Transforming the Human Condition Through Corporate Volunteering

Apr 20, 2023 2:43 PM ET
Transforming the Human Condition through Corporate Volunteering

Can Social Impact programs play a critical role in Transforming the Human Condition? If so, it’s all about empathy - the preconscious reaction in our brain that arises from witnessing another's pain. When we witness the pain of someone in our “in group”, one way to make the pain stop – their pain (and our own pain) – is to step in and help. But here’s the thing: there’s a flip side to this drive to come together. For every “in group” we react to with empathy, there are outsiders – and for these “out groups”, our brains react very differently - often times, we don't have empathy. 

Empathy happens when we understand that we share needs, that we are all impacted by similar problems, and that our shared experiences are just as informative as our differences. Our preconscious mind will continue to inform our reactions and decision-making, but it will be shaped by our proximity to others, our ability to relate to others, and ultimately our expanded empathy. 

Transformative Volunteering creates opportunities in which equal partners have an opportunity to alert one another to new understandings about ourselves and others through mutually beneficial experiences. This is how we increase the value and impact of volunteering. Projects and activities may be helpful at times, but at their best they only solve an immediate problem. When we practice Transformative Volunteering, these experiences become a tool through which we uncover and address the root causes of societal challenges. 

If you're a Social REV member, keep an eye out for the new Employee Course coming this April, Volunteer Leadership: The Transformative Approach to Social Impact, to take a deep dive on this topic. If you're not yet a member, dive into this blog and consider making space for transformation in your Social Impact program.