Successful Corporate Giving Requires Action and Commitment from Business Leaders and Employees

Nov 12, 2012 9:00 AM ET

Volunteering is CSR

posted on October 16, 2012

In Employee Volunteer Programs

Guest post by Kathleen Savio, Zurich North America Commercial

Employee volunteer programs offer a mutually beneficial approach for companies to build a motivated, cohesive workforce while ultimately giving back to the community in a sustainable way and helping those in need.

Our challenge as business leaders is in keeping employees engaged and interested in service projects and bringing new volunteers into the fold. At Zurich North America, we’ve learned we see greater engagement when we connect our employees with volunteer opportunities matching their interests, values and skills.

This year, as part of our 100-year anniversary celebration in the U.S., we’ve encouraged our employees in North America to take action and give back to the community by participating in our “100 Ways” program. The initiative was designed to help employees complete 100+ projects of service alongside organizations like the American Red Cross, HandsOn Network, Habitat for Humanity and United Way and included a volunteer fair where representatives from 40 nonprofit organizations met with employees to align their personal passions and skills.

In July of this year, Zurich employees completed the 100th project as part of the “100 Ways” program and pledged to continue the initiative through the end of the year with the goal of involving a quarter of our employees in more than 200 volunteer activities.

To date, the “100 Ways” program has included 2,000 employee volunteers donating more than 15,000 hours for a value of services delivered to 160 nonprofits equaling more than $300,000. In addition, we’ve seen this program create new avenues for team building, collaboration and leadership development to foster career growth.

In order to continue the upward trajectory of volunteerism, businesses must make the commitment to dedicate time and talent to the community and provide employees with a selection of service opportunities. On the other hand, employees should galvanize their colleagues and pledge to make a difference. Today’s charitable organizations have an elevated need for skilled, devoted volunteers. Now more than ever, businesses have the ability to assist and help meet real community needs.

Kathleen Savio serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for Zurich North America Commercial. She is also a member of the Z Zurich Foundation board and Chair of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation Chicago/Midwest Division.