30+ companies with significant volunteer programs22 min read
Employer-supported volunteering (ESV) encourages a company’s staff to donate their time to community causes. Volunteering is not just a fundamental act of good citizenship but also essential in our society. From a business perspective, offering employees paid time off to volunteer for causes they care about has become an increasingly popular company perk.
The benefits of volunteering are considerable, both for those who do it and for those who receive it. We could say that it is a triple win situation: for companies, for employees, and for the communities.
Benefits of volunteering
- Attracting/recruiting talent
- Creating employee engagement
- Increasing productivity, satisfaction and morale
- Enlarging levels of both autonomy and support from co-workers and supervisors
- Motivating and retaining employees
- Strengthening consumer engagement and loyalty
- Reinforcing core values
- Developing company advocates
- Making a positive impact for planet and people
- Improving investors appeal
- Creating sense of purpose
- Connecting and being part of a community
- Networking and meeting new people
- Developing skills
- Creating employee engagement
- Building self esteem and gaining confidence
- Reducing stress
- Providing better job prospects
- Promoting wellbeing, mental and physical health
For community (individuals, group of people or non-profit organizations)
- Improving project delivery
- Addressing resource limitations
- Increasing membership
- Building capacity
- Keeping pace with innovation
- Avoiding costs
- Improving business practices with skilled volunteers
- Increasing PR coverage and exposure
But what are the companies with excellent corporate volunteer programs and initiatives in the world?
Let’s break it down together
Patagonia gives employees throughout the worldwide operations a number of interesting opportunities to support environmental work. 55 Patagonia employees have traveled to Chilean Patagonia at company expense to spend three weeks helping to restore a former sheep ranch and create what will soon become Chile’s newest national park. Every June, bicycle-loving employees throughout the company gather to celebrate and encourage sustainable commuting to work. Since 1993, Patagonia employees at their headquarters and store in Ventura have staged an annual 5K community fun run with all proceeds going to local environmental nonprofit groups.
Microsoft is committed to providing affordable and relevant technology solutions to nonprofit organizations around the world, offering grants and discounts on cloud products, as well as nonprofit-specific solutions like Fundraising and Engagement and digital skilling. Tech for Social Impact is based on a social investment model, where incremental revenue is reinvested in nonprofit sector innovation and social good causes, including affordable housing, skills and employability programs, and technology donations. To support our employees’ passion for giving, Microsoft matches employee donations of time and money to nonprofit organizations. Each October, Microsoft’s employee Giving Campaign, a tradition since 1983, makes a significant annual impact in addition to generous giving year-round.
BASF is determined, as part of its societal engagement, to contribute to a sustainable society and supports its employees to engage in various local volunteering options. Employees at all BASF sites around the world are “Connected-to-Care” and are taking part in individual formats to strengthen team spirit, develop their social and professional skills and actively shape their social environment.
LinkedIn engages employees year-round in charitable giving and volunteer opportunities focused on coaching and mentorship of seekers working directly with LinkedIn’s network of nonprofit partners.
Time and time again, LinkedIn proves that aligning its company’s purpose with its mission of connecting the world’s professionals is achievable.
What sets LinkedIn apart is that they take their promise one step further by providing their tech infrastructure for good. By unlocking access to thousands of volunteer opportunities from network partners like Catch-a-Fire, VolunteerMatch, and Taproot Foundation, LinkedIn members can search and sign up for skills-based and pro bono volunteer opportunities without leaving LinkedIn’s platform.
Internally, employee involvement at LinkedIn can range from leadership opportunities as Social Impact Leads in their offices, pursuing a local or virtual volunteer opportunity through their VolunteerMatch Network Subscription, or serving on nonprofit boards through LinkedIn’s partnership with BoardLead.
In 2020, Intel celebrated the 25th anniversary of Intel Involved, the global corporate employee volunteer program. Since the program’s launch in 1995, Intel’s employees have donated their skills, technology expertise, and more than 18 million hours of service to tackle environmental challenges, improve education and help meet community needs around the world.
One specific volunteer project: employees volunteered their data science expertise to help Costa Rica save lives during the pandemic. They offered their problem-solving expertise – and over 1,000 hours of highly technical work – helping the government develop an effective response plan.
Toyota used employees’ skills for good. One way they do that is by helping organizations improve their processes and systems. The Toyota Production Systems Support Center (TSSC) has partnered with Children’s Health to improve patient safety and care. It was also announced that, through the partnership, the hospital has reduced rates of central line-associated bloodstream infections by 75 percent with patients in the gastroenterology unit.
Toyota supports employees’ participation in volunteer activities undertaken on their own initiative and seeks to establish communities where people support one another. In Japan, Toyota works with relevant parties to plan and conduct programs that address various issues surrounding communities in four key fields: environment, disaster relief, social welfare, and sports. Toyota also internally disseminates volunteer information from outside organizations.
SAP’s virtual pro bono consulting pilot program began in partnership with Social Shifters to help meet the growing need for positive change around the world. In the program, SAP employees are connected virtually to accelerate the social impact of an enterprise by solving the organization’s business challenges. More than 50 employees volunteered virtually across borders in 2020 and without the impediment of geographical distance.
3Mgives supports initiatives that increase student interest in STEM and business to help build a diverse pipeline of future leaders. For example, the 3M Visiting Wizards program shares the magic of science with students through demonstrations and hands-on experiments. More than 800,000 students have seen science applied in demonstrations ranging from catapults to cryogenics. 3Mgives invests in programs that foster sustainable communities. In one example, 3M committed a $5 million investment to the Closed Loop Fund, a collaborative social impact resource that provides municipalities with access to capital needed to build comprehensive recycling programs.
Under the Apple Global Volunteer Program, Apple is offering employees a way to receive training and tools to help them create and publicize local volunteer events to better their communities. The program also aims to help employees find activities to volunteer for.
AppDynamics gives its employees 5 paid volunteer days off every year. They also have a community-focused program called AppD Cares that emboldens its people to come together and give back in ways that are most meaningful to them. Employees chose to spend a week volunteering and celebrating the local traditions in a little town in San Pancho, Mexico and it has forever changed their hearts. The time with Entreamigos was spent helping local children celebrate the holidays at their annual Christmas Posada (party), preparing meals for the fellow volunteers and staff to keep them fueled, and organizing their offices to keep them successful and prepared for the new year! Volunteers had the ability to take this trip with their volunteer time off program and go anywhere in the world, doing any volunteer activity we were interested in. This organization has made a big impact on its small community. This program refreshes each year.
In 2020 the Croatian unicorn – as part of the community investment strategy, gave back through monetary and in-kind donations as well as through the Infobip employee volunteering initiatives around the world. Infobip also provided competitive pricing and free access to Infobip’s products and solutions for non-profit organizations on a global scale.
Infobip products and solutions helped enterprises achieve their goals in 2020. But they also helped public and non-profit organizations to navigate the global pandemic and improve life for citizens worldwide.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Infobip gave public health and government organizations free access to its global cloud communication platform for the duration of the pandemic, as part of its “Worlds Connected for the Greater Good” initiative.
Giving back to the communities it serves and using its scale for good has long stood as a pillar of Starbuck’s heritage.
Through their VolunteerMatch Network Subscription, Starbucks partners (employees) are able to create, find and join community service projects that are relevant and local to them and the neighborhoods in which they serve. In two years, more than 18,000 Starbucks partners have volunteered in over 8,500 projects across the US.
What really stands out with Starbucks’ giving efforts is their Starbucks Service Fellows pilot program with Points of Light, where 36 Starbucks partners from 13 cities work at least 20 hours in their stores and 20 hours in local non-profits over six months building capacity and creating new resources and programs for the local organizations.
Given that caring is one of their core values, Colgate has Colgate Cares Day where teams from across the globe give back to community programs and in-service projects to help make the world healthier and happier. Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program reaches children around the world with free dental screenings and oral health education. “Clean Hands, Good Health” works to encourage children to wash their hands by providing handwashing educational resources. Plus, they provide free education along with preventive and restorative care to underserved children who may not have access to dental care.
Takeda Cares is the signature corporate giving program in the U.S. and embodies Takeda’s mission of striving toward better health and a brighter future for people worldwide through innovation in medicine. The Takeda Cares program supports the communities where employees live and work.
During the Covid pandemic, employees were able to take advantage of a different way of giving. The traditional in-person community service day was expanded to a week of virtual volunteer opportunities benefitting organizations in the areas of health, environment, education, and hunger. Employees continued Takeda’s efforts to make a meaningful impact, virtually, with activities such as:
- Preparing care packages for families faced with food insecurity
- Assembling care kits for families experiencing homelessness
- Creating STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) kits for students to continue remote learning this fall
Takeda Cares Week is an opportunity for employees to connect through a shared sense of community, further supporting Takeda’s commitment to giving back to the community.
Salesforce leverages its technology, people, and resources to improve communities throughout the world. They call the integrated philanthropic approach the 1-1-1 model. Since its founding, Salesforce has given more than $240 million in grants, 3.5 million hours of community service, and provided product donations for more than 39,000 nonprofits and educational institutions.
Enel is committed to contributing to improving the quality of life of the most vulnerable communities and populations. Over the years Enel has developed multiple activities that have allowed to consolidate a corporate volunteering space, with employees as the main actors, so they can offer a helping hand to those who need it most. From three different lines of action, workers from each one of the companies’ areas can contribute to the activity they think best allows them to use their greatest potential at the service of others.
My time: under this line of action, different foundations receive accompaniment through playful and teaching activities to provide support in the free time of children, young people, seniors, and people with disabilities.
My knowledge: by counseling and supporting the staff that works at foundations that help people in vulnerable situations, we seek to strengthen skills and knowledge based on a need identified by them.
My hands: this line of volunteering is carried out through the execution of beautification activities in educational institutions, through minor arrangements that do not require skilled labor, and this represents a significant contribution to the communities.
Largely due to their exceptional employee giving programs and engagement practices, IBM was recognized by LinkedIn as a “Top Companies 2018: Where The US Wants To Work Now.”
IBM launched the pro bono arm of their giving program, Corporate Service Corps, in 2008 as a vehicle for global leadership development. Through the program, employees have a chance to participate in a four-month, pro bono project where teams of 8 to 15 employees are deployed all over the world to assist governments, companies, and civic organizations with education, healthcare, and economic development work.
Over 10 years, IBM’s Corporate Service Corps activated over 4,000 participants from 62 different countries and supported over 340 teams with more than 1,400 projects.
When Siemens Transmission Solutions employees formed a charity committee, it was driven by a desire to help people in the local communities. One of the first initiatives was to collect and donate food, clothes, toiletries, and toys to the homeless charity “Hospitality & Hope” who was pleased to recognize Siemens’ support with a mention when it won a Queens Award for voluntary services. Easter egg appeals have also been popular with nearly 500 eggs from raffle ticket sales and donations, benefitting children’s charities “Children North East” and “Hope4Kidz”.
As a business Siemens encourage participation. Employees are entitled to two days per year for voluntary work for charities that either Siemens supports or ones they have a personal interest in. In 2019, the Transmission Solutions business had the highest percentage of volunteers and the highest increase in volunteers across all Siemens businesses.
The NVIDIA Foundation’s initiatives benefit communities around the world through diverse efforts such as grants to accelerate cancer research and support patient care, a new AI-focused youth education initiative, and their employees’ numerous volunteer efforts. NVIDIA and its employees donated nearly $4.4 million and more than 9,000 volunteer hours to support the work of nonprofits across the globe.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
While the Gates Foundation works globally, they recognize that improving people’s lives often happens at the local level, where individuals take action in their own communities. Through 3:1 matching for employee charitable giving, paid time for volunteering, board service matching, community grantmaking, grantee site visits, speakers bureau, and events throughout the year, employees have many opportunities to develop relationships with organizations that they personally care about.
KPMG’s Make A Difference Day (MADD) is a hands-on volunteering day where KPMG’s employees give their time to make a positive difference in the local community.
Employees get first-hand experience volunteering and gain a better appreciation of the importance of contributing to their community. They are also encouraged to continue the relationships with charitable and supported service organizations. With hundreds of person-hours donated in a single day, KPMG makes a significant impact, in a very short period of time.
Nielsen Global Impact Day (NGID) engages and mobilizes 25,000+ associates in supporting nonprofit organizations through hands-on volunteering, pro bono work, in-kind giving, and skills-based volunteering. NGID volunteer events are coordinated by local leaders around the world who work with local nonprofits to create activities that enable and empower their fellow associates to make a difference.
NGID is just one component of Nielsen’s wide-ranging volunteer programs through Nielsen Cares.
During Hunger Action Month, Nielsen associates donated, raised, served, or packed over 195,000 meals to families in more than 60 countries during 2018. Throughout the year, they engage associates with year-round skills-based volunteering events and pro bono projects that provided $21.2 million in data, insights, and services to nonprofits during 2018.
Recently, a team of Nielsen developers and data scientists, alongside external volunteers, spent 24 hours in the Nielsen Tech Hub in New York City to design chatbot software that can be used by the World Food Programme (WFP) to conduct food insecurity surveys, in support of WFP’s mission to assist people affected by hunger in over 80 countries.
Nielsen’s extensive volunteering and pro bono programs not only apply to helping the needs of nonprofits and their communities, but they also empower staff by giving them opportunities to refine their skills by doing good.
Nielsen is evolving their employee volunteering plan by focusing more on collaboration with the organizations they work with instead of doing the work for them, creating a more lasting impact.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)’s volunteer participation has increased and that’s due to their pro bono Young People Project. This project’s goal is to help address youth unemployment issues in Canada and to equip emerging leaders for the future of work through skills-based volunteering.
Their goal is to use technology to provide digital literacy training, coaching experiences to at least 10,000 young people across the country by 2020.
In one year, more than 400 young people in Canada were served through volunteer mentoring experiences. This program stands out in how it connects PwC’s people directly with the next generation of innovators while aligning their mission with community purpose.
At Generali, employees and agents give their time and skills in volunteering activities in collaboration with The Human Safety Net partners to create a meaningful impact in the communities where they operate. Each program integrates volunteering as an integral part of the activities proposed to beneficiaries.
- For families: read to children, run activities with families, held healthy cooking classes, etc.
- For refugees: be a mentor or coach of a refugee during and after the program, etc.
- For newborns: support awareness campaigns, hospital activities, fundraising events, etc.
With business goals aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Heineken is on a ten-year-long sustainability journey to “brew a better world.” Launched in 2010, the program is on track to meet its targets and reduce global environmental impact despite the company’s growth.
Heineken unwaveringly aligns these sustainability efforts with how their employees give back. In 2015, for example, after a South Bronx neighborhood suffered from extensive fire damage, over 100 Heineken USA employees helped renovate a 32,500 square-foot garden and green space for the community to use.
Through its Day of Giving program, Heineken and its subsidiaries contributed $27 million to communities, including cash donations, time, in-kind donations, and management costs in 2017, with more than 2,700 employees in 32 markets spending an estimated 34,000 hours volunteering.
In the past few years, Heineken employees spent more than 7,500 hours volunteering by delivering holiday meals, creating community gardens, or raising funds for charities.
In 2016, Humana tracked more than 475,000 employee volunteer hours through Humana’s volunteer network. With 41,146 associates (aka employees) in the U.S., each associate, on average, volunteered 8.6 hours of their time to a good cause.
Humana associates are supported and encouraged to volunteer by the company’s volunteer time off policy, which gives them paid time off from work to volunteer for activities that positively impact the health and well-being of their communities.
This program is supported by the company’s vision to help people achieve lifelong wellbeing, which goes beyond physical health. It’s about living happily with a balanced sense of purpose. Humana recognizes that providing volunteer opportunities gives their associates a tangible way to connect to and be inspired by Humana’s Bold Goal, where they aim to improve the health of the communities they serve 20% by 2020. This makes their employee volunteer strategy go beyond an internal engagement program. It’s an integral part of their global movement and the company’s purpose.
Humana’s commitment to giving back awarded them the No. 1 among Health Care Providers for corporate citizenship in Forbes and JUST Capital’s “JUST 100” list.
EY Connect Day is an annual event in which the organization Ernst & Young encourages people, including their own staff, to volunteer with a focus on activities that promote entrepreneurial business skills and environmental sustainability.
UnitedHealth Group’s year-round giving program supports employees’ desires and efforts to give back to the communities where they live and work. Through charitable contributions and volunteering, their people are deeply and personally involved in improving the health and welfare of their neighbors.
UnitedHealth Group partners with nonprofits like VolunteerMatch to work on studies on the positive health benefits of volunteering. By doing this, they are another shining example of how a company can tie their mission in with purpose in the community. UnitedHealth Group’s mission is to help people live healthier lives. That translates into providing valuable resources for nonprofits and equips volunteers with more good reasons to volunteer in the community.
In 2017, their employee volunteer hours totaled 1.5 million.
Comcast NBCUniversal celebrates its year-round commitment to volunteerism on Comcast Cares Day, a long-standing company tradition that has grown into a global program across 23 countries.
Since the annual day of service began in 2001, employees, their friends, families, and community partners have contributed more than 6 million hours of service to more than 10,000 projects. These projects include revitalizing neighborhood parks and schools, teaching digital literacy and jobs skills, and assembling care packages for military service members and veterans.
What makes its employee volunteering program so successful is how accessible it is. In addition to Comcast Cares Day, employees can find volunteer opportunities throughout the year by getting involved in employee resource groups, contributing their unique skills to the community, and finding opportunities on the Comcast NBCUniversal volunteer portal. Since volunteering is encouraged and offered, employees can easily mobilize around causes that are near and dear to them while creating measurable impact in their global communities.
Deloitte’s IMPACT Day has been around for 20 years. With more than 70,000 Deloitte professionals mentoring and supporting people in their communities today, it’s considered “a best-in-class corporate day of service” by Realized Worth.
On IMPACT Day, Deloitte professionals and leaders come together in 80 cities across the U.S. to work on more than 1,000 projects for nearly 190,000 collective hours of service. Activities take many forms and include developing strategic business plans for social enterprises, delivering lessons on business ethics and values in schools, hosting skills-building workshops for nonprofit leaders, and providing skills-development programs and mentoring to young people.
In 2018, partners and staff across 25 Deloitte offices in Southeast Asia concurrently took volunteer time off to give back through various activities and initiatives involving the community they live and work in. Projects included conducting skills workshops for refugee children, delivering groceries to families in need, and organizing a blood donation drive in Kuala Lumpur.
Deloitte’s culture of volunteering has received accolades including being ranked No. 6 by Fortune and Great Place to Work on their 2018 list of the “50 Best Workplaces for Giving Back.”
2017 was the fourth consecutive year Ingersoll Rand was recognized on Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens for their giving initiatives.
The success of employee participation in their “Glocal” (global + local) community initiative is proven through their engagement numbers and has grown exponentially over the years. Employee participation in the initiative increased by 178% (from 4,765 to 13,292 employees).
Across the globe, Ingersoll Rand employees support their local communities on a personal level, and the company assists their employees in contributing both time and financial support to local nonprofit groups and community organizations.
In 2018, for example, 1,800 employees in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee volunteered 4,000 hours in a single week with a range of United Way organizations, where they built a homeless center, prepared and served meals, and organized snack packages for children
Intuit’s signature “We Care & Give Back” program has been a driving catalyst for employee volunteerism, and the numbers prove it.
In 2018, 2,647 nonprofits were supported through Intuit’s volunteer efforts. Intuit employees volunteered 36,652 hours, and $4.9 million was donated to varying causes through the company’s volunteer-led programs.
Intuit encourages its staff to pursue their passions by using their volunteer time off to volunteer and request a donation match to qualified nonprofits.
We Care and Give Back is Intuit’s commitment to serving communities around the world. In tandem with this program, the Intuit Foundation provides every U.S. employee with 4 days of paid time off to volunteer and matches up to $5,000 in donations to nonprofit organizations.
Bank of America
Bank of America’s volunteer impact led to The International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) recognizing them through their Global Corporate Volunteer Award, the only global award to formally celebrate excellence in corporate volunteering.
In a single year, Bank of America’s employee volunteers contributed 2 million hours to help address community needs, from mentoring to building affordable housing to packaging food for the hungry.
In addition, employees donated $30 million, which was doubled through the company’s matching gifts program totaling nearly $60 million in funding to help address pressing social issues.
Bank of America supports volunteering efforts through programs such as a robust volunteer platform, volunteer grants directed to nonprofit organizations where employees volunteer regularly, matching gifts that double the impact of employee donations, and additional employee giving opportunities.
Bank of America’s volunteerism has evolved into a strategic and comprehensive platform, integrated with their business, philanthropic, and enterprise initiatives, including the Special Olympics. 260 Bank of America employees were official volunteers for the games and over 2,500 employees were Fans in the Stands supporting the athletes competing in Los Angeles. In 2015 alone, Bank of America employees volunteered over 32,000 hours in support of the Special Olympics.
In 2017, BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS)’s staff engagement rate was 82% when surveyed about their volunteering and other CSR programs.
BCBS’s employee volunteer program offers volunteer time off, giving employees the flexibility of volunteering during their workday, up to 20 hours per year. BCBS also rewards giving back during personal time.
Through their “Dollars for Doers” program, BCBS grants $250 to an eligible nonprofit in honor of any employee that gives 40 or more hours of their personal time in a calendar year to that organization.
Plus, every year three employee teams who create and carry out a volunteer project earn a $500 donation for the nonprofits they supported.
As a result, in 2017, 1,660 employees used some or all their volunteer time off and 17,758 volunteer hours were tracked.
These are just some of the companies that are committed to making an impact in the community through volunteer programs and social impact strategies.
The generosity of the corporate world became even more concrete in 2020, the year in which the Covid pandemic hit the most, but did not stop there. But corporate volunteer programs are becoming increasingly popular, regardless of company size and geography.
And even the restrictions due to the pandemic have not stopped the proliferation of skills-based volunteering programs, where employees offer their expertise to support non-profits to achieve their goals beyond financial contribution. A great way to do good, sitting at the comfort of your desk!
Sources: Glassdoor, The Most Impactful Employee Volunteer Programs You Need to Know About, Smartsimple-VolunteerMatch
Featured image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay