Each year, Alludo gives employees a number of days off for volunteering. The company doesn’t tell people what cause they should support or how they should spend that time, and that’s what makes it so awesome. People get to reflect their values and leverage their skills in myriad ways.
We loved seeing the stories and photos pour in of employees’ volunteer time. For some people, this was an opportunity they hadn’t had before, and they embraced it. Others volunteer regularly, and Alludo’s program is a chance to spend work hours giving back.
Many of the stories touched our hearts and gave us inspiration. Here are a couple of highlights:
Douglas King works in professional services at Alludo, and has been doing volunteer work for more than two decades. He says that in most volunteer jobs, you go out and help people. “But in ours, we go out and really hope people don’t need our help! But if they do, we’re there 100%.” Why does Douglas hope he’s not needed? Because he volunteers for St. John’s Ambulance (SJA) Canada, an organization with a long history both in Canada and internationally. When there’s a crisis, Douglas and his team show up.
Douglas has volunteered with SJA Federal District (Ottawa Ontario Canada) since before he started with Alludo, holding several roles in the organization over the years, while always performing first aid/medical first response.
I’ve seen and done a lot that I’d never have done without SJA. I’ve met several Governor Generals of Canada. I was backstage for the Tragically Hip. I’ve ridden in an Armored Personnel Carrier. I’ve walked 20km in one day on shift. I’ve had my patients taken away by helicopter…. the list goes on.
For Douglas and his team, this is no casual volunteer gig. The standard of training is at the level of a firefighter: Medical First Responder with Basic Life Support CPR, as well as some mental health training.
“We also have a therapy dog unit here in Ottawa, which is a whole other level of awesome!” says Douglas. He used his first Alludo volunteer day to help provide medical coverage for Prince Charles’s visit to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police stables.
Douglas has received several awards through SJA and was inducted into the prestigious Order of St. John as a serving member in 2018.
Birgit Burkard is an EMEA Order Management Operations Specialist at Alludo. Since 2019, Birgit has used her photography talents for perhaps the most meaningful gift imaginable. She volunteers with Dein Sternenkind Stiftung (Your Angel Baby), an organization that supports families who have lost their babies or know they won’t survive. “We often take the first and, sadly, last photos of the baby,” says Birgit. Dein Sternenkind Stiftung has 750 volunteer photographers across Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.
When Birgit was approached to become a volunteer photographer for the organization, she says she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to do it because of the emotions involved in the subject. Today, she’s so glad she joined. “You feel a special atmosphere,” she says of these photography sessions. “It is not only sad, but also fully loaded with love and trust.”
Parents invite you to their emotional and private world and I am very thankful that they share this with me, that they trust me. I am the one that can ensure they don’t lose the memory by just taking photos. Isn’t that simple? It won’t cost me a lot, but I can do so much for the family.
Birgit recalls a particular photography session where the baby, Cedric, was supposed to be born on Birgit’s birthday. The family found out in advance that Cedric wouldn’t survive, and Birgit came to do a session with the family while Cedric was in his mother’s belly. He was later born sleeping on Birgit’s mother’s birthday, and she was able to visit the family again. “It was kind of a miracle; we have so many connections,” Birgit said. “It looked like Cedric picked me to get to know his family.” They’re still in touch, and now have a “rainbow baby.”
In addition to photography sessions, Birgit volunteers to edit and retouch photos sent over by parents or hospitals, “to create a nicer version” of whatever pictures they’d been able to take. “I am very happy and thankful that Alludo provides these volunteer days, so I can be available to step in if I am needed urgently,” says Birgit. Of course, many of her sessions aren’t planned in advance and are requested via an alarm on an app. Birgit relishes knowing that she can say yes and use volunteer time for it if needed. “The families are thankful for Alludo, too.”
Birgit and Douglas have very different volunteer roles, but they share a commonality: they’re willing to step in during people’s most difficult moments, in the middle of a crisis, and be a force for calm and support. It takes an incredible caliber of character to step up like that, and we’re proud to have them among our ranks. That goes for the many, many other Alludo employees who use volunteer days to make a difference in their communities.
At Alludo, we’re firm believers that culture can’t be dictated. Our CEO Christa Quarles often says that culture is what happens when you’re not in the room. Corporate culture should be a representation of the individual personalities, skills, backgrounds, and experiences of the people who work there. These stories from Birgit and Douglas—and the many other stories that we continue to hear—are an indication that Alludo’s culture is generous, resilient, empathetic, proactive, brave, resourceful, and so many other good things. It’s a reminder that giving happens in so many ways; energy, time, skills and resources. It might look different for everyone, but a corporate volunteering program is essential to building a culture of giving.