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Is expert volunteering a charity?

Meet the presenters of this new-thinking presentation explaining the importance of expert volunteering.

Eva Pavlíková – along with Jakub Nešetřil, co-founded Česko.Digital back in 2019. Since then she has helped grow the non-profit organisation from a handful of people to over 5,000. Now the current director, Eva’s values of trust and transparency drives her vision to change digital transformation through collaboration and innovation.

Karel Minařík – joined Česko.Digital in 2021 as the chief technology officer, providing support and technical expertise for community developers and internal teams. Karel’s background is as an interactive designer and developer with a focus on straight copy, rich interactivity and clear design.

It’s been a busy 3 years for Česko.Digital with over 20 projects to their name, a world-wide pandemic and a war that’s not too far from home.

Let’s take a look at some of Česko.Digital’s previous and ongoing projects.

Debt verification
In a similar presentation to this one, Jakub asked “would you click a button to verify if you owed money?” The answer no doubt would have been yes. However, it’s not quite that simple. What Česko.Digital created was a debt verification that combined multiple paper applications into one digital format. This in turn generated a PDF sent directly to the user’s e-mail for them to deliver as they wish to the institution. This project provided a semi-digital (as the PDF may need to be printed) infrastructure for verifying if people living in the Czech Republic owed money.

Covid Portal
When Covid hit, keeping up to date with the numerous changes in rules and restrictions was a challenge. Along with the government, Česko.Digital created a portal that presented up-to-date rules and restrictions communicated in a natural language. This portal became the official resource for the Czech Republic Government…Quite an aptitude!

Učíme Online
Another covid driven project. With children not able to attend school in the physical sense, teachers and pupils needed a platform to communicate with each other. Almost 10% of schools in the Czech Republic have used or are using Učíme Online. In addition, Česko.Digital realised that many children did not have access to a PC to use this platform. Therefore they helped almost 3000 children get individual PCs in order to access education and communication.
Učíme Online now has a community of approximately 10,000 teachers…all teaching each other how to use the platform and how to best communicate with their pupils.

Then…war happened.

Everyone abandoned working projects and engaged in an emergency mode response. Within a weekend, several Ukrainian-related projects had started. Majority of which came from Česko.Digital’s community members suggesting portals on how to help Ukrainian families.

Created by the community…supported by Česko.Digital.

Stand behind Ukraine became the official Government resource…AGAIN!

Movapp was designed to ease the communication between Czechs and Ukrainians during the current humanitarian crisis. Developed by a team of volunteers from the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia.

What do these projects have in common?…they all have a measurable impact.

How do we measure impact, and measure it in the correct way?

Is it through the number of people it has affected? By how long it takes to develop? Or how about through a universal measure…money.

It would take 2,000 people to donate CZK 1,000 through Crowdsource to fund a project like Movapp. A total of CZK 2M (€82K, $85K). Many people believe that charity is donating money…resulting in a broad impact.

Here is where expert volunteering comes to play – Expert volunteering directly generates value:

  • Contributing time for connections and community sees the start of the solution.
  • Giving skills makes a personal impact on that solution.
  • Giving digital skills however, allows the impact to be scalable.

As an individual using your skills, you may be able to help 5 people. Using digital skills could help 25k people! See the impact?

“Skills-based volunteering helps nonprofits by democratising high-skilled labour.”

Would you volunteer?

A paper on volunteering across many sectors and professionals, including lawyers, found that people are reluctant to accept that they are gaining something when they are sharing their skills through goodwill.

Some found it ‘immoral’ to gain something when they are giving. Stating it ‘conflicted with their primary motivation to volunteer’.

On the reverse, volunteers have also stated that they have learnt so much during the volunteering process, not just the end application.

Companies, HR departments, and CSR departments are now interested in volunteering digital skills in order to give back to society.

“Skill-based volunteering is a strategically driven activity that involves employees donating job-related skills and acquiring or developing skills.”

Don’t be afraid of gaining something by volunteering!

If you want to listen to more of what Eva and Karel think about how expert volunteering is not a charity, and learn more about their projects and how to get involved in their community, you can watch the full video to get an even deeper insight.

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