Learning Series | New Experiences

June 3, 2022


It's the start of Summer and WeHero is launching multiple new experiences to help companies engage their teams through corporate volunteering. We're launching programs around vision impairment, childhood marriage and amputations. Looking for more insights and conversations around all things social impact? Check out WeHero Learn for more videos and blogs.

WeHero designs and executes social impact programs through strategic partnerships, CSR & ESG program design and execution, and engaging volunteer programs. Our team works day in and day out to develop new solutions to create better cultures, better brands, and a greater social return. Our mission: To build innovative solutions that empower organizations and individuals around the world to maximize social impact.

Interview Transcript

Andy - WeHero (00:04): Ben welcome back. Excited to have you
Ben - WeHero (00:06): Excited to be here and excited to do this episode, because it's one of the few times where not going to talk about a trend or what companies are challenged with right now. We're going to talk about us, which is going to be fun. So
Andy - WeHero (00:17): It's going to be uncomfortable. I think more accurately.
Ben - WeHero (00:19): That's a good way to put it.
Andy - WeHero (00:21): Yeah. So as Ben mentioned, we're going to talk a little bit about us today. We have spent a lot of time in the last three months, really thinking about and planning and launching new volunteer experiences. And you know, we have a few really fun ideas we want to introduce everyone to, but I think maybe it would be helpful to start with a little bit about how we introduce events, the background of it, what we try to incorporate in our events. And I'd love to hear from your perspective Ben having built so many of these, you know, what is our core event and how do you think about building them?
Ben - WeHero (00:52): Yeah, there's, it's a great question. And there's so many factors that go into designing, creating a volunteer experience or team building experience for us. And I think one of the things we always try to look at is, is this going to be unique in something new for people that are participating in this for their first time? And there's a number of other things that we're looking at, right. We're looking at does this support a number of the sustainable development goals that we don't have a lot of programming around right now. Is this something that companies and employees are actively looking to support, and this is something that's truly going to help the nonprofit or the organization that we're working with. So I think those are all things that we're really looking at when we're designing and crafting these. And there's in every experience we do, I think three core areas that we're looking at as well.
Ben - WeHero (01:35): We're looking at a, is this going to be an educational experience and an eye-opening experience? Can we help people build empathy around a new population and a new demographic, new cause area too, is this going to be fun to have a team building aspect? We really want teams to be able to come together and engage with one another through the experience and last, and certainly not least we want to make sure these are making impact. The, the last thing we want is that these are going to be, you know, keeping you busy for an hour. We want you coming out of this, walking away, feeling like, wow, I actually like made a huge difference today and I have a path forward to continue making an impact as well. So we think about all those things as we're, we're crafting these in Andy, I'm curious, you know, your take on anything we're missing there on what we're putting into this to, to make these successful.
Andy - WeHero (02:19): No, I think Y you're a hundred percent right. In what we think about the one other factor I'd say is what we typically do is very unique and creative, the events we do, which I think then for the people planning these events and the event managers, the head of CSRs, these individuals who are planning these, I think sometimes there's a concept because these are really unique and somewhat more complicated events that it's almost more stressful and takes more time from them. And so I feel like we have two paths when we're planning events, the first being, we have to plan a really good event and then we need to really master the operations. So with just one finger, they can say go and we can manage it from start to finish. And so they're not stressed around having a really creative tree planting event in people's homes, which sounds nearly impossible to do, but that's the exact same as planting, you know, any other event. And so I'd say we kind of take a look at it from the lens of making this the best, most powerful event for the participants, but also how do we master this and make it as seamless as possible for the organizers?
Ben - WeHero (03:17): Yeah, no, that's a really good point. We do want to make these like really unique, but without any of that additional bandwidth that you feel like is going to be needed to run and execute that experience.
Andy - WeHero (03:26): Yeah, exactly. Cause I, I, we were talking to the facilities manager at a company we work with and they said for them it was, they get to be the fun creative one to bring these really cool events in that employees are like, oh, this is amazing. They become the hero of the day without having any of the extra work, because this is new creative and it's something different for their employees.
Ben - WeHero (03:48): Love that we want to make everybody heroes out there.
Andy - WeHero (03:50): Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So, so we've teased people enough. Do you want to talk through the three or four, you know, new events that we're launching and, and have just recently launched?
Ben - WeHero (04:00): Yeah. if you want, I can tackle the, the B my eyes one, and then we can pass it over to you talk about some of the other stuff that we're working on.
Andy - WeHero (04:07): Sure. Yeah. Go for it.
Ben - WeHero (04:08): So one of the ones that we're really excited about is a program called B my eyes. So this is an organization that's hyper focused on supporting the blind population. Those that are challenged with visibility across the globe by connecting them via technology with folks that are cited and helping them with daily challenges, like what color clothing am I currently working on for an outfit? Like what was the expiration date on these items in my pantry, where's the bus stop. I'm trying to find the bus stop. All these things can be solved with technology, but they take volunteers. And so with B my eyes, we've been able to pull together this really wonderful experience that can take place over the course of 30 minutes as a kickoff event. And then folks are volunteering throughout their day. So to give you a sense of what this looks like before the event all the volunteers are downloading the B my I app.
Ben - WeHero (04:57): It's an application that you can download on iOS or Android and use, make an account with your corporate email. And then what happens is we have a kickoff event. That kickoff event is so we can help you understand just how powerful the BMI I program is the audience that we're supporting and why it's so needed, and the impacts that's going to be made through the experience that you're going to have throughout the rest of the day. Sharing stories about people that have been impacted so positively through having help from volunteers that are, you know, countries away sometimes. And after that kickoff event, we then push all these calls from folks that are blind or having trouble with, with sight to these volunteers that are helping them with those daily challenges. I shared one example that I, I had when I was taking these calls and it was just helping a gentleman find his way to the bus stop successfully.
Ben - WeHero (05:48): And I know you've taken some of these calls. I think one, it was a clothing call, right? Like you had to do a clothing call. You were in a dinner party at one point. So and I think what's so beautiful about this is that we're directly connecting with the beneficiary. We're directly connecting with that person that needs help, and we can do this across the globe in your native language. And so I think it's a really exciting experience that we're just launching right now. And I can't wait to see what people think as they go through this for the very first time
Andy - WeHero (06:16): For me having done the test event as our team learning about, you know, how hard it is to live as a blind individual, and then having the calls funneled to me, you know, the following day. And I, I believe I did four separate calls was one of the most eye opening and direct connection experiences I've ever had volunteering. And the fact that I'm going to continue doing that for the next year or two when I get calls is super powerful. And we're obviously really excited about this partnership because we're working with the, the company to really, you know, focus calls to our corporate partners. And I think the connection there is going to be really powerful. So just, you know, as a moving experience for me and I can't wait for others to experience it.
Ben - WeHero (06:57): Yeah, absolutely. So stay tuned for that. Everybody that's coming out right now. And do you want to talk about the Val experience? Cause I know you've been working super close with this nonprofit organization for a number of months to put this program together.
Andy - WeHero (07:09): Yeah. There's a few things we're working on with Val. Vow for girls is a nonprofit focused on, you know, ending child marriage. There are crazy amounts of child marriage that happen across the world, typically in developing countries, but also in developed countries. And so their nonprofit is really focused on empowering local partners for around education business to help women, you know, really give them the choice to not be married young. And so we're F we're actually building a few different things. The one that we've recently launched is an embroidery project. And so your team is going to come together and we're going to learn about some of the frightening facts around child marriage. And it was shocking to me to hear how prevalent this was and what the impact of that is. And then we'll also learn about, okay, how do we actually solve this issue?
Andy - WeHero (07:58): And it's really hard for us to solve it, you know, 4,000, 5,000 miles away from the issue. And so we, what we've decided to do is make this an awareness project. So we make a donation to the nonprofit, but, but importantly, we're building an embroidery. So a circle embroidery, I'm not going to show you mine cause it's so, so bad. I'm not an artist, but your embroidery with a message from vow for girls with their colors. And the great thing about this is we include a gift note in it and you can actually give it to someone. And so this gift helps spread the word around what Val is doing in a really public showing way that allows you to talk about it. And so, as we think about engaging team experiences, that make a difference, this is a perfect balance of, you know, really worthwhile cause that we can all get behind with a really fun activity that engages your team in a way that allows them to tell others about it and introduce others to these cause that frankly isn't talked about in the United States very often, cause we don't see it with our own.
Ben - WeHero (08:56): I think the awareness piece is like, just so critical. Like I'm so glad you clicked on that. Cuz I live in my own little bubble sometimes. And when you started working on this program with the team, I just had no clue that this was even an issue, right? Like you, you know, that there's some of that happening, but the scale and size of the issue is just amazing and like was, and with this cause and so many causes, right? Like we talk about period power, for example we talk about clean water. Like the fact that people in the us still have struggle, getting access to clean water think is amazing. So, so many of these cause areas and just like this one, just that awareness piece I think is so critical. And I love that for me too, going through it, like learning a skill set that I've also never learned before, which is like embroidery and being able to continue like building awareness through something like that thinks really special as well.
Andy - WeHero (09:43): Yeah. And, and there's so many unique connections because a typical thread of the embroidery takes about three seconds and every three seconds a girl is married before she's 18 against her will every three seconds around the world. Think about that. 1, 2, 3, another girl has been married against her will. And so there's that connection. The other connection is this nonprofits, local partners are actual actually teaching embroidery and sewing skills. So a girl has economic viability and can have her own job as a tailor as a seamstress. So she's not reliant on being married. And so there's so many connections to what we're learning to, what these girls are going to be learning to hopefully help their situation to help the overall cause. So there's a lot of interconnected natures within the event.
Ben - WeHero (10:28): Yeah. Putting ourselves in their shoes. I love that so much.
Andy - WeHero (10:31): Yeah. I'm glad I'm not in their shoes because I, I am so bad at embroidery. It's embarrassing. Luckily we have some incredible members on our team who can carry the weight for all of us.
Ben - WeHero (10:41): Yeah. I'm in that boat as well. I, I fall into the artistically challenged category. So anything embroidery are like just right stick figures are my limitation.
Andy - WeHero (10:50): Yeah, exactly. You also have another form of a construction event that you are, are launching. I'd love to hear it from you and kind of the overview and, and what you're so excited about this other event.
Ben - WeHero (11:02): Yeah. We have an event coming out soon. I can't take any credit for, it's an incredible team member that we have. That's been working really hard on this event, but there's a nonprofit that's called the Ellen metal prosthetic hand foundation. And this foundation's incredible. What they do is they are building prosthetic hands and they're donating to folks and donating those hands to develop folks in developing countries that have a need for those hands. And you know, the big gap and challenge is one making sure that we can fund those hands to be donated. And two that the hands are actually constructed. Because you can imagine putting together a prosthetic hand, there's so many moving pieces, like the bottom fingers need to move. The top hand needs to move and it needs to be able to survive through a lot of different tasks. And so there's a lot of moving pieces that go into it.
Ben - WeHero (11:48): So building the hands takes this nonprofit a huge amount of time. And I think I also like to highlight that just for prosthetic cans, like these are so important just for like the livelihoods of the people that like are receiving them. Like prosthetic hand is an invaluable asset to an individual without an upper limb, like for employment for just family life, so on and so forth. And so what we're actually doing in this volunteer experience is we're building these prosthetic hands. A volunteers are receiving all components and materials, all broken down to put these hands together, to put them in these beautiful leather bags, decorate those bags for the recipient and they get delivered to those folks that are receiving those hands. And it's like such a powerful experience that we're actually helping people like this. Just like a lot of our volunteer experiences.
Ben - WeHero (12:34): We're really educating people as much as possible about how important organizations like the elements prosthetic can foundation are to solving some of these challenges that people run the world are going through and going through some of the content that we provide in the volunteer experience, you build so much empathy. It's so much to like the, the blind volunteer experience, right? Like you go through this and you go, wow. I didn't even like think about this as a challenge. And when I put myself into my immerse myself in this experience, I it'd be so challenging to imagine myself not having, you know, two upper limbs, for example, as some of these folks have. And so the, what is really cool about this experience is it's so in depth, when you're building the hand, there's so many components and it does take a very long time and it takes a huge amount of patience.
Ben - WeHero (13:18): And so folks that are really good at engineering have incredibly good motor skills are very patient with fine detail instructions. Like this volunteer experience is really for them. Like you really feel like you make an impact and you really immerse yourself into every single aspect of this. And it's pretty amazing that we're giving hands to folks that truly need them. So a little bit about that. It's coming out very soon. I would say in the next few days our audience and our client base will be aware of this volunteer experience and we really hope people can jump on and, and help us get more hands to more people across the globe.
Andy - WeHero (13:49): Yeah, just such a huge fan of the event. And I think what you said at the end is so true. I mean, we, we have a lucky job of creating these events and building them and, and working with companies to execute them. But ultimately companies, you know, are the ones who have this in their control. And that's why we love working with companies who are excited to give back and, and try to do such great impact around the world. So I think it's very exciting there and we have a bunch of other ones I don't, I don't know if we should go into detail, but we have a bunch of other exciting, you know, events coming out shortly. As we continue to build innovative ways to give back and really engage large teams. So I think it's a very exciting time for us and, and for our clients.
Ben - WeHero (14:25): Yeah. Stay tuned. We have stuff around yoga and coffee and like that's all I'm going to say. We have some pretty crazy stuff coming out in the future. So stay tuned cuz the way the new programs to engage your teams are going to be really exciting in the future.
Andy - WeHero (14:40): Yeah. Well I, I think that's probably a good spot to stop today. Ben, do you agree or is there anything else you want to cover?
Ben - WeHero (14:46): No, I think that's good. Anybody's interest in any of these programs, please let us know. I think also just a, a call out to folks. You know, we love it when people have ideas for us on things that we can create. So if you know of an amazing nonprofit, that's doing incredible work, or if you have an idea for an incredible volunteer experience, please let us know. Like we love getting that feedback when we love hearing those ideas and we'll do everything we can to like make those ideas become a reality. So please reach out.
Andy - WeHero (15:11): Awesome. Thanks again, Ben. And that's excited to see some of our clients start doing these events.
Ben - WeHero (15:16): Awesome. Thanks Sandy. See you all soon at one of these volunteer experiences.
Andy - WeHero (15:19): Yep. Have a good rest of the day.

Your Hosts

Andy VandenBerg
Andy VandenBerg is the co-founder and COO of WeHero where he works closely with hundreds of companies to help them reach their social impact goals. Andy speaks actively about the importance of aligning strategy with social responsibility and how companies can pursue both purpose and profit. Andy’s past experience includes private equity and family office investing. If he’s not in front of his computer, you can find him in the Pacific Ocean or Lake Michigan.
Ben Sampson
Ben Sampson is the co-founder and CEO of WeHero where he works closely with hundreds of companies to help them reach their social impact goals. Ben speaks actively about corporate social responsibility, volunteerism, sustainability, and how companies united with activism drive powerful change. Ben’s past experience includes leading product teams, building startups, and studying sustainable business strategy at Harvard. In his free time, he’s an avid outdoor enthusiast focused on skiing, surfing, and mountain biking.

“The finance revolution is here”