With International Corporate Philanthropy Day coming up on Feb. 28, many U.S. corporations have plans to mark the day with various events and activities designed to highlight their charitable commitments around the world. While some focus their ICPD events on local activities, such as the launch of annual food or clothing drives, others use the day to spur greater engagement among their global staff. It is in this latter category that Moody’s Corp., the financial services and analytics firm, stands out.
“For Moody’s, International Corporate Philanthropy Day is an opportunity to thank our employees,” said Fran Laserson, president of the Moody’s Foundation.
“Their participation in our volunteer programs, such as our Afternoons of Service and the Global Volunteer Council, has a truly meaningful impact on communities around the world.”
Inspiring such community-focused action was one of the principal reasons for establishing ICPD in the first place, according to Charles Moore, executive director of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, a key advocate for establishing a special day each year to highlight corporate charity.
According to Moore, ICPD “offers a unique opportunity to engage the public, internal stakeholders, media, and peers in order to further existing charitable efforts and inspire new ones.”
Moody’s has taken the spirit of ICPD to heart, in a big way. Much of the company’s global philanthropy program can be tied, either directly or indirectly, to the annual day of commemoration. Take its annual letter from the CEO. On ICPD, all Moody’s employees receive an e-mail from Ray McDaniels in which he recognizes the importance of ICPD and applauds the company’s employees who participated in corporate-sponsored volunteer programs in the prior year. The e-mail also urges those who have not done so to take part in similar volunteer outings in the current year. Employees who did volunteer the prior year also receive a personal letter from McDaniels, thanking them for their individual service to their community.
These communications are coupled with a donation program designed to encourage Moody’s employees to take part in the company’s cash giving to charity. Each year, the Moody’s Foundation distributes “Giving Cards” worth $25 to each of the company’s employees a few weeks prior to ICPD. The cards work similar to typical retail gift cards, and can be redeemed through GlobalGiving.org or DonorsChoose.org—online sites that direct the funds to specific nonprofit charitable organizations located in the United States or abroad. To generate enthusiasm about the program, Moody’s sets up computers in its cafeterias on ICPD, so that employees who have not yet redeemed their Giving Cards are reminded to do so, and enabled to do so on the spot.
In addition, posters and assorted displays are used to highlight some of the organizations that employees have already given to—including specific charities that senior executives have supported.
According to Laserson, the employee engagement efforts have proven wildly successful. Since 2007, when the company launched its ICPD-focused campaign, the number of Moody’s employees participating in company-sponsored volunteer activities has risen dramatically. On International Corporate Philanthropy Day 2011, some 1,900 employees will receive those personal letters from CEO McDaniels. That’s up sharply from 1,238 last year, which itself was about double that of 2008 and about a 350 percent increase over 2007.
Not content to rest on these improvements, Moody’s is still striving to further increase its employee volunteerism rates through various means. Moody’s directed its IT staff to develop new online recruitment tools for employee volunteers looking to take part in the company’s Afternoon of Service events, and expanded the program to Moody’s offices in the U.K., Germany and Hong Kong. And this year, each of those 1,900 employees who will be honored for their 2010 volunteer efforts will receive a coffee mug commemorating their community service efforts. Laserson hopes the mugs will serve as effective advertising and a conversation starter among co-workers, leading to even higher levels of employee participation in the future.
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