GlobalGiving E-Gift Cards: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Dec 3, 2012 8:15 AM ET

Alice Korngold's blog

Naveen Kumar was first inspired to volunteer in his college years during the 2001 Gujarat earthquake in India. Two years later, his volunteer spirit was reignited while, as an employee of HP, he was taking information and communications technology (ICT) into rural communities in India. When a woman confronted him with the question, “How can computers give me food?” he determined to help her and her family to solve their problem of accessing the food ration cards for which they qualified; he did this online. Seeing the needs around him, Kumar also determined to engage himself and his coworkers in volunteer service.

How does a company recognize employees who volunteer to help others? HP, for one, gives $50 GlobalGiving gift cards in recognition of employees who record 10 or more hours of volunteer time per quarter. According to Gabi Zedlmayer, vice president of sustainability and social innovation at HP, “the redemption rates are incredibly high and employees around the world really enjoy continuing to give back to causes they care about. This process creates a virtuous circle of giving."

Kumar is regional manager for Hewlett Packard Financial Services. By leading others in volunteering, he also became HP’s country lead for social impact in India. “My team was curious about the gift cards I was receiving and enjoying. So I took them all to an old age home for women where we spent the entire day,” explained Kumar. “These are employees who normally spend their days in front of computers.” After volunteering and then receiving the gift cards, the members of my team have been delighted. “I get so many thank yous. They are so happy. ‘Not only did I make a difference, but now I can help more people with the gift cards,’ they tell me.’”

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Alice Korngold is Director, NYU Global Board Leadership Academy. The Academy's mission is to strengthen board governance for the world’s private & public institutions by developing and training leaders from diverse backgrounds and perspectives with a vision for a better future, and the knowledge, tools and ethical practices to achieve success. Under Korngold's direction, the Academy will offer training programs for for-profit and NGO/nonprofit board members in cities worldwide beginning in January 2013. Korngold has been President of Korngold Consulting LLC since 2005. She is the author ofLeveraging Good Will: Strengthening Nonprofits by Engaging Businesses” (Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint, 2005) and blogs for Fast Company.