Monday 26 September 2016

Workers rack up 213,000 volunteer hours for charities in 2015

Published 20/05/2016 | 02:30

Nationally, over €11.3m was given in cash donations, €10.5m was contributed through in-kind donations with almost €5.3m raised through employee fundraising.
Nationally, over €11.3m was given in cash donations, €10.5m was contributed through in-kind donations with almost €5.3m raised through employee fundraising.

Companies in Ireland contributed over €27m to charities and community groups last year while employees racked up 213,000 volunteer hours, new research has shown.

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Intel Ireland had the highest number of volunteer hours contributed by employees with ESB, Eir, IBM, and KPMG making up the top five.

In terms of cash donations the ESB Group donated the most, followed by the likes of Tesco Ireland, SSE Airtricity, A&L Goodbody and Vodafone Ireland.

The data was collated by Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), a network encouraging corporate social responsibility, which showed 51 firms in Ireland have formed more than 7,200 community links and have contributed through cash donations, in-kind donations and employee fundraising.

Intel's donations came prior to the announcement it was cutting jobs in Ireland.

Over 400 jobs could be lost at the tech giant's plant in Leixlip as part of a global culling in which it is redirecting its business.

Nationally, over €11.3m was given in cash donations, €10.5m was contributed through in-kind donations with almost €5.3m raised through employee fundraising.

Business in the Community Ireland chief executive Tina Roche described employees as "heroes".

"They volunteered over 213,000 hours in just one year alone and we see this increasing all the time. The big trend is utilising professional skills to help local causes and this benefits the charities but crucially is engaging employees and boosting morale," she said.

The figures for 2015 represent an increase on 2014 where employee hours amounted to 210,000 and the amount contributed reached €22m.

The areas of health, community and poverty were the best supported. Over €7m was donated to health with a further €4.8m being donated to communities and another €4.1m going towards aiding poverty.

Elsewhere, education and children and youth received sizeable contributions.

More than €2.7m was donated to education while another €2.2m was donated to children and youth.

Dublin generated the most support in the country, raising just under €18m. Outside of Dublin, Kildare raised the most with €2.2m. BITCI said the donations from Kildare was primarily due to Intel.

BITCI said prospective employees consider company culture and engagement when they are looking for a job. The business network said the quality of the corporate social responsibility programme (CSR) weighs on workers' decisions on whether to stay in a job.

CSR is defined by the European Commission as "the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society".

The definition is broad and so too is its applications. In Ireland, part of Ulster Bank's CSR programme involves teaching skills for its customers and communities to adapt to changing economies. A firm's involvement with causes ranks high among millennial employees when they're applying for a job, with a recent report, titled 'The Millennial Impact', citing it above office environment and diversity.

BITCI said more and more workers want to work with companies that hold values similar to their own and that and expectancy is growing among the workforce that firms should engage with community groups as standard.

Irish Independent

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