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Oct 30, 2023
Academy of Givers

What are the most common strategies Academy members are following to make an impact? What the most common challenges? What solutions can be created through peer learning and sharing of best practices?

On the 17th of October, the Academy of Givers hosted another one of its Members’ Meetings and this time we chose to dedicate the event to recognising our members best initiatives and providing a space for confrontation, peer learning and sharing of best practices.

For this occasion, the Academy asked some of its members to briefly present their CSR strategies and the impact they have created during the year 2023. Starting from Eden Leasure Group, then Betsson and concluding with Atlas Insurance, the first hour was entirely dedicated to presenting the achievements of these three companies, each presentation sparking questions from the audience to the speakers and vice versa.

During this time, numerous ideas on Corporate Responsibility were filling the room: Eden’s strategy is based on campaigns, matching on salary donations, sharing their resources, free ads at their cinemas to showcase the work of Voluntary Organisations, and their way forward will be focused on being more structured in their partnership with the Voluntary Sector.

Betsson considers employee engagement as the key to success, focusing on the importance of building a conscience in their staff to enhance common efforts of giving back to the community.

Indeed, employee engagement continues to be a great source of discussion among Academy members and the mention of problems in the turn up of volunteers started a valuable exchange of opinions. Some members advised to encourage participation by adding extra hours of leave if the activity happens on weekends, otherwise employees usually prefer doing volunteering during working hours. Someone else argued that there needs to be variety in the activities that are offered so people will choose what they are interested in, they will spontaneously come together for that purpose and a sense of community will be created. However, others argued that this way the spontaneity of the volunteering gets lost in the process and might not always be in line with what the company supports.

The attention then turned to Atlas Insurance and its focus on budget management. Atlas progressively increased the budget for community involvement, channeling it to the areas Malta is lacking in terms of SDGs. However, their call for funding are not open calls: they approach the Voluntary Organisations that best fit the areas they are interested in and ask them to create a project worth of funding, and later pitch the idea to Atlas’ staff. However, when it comes to volunteering, Atlas confirms the challenge of employee engagement, even after providing extra leave days or an increase in salary.

So how to get more people engaged remains a good question. Ultimately, every company needs to find a way to engage their own employees in a unique way, based on employees’ attitude and interests. If employees are already engaged in volunteering activities outside of the Company, it might be worth circulating a survey and collecting information on what are the major causes that employees are supporting in their own free time, so to better align CSR activities with the issues they feel closer to and incorporate them in the Company’s strategy. By ensuring a companies giving strategy is part of their DNA then employees are more likely to be aligned with what is being done as it becomes part of the company culture and workload.

This is only one example of what could be done to enhance the engagement of employees in volunteering activities.

To find out more about how to increase employee engagement through purposeful giving, join the dedicated session during Academy’s next members meeting on November 23rd.