How Besa Uses Civic Engagement to Bridge the Gap Between Community and Individuals
Giving back is an essential piece of the CoverMyMeds culture, and we work with a variety of organizations in our communities to do so. Here, we spotlight CoverMyMeds collaborator Besa.
Matthew Goldstein was entrenched in the corporate retail world, where he was developing a new business venture while working a typical nine-to-five. He quickly realized a void his day job wasn’t fulfilling: a desire to give back to his community.
Matthew began volunteering at a suicide hotline and crisis center on Saturday mornings, and found they were the most fulfilling hours of his entire week. Based on his experiences, his friends and coworkers became eager to volunteer on their own. However, they had difficulty finding opportunities in their communities: Some charities’ websites listed specific service projects, while others didn’t. And it was often days before a charity employee returned a call or email inquiring about volunteering.
It was clear that, while people did want to get involved in their communities, there wasn’t a simple way to do it.
The seed for Besa was planted.
Besa is a Franklinton-based nonprofit dedicated to connecting people and businesses to community-service opportunities. With the Besa platform, Matthew has developed an easier way for volunteers to find causes they care about, while simplifying volunteer recruitment for nonprofits by displaying service opportunity sign-ups.
Besa Makes Giving Back Easier for Everyone
At its core, Besa is a mutually beneficial service that alleviates the administrative time a nonprofit spends organizing volunteers, while making service opportunities easier to find — all within a single platform.
Its online portal allows local volunteers to donate time to organizations they care about through curated give-back events. Thanks to positive volunteering experiences, many charities gain enthusiastic supporters — especially among a mission-driven, vibrant audience.
“Millennials want to support organizations that stand for something,” Matthew said. “They don’t lead with their wallets, they lead with action. They want to be involved in the community, and we want to make it easier for them.”
Before Besa, community members may have manually searched hundreds of organizations before finding one that resonated. After inquiring about volunteer opportunities and waiting to hear back, many were no longer interested in getting involved due to a lengthy processing time.
“Besa makes it easy for people to get involved,” Matthew said. “It’s a win for volunteers and for nonprofits who need those resources.”
A Novel Approach to Civic Engagement
Besa offers a gamification aspect that rewards users for completing volunteer hours. Users earn profile badges indicating achievements, such as number of years volunteering with Besa, serving as a Volutneer Leader and volunteer a high number of hours.
“When we implemented the badges and gamification aspects, I thought it was important to find a way that would showcase and recognize volunteers for the good work they are doing,” Matthew said. “It’s important to note that it’s not to trivialize the work of volunteers, but to highlight their accomplishments and drive community engagement.”
In addition to badges, volunteers can earn other rewards (like t-shirts!) for donating time. Profiles also allow users to track progress and interact with others in the Besa community.
The Columbus Community is Something Special
Matthew chose Franklinton as Besa’s headquarters because of its rich history with community engagement through philanthropic efforts. He’s continually impressed with how receptive the greater Columbus area is to the idea of civic engagement.
“The entire Columbus community — including government agencies, businesses and corporations rooted here — is committed to joining forces to address its needs,” Matthew said.
“Columbus faces just as many challenges as the next big city,” he continued. “I love that this community is so driven to make things better.”
Besa thrives on partnerships with other local nonprofits and corporations. Without them, it’s difficult for Besa to fulfill its mission: driving employee community engagement within companies.
Giving back to our community has always been a big part of the CoverMyMeds culture, which is why we decided to collaborate with Besa. Besa enhances our community impact within Fanklinton and the surrounding communities by helping employees become more involved in volunteer activities. Since the start of our collaboration in 2017, CoverMyMeds employees have volunteered nearly 4,500 hours.
“As someone who cares deeply about our community, I can say wholeheartedly that CoverMyMeds has been a dedicated champion for this neighborhood,” Matthew said. “Over the past two years, they have delivered on their promise to be a corporate partner that sets the bar for what good citizenship can look like.”
Interested? Here’s How Besa Works
Head to Besa’s website to create an account. Get started by personalizing your profile and creating an hours-volunteered goal.
View Besa’s volunteer listings to find the perfect project for you. Besa provides a description for each organization, simplifying the way community members learn about each charity’s mission.
Each service description also includes information — time, location, number of volunteers needed and the project leader. Easily recognizable icons on each project indicate special considerations, like whether heavy lifting is needed, if the event is fast-paced or if the location is ADA compliant.
Once you’ve found an event, click “sign up” to reserve your place as a volunteer. Service opportunity already full? Join a waitlist; you’ll receive an email when a spot opens up.
Upon completing a service opportunity, you can rate the organization’s project and share comments about your experience. Use Besa’s platform to interact with friends, track your goals and start earning badges for your profile.
If you’re interested in volunteering in the Columbus community, visit givebesa.org for more information. If your business or nonprofit is interested in partnering with Besa, email firstname.lastname@example.org.