Social Good Connect: Volunteering platform founder hails ‘amazing’ first year
A Dundee-based organisation that connects workers in Tayside and Fife with volunteering opportunities has enjoyed an “amazing” first year.
Social Good Connect is a non-profit digital search and match platform. It allows company employees to volunteer with their employer’s support and help the communities they serve and overstretched charities.
So far, more than 150 charities and businesses have signed up to Social Good Connect, which marks its first birthday today.
Caroline McKenna, chief executive, reflected on a whirlwind 12 months.
She said: “It’s been amazing. We’re keen to make sure we don’t lose this amazing community spirit that’s been built through the pandemic when we come out of lockdown.
“We’ve got 160 charities signed up and 30 businesses, so we’ve exceeded expectations in our first year.”
‘When Steve met George’
Caroline referenced one case study, between a Dundee octogenarian and an employee at Ninja Kiwi.
“It really brings to life what we’re trying to facilitate,” Caroline added.
“George is in his 80s and didn’t have any contact with his family through the whole of Covid and Ninja Kiwi signed up to Social Good Connect.”
One of the gaming firm’s employees, Steve Morrison, signed up and helped George set up WhatsApp and FaceTime, allowing him to see and speak to his family.
“Steve said it was an amazing moment when George got a call from his daughter for the first time,” Caroline said.
“Not only did he get contact with his daughter but he loves music and he was also able to get on YouTube and listen to his favourite songs. It’s just simple things that we take for granted.
“They’ve become really good friends and Steve goes to see him all the time.
“We’re trying to create thousands of Steves all throughout Scotland.”
A change in mindset after Covid?
Caroline hopes that examples like that will encourage others to think about volunteering.
She also believes that people’s attitudes towards volunteering have changed during the pandemic.
The chief executive said: “We talk about volunteering being the answer to stress at work. It’s not something to add to your to-do list, it’s about taking a break.
“If we could bottle the feeling you get from helping someone else and expecting nothing in return. That’s what we need to get out there.”
‘People get the bug’
At the moment, between 5 and 7% of a workforce will, on average, sign up for volunteering.
Social Good Connect can help more than double that number, Caroline said.
She added: “We believe that with our support we can get that number up to about 25% because we can motivate and inspire people.
“People get the bug – it’s just like exercise.
“If you value something and it makes you feel good, that’s where the benefits are.”
After a successful first year, Caroline hopes to expand Social Good Connect across Scotland and into other parts of the UK.