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An initiative to increase employee engagement turned into CNA Financial Corp.’s Volunteer-A-Thon annual giving campaign, in which thousands of employees donate their time and talents to help their communities.
In October 2016, the insurer launched its first campaign that encouraged employees to get out and give back to their community, to coincide with the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s Week of Giving.
The program also fosters friendly competition between departments by rewarding the business unit with the highest number of volunteer hours with a $10,000 grant from CNA for the nonprofit of their choice, said Brandon Davis, CNA’s director of public relations and corporate social responsibility.
The company took a multilayered approach in creating the program by offering employees the assistance of the corporate social responsibility team to identify volunteer opportunities, as well as training volunteer leaders to guide them on how to identify potential nonprofits for volunteer partnerships, said Mr. Davis. Employees may volunteer through corporate volunteer events, but they are also free to organize and/or volunteer in their own communities.
Logistically, the program wasn’t without its challenges, and the company had to think strategically about the best way to ensure good communication between CNA and the nonprofits, said Mr. Davis. To facilitate this, the company created a toolkit for employees leading events that provided start-to-finish guidance on communicating to team members and nonprofit partners and making sure volunteer hours were recorded and submitted.
CNA’s human resources department won the grand price in the 2018 campaign and nearly every employee in that business unit donated their time.
Although the company didn’t know what to expect in terms of level of participation when it began the program, employees volunteered more than 2,500 hours of time in 2018 — an increase of nearly 1,000 over 2017 — at 887 events for 115 different nonprofits in more than 50 cities worldwide, Mr. Davis said. Employees engaged in a wide range of volunteer work such as picking up trash, planting gardens, making toys for shelter cats and dogs and assembling care kits.
“Every single activity contributes to us building a stronger community, wherever that is,” said Mr. Davis.
• American International Group Inc. — Through its partnership with non-profit Enactus, AIG provided nutrition awareness workshops and free wearable fitness devices to encourage healthy eating and exercise for parents and children in a low-income Texas preschool district.
• Crawford & Co. — Employees at Crawford & Co. created care packages, including crafts, snacks, cards and blankets for patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
• Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. — Legal professionals at Hartford developed an anti-cyberbullying program providing best practices to Connecticut school districts on preventing and minimizing cyberbullying and social media abuse.
• Marsh LLC — Employees at Marsh committed to volunteering in the month of May and gave back by making meals for a food bank supporting recent tornado victims, installing smoke alarms and acting as mentors for young students.
Business Insurance presented the second annual U.S. Insurance Awards on March 21 in New York, and more than 450 people gathered to celebrate the achievements of outstanding insurance and risk management professionals.