The Societal Impact of Voedselbanken Nederland | Deloitte Impact Foundation


The Societal Impact of Voedselbanken Nederland

Measuring the impact of ‘Voedselbanken Nederland’

Initiative 2/3: Currently, three pro-bono initiatives are running to support the Voedselbanken Nederland. Each one was started by an individual colleague at Deloitte via the Deloitte Impact Foundation. Read their blogs to learn more about their initiatives and their experiences.

Through the Deloitte Impact Foundation, Deloitte colleagues use their expertise to support the Voedselbanken Nederland in their mission to provide food to people who are financially incapable or barely able to support themselves. In this blog Kirsten Petram will give insight on challenges that Voedselbanken Nederland are facing, the support that Deloitte offers to tackle these challenges and why this project also makes an impact on her.

Challenges Voedselbanken Nederland

Kirsten: "Voedselbanken Nederland was facing multiple challenges before we started with this project. Every year, the number of customers is growing. In 2019, this amount increased with 8% compared to 2018. Currently, Voedselbanken Nederland helps approximately 150.000 customers per year. This means that obtaining sufficient food for all customers is getting harder each year. Next to that, every regional Voedselbank is organized differently, resulting in different cultures, processes, different data and different degrees of detail in which some data is tracked. Leading an organization of only volunteers (100% nobody is paid) has it’s own dynamics and challenges.

Request for help

Our partner, Mark Hoekstra, attended the ‘Goed Geld Gala’ last year, where he met some board members the Voedselbanken Nederland. They already knew each other from other support initiatives that Mark did a couple of years ago. They started talking about the current challenges that Voedselbanken Nederland are facing and the Tom Hillemans, vice president of Voedselbanken Nederland, and Mark discussed possible solutions.

Mark immediately thought of the Deloitte Impact Foundation and how Deloitte could support them to tackle these challenges. Later that month, he went to the headquarter of Voedselbanken Nederland in Houten with Léonie de Gast and that was the beginning of this project. Deloitte stands for making an impact that matters and we are convinced that supporting the Voedselbanken contributes to that purpose. 

An overwhelming experience

In august last year, I went to the headquarter of Voedselbanken Nederland for the first time. What immediately struck me was the great enthusiasm of the board members about the work they do and the amount of people they can help every day. They are committed for 100% on a voluntary basis, sometimes even next to their day-to-day job.

When they started talking about what Voedselbanken Nederland does and why they are so committed, I was totally overwhelmed. Of course I knew that Voedselbanken Nederland is a charitable organisation and that they help people who are not able to provide food for themselves, but I never knew that 1.000.000 people in the Netherlands are living below the poverty line, of which 170 regional Voedselbanken are helping 150.000 people per year with 12.000 volunteers and provide food waste at the same time (worth 74.000.000 euros per year). 

Different clusters

Together with the board of Voedselbanken Nederland, we started with a brainstorm session, in which we determined what impact is for the Voedselbanken Nederland and how we could measure this. In this workshop, three clusters were identified: volume/range, sustainability and social impact.

With these clusters, we would like to measure how many people, who are in need of help, are already a customer at a Voedselbank and how many people we could help if we would have more resources. By doing this, we hope companies are more willing to help Voedselbanken to donate food and non-food products. Next to that, we would like to measure how much food waste is still present in the Netherlands and how much still can be gained here, to increase sustainability.

Furthermore, we want to measure the social impact that all 170 regional Voedselbanken have on their customers and volunteers on individual and collective level. In line with these clusters, we are also helping Voedselbanken with the improvement of the data exchange between regional Voedselbanken.

The impact of Covid-19

Unfortunately, Covid-19 is slowing this project down. Due to this crisis, food supply has decreased. Furthermore, many volunteers belong to the risk group (because of their age) and are therefore unable to go to work or got ill themselves. People’s health has the highest priority, which means that the Deloitte Impact Foundation project is postponed to a later stage.

However, at the same time, the number of customers at the Voedselbanken has increased by an average of five percent in recent months, with peaks reaching thirty percent in Amsterdam. It is expected that the number of people with financial problems will increase further in the near future. Therefore, it is even more important that we will continue our work for Voedselbanken Nederland because it is needed more than ever."

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