reflecting on the experience and an opportunity to create self-led action plans.
AT&T shared a similar concept during Points of Light’s recent Corporate Service Council meeting as part of their 21-day Racial Equity Learning Challenge. The framework is “read, watch, and do” and all of the activities they’ve developed for employees under this challenge count toward completing a Mission in their volunteer management platform, Benevity.
Hear the story behind AT&T’s 21-Day Challenge and how their team developed and scaled this learning initiative in the video discussion above with Hardmon Williams, vice president of AT&T Believes & Community Engagement, Tina Morefield, director of Community Engagement and Betty Byrd, Community Engagement lead.