We often think of volunteer programs as spending time collecting litter in a local park, or helping a fundraising drive. Companies and the employees who work for them have another asset they can donate to help charities and non-profit organizations serve their communities – their expertise.
LoyaltyOne staff recently invited professional associations from TRIEC’s Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs) program for a knowledge-sharing workshop to help them boost their marketing and member communication.
“Our main challenge is to attract new members with EXATEC’s profile,” said Raul Suarez, a leader with an Ontario branch of the alumni association EXATEC Ontario, “Moreover, it’s a challenge to identify new [alumni] in Ontario to participate in our association.”
While association leaders are passionate about their communities and bring diverse skills with them, some challenges call for expertise that companies would typically hire for, like social media marketing. Suarez has been using online tools to connect with EXATEC members for years. But as volunteers learn mostly through trial-and-error, it can be challenging to keep up with best practices within the changing world of social media.
TRIEC and LoyaltyOne collaborated to offer association leaders the chance to learn from specialists with a workshop and brainstorming session on social media marketing. This was through the company’s CommunityOne Week initiative. This year, LoyaltyOne employees collectively donated 2950 volunteer hours with 25 different charities across the GTA.
Alison Olson, Team Guide for the marketing team’s CommunityOne Week efforts, worked with Kerri Brock, Employer Relations Manager at TRIEC, to organize the day’s activity. Together, they ensured that the LoyaltyOne team had a good understanding of the PINs program and TRIEC.
Six members of the LoyaltyOne marketing team joined for the day, along with four PINs association leaders. They split into two groups and together, they developed solutions and best practices to reach and attract new members and engage existing members.
Gerry Ranking, a LoyaltyOne associate mentioned, “Each PINS leader came with a business challenge or objective they wanted to gain greater insight on and left with tools to go back and develop their own plan for their own unique needs.
“In my group there was a real thirst to learn how to use social media as a pillar of their marketing strategy; as a tool to organically grow their organizations, and get people excited about their professional events.”
While the association leaders left the activity with tools that they can put into practice and grow membership in their organizations, the team at LoyaltyOne learned a lot too.
Olson said, “The exchange of knowledge is enlightening for both parties, and there are insights that both of us gain.” She stressed that by applying their experience to new goals and challenges, she got a fresh perspective on their work at LoyaltyOne.
Ranking reflected how the PINs leaders inspired him: “Most of us have moments in our careers that we look back on and say ‘these were pivotal moments’. The PINs groups are facilitating these moments for their members. These talented, tireless and amazing individuals dedicate their time to create these moments and help people find success.”
Volunteering is undoubtedly a rewarding experience that can take many shapes. There are many ways you can contribute time and knowledge and help make Toronto a more inclusive place to work. To find out how your company can work with TRIEC, contact our Employer Engagement team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about PINs – a network of professional associations, run by and for immigrants in the Greater Toronto Area.