“What do you do again?” is perhaps the staple question of every reunion. The most recent I’ve been asked this question was last week, over snacks along a coastal road dike in Gubat, Sorsogon. In response, I say I work in corporate social relations (CSR). CSR has become my go-to catch-all phrase I use to describe my work to friends outside the company. Realistically, I work for a department called Impact. Now, what exactly does that mean?
Boldr’s Impact Model is centered on 3 Cs: Client, Company, and Community. I work on the third C, making sure that Boldr has tangible impact in the communities where it does business. Here are some points that set Boldr apart when it comes to community impact.
What is community impact like at Boldr?
Working in CSR can be tokenistic, with feel-good projects done as afterthought rather than embedded in the company ecosystem. However, this does not apply to Boldr. We have a dedicated team working on Community Impact, ensuring that we never lose sight of what we set out to do, and to put in the work daily. Our Impact Team has grown alongside our growth age-wise and with the establishment of new offices in the past year.
Our commitment has led us to become a signatory of the UN Global Compact, a voluntary initiative to implement sustainability principles and support UN goals. We are also the first BPO in the Philippines to receive a B-Corp certification, and the biggest out of 11 BPOs globally to receive such a certificate after a comprehensive review of our social and environmental impact.
Boldr has dedicated funding for Community Impact Projects across all locations. The Impact Budget, instituted in 2020, allocates 1% of profit specifically for Community Impact, which in effect has removed concerns over whether or not we have the necessary resources to accomplish projects.
We’re deliberate with our intention to integrate Community Impact in our entire process – from who we hire, how we train, to the benefits we provide. And while these matters are still in their ideation and incubation stage, it’s great to know that the conversation is alive and continuous.
I started with Boldr in October 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and after much introspection on my career path. The introspection has led me to three conclusions. First, a job has to be meaningful and has to align with my personal values. Second, I should be transparent during the interview process, and in the same way, expect transparency from potential employers, to avoid the fine print. And third, I want to work in an area of development and advocate for better no matter where I am. Long story short, Boldr ticked off all boxes.
- Empowering Team Members
Every month, we ask our team members to submit proposals for community projects they wish to pursue, then we work on accomplishing it together. Everyone wants to help. They just need a platform and a support system. Through these proposals, we’ve built a system that allows team members to pursue their interests. Our projects have been as diverse as our people. Among them: internet connection for a school, gift-giving during the holidays, food for animal shelters, Mixed Martial Arts classes for young learners, desktop units for a city jail, and menstrual hygiene products for a youth center. We’ve also established the Boldr Food Fair where our chefs showcase their culinary talent through a product sale. A percentage of the profits is donated to an organization of the chefs’ choosing.
- Emphasis on Education
Since our beginning in 2017, Boldr has championed the education of scholars under AMV Philippines. We’ve continued supporting the same group of students as they transitioned to a new facilitating NGO and have also grown our commitment to education. Since 2020, we’ve supported three Learning Hubs in Tacloban, Baseco, and Taytay with pre-owned PCs, internet connectivity, and school supplies. We’ve also hosted webinars for educators on digital skills, and for fresh graduates on interviews and job searching.
- Challenging Our Team and Matching Their Effort
Through the Boldr Challenge, we ask team members across the globe to push themselves to complete a task which we’ll match with a donation. In June 2021, we held the Boldr Outdoor Bike Challenge where we accumulated 5000 kilometers, translating to a 5000 dollar donation for a year’s worth of holistic and education support for 47 children in a Dumagat community in Norzagaray, Bulacan through OneChild. In August of the same year, we hosted an Exercise Challenge collecting 417 exercise hours, equal to an 800 dollar donation to Red de Acompañamiento Yucatan.
- Celebrating and Advocating
We look for meaningful ways to celebrate occasions. For Women’s Month 2022, we held a Talent Showcase, opening space for team members to share their skills and hobbies. We had team members teach us how to cook, bake, dance, and do make-up. Attendance was also matched with a donation for an organization in South Africa. In 2021, we celebrated Mandela Day in both South Africa and the Philippines by making 67 donations to hospitals, and we look forward to doing it again this year. We also observed UN Day with a virtual event attended by 350 students, teachers, and school administrators from Isabela and Mindoro. Our team members from Canada, USA, South Africa, and Mexico very graciously spoke about their countries and entertained the students’ questions.
- Consciousness of Current Events
Boldr responds immediately to urgent problems. We’ve conducted typhoon response operations in the wake of Ursula (2020), Rolly and Ulysses (2021), and Odette (2022). In May 2021, we raised donations to support community pantries, then a month-old movement aimed to curb pandemic-induced hunger by setting up pantries where people can “give according to means, take according to need”.
There are everyday things that I appreciate in my line of work, primarily among them having a solid team who is always kind enough to flesh out ideas and extend a hand. Boldr is five years young, and we’re still learning about the Impact we want to achieve and how to establish the systems to get there. There’s freedom to initiate projects and cultivate ideas. The space for growth is immense and I’m excited to be part of it.