2012 CSR Awards: Employee Volunteer Program

Winner: IBM Corporation and Ketchum – IBM stages largest corporate volunteer event in history, reaching communities in 120 countries

“Celebration of Service” was designed to enable IBM to engage with local communities on volunteer projects on a large scale, while expressing the company’s brand and values to the world. However, it was important for IBM to focus on hyper-local communities too. “The most effective partnerships came from working with organizations or for causes that IBMers truly felt passionate about,” said Lisa Lansperry, manager, corporate communications, IBM. On October 2010, IBM held a “Service Jam,” a massive online brainstorm featuring more than 15,000 executives, philanthropists, volunteers and students from 119 countries to share ideas on volunteerism. Partnering with local community members and NGOs, IBM provided activity kits that offered volunteering ideas; localized media “playbooks”; and more. The results speak for themselves: 300,000 of IBM’s global workforce volunteered, working on more than 5,200 projects in 120 countries, contributing 2.9 million hours of service and helping 10 million people—all of which surpassed the initiative’s stated goals. —SP


Honorable Mentions:

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee – Team Blue Fights Hunger Across Tennessee: An online voting campaign featuring stories on the company intranet about select organizations and their needs gave the employees the power to choose which organization they would like to help.

Discovery Communications – Discovery Impact: Creating Change: Discovery Impact is a 12-hour pro-bono marathon where employees take on creative, marketing and communications projects for 24 local nonprofit organizations. It is complemented by a conference that, in 2010, hosted over 100 nonprofit representatives for a day of workshops and discussions on key issues, such as using social media and attracting volunteers.

HanesBrands and O’Malley Hansen Communications – HanesBrands: Using Green for Good in Latin America: Green for Good uses proceeds from Hanes’ recycling operations to fund community projects across the company’s Latin American operations in El Salvador, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

Molson Coors Canada – Molson Canadian Red Leaf Project: Molson Canadian distributed tree saplings to all employees on Earth Day 2011 inviting them to a Web site to learn more about its Red Leaf initiative. The campaign further incentivized volunteering by hosting a post tree-planting celebratory event where employees could drink beer and win prizes.

Philips North America – Philips Cares: Philips partnered with VolunteerMatch to create a Web site that allows employees to search, sign up for, suggest and participate in local community activities, as well as enable Philips locations to enter, promote and track company-supported community outreach activities.