Building Impact (BI) Background
Building Impact (BI) was founded in Boston, MA in 2003 to serve as an intermediary between building management and non-profit charities. Building Impact connects buildings’ resources (donations and volunteers) to the needs of non-profits in the community. BI serves 53 buildings with 575 companies and over 20,000 employees, along with over 40 members in the Non-Profit Partner (NPP) network.
Building Impact currently has seven full-time staff members, including a Chief Executive Officer, Program Director, Communications & Operations Director, Marketing Director, Program Coordinator, and two Community Connectors (CCs). Their CEO began in September 2011, and is eager to bring new ideas to the organization. BI currently utilizes a website with limited capability to allow volunteers to find and sign up for certain events. This website also provides information on how non-profits, buildings, companies, and volunteers can communicate with BI, via e-mail or phone.
BI provides the following services:
Donation Drives in Buildings
Every other month, BI hosts Donation Drives to benefit a Non-Profit Partner. These usually take place in lobbies and require flyers to be posted throughout the building and boxes to be put out for collection. These drives collect items that usually relate to the season and have included canned food, winter coats, books, and school supplies. BI staff members retrieve, count, and deliver the donations to the Non-Profit Partners personally.
BI helps support local hospital Blood Drives by using their network of buildings to provide space for these events. They also help promote and advertise for the event, coordinate donor appointments, and provide at least one staff member to support Blood Drive event needs. Larger hospitals have bloodmobiles and do not require the service of providing space that BI makes available. However, these hospitals do get BI support through event promotion and assistance from a staff member. Drives without bloodmobiles require coordinating the use of office space.
BI organizes about three to four one-time Community Events per month in the Boston area during evenings and weekends. BI recruits volunteers by advertising the events through signs in buildings, newsletter e-mails to individuals on the mailing list, and postings on the BI website. These events can include river and park cleanups, helping to feed the homeless, sorting donations for needy families, and assisting with charity fundraising events.
In-Office Volunteer Events
BI offers volunteer activities that companies host in their own space during working hours. Companies want their staff to participate in a volunteer event during their working hours to help contribute to the community, and request that BI help to organize the event. Companies often have specific numbers of employees available, restricted hours to perform the work, and a desired issue area they would like their work to contribute towards. BI will also try to match non-profit requests for this type of assistance with companies that are available for such events. BI staff plans, coordinates, and leads these events on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with representatives, called Ambassadors, from the companies. BI then delivers the outputs of the event to the benefiting NPP.
Corporate Volunteer Days
BI organizes volunteer activities for companies based on their interests to support a local Non-Profit Partner. Companies will inform BI of their weekday volunteer availability, and BI will match that to a non-profit need. Often, companies have restrictions relating to season, time of day, day of the week, location, issue area, transportation, and other factors that limit the possible types of events that NPPs can accommodate. Companies’ restrictions on event type necessitate BI’s role in matching their desire to volunteer and donate with the realistic requirements of NPPs. BI staff members then lead the event with corporate groups.
Building management and companies donate supplies and money, with BI facilitating a match for the supplies, often on short notice. BI will contact its NPP network, or reach out to other organizations to match the donations. These donations can typically arise when a company moves or goes out of business, leaving the building management to empty the offices quickly for cleanup. In many cases, BI has a very small timeframe to find an organization to accept, and often pick up, the donations.