Our World is Small, but Our Capacity for Service is Enormous

Jun 17, 2019

The world is small. Even though we’re 7 billion people. Speaking 6,000 languages. Living in more than 180 countries. We’re diverse and divided by oceans and time zones. But still, our world is small and it’s shrinking all the time.

We’re more connected than ever, thanks to technology, and those connections remind us that we have more in common than not. Think about the things that go viral. No matter our language or location, we think the same videos are funny, or sweet, or kind. We like the same kind of quotes that inspire us to seek out and become our very best. We’re empathetic, and we share the same belief that helping each other can have a profound impact.

Natalye Paquin, President & CEO, Points of Light

Last month at Points of Light we announced an expansion of a partnership with The Starbucks Foundation. It involves Starbucks employees (they’re called “partners”) working part time at community non-profit organizations – often Points of Light Global Network members – to provide not just support for the organization, but an expanded skill set and opportunity for the partner.

This innovative model allows Starbucks – as an employer of more than 280,000 people around the world – to help its partners become involved in their communities. Points of Light helps connect Starbucks partners with organizations who are doing deeply impactful work on the ground.

Employer-supported volunteering is essential to building the Civic Century we talk about so often at Points of Light. When employers help their employees volunteer during the workday – and make it easy – their capacity for service grows exponentially. Plus, it means more people have opportunities to give back.

A recent report from the UK’s National Council for Voluntary Organizations found that participants in employer-supported volunteering tend to be younger, male and from urban areas. The same report found that demand for these types of programs is growing and that about half of participants apply their professional skills to their volunteer service. Said another way: More people want more opportunities to apply their skills in ways that help people.

That’s what the Civic Century is all about. Finding ways that every individual can apply their skills and be fully engaged in every area of their life. We’ll be talking more about all of this at the 2019 Points of Light Conference in St. Paul (starting tomorrow!) and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Each year, the conference brings together individuals, nonprofits and corporate partners from around the world, who are working together toward making our vision for the future a reality, come together and share best practices and new ideas. Last year I left feeling inspired and exhilarated – and I want you to feel that way too! I hope you’ll join us in-person or follow along online using #PointsofLight19.

Natalye Paquin