A B2B platform which matches skilled employees with volunteering projects at non-profits and tech-for-good start-ups has seen a boost in volunteers during the pandemic.
Matchable was the creation of the Good Lab initiative, in which 8 of the UK’s largest charities, including the British Red Cross, the RSPCA and WaterAid came together to brainstorm new solutions to their collective problems.
Founder and CEO Wai Foong Ng explained that corporate volunteering has often been associated with manual team-building activities like painting fences and planting trees.
These activities are “often carried out by highly skilled volunteers who could offer so much more and make much more impact if their skills were matched with a real need of the charity” the former PwC director told BusinessCloud.
The firm, which is partly funded and owned by the 8 charities behind the Good Lab initiative, sources its projects from over 200 non-profits including charities and social enterprises, and tech-for-good start-ups.
Ng said during the pandemic the firm pivoted to a B2C membership for a small group of 60 individual volunteers to test out a new model which allowed them all access to its database of pre-curated projects.
“This model worked really well – we saw an increase in enthusiasm and engagement, as well as multiple people picking up lots of projects,” she said.
Having pivoted back to B2B, its membership model is now the one it uses with B2B clients to build out its digital platform.
“In the last 4 months since launching this offering as a B2B offering, we have onboarded 11 companies and will be live at 13 companies by the end of the year and available to over 6,500 employees”, she said.
Employees are able to choose their own projects based on what stands out and where their skills would be of most help.
This approach is part of the firm’s success, said Ng, “…as opposed to maybe a more general ‘charity of the year’ approach which may not always speak to everyone in the company.”
The firm typically sees 15% of a company’s employees sign up within the first month of launching, an improvement on the 10-15% of staff which typically volunteer over the course of a whole year said Ng.
Because the volunteering opportunities make use of the employee’s skills, Ng said it also allows them to upskill and experience new ways of working in the third sector.
Ng said opportunities on the platform have included providing strategic advice to a social enterprise that is helping Columbian farmers from disadvantaged communities reskill as cacao entrepreneurs using blockchain.
In another example, volunteers have used their digital marketing skills to help 20,000 refugee children in Lebanon and Jordan learn English through an interactive arts-based app.
Over the next 12 months Ng said the firm plans to increase its team, and will be focusing on onboarding more clients and improving user experience.
Having raised £170k to date, the firm is set to close another pre-seed round of £300k, with plans for institutional investment in summer 2021.