get to know WAU.org – WAU
Today Websites Are Us works with a social impact project: WAU.Org. Learn more about the structure of the project and the first steps that were taken!
Generate sustainable and long-term social impact, believe in our transformational power and generate opportunity. These three objectives, combined, can make a big difference in many people’s lives. But I already say that putting it into practice is not as simple as structuring a sentence.
When these objectives are combined with knowledge and faced with a significant social problem, great opportunity for transformation. This is what we want to do with the social impact initiatives at Websites Are Us.
There has been a lot of work and dedication so far, but there is still much to come! And that’s what we’re going to talk about in this post. Follow!
The union of a purpose with an opportunity
The idea of creating a social impact initiative at Websites Are Us was already present in the founders’ minds, however, according to the company’s CEO, Diego Gomes, “as other priorities emerge day by day, the first step towards having a project of consistent social responsibility would be to find someone within the company and empower them to be able to ensure that we leave an ever greater impact for society and not just for rockers and our customers ”.
I have always believed in the role of people to generate any transformation in the world. I co-founded an NGO for believing that, and I saw in WAU a huge potential to generate impact in a real way.
I had been here for 6 months when I heard that there were already conversations about possibilities of making projects with social impact, but I didn’t have an owner. There I saw a perfect opportunity to, within the company, perform a function that could make a difference in the lives of many people.
After several conversations, meetings and alignments, in early 2019 I presented the first version of the social impact project to Diego.
The first steps of the project
Imagine a company with almost 400 employees. It’s a lot of experience and a lot of know-how gathered, do you agree? Now imagine that same company directing this knowledge to a social cause as well. The least that can be expected from this combination is a big positive impact.
WAU.org is Websites Are Us’s social impact initiative, which was born with the objective of generating growth opportunities for social and youth initiatives.
“Starting a social responsibility project is challenging and at the same time exciting. We didn’t want to do something for ‘English to see’. It has to come from the leadership and it has to set an example. So, we started discussions on our board and board, even before bringing it to the team. With everyone bought in the same view, it is much easier to allocate financial resources, and more importantly, the time of our people ”, stresses Diego.
Ability to make a difference
WAU is a company with an enormous capacity to generate impact. I started to study and realized that the private sector has a huge potential to accelerate social changes.
WAU.org was not born to pursue an independent goal. It was born in line with WAU’s strategic objectives as a company.
This goes hand in hand and enhances the impact, precisely because it is strategically aligned with the company’s purposes and because it uses the knowledge we already have to generate impact.
Project objective and pillars
“The key term here is give back. Open opportunities for people who don’t have them. When we commit our time, resources and make a public commitment, we know that we will be charged for the impact we will have on society. Our goal is to create an initiative that transcends the gates of WAU and, like other projects that we have internally, impact millions of people in the future ”, says Diego.
We have two pillars of action: O entrepreneurship and education. This is what guides our projects.
When we talk about entrepreneurship, we want to make an impact for NGOs and leaders in the third sector, empowering them and making them more professional.
And in terms of education, we want to contribute to the entry of young people into the job market in a more qualified way. Those were the guidelines we built.
The first thing I did was benchmarking companies that already worked in that direction. That was very rich. I stayed in São Paulo for 3 days, I talked with the people from the Votorantim Institute, from the Fundação do Instituto Boticário Group, Fundação 1Bi from Grupo Movile and Ambev.
It was a moment of immersion and learning. When I came back, I had a million information in my head. It was necessary to organize the ideas to make them applicable to the reality and moment of WAU.
The project coming out of the paper: mobilization of leaders and multipliers
The first learning I had in the conversations was: if the leadership is not mobilized, it is not possible to move. Thinking about it, the first really practical action I did was a meeting with all the leaders of WAU, in order to explain:
- why are we investing in it;
- what we were doing;
- what was our goal;
- how it would impact internal engagement;
- how it would impact the attraction of new customers;
- how society as a whole demands it;
- how it would influence the work of each of the leaders.
It was a great first step in building a solid foundation for what the initiative would be.
Another lesson was that, as it is a new area, it would not have many resources to invest. It would be just one person until I needed someone else.
And in this process of creation and structuring, I learned that collaborative action is essential, that is: involving several heads to think about practical actions.
So, the second step was to create a selection process for the multiplier team. A team of 10 people, who dedicate themselves voluntarily and think about what are the projects that can be done to generate impact.
The whole company has the same goal: WAU Volunteer Day
In the initial talks about the project, WAU pledged to dedicate 1% of all employees’ time so that they could get involved in activities related to the social cause.
So, in parallel to the structuring and the first meetings of the multiplier team, I was already designing an action that would actively involve the entire company: WAU Volunteer Day.
The main idea of this action is to bring together everyone who is interested in participating to generate social impact and use our knowledge as a team to do something really transformative. It is always voluntary, only those who are interested participate.
Internal communication about Volunteer Day started approximately one month in advance. A communication strategy was created to increase engagement and, consequently, the participation of rockers, since the more people participating, the greater the possibility of impact.
WAU Volunteer Day took place on July 2nd during all working hours and, in this action, we have the participation of more than 250 employees.
Using gamification techniques, employees were separated into teams and, throughout the day, different tasks had to be completed.
In return, each team received a quantity of coins. At the end of the day, the team with the most coins won the prize of one thousand reais to donate to the institution they wanted.
The winning NGO was ABET (London Association of Tuberous Sclerosis) and this was the testimony given by one of the collaborators, Márcia da Silva, after receiving the donation: “I was very happy to have won a donation from you on the day of volunteering. I was very flattered by the choice of everyone involved. May God bless and continue with this beautiful project. Doing good makes the difference ”.
While employees participated in the challenge of mapping NGOs across London, the NGO Hub portal was created and launched on the air – an online portal for us to connect people to the social initiatives mapped during the day.
The idea is to build this bridge using our knowledge, helping these NGOs to rank their portal pages, generating visibility for them.
There were 984 NGOs registered on the portal that day and another 22 that registered organically after a week of the site going live. More than 1000 people were impacted in a single day. This gives a dimension of what we can still – and let’s go! – do ahead.
It is important to note, here, that even with all the evolution of the project since the initial idea, we are just beginning. We have a lot to learn and develop to be able to contribute even more to our society and, most importantly: in a consistent and perennial way.
To this end, in parallel with the actions and initiatives already mentioned, we are developing a pilot project with 3 NGOs. The main objective is to create a kind of mentoring in the long term.
The idea is, initially, to select some NGOs and connect them to internal rockers – who would be the mentors – so that we can develop a work very focused on sales and marketing, which is where we have great knowledge to help these institutions to be more efficient throughout the process.
In addition, we have also partnered with WAU University. For each course that is sold by, we donate another to a young man who has not had so many opportunities, or a leader of NGOs.
Thus, we hope that the knowledge acquired through the courses will contribute to boosting the career of these young people, generating and leveraging opportunities so that, in the future, it can even become a source of income.
Another initiative was the so-called Sombra Entrepreneur, also very focused on the education pillar, carried out in partnership with Junior Achievement, a worldwide NGO.
Here at WAU, we received some young people from public schools. They accompanied a rocker for a day – in their area of interest – in order to understand what a company’s day-to-day life is like. The goal is to generate connection and inspiration for future professionals.
Caio Henrique was one of those young people. He had the experience of spending a day on the Websites Are Us Marketing team, being mentored by the Community Marketing Supervisor, Bruna Moreira.
“Spending a day as a mentor made me realize how important and transforming what we do here at WAU (with all the courses, content and expertise we share). We are not just saying what people need to learn, but we are offering tools and training! And being able to help train Caio by passing on our knowledge directly was a stroke of heart and a huge motivator to deliver even more incredible things to the world, ”said Bruna Moreira.
Finally, today, we support two projects by the incentive law. One of them is the Elas Festival, which is 100% produced by women. The project has a photography exhibition, artistic interventions, concerts, films and a space for an awareness conversation.
The other is the Zumbi Culture Award, which values black culture. There are several categories and the society indicates who will be the winners.
As you can see, when it comes to social impact, we already have some initiatives in progress, however, the way to go is long and continuous. We are taking the first steps towards transforming our society in a sustainable and long-term manner.
The task is not easy at all, but with so many people involved and supporting the cause, we can already see the first fruits, which gives even more motivation. And, if you want to know our blog with NGO cases, be sure to click here!