Making an Impact From the Office With Skills-Based Volunteering


In celebration of Global Volunteer Month, Wayfair’s Social Impact Team recently hosted a volunteer “pitch” event where four teams of Wayfairians came together to help two local nonprofits: Housing Families and Fenway Community Development Corporation. Each of these organizations share our belief in creating a sense of home for all, and in partnering together, we knew we could confidently make a positive impact in our local community.

Over the course of an afternoon, participants from Wayfair volunteered their expertise and new-found familiarity with the nonprofits’ missions to address the challenges they face in better serving our community

The Challenge:
Teams with folks from Wayfair’s customer service teams, software engineering teams and more, were given four hours to orient themselves with background information and ultimately deliver insights and solutions to unique problems from each nonprofit. Half of the teams aided Fenway CDC in providing solutions to grow their corporate supporter base and diversify the ways potential partners could support their programs. The other half of participants helped Housing Families provide solutions for developing an engaging marketing strategy which would compel any audience to support their work. Despite tight time constraints and a considerable challenge, each team effectively came up with impressive and insightful proposals that left both nonprofits inspired.

The Solutions:
Teams were given 10 minutes to present their ideas and answer questions from both nonprofit leadership and senior leaders at Wayfair. Read about each team’s suggestions:

  • Fenway CDC
    • Team A suggested expanding Fenway CDC’s corporate supporter base in three ways: by establishing and promoting donation tiers with different benefits, marketing donation incentives and leveraging their current corporate network to attract new board members.
    • Team B dedicated themselves to empowering Fenway CDC in cultivating a stronger network of corporate partners by defining partnership criteria, reporting the impact of corporate funding and effectively attracting and retaining volunteers from the community.
  • Housing Families
    • Team A outlined both short and long term marketing strategies, offering a wide range of ideas from leveraging Instagram Reels to marketing to schools in the area.
    • Team B developed a robust outline to further promote and improve  Housing Families’ already established 5k. Their tips included what to name the event, how to attract sponsors and how to incentivize participation.

Both Fenway CDC and Housing Families plan to implement parts of these solutions and ideas to better support the communities they serve. “I loved watching the exciting presentations of the four Wayfair teams,” said Fenway CDC’s Iris Tan. “I was highly impressed by their competitiveness, business acumen, passion and energy in sharing ideas to improve the work of Fenway CDC and Housing Families.”

While members of each of the nonprofits expressed their gratitude for Wayfairian suggestions, the participants overwhelmingly appreciated the opportunity to help better the communities that they occupy. “This event was a great way to engage with the broader Wayfair community and learn about the impact of two amazing nonprofits in the Boston area,” said Wayfair Sustainability Associate, Madison McDermott.

Less than half of the volunteers had advanced experience in marketing, communications and strategic planning, yet each volunteer offered their own unique insight that will ultimately make a huge difference in these nonprofit’s lives. Each participant, from Housing Families and Fenway CDC nonprofit team members to Wayfairians and senior leadership found joy in the experience of working together to support a common goal: giving back to our Boston community.