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<Date and time of session> Wednesday 14
Session reporter: Tu Ngo
Moderator: Fiona Halton (Pilotlight)
Speakers: Gary Luton (Salesforce), Brian Gillies (Alchemist Group), Urvashi Devidayal (Thomson
Reuters Foundation, Trust Law network), Liza Green (Credit Suisse Corporate Citizenship)
Summary of the content of the session:
1) Why should we have senior volunteers?
There is a dollar value in senior volunteering. A pertinent case in point is the Trust Law
network: a lawyer pro-bono with 1,000 projects in 150 countries, it could worth up to $35
It is also beneficial for the senior volunteers to gain continued learning by allowing them to
pursue new interests, passions, energy, things outside of their formal work and is also a
good tool for recruitment.
Salesforce.com conducts senior corporate volunteering in a very whole-hearted fashion. The
whole mind-set is a top-down approach from CEO and seniors and everyone gets engaged.
To date, there have been 39 million grants and 200,000 proposals supported.
The effective way to give financially is by supplementing the organizations with skills.
Champions drive relationships and own the team’s capacity. This increases the stability of
the project and allows them to focus on what they do, and not focus too much on
fundraising. But people are busy and hard to measure their time commitment. This is also
more effective for organizations because writing checks is not satisfactory. It is also
important to teach the skills and experience you have, eg fundraising from private sector.
2) What models of senior volunteers are there and do they work?
Fun run, charity projects, community projects have been organized. Also, there have been
examples of giving 1% of the product and in turn, giving product strategic advice to use the
technology and rewarding people to get involved. It is also important to manage disasters
and get customers involved.
Another strategic model is these volunteers’ personal buy-in and support from the company.
It is important to have the initiative championed with board involvement, communications
and mentorship. There should also be more support from the government. For example, in
Cambodia, senior IT groups are performing ongoing consulting to office IT systems in the
We should match organizations with skills they need. An example would be organizations
which face growth and scalability challenges. In terms of skills, volunteers can commit 2
hours/month/year, conduct 12 meetings, examine different facets of charity for strategy,
then mentor board and help write the organization’s 5-year business plan, and help them to
replicate the model instead of doing it for them.
Lastly, we need to establish strong links and do some handholding such as due diligence and
vetting processes to ensure they’re ready. Another example is legal teams: we have to frame
organizations in the right way, in the right legal language, with the appropriate timeline and
ensure that jurisdiction is ready. We should always communicate and manage expectations.
3) How do you measure effectiveness and impacts?
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. The best way to do due diligence on a charity is
to know the real story for measurement, especially strategically. Grant-makers would like it
more and allow them to develop strategic financial skills. A number of people stay
volunteers, and over top 100-200 executives become volunteers. Another measurement is
the growth of the organizations.
We can also rely on people telling stories of how it helped their work. For example, in the
case of a drug scan text, we connected with top law firms in Nigeria and managed to reach
500,000 people. Making connections can create large impacts.
We should set internal individual giving-back targets and allow people to get rewarded. We
can also survey customers and employees with the questions: Are we having a positive
impact? Is it important to keep doing?
Lastly, it is important to understand the objectives from both sides and ensure they are met.
Question from the audience:
1) How do you leverage the companies’ resources especially when people don’t have time
We can tell story of the impact the company has made. This will attract talents because people
gain happiness by helping and we can build the culture of helping. Do not ask them to do
fundraising but instead implement a long-term volunteering program - a platform to develop
talents that allows people to leave. It is also important to have leadership involvement.
2) Different options/models:
Match skills with the biggest impact.
3) Competition from leadership announcement
Yes, when the projects don’t have internal impact.
4/ Use external services?
Yes, the trend is to set up their own firms with affordable fees for intermediary services.
5/ Any structure for the program?
Mini grants for what employees are passionate about, build a team, have project managers, and
6/ Are young professionals open to new programs?
Yes, organizations quickly adapt to the needs of the professionals in the pools. Broaden people’s
skills, break silos, get people transfer.
Feedback/Take-Aways for the AVPN- Major conclusions of the session:
- Win: win: win opportunity to have corporate senior volunteers match skills with organizations
and provide strategic impact work.
- They have to be passionate and tell story to get buy-in. The skills are there and will transfer. It’s
a matter of setting up the structure.
- Leadership comes with a lot of priorities. But people who do the work here also gain a lot.
- Move beyond traditional giving - Making impact through careers for exponential impacts is the