Global Volunteer Month celebrates the power of donating time to the communities in which we live and operate. While every April shines a spotlight on volunteering, Pyxera Global’s skills-based volunteering programs empower companies to dedicate volunteer hours to under-resourced causes year-round.
Volunteering is a core value at Pyxera Global, and we’re deeply committed to partnering with organizations that share this dedication to community and service. Through our Global Pro Bono (GPB) program, we provide mission-driven organizations with an external team of corporate consultants who are dedicated to working on a high-priority project of the organization’s choosing. Like paid consultancy work, volunteer consultants who participate in GPB programs provide their expertise and experience to organizations to help them meet or surpass their goals—but in our case, there’s no cost to the benefiting organization.
Engaging and preparing passionate volunteers
Skills-based volunteering is a practice that is growing in popularity: Trained professionals volunteer their time and talents to work on projects that address an organization’s challenge or long-term goal. However, at Pyxera Global, our rigorous application and matching process for both the organization and the volunteers set our consultants apart—the GPB programs engage enthusiastic and dedicated teams who strive to further the organization’s cause with the specialized training to match. GPB volunteers are recruited from a variety of corporate industries and expertise areas, from financial management and technology to health care, agriculture, and supply chain management. Each organization we partner with is passionately working to solve local and global issues, ranging from food insecurity and global health inequity to the digital divide.
- Application: To begin the process, each volunteer applies for the program to demonstrate that they have the necessary skills to assist the organization and the drive to effectively support its goals. We recruit volunteers who are highly motivated to give back, learn from the social sector, and deepen their understanding of complex social challenges in their own communities.
- Orientation: Once the volunteers have been accepted into the program, the next step is to familiarize them with the social sector ecosystem. During the orientation phase, we teach the participants consulting methodologies based on human-centered design and appreciative inquiry, outline the cultural differences between their home cities and the locations they’re volunteering in, and train them on the work styles and expectations of the partnering organization. Before the project launches, volunteer consultants also receive specialized mentoring and educational sessions from our expert advisers, who provide guidance on the process and the unique social sector to prepare the volunteers to effectively meet the organization’s needs.
- Recommendation: Our volunteer consultants don’t just observe during the project while a partnering organization does the heavy lifting—they use their knowledge about the company and the methodologies they learned during orientation to co-design solutions with the organizations. After the project begins, the consultants incorporate partner feedback to tailor and enhance the deliverables and refine the parameters of the plan. This guided collaboration makes the entire experience an iterative and instructive process for both teams and enables the consultants to make more specialized and customized recommendations for the project.
One recent GPB project used this methodology with the goal of combating global health inequity: The 3M Impact Global program provided the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) in Dublin, Ireland, the opportunity to partner with universities across sub-Saharan Africa to train health care professionals and expand access to safe surgical care. Through the program, RCSI and the 3M consultant team built a roadmap for strengthening their online training strategy and enhancing the quality and outcomes of care.
And Rebecca Maserow, content marketing manager at Do It Now Now, an organization that supports the social mobility of Black people across the globe, said of their experience with Pyxera Global: “The team was very invested in the success of our organization. Their passion for the work we do was very clear, and this was seen in their final delivery and the care and in-depth research they took to deliver the final recommendation.”
Benefits of partnering with Global Pro Bono
In addition to our dedicated volunteers, Pyxera Global offers our mission-driven partnering organizations many benefits, including strengthening short- and long-term operations, building a network of organizations to rely on, and making a positive impact in the local community. Our programs don’t just offer a singular opportunity to fix a problem—they provide a collection of tools, techniques, and connections that will benefit an organization in the long term. We invite them into our ecosystem and use our expertise to support our partner organization so they—and their community—experience tangible results.
“Thanks to the [GPB] team, we have a complete project with KPIs, strategies, and more, to implement a pilot in Tocumen. [Without] the team, this project would still be in our archives and underdeveloped. We are now ready to seek funding and implement it.”
—Maria Victoria Langman, Communications Manager at United Way Panama
- Operations: Before embarking on the partnership, the participating nonprofit organizations decide which aspect of their business would benefit the most from Global Pro Bono’s expertise. For instance, nonprofits might request assistance with an immediate challenge, such as enhancing internal communication methods or building process improvement tools, both of which can lead to cost savings. And by observing the volunteer team at work, organizations often acquire new perspectives and problem-solving techniques that they can implement to improve operations right away.
The combined effect of achieving those project deliverables and learning new skills helps organizations respond to future challenges, too. During the height of the pandemic, we reached out to past partners to identify their current needs and determine how their experience with GPB had impacted their businesses. A significant number of organizations felt more prepared to deal with unexpected crises because of their participation in the program. Deborah Miller, executive director at Charitable Healthcare Network, a support and advocacy organization for healthcare providers in Ohio, U.S., said: “We are usually able to only address the most critical issue [patients] are facing at the time of their visit. [With] the tools the program has provided us, we will now be able to have trained staff in place to screen for and address the social determinants of health.”
- Network: Although participating corporate consultants and organizations complete projects within a limited timeframe, consultants will often continue the relationship with their organization’s counterparts beyond the program, advising on the implementation rollout or providing technical tweaks to deliverables. Additionally, the program introduces organizations to other nonprofits, NGOs, and social enterprises that work on similar social issues or lead in the field, providing learning opportunities—and potential collaborations. In fact, internal surveys show that organizations consistently report plans to explore partnerships with other participating GPB organizations, strengthening their professional network.
Because our projects are centered around principles of collaboration and co-creation, Pyxera Global fosters a culture of teamwork and encourages strong relationships long after the program concludes. “Throughout the process…the team at KEDV and the coops were collaborating and helping improve the recommendations… This team approach was the highlight of the project,” says Merve Batikan, corporate partnerships coordinator at KEDV, a civil society organization that seeks to improve the economic situations of low-income women in Turkey.
- Community: Perhaps most importantly, the GPB program makes an impact in local communities. One of our main tenets is our trust in our extensive global network and the communities local to the nonprofits, who are intimately connected with the communities they serve. When we start a project, we reach out to resident experts who already understand the local culture and are tapped into the social sector ecosystem. We come to every project as a facilitator, not the local expert, with the aim of supporting our partner organizations so they can accelerate their missions and help their communities thrive.
Recently, we partnered with SAP consultants and the Brazilian nonprofit Embaixadores da Educação (EdE), which provides leadership development opportunities for high school students. Together, they created a business plan, developed critical management and strategic skills, and learned expansion techniques, all with the goal of strengthening education systems in Brazil. As a result of this project, EdE grew its impact to over two hundred thousand students across the country.
The overwhelmingly positive feedback that Pyxera Global receives from participating organizations is clear proof of how valuable, transformational, and inspirational Global Pro Bono projects can be. Our Net Promoter Score from our participating organizations is 89; surveys show that participating organizations are highly likely to recommend our program to another organization and are very satisfied with the program—and the results.
Take the next step
For over 30 years, Pyxera Global has supported communities in more than 100 countries around the world, in both developed and emerging economies. We have partnered with over 28,000 mission-driven organizations—including non-profits, NGOs, social enterprises, government agencies, and academic institutions—on projects that build organizational resiliency and capability.
Furthermore, we are dedicated to making GPB programs accessible to organizations of all sizes. Our team is always willing to help any nonprofit organization find ways to advance their missions and become eligible to receive the support they need to grow. There is no financial cost to participate in the program; organizations only need to commit to spending their time and sharing their knowledge. Providing GPB consultants with thorough training and fostering a partnership between the consultants and a nonprofit’s team throughout the development process ensures that the project results align with an organization’s needs and expectations.