Volunteer Week: How Was The Experience of Doing a Remote Global Event With a Focus on Volunteering

Volunteer week: how was the experience of doing a remote global event with a focus on volunteering

Rock.org was founded in 2019 with the mission of sharing knowledge to accelerate social transformation and turn Rock Content into a corporate social responsibility leader.

Via educational actions and support for non-governmental organizations, the project also aims to inspire other companies to invest in impact initiatives.

More than 400 rockers have already volunteered their time towards the actions carried out by Rock.org, which now have international reach. 

With the expansion of Rock Content’s operations between 2019 and 2020, the project gained volunteer employees from Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

In 2020, the project’s highlight was Volunteer Week, a remote global event that helped raise donations to NGOs supporting women, LGBTI+ community, black community, and people with disabilities.

Keep reading to know all the details of this action, its results, and the lessons we learned:

About Volunteer Week: a new reality and great challenges

Volunteer Week took place between the 5th and 9th of October, 2020, and was the first global action focused on volunteering promoted by Rock Content and carried out remotely.

The initiative mobilized 200 rockers scattered among Rock Content’s offices worldwide and raised more than R$ 14,000 (approximately US$ 2.650) for NGOs in Brazil, Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

The first edition of the event was Volunteer Day, an entire day dedicated to volunteering. 

During this first event, the company’s employees participated in a competition where the prize for the winning team was the opportunity to choose a Third Sector institution (NGOs, foundations, community associations, philanthropic entities, and other non-profit organizations) to receive a donation. 

 Delivery of the award to the NGO ABET (Brazilian Association of Tuberous Sclerosis) in 2019
Delivery of the award to the NGO ABET (Brazilian Association of Tuberous Sclerosis) in 2019

In 2020, the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic represented a new challenge for the project, but the desire to make a difference was stronger than ever. 

The event needed to gain a new format, this time, 100% online and with volunteer employees participating from their own homes.

In addition, the action also needed to reflect the new global reality of Rock Content that, in the last year, had established its operations outside of Brazil with the acquisition of the American ScribbleLive. The answer to all of these challenges was Volunteer Week, a week-long event dedicated to volunteering with actions of international impact.

The mission: ideas and goals of the action

Rock.org’s idea is very simple: dedicate 1% of all rockers’ time for education and employability actions for minority groups. 

Therefore, one of its pillars is to create volunteering opportunities, promoting experiences that benefit the community, strengthen involvement, and contribute to the personal growth of each employee.

To meet these propositions, Volunteer Week presented the following objectives:

  • expand efforts for gender equality, inclusion of people with disabilities, racial equality, and LGBTI+ rights beyond Rock Content offices;
  • generate growth opportunities for minority groups, both in terms of education and in terms of employability;
  • promote integration among the entire community of rockers, especially between teams located in different geographic areas.

Contexts and projects: reality seen as it really is

The fight for a social cause, regardless of which cause, starts with understanding a certain group’s reality, often ignored by a large portion of the population. 

With regards to discrimination and inequality — topics that set the agenda of the event in 2020 — the following data should be highlighted:

Inspired by Rock Content’s commitment to inclusion and equality, Volunteer Week embraced causes of enormous relevance to society.

Support organizations for women, the LGBTI+ community, the non-white community, and people with intellectual disabilities in four countries were the ones to receive our support this time. 

Get to know each one of them in the following topics!

TODXS (Brazil)

TODXS is a Brazilian non-profit startup that fights for civil rights and inclusion of LGBTI+ people.

Among its various educational, research, awareness, and security projects, TODXS Escola stands out. 

Their main goal is to avoid school eviction by transgender and transvestite students; and TODXS Impacto, a social business accelerator focused on diversity and inclusion.

NGO Todxs
Source: TODXS Medium

CREA: Empreendedoras Sociales (Mexico)

CREA is a Mexican NGO working for more than 12 years to promote female empowerment and qualify women entrepreneurs in socio-economically marginalized areas.

In addition to providing support, the organization offers educational programs to develop professional skills and small businesses.

Source: CREA

Community Living Toronto (Canada)

Founded in 1948, Community Living Toronto helps people with intellectual disabilities and their families in Toronto, Canada. 

The organization’s goals are to promote employment and educational programs and also to help their members to become more self-confident and independent, so that they can have a better social life.

Beyond 12 (USA)

Beyond 12 is a non-profit organization from the United States whose mission is to increase the number of low-income, first-generation students from historically underrepresented groups graduating from US colleges. 

The NGO’s work is based on a digital platform that connects students and professionals who want to help them study and succeed in academic life. 

The event: bringing people together and creating opportunities

The use of game dynamics and mechanics outside their original context is a technique known as gamification. 

This is a way to increase engagement, facilitate problem-solving, and improve learning — benefits that are especially relevant in an event that involves a large number of people.

In order to achieve all the goals set for Volunteer Week, we created a competition. 

Four teams, which we called “communities”, were challenged to raise donations for participating NGOs, each being responsible for one of the recipient organizations:

  • Rosa Parks (Beyond 12);
  • João Nery (TODXS);
  • Frida Kahlo (CREA);
  • Terry Fox (Community Living Toronto).

Each community formed four squads, and each participant received their mission. 

Each achievement was awarded a value in Rock Social Coin’s (R$C) — fictitious currency created for the event that was eventually converted into actual figures for donation.

This was the event’s schedule:

  • Day 1. Prepare donation plans and get to know the NGOs: initially, the communities got to know the work of the NGOs and defined how they would raise funds and arrange public communication;
  • Day 2. Find influencers for crowdfunding campaigns: in the second stage, the squads had to unite and get support from digital influencers. Each community received rewards according to the number of followers of each participating influencer;
  • Day 3. Posts on the Rock.org profile: on the third day of the Volunteer Week, the participants published posts on the official Instagram profile of the project to increase donations; 
  • Day 4. Elevate the strategy: on the fourth day, the teams’ communication strategy was enhanced to raise more donations for all communities;
  • Day 5. Closure: on the last day, a closing ceremony was held with a presentation of the results.

The Volunteer Week was announced to the participants at an all-hands meeting (general meeting with everyone involved), and emails were sent one month before the event. Slack messaging channels were also created, and an official informative online page was developed using the Ion tool

In addition, an Instagram account was created with videos and photos for dissemination.

Results and achievements: the impact generated by Volunteer Week

After four intense days, Frida Kahlo community, which represented the NGO “CREA: Empreendedoras Sociales” took the lead with R$C 9,090 raised. 

Then, there were João Nery (TODXS), Rosa Parks (Beyond 12), and Terry Fox (Community Living Toronto). Check out the community ranking!

final ranking of volunteer week

The action mobilized hundreds of Rock employees and was supported by prestigious digital influencers. The event was also mentioned in one of the most longstanding newspapers in the state of Minas Gerais (Brazil) and raised more than R$ 14,000 (approximately US$ 2,600) in donations. See the official figures below:

  • 11 influencers posted about the campaign on their social media profiles;
  • a story about the action was published in “O Tempo” newspaper. 
otempo newspapper, from brazil

In addition to all these achievements, it is worth mentioning the creation of a webinar by one of the event’s teams, in which donors had access to exclusive content produced by Rock professionals.

The gamification strategy, therefore, not only strengthened the fundraising campaigns, but also allowed the general public to benefit from the event.

Lessons: what we learned while hosting an event in this format for the first time

Carrying out work of this magnitude in such a troubled year is a huge challenge, but everything is possible when you have commitment and the right strategic orientation. 

Volunteer Week brought valuable lessons that apply to any type of event and demonstrate the importance of good planning. Among the lessons we have learned in practice, some are worth mentioning.

1. The quality of communication is vital (especially for a remote global event)

Having cohesive communication is essential in any context, but an event involving many people from different geographic locations collaborating remotely deserves special attention. 

You need to create an attractive communication strategy capable of engaging the participants.

It is also necessary to start the communications in advance (at least one month prior to the event), adopt clear language, present the information in detail and create different channels and ways of accessing the information. 

During Volunteer Week, we learned a lot about the importance of communication, and we understood that videos, moments of conversation, and meetings are essential.

2. Testing is key to success

An event of this magnitude cannot be carried out blindly. It is vital to put your plan to the test to prove the effectiveness of the communication, tools, and dynamics that will be executed.

Thus, it is an interesting choice to invite a group of people who were not involved in planning to validate strategies and gather feedback. This is also a way to experience new things in a safe and controlled way.

3. Pay attention to cultural diversity

One of the biggest challenges when running a global event is to deal with cultural differences in a productive way. 

This involves the language that will be used, the time zone, local habits, traditions, and the economic and social reality of each country.

Several aspects must be taken into account, and your job is to ensure that the action contemplates this diversity and allows everyone involved, especially those from different regions, to share in an integrated experience. 

This means that we must act globally, but we must not forget local actions.

4. Your schedule should enable full participation by all

Likewise, the event schedule should be defined so that the differences in time and activity in each country are respected. 

Also, by stipulating a fixed period for action, participants can engage in activities carried out with greater dedication.

The new format adopted by Rock was fundamental in enabling the realization of a global event with the participation of rockers from the four countries where it is present.

Although it was the first event of this scale developed by the company, the results were extremely positive.

Volunteer Week was rich in both lessons and achievements. We hope to inspire people and organizations of all kinds to also develop initiatives to support society. Real social transformation depends on all of us.

Discover all the actions promoted by Rock Content’s social impact project at Rock.org!


Subscribe to our blog

Sign up to receive Rock Content blog posts

Related Posts

Want to receive more brilliant content like this for free?

Sign up to receive our content by email and be a member of the Rock Content Community!