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Jan 14, 2021 11:56:00 AM

Good Impact program - A year (+) in review

Hannah Nordenström

Marketing Lead, Sweden

At the end of 2018 we launched our Good Impact program. A chance for Columbia Road employee's to use and improve on their skills to make the world better by contributing to projects with positive social impact, sponsored by Columbia Road.

Since then many Roadies have taken the opportunity to do good in their free time, some even donating their earnings from the project to various non-profit organisations. In this blog we take a look at a few of the projects that has been done under the Good Impact program by our Roadies to share some insights and inspiration for the future. 

Read more about the Good Impact program Read more

Valot Päälle!

“It has been very empowering to work with Toni and the rest of the crew. When people with varying backgrounds come together and work on a topic close to their passion, something good surely comes out. That is exactly what has happened here. With the help of the program we have been able to reach tens of thousands of people that otherwise would have not found our idea of independent information about energy and emissions. I sincerely believe we have made a difference in the world. Let’s keep up the good work.”




Toni Astala, design and strategy consultant at Columbia Road


Toni, tell us about your initiative/work within the Good Impact Program

Valot Päälle! is a book that aims to inform both decision makers and everyone else to make good decisions related to energy and the environment. The point is to put things into perspective – what actually matters, and how big of an impact do different daily choices, as well as societal decisions, have?

We first set up a new website and created a simple test which helps people determine which type of car would be best for their driving habits. Although traditional gasoline and diesel cars are typically the worst choice for the climate, no single choice is the best for everyone. For example, fully electric cars are the most environmentally friendly choice for many people, but other types (like hybrids, biogas, or ethanol) are better for some driving habits.

During the autumn we worked on a pro version of the car type test, to provide more accurate and actionable insights to people considering a new car. The new calculator is based on feedback from the first version, and will hopefully convince even more people to make environmentally friendly and future-proof car choices.

This year we’ll aim to launch the new test, along with an informational document and a marketing campaign to reach and help even more people to make informed decisions.


What's your takeaway from the experience?

Working with Tuomas Vanhanen, the author of the Valot Päälle! book has been an absolute pleasure. I’ve learned a great deal about the big picture of energy questions in Finland and in general. One of the most surprising learnings was that for my own low-mileage driving habits, an electric car would not be the best choice – when I consider buying a car in the future, I’ll need to look into ethanol cars to minimize my carbon footprint.

How do you feel the Good Impact program creates value for you as a Columbia Road employee/What made you take part in the program? What value has it created?

For me the most important aspect of the Good Impact program is how it encourages and helps me to contribute to a positive change in the world. Many of the organisations which work towards a better tomorrow are non-profits (or similar), and so even if they would benefit from Columbia Road’s employees’ competences they may not have the resources to work with us in a traditional manner. The Good Impact program gives me a chance to use my skills to help those organizations in their work, while also learning about topics I’m interested in.

Learn more about the project in this interview for Huomenta Suomi on MTV. 


WordPress Foundation


Sonja Jaakkola, design and technology consultant at Columbia Road

Sonja, tell us about your initiative/work within the Good Impact Program

I have been volunteering for WordPress Foundation for over four years now by organising local events like WordPress meetups in Helsinki and bigger WordPress conferences called WordCamps. All official WordPress events around the world are organised by volunteers only - even the 3000 attendee WordCamp Europe. 

As Columbia Road announced the Good Impact Program, I was just about to apply to be part of the organising team of first ever WordCamp Nordic. It was a suitable project for the Good Impact Program, so I decided to put my work for the conference under this program. My responsibility in the event was mainly the design and branding, and in practise it meant designing anything from logos to the swag of the event. 

I did not want to be compensated for this volunteering work myself, as to me the point of being a volunteer is to give back to the community. This is why  I decided to donate the money Columbia Road offers from this program back to Unicef to double the impact. 


What's your takeaways from the experience?

The experience of organising WordCamp Nordic was quite special compared to the previous events, as the organising team was from all Nordic countries. We had a wonderful team working towards a shared goal for over six months, and we managed to pull together an amazing event of 600 attendees from around Europe. I definitely learned more remote collaboration skills and appreciate making new connections from other Nordic countries.


How do you feel the Good Impact program creates value for you as a Columbia Road employee/What made you take part of the program? What value has it created?

I have done and would still do volunteer work even if Columbia Road did not offer the Good Impact Program. However, I really appreciate that Columbia Road sees value in giving back, and encourages employees to use our expertise to do good and to be active in the community. I also love the fact that you can donate the money that Columbia Road compensates (instead of receiving it yourself), as for me being paid for volunteer work is not the aim.   


Quote from WordPress Foundation:

“Sonja is a very valuable and loved member of the Nordic WordPress Community, which is part of the Global WordPress Open Source project and worldwide community.

She has contributed extensively to the community. She's one of the original founders and organizers of the WordPress Helsinki Meetup and still active now. She has also been a very active and extremely valuable WordCamp Finland, Helsinki and Nordic organizer.

She was brilliant with design in all occasions, Nordic, Finland and Helsinki. Besides that, she was the venue and design wrangler at WordCamp Finland 2016, the after party and design wrangler at WordCamp Helsinki 2017, and the design and travel info wrangler at WordCamp Nordic 2019.

We're very happy and honoured at the Global and Nordic WordPress community for having her.” - Rocío Valdivia




Esa Tiusanen, full-stack marketing consultant at Columbia Road. 


Esa, tell us about your initiative/work within the Good Impact Program

AYY was launching a new website, and they wanted to make sure they got more out of it than the last time. They asked for help in planning and implementing an effective analytics setup so they can catch what's happening on their website. They also wanted to be able to segment their users, as they lack the media budget to target their broader community with the amount of information they would like to share with. We held some workshops on what they wanted, I set up some technical tools for them to use and trained them to use them. The trainings are ongoing, and we are planning to implement cross-domain tracking, and start working on some light growth hacking for improving the support services for AYY students.


What's your takeaways from the experience?

There is still lots of work to be done with improving the technical, and marketing knowhow in the Finnish market. The setup was quite quick and easy, but the impact can be quite pervasive, if use of the possibilities can be maintained. Hopefully it can boost efficiency and help AYY service a larger proportion of their students and build the tight knit student community they are aiming at.


How do you feel the Good Impact program creates value for you as a Columbia Road employee/What made you take part of the program? What value has it created?

For me one of the best things about the program is the opportunity to contribute to the Finnish education system and student communities that I still hold close to my heart five years after graduation. It allowed me to feel good about helping an organization that is really lacking in resources to do valuable work in line with some of the things that matter most to me in Finnish society.


How would you fancy working alongside Toni, Sonja and Esa at Columbia Road? We're constantly looking for new skillful and nice people to join our crew! Take a peek at our open positions 👇

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