It has been six wonderful months since I started my Pulse assignment as volunteer. I have met a lot of new people, new companies, new places, new communities, new projects and a new me. These are my lasts experiences as volunteer:
1. Organizing a team building to re-engage the team
As part of the initiative to help the non-profit to improve their organizational climate, I organized a team building for the staff. They needed to go out and to refresh their vision, mission, values and to evaluate if they were having progress on the actions agreed in the Let´s talk sessions carried out some months ago. So, thanks to generous donors, we could count with beautiful location to run the event and a Consultant donated his services to help us with the team building activities for free. The results could not be better: the team was reengaged, refreshed and reenergized. They evaluated the progress on the agreed actions and they realized they have achieved a lot, mainly a new and healthy place to work where the vision, mission, values and programs are now more feasible to be delivered. So, well done guys, you did it!
2. Learning about Soft skills with World Vision®
Everyone know that soft skills are crucial for everybody. According to the United Nations, children must be equipped with these skills to be able to progress and to be hired for the companies. Hard skills are important but soft skills are crucial. For this reason, we attended a workshop leaded by World Vision® Costa Rica to have a better understanding about this topic and to define how the non-profit is going to integrate this chapter in its program to ensure a robust development of the children. Thanks to World Vision for helping us. It is great to see how different NGOs can work together to deliver more for the children.
3. Inspiring girls to have a positive identity
In parallel to Pulse, I have the blessing to participate in a program called “Accelerated Development”. As part of this, we learnt about how crucial and healthy it is to have a positive identity (self-beliefs, self-esteem, self-confidence). Considering this and the workshop with World Vision®, I decided to organize a workshop with a group of girls to share with them what I had learnt. During the session, the girls learnt key concepts about their identity and were empowered to be more intentional in taking care of their beliefs to remain healthy in a world that not always helps them to have the right concepts about their selves.
4. Getting non-profit´s promotion & advertisement in local TV channels
Fund-raising is not easy, so one critical thing to do is to work hard in promotion & advertisement. Of course, this is not easy neither due its costs. The good news is that from time to time, you find some “angels” in the street. That was my case. As part of my visits to different companies, I visited the main local TV channel to ask for help. The person who attended me was an angel. She liked the Casa de los Niños´ program and she did everything she could to help us. Consequently, a media report was performed to the non-profit´s Director and it was published in the main news program of the country. In addition, an advertisement was published during one entire month in the channel. This publicity increased the awareness of the non-profit and helped us to have more visibility in front of the companies, organizations and potential donors. Thanks to Teletica and thanks to its angels.
5. Reaching my personal fundraising targets
My assignment consisted essentially in delivering a fund-raising plan to the NGO, but I decided not only to delivered it but to activated it and to achieve a personal target of $25K/year in new donations. At some point of the journey, I was very worried due donations were not coming as I expected. As I mentioned in previous blogs, I needed to perform some benchmarks and then to adjust the strategy to explore new options to get the fundraising. The good news was that finally the target could be achieved, and the donors appeared! The best moment was when the investors visited La Casa de los Niños and confirmed that it is a trustworthy non-profit to help. I can´t describe the feeling when they said “Yes, we are convinced, we trust you, we are going to help”. Trust is crucial, everywhere.
6. Closing my project charter
Pulse is a refreshing experience but also is a very formal mission. So, we as volunteers, need to ensure adherence to our projects and to report progress about them. This ensures that the assignments really bring value to the NGOs and to the society. With this in mind, I finished my assignment closing properly my project charter and other key documents we need to submit to Pulse´s team. Objectives were achieved, learnings were captured, and transformation was done.
7. Celebrating achievements with board of directors
Celebration is always refreshing. Employees and teams do great contributions in the Organizations but not always the celebrations are performed. They do not need to be a big party, in fact, the more meaningful celebrations are simple but sincere. In my case, we celebrate with a lunch. Informal but genuine. That was more than enough. Let´s celebrate the successes. Life it is not easy, so celebrations give us a precious moment to say, we did it!
8. Returning to GSK and sharing my experiences
Pulse has a triple purpose: Change the communities, change yourself and change GSK. In my case, this was what exactly happened. The community where the non-profit operates is changing because La Casa de los Niños has now a more engaged team and more financial resources to work for the children. I am a totally different person, more aware about my passion to help others, especially, those in need. And, GSK is changing because we, as volunteers, are bringing to our workplaces other perspectives and new ways of working that help our teams to improve and to simplify our operating models. The learnings are many, the transformation is huge, so there is no way to remain silent about it, that is the reason why we, as volunteers, return to GSK and share our experiences with our teams.
9. A final word…
A final word? Yes…Thank you! To my line manager, Alejandro Blomqvist, for supporting me in going to Pulse. To my team, specially to Leonardo Quiros, SLT and the whole Site for, once again, demonstrating that I have the best team. To La Casa de los Niños, especially to Catalina Chaves, Tita Gillen and Alberto Pérez for such a warm welcome and great support they gave me during my assignment. Of course, thanks also to the whole team and the precious children they help. And, last but not least, to the Pulse´s team. I was blessed to be able to work with such a professional team that works so hard to equip us as volunteers with the best tools to have the best experience and to deliver the largest value to the non-profits. What a team, what a program! Thanks a lot for this amazing experience! Thanks a lot for creating these opportunities for the employees! Thanks a lot for helping us to do more, feel better and live longer. That´s a great place to work.