Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Skills-Based Volunteering at Fidelity: Impact, Networking, and Personal Growth


Common Impact’s success is driven by committed companies and their corporate volunteers who generously share their expertise with nonprofits. For two decades, Fidelity and Common Impact have joined forces to create impactful employee engagement initiatives. These initiatives not only enhance Fidelity’s social impact but also integrate community engagement into the employee experience.
Karl Sather, a dedicated Fidelity volunteer, has actively contributed to various projects, including skills-based volunteering and mentoring for Fidelity Investments’ Invest in My Education (ME) initiative. Karl shared his insights on the transformative power of volunteering and its role in promoting social good.
Raised in a close-knit farming community in Minnesota, Karl developed a strong ethos of community support and altruism. This upbringing has inspired him to give back through volunteering and charitable donations. Karl has volunteered with several nonprofits, including YMCA and YWCA chapters, where his initial experience with Girls on the Run left a profound impact, influencing his career path and passion for volunteerism.
With a diverse background encompassing customer service, leadership, operations, logistics, and strategic planning, Karl found his niche in skills-based volunteering. He discovered that his skill set aligned well with the needs of nonprofits partnered with Fidelity and Common Impact.
Recently, Karl participated in a skills-based volunteering event focused on supporting Equality Utah. This organization champions LGBTQ+ civil rights through legislative advocacy and community empowerment. Karl and his volunteer team collaborated with Equality Utah to refine their approach for the One Utah Summit Spring 2024. Their efforts included crafting a compelling value proposition to attract corporate sponsors and equipping ERG leaders with essential leadership and advocacy tools.
Karl emphasized the importance of leveraging professional skills to contribute meaningfully to community initiatives. His involvement with Equality Utah exemplifies how corporate volunteers like him can drive positive change and foster inclusive environments for marginalized communities.

What inspired you to explore skills-based volunteering?
When I reviewed the skills and expertise that nonprofits were seeking through skills-based volunteering programs, I saw an opportunity to make a significant contribution. Drawing from my years of volunteer experience, I understand the challenges these organizations face daily, such as limited resources, manpower, and specialized knowledge. These challenges motivate me to assist in overcoming them.
How do you perceive the transferability of your skills-based volunteering experiences to your professional life?
My collaboration with peers during skills-based volunteering provided invaluable learning opportunities in a short time. Experiencing diverse perspectives enlightened me on the consulting aspect and the impact of supporting nonprofits. Building personal connections with colleagues from different Fidelity business units, whom I wouldn't typically interact with, was enriching. It broke down potential organizational barriers, fostering new connections and enhancing collaboration across the company.
How did this experience influence your perception of Fidelity's social impact initiatives?
Engaging in skills-based volunteering connected me with individuals involved in various special interest groups within Fidelity. It rekindled my passion for contributing to meaningful causes after years of not volunteering. Exploring Fidelity Cares initiatives, including the Impact Environmental group, inspired me to further engage in volunteering and consider future contributions.
In what ways do you believe skills-based volunteering fosters a sense of community and shared purpose among Fidelity employees?
Skills-based volunteering encourages personal connections through collaborative problem-solving and execution. Participants bring their authentic skills and perspectives to the table, creating a deeper understanding of each other beyond typical office interactions. This shared experience builds camaraderie and a common purpose among colleagues, enhancing workplace relationships and teamwork.
Looking forward, do you foresee yourself continuing to participate in skills-based volunteering? How do you anticipate it will shape your professional and personal development?
I am eager to sustain my involvement in both short-term and long-term volunteering efforts. Long-term consulting projects particularly interest me as they offer extended opportunities to contribute to nonprofit success. Recently, shadowing a local YMCA board meeting piqued my interest in potentially serving on a board in the future. Volunteering has enriched my life significantly, and I look forward to further growth through learning new skills, expanding my network, and stepping outside my comfort zone.
What advice would you offer someone new to skills-based volunteering who is uncertain about trying it?
The journey of skills-based volunteering is transformative, primarily through self-discovery. You'll realize the immense value of skills you've developed over time and gain insights that can inspire personal and professional growth. While starting may seem daunting, embracing the process of adaptation, inquiry, and problem-solving brings immense satisfaction and fulfillment.
In essence, everyone should explore skills-based volunteering at least once. Embrace the uncertainty, as it leads to rewarding experiences and personal growth opportunities.