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Charity during the crisis: ICL Services study case
According to Zircon research group, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Donors Forum and CAF Russia, corporate benefactors have felt the full extent of the economic crisis. About half of all surveyed companies reduced their budgets, some even stopped supporting charitable non-profit organizations and do not participate in charity events.
But there is another trend. Alongside with a reduction in charity budgets, growing attention is being paid to society's problems from the inside the companies – among the employees themselves. Employees initiate fund-raisers, they become their main assets and executives.
Companies should direct this energy in the proper direction, remove ineffective programs and help volunteering employees achieve maximum performance. If the company's budget is limited, this can save its social program. And when everything goes well, internal volunteers also need help.
IT company ICL Services can demonstrate how this should be done (it has more than 1000 employees, with headquarters in Kazan).
The company's charity events: from Beslan to Universities
For more than 10 years, ICL Services has been combining permanent charity programs with one-off projects. The company's social projects include:
- support for labor veterans (direct aid, organization of meetings);
- help for the AIDS-center of Tatarstan Republic;
- sponsorship support for a social canteen in Kazan;
- help for orphanages and care homes;
- support for Kazan school No. 15 (provision of furniture and equipment, renovation, etc.).
Some examples of one-off events – supplying computer equipment to schoolchildren in Beslan (2004), targeted support to an ill child (2011), a purchase of 200 Christmas gifts for young patients at the neuropsychiatric clinic who wrote a letter describing their dearest wishes (2015).
The company invests significant amounts of money in education: joint education programs with IT-universities in Kazan, scholarships for talented students (10 scholarship holders in 2016), internships (126 interns in the last year). These activities are focused on supporting professional development among young people, and the students are not obliged to work for the company in the future.
Activities by employees
Considering such strong charity traditions, it's not surprising that employees strive to take an active part in social life. And the company supports this desire.
ICL Services employees during a visit to an orphanage
The HR department, the organization development department and administrative department service of ICL Services are responsible for supporting volunteer programs. Employees usually raise funds for local societies or provide help in kind.
- Employees have participated in the "A million little things" event several times. The company helped with logistics, managing donations and the internal information campaign.
- In 2015, employees collected 75,000 rubles and transferred this money to the Mothers of Kazan – an organization, which takes care of orphans in hospitals.
- Employees have been participating in the "Kindness Fair" for 3 years in a row. Initially, this was a local initiative by Kazan high school No. 19, but now it is a city-wide event. The company helps participating employees, and the project is coordinated by a dedicated HR-specialist.
- ICL Services has employees who are honorable donors of the city and Republic.
- Employees regularly visit orphanages, give presents, spend time and play with the kids, and prepare creative events with them.
- In 2017, volunteers organized waste paper collection inside the company. They managed to collect 300 kg. Money earned from recycling the paper was donated to the "Fund of Anjela Vavilova".
- In the Kazan office of ICL Services, employees constantly donate clothes to those in need. This summer more than 60 kg of collected clothes were sent to Freemarket and to the Good Hands charity warehouse.
- Volunteering employees visit nurseries for homeless dogs, take them for walks, donate money and dog food. For example, on the last trip they brought 30 kg of specialized food.
ICL Services employees visiting an animal shelter
How to find volunteers?
People will take part in additional activities if it is easy and pleasant, but, most importantly, it should inspire them.
ICL Services knows this.
- The company has more than 1000 employees. These are people with different interests: some of them want to take care of people, some of nature, some of animals, some want to a promote healthy lifestyle, and so on. That's why instead of 2–3 large charity acts, the company supports dozens of different small events for 10–30 people. So, in the first half of 2017 there were more than 15 charity events. Every event found its audience, and every concerned employee found an interesting activity.
- Anyone can take part in these charitable acts, it's easy and makes you happy. At the beginning of this year, the company published an event calendar on its intranet, and entries are added throughout the year. Every event has its organizer, and participants only have to come to the location on time.
From one event to another there are more and more corporate volunteers from ICL services, including employees and their relatives. Initially, volunteering was inspired by environmental initiatives, and through the years it has developed in several directions: helping vulnerable people, supporting sports in the region, the environment, events supporting family values, etc.
How to find volunteer organizers?In ICL Services, charity acts are organized with maximum simplicity and transparency. Does somebody have an initiative? Anybody can suggest an initiative, and he/she will get support and help in organizing it. Most organizational issues, which may seem complicated for a beginning organizer, can be easily resolved with help from event-managers and colleagues with more charity work experience. This removes the main barrier in the organizer's path: the fear to get stuck on organizational issues. Transparency of the procedure, support for initiatives, openness to everything new and personalization – these are what make volunteering so popular. The success of every project depends on specific people: both the organizers and those who receive help.
Result: what does a volunteering employee receive
Volunteering employees are inspired by the desire to help and solve problems of certain people, charity organizations, and orphanages. Thanks to the company's support, volunteers achieve success quicker and see the result of their initiative.
What does company receive
By expanding charitable activities, the company receives employee engagement and active employee participation in corporate life. Charitable activities during an economic crisis can be an opportunity to demonstrate business sustainability and strengthen the company's reputation.
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