Corporate Global Engagement with Deloitte
In 2013, FSD teamed up with Deloitte for the first of many global engagement programs in Nicaragua. During the first corporate trip, a group of 25 Deloitte volunteers provided service to four community development organizations in Ciudad Sandino and Masaya. FSD facilitated the Group Service Trip (GST) opportunities for these volunteers, who supported grassroots organizations with social justice agendas. With FSD's reciprocal approach in mind, we designed the GST to fit the needs raised by our partner organizations with the collective business acumen of the Deloitte volunteers to achieve outstanding results.
Each project was tailored to leverage the volunteer’s expertise to help deliver maximum impact and transformative effects in the field. The GST lined up practical capacity-building projects that included enhancing local microfinance business models, building the marketing power of microfinance programs, and improving organizational development strategies. The participants were divided into four subgroups and assigned to a local nonprofit organization. The organizations that participated were:
- CECIM provides solutions for multiple community needs including literacy and recreational programs in Ciudad Sandino. FSD supports the critical service it provides its beneficiaries. The GST volunteers undertook the improvement of CECIM’s business model and expansion strategy for a community bakery.
- MASINFA (MASAYA SIN FRONTERAS) promotes sustainable development through vocational and health education, agricultural practices, improved housing, and community engagement for low-income residents of Masaya. Our GST focused on strategies to improve MASINFA’s organization operations towards international certification as an NGO.
- FUNDACION FENIX seeks to address the drug situation in the town through prevention, rehabilitation, development, and social integration programs for children and youth. During this GST, volunteers suggested ways in which the NGO could boost its sustainability through the establishment of a mini food store.
- ALTERNATIVA promotes small business competitiveness and a financial resources base through loans, communal banks, co-operatives, and financial training workshops for the most vulnerable sectors, especially women. Alternativa has a strong commitment to women’s rights within a sustainable development framework. GST volunteers collaborated with Alternativa for ways to improve control of its communal bank program.
Despite anticipated challenges and roadblocks, the Deloitte volunteers achieved successful outcomes that enhanced the capacities of our local partners.
“For us, it was an exceptional experience as we learned from the talent of the professionals, from their passion and effectiveness in multidisciplinary group work,” said Sonia del Socorro Lovo, Centro de Educación y Capacitación Integral Hermana Maura Clarke (CECIM). “The result of the finished product exceeded our expectations by more than 100%.”
While the volunteers left tangible results and took away unique experiences and memories, many set their goals from day one and were excited to see what they were able to achieve in a short-term trip. Deloitte volunteer Drew Ratcliffe said, “I believe that I achieved my two goals: (1) learning more about pro-bono consulting impact, and the work groups like FSD do: I truly enjoyed the week, and am interested in pursuing longer term opportunities that are similar; and (2) getting to know other Deloitte practitioners, FSD staff, and community members: achieved!”
Statements like these are a testament to just how far-reaching the work of our local partners is and the vital services they provide their communities. With FSD’s support, these NGOs bring change to marginalized communities and help to build sustainable futures.
“The FSD Group Service Trip helped me understand what it really means to have a sustainable impact on a community,” said Deloitte volunteer Leslie Chen. “I was really skeptical about how a group of foreigners who didn’t know the language, didn’t know the culture, didn’t know the community, could come in and actually create an impact on businesses and the people who live there. I thought we would come in and it would be more for us to learn rather than for us to provide impact. When we presented our deliverables and saw how thrilled they [ALTERNATIVA] were with the end product, I felt that was entirely unexpected in terms of sustainable impact. We created something that they can use going forward and they wanted to send it off again to their other microfinance organizations to use. We didn’t know that it would have that scale of impact for something that we created in just a matter of four days. For me, it really changed my idea of what sustainable impact can mean and what it actually takes to create sustainable impact.”