Social impact at Zendesk goes digital first with Benevity

Published September 27, 2022
Last updated October 25, 2022

Prior to the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Zendesk employees were highly engaged in community volunteering and advocacy in the neighborhoods in and around our offices all over the world. Over the past three years, putting our values of inclusivity and community into action during the transition to a digital first company, has required a new social impact strategy.

In the height of pandemic lockdowns, our main concern was supporting our community nonprofit partners however we could, since in-person volunteering was limited or in many cases no longer an option. We quickly set up new programs that offered virtual volunteering and mentoring opportunities, and raised funds for supplies and technology our partners needed to function remotely. We also increased the size of grants to key international organizations such as the International Rescue Committee and World Central Kitchen to support their essential work all around the world.

This year, with the daily impact of the pandemic behind us, our employees told us they wanted to get back to volunteering. With few now coming into a physical office regularly however, it was clear we needed new ways to make this happen.

To align our social impact programs with our digital first company strategy, Zendesk looked to Benevity, a full-service social impact technology platform. Adopted in August, Benevity’s robust workplace volunteering and giving platform is now our one-stop shop for volunteering and advocacy for Zendesk’s more than 6,000 employees around the world.

“Given Zendesk’s digital first strategy, our employee volunteering needs have shifted,” said Kelly Orleans, director of social impact employee engagement at Zendesk. ”We want to offer them meaningful ways to give back, whether they are volunteering in person, virtually, on their own or as a team. Benevity gives them access to literally thousands of ways to give back and support the causes they care about.”

Through Benevity’s platform, Zendesk employees can access a wide range of volunteer opportunities with nonprofit organizations and learn how to get involved in causes in their community or around the world, including partners who receive financial grants from the Zendesk Foundation. Benevity also gives users new ways to donate, with tens of thousands of vetted nonprofits and a simple process for creating custom fundraisers.

In the first month since the Zendesk site launched, our employees have recorded over 250 volunteer hours. Most recently, employees turned to Benevity for guidance in donating to relief organizations in Pakistan in the wake of that country’s devastating floods.

John Paul Pareja, technical support specialist engineer at Zendesk, used the new site to sign up for a volunteer event with Hands on Manila, helping to prepare the Pusawan – San Jose Daycare Center for the new school year by constructing cabinets and painting a mural.

“The Benevity app is so easy to use and lists the upcoming events near me right away, no need to even open my laptop” said Pareja. “It was really fun seeing my colleagues from different departments, and it made me realize how important my role is in the company. Sharing stories and work experiences with them in person was really rewarding.”