Author: Axel Menzel Jul 11, 2023

Niche product or the future of corporate volunteering?

Cross-border Corporate Volunteering. Fit for Future or outdated model?

Volunteering abroad is a great way to give back to communities and gain valuable skills and experiences. At the same time it's a perfect opportunity to explore the new country you are in! How can you balance your volunteer work with travel and make the most out of your experience? Here are some tips to help you do just that. 

🌍 New Perspectives

Through cross-border volunteering, employees broaden their global horizons by learning about different cultures, lifestyles and social challenges. It offers them a unique opportunity to interact with diverse communities and understand global issues first-hand. These experiences foster cultural intelligence, empathy and understanding of global contexts.

💪 Competence Development

Volunteering in a cross-border context often requires working in unfamiliar environments, with unfamiliar people, new routines or with limited resources (if you want to have more money left for travelling, you have to be efficient with your daily expenses 💸). This challenges employees to develop and improve a variety of skills such as adaptability, problem solving, intercultural communication, teamwork and leadership. These skills are also transferable to the professional context and can support one's own professional development.

🦸‍♀️ Personal Growth

Cross-border volunteering can sustainably promote personal growth, train self-reflection and strengthen one's own self-confidence. By leaving their comfort zone and facing new challenges, volunteers develop resilience, openness and a sense of purpose in life.

👨‍💻 Networking and Collaboration

Experiencing and working abroad within a non-profit organisation gives employees the opportunity to socialise and work with people from different backgrounds. This includes fellow volunteers of the host organisation as well as members of the local community, relatives and professionals. These connections can be a booster for one's own professional network or open doors for future cooperation. Long-term friendships have also developed from some engagements

Corporate Volunteering | © Freepik

🎭 Increasing Intercultural Competence

Cross-border volunteering enables employees to develop and train intercultural competence, which is of great importance in today's globalised world. They gain first-hand experience in dealing with cultural differences, understanding social norms and working effectively with people from different backgrounds. This intercultural competence is valuable for promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

👨‍👨‍👧‍👧 Social Impact

Participation in volunteering abroad allows participants to contribute to socially relevant causes and have a positive impact on communities in need. This sense of purpose and fulfilment can lead to increased job satisfaction and motivation. Staff often report an increased sense of social responsibility and a desire to continue making a difference in their professional and personal lives.

Cross-border volunteering offers employees unique opportunities for personal and professional growth, cultural enrichment and social impact. It broadens perspectives, improves one's skills in many ways and contributes to overall well-being.

* Corporate Volunteering for a Post-Pandemic World. 2022. conducted by: International Association for Volunteer Effort. | © Infographic: Sobbatical Impact Travel 2023

Despite the clear benefits for the volunteers and nonprofit organisations involved, cross-border volunteering in a professional context is still a niche product within corporate engagement and volunteering. The rationale here is largely due to the cost- and resource-intensive nature of the programmes. Cross-border programmes need to be thoroughly prepared and managed for the success of all stakeholders. This effort is usually too great a hurdle even for multinational companies.

The future of cross-border charitable engagement therefore lies in overcoming these hurdles for companies and employees alike. Sobbatical's platform offers access to a wide range of engagement opportunities and an all-round package for cost-effective preparation of an unforgettable and safe stay abroad.

Find out how your organisation can benefit from Sobbatical and contact us directly.

Author | About

Axel Menzel

Globetrotter, creative mind and entrepreneur. Born in Germany, I found my new home in beautiful Vienna after stopovers in Switzerland, France and Serbia. My travels and professional experience in HR management have shaped my understanding and passion for different cultures.

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