The Man in Blue


Encouraging volunteerism

“What if one hour of your time could generate 150 hours of value for charities?” was the enticing line that drew me in.

I was fortunate to bump into Fion Leung while talking at Startup Grind’s event in Hong Kong a few months ago and she told me about an organisation she’d started called Time Auction. The gist of it is that Time Auction offers an exclusive reward to people who do at least 10 hours of volunteer work, thus creating a bigger pool of volunteers for any non-profit that is struggling to find support.

Fion approached me to be one of the “experiences” – if people did their volunteer work they could choose to attend a group dinner with me and chat about Canva, entrepreneurialism, and creativity. I wasn’t sure how juicy that reward was for people, but I figured I didn’t have anything to lose (except my dignity when no one turned up to the dinner).

I had no idea what to expect, but come the day of the dinner, Time Auction’s local Sydney host Cecily Zhu swept into the Canva office with her team (of volunteers, natch) helped organise tables, brought some tasty takeaway, and greeted the 14 people who had graciously volunteered in order to reserve their seat at the table.

Time Auction dinner
All the great people who volunteered their time in order to share some dinner

It was an extremely humbling and inspiring night, as I got to learn a little bit about all these amazing people who had donated their time to causes such as:

All up, the group managed to generate 192 hours of volunteering! It was the least I could do share a bit with them about my journey with Canva, how we approach being a force for good and developing the culture of our company. I definitely felt like the least accomplished volunteer in the room.

If you get the chance to contribute to Time Auction, either as a volunteer or as someone who helps deliver an experience then I would highly recommend it. I’d like to thank Cecily, Fion and the rest of the Time Auction team for giving me this opportunity and wish you the best in expanding it all around the world!

Cameron Adams Cameron Adams is a co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Canva, where he leads the design & product teams and focuses on future product directions & innovative experiences. Read a bit more about him ›