Skills-based volunteering and community support

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IBM’s global reach gives us insight into the complexities of global problems. Our expertise enables us to develop innovative technologies and services to help manage complex challenges and effect large-scale positive change. The willingness of IBMers around the world to contribute badly needed skills and essential funding to advance humanitarian efforts is a testament to the company’s culture of service, and to the fact that IBM attracts service-minded people who seek to balance community involvement, family and career.


Bridging a cultural divide

Cultural differences and comparatively low levels of education make it tough for Ethiopian immigrants to compete for higher-paying jobs in Israel. To help address this challenge, IBMer Davidi Boyarski worked through our On Demand Community skills-based volunteering program to collaborate with Israeli NGO Tech-Career — an organization specializing in technology training and placement. Together, they developed and implemented a program to provide technical training and career guidance to students of Ethiopian origin. Davidi and other IBM volunteers provided personal mentoring to complement the students’ intensive, eight-month training to become computer system and network administrators. All of the students mentored by IBMers received job offers in the technical field, and the volunteer team also used an IBM Community Grant to help provide temporary financial support for graduates so they would not have to accept unskilled labor jobs while waiting for their first tech-sector paychecks. In addition to IBMers’ contributions of skills and industry insight, their understanding of the personal challenges faced by young Ethiopians in Israel made all the difference.

On Demand Community

275k

275k

Registered active and retired IBMers

~20m

~20m

Hours of skills-based volunteer service contributed

$470m+

$470m+

Market value of skills-based contributions since program inception

Preventing needless blindness

Nearly 6 million low-income Indians lose their sight each year. That’s why the Sankara Eye Foundation has spent the last 40 years bridging the cultural, geographical and socio-economic divides that can prevent people from seeking and receiving needed treatment. Sankara’s community outreach programs have benefited more than 67 million people across nine states — treating 80 percent of patients free of charge. In 2014, IBM provided Sankara with skilled volunteers and two computer servers to help the organization manage growth while maintaining outstanding levels of patient service. Two IBM Corporate Service Corps teams worked with Sankara to develop and deploy a knowledge management portal to handle patient and administrative data — the latest effort in IBM’s long-term commitment to the organization.

Volunteering through On Demand Community, IBMers launched the Rainbow Preventative Eye Care for Children initiative in 2011, and remain active today. Through the program, IBM volunteers have participated in various levels of eye screening for underprivileged children through a network of 43 government agencies (including orphanages), nonprofit organizations and schools. Volunteers help educate children on eye health, identify children in need of vision care (including eyeglasses), and guide them through any needed surgery and recovery — all free of charge.


Gauging the effectiveness of CSR initiatives

In 2015, an IBM Social Media Analysis Impact Grant to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation enabled the organization to conduct an in-depth analysis of attitudes toward corporations, and the impact that their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs have on their brands. The goal of the study was to help companies gauge the reputational impact of their citizenship initiatives, and to determine the direct value of using social media to support CSR. The survey was conducted by analyzing digital information — blogs, websites, online mentions and other social media — for 24 companies over a six-month period. Survey findings enabled the foundation to identify developing trends in public sentiment toward companies that engage in CSR, and to determine which types of citizenship programs garnered the most goodwill. The benefit to this type of analysis is that CSR practitioners are better able to quantify their impact, align their efforts with overall corporate strategy, and broaden the practice of CSR by demonstrating its value to other companies.

One of the many tools we were able to create through IBM’s Social Media Analytics Impact Grant was a Reputation Index that provides data and insights that show the direct value of using social media to support your company’s CSR strategies. We found that for impacting a company’s reputation, social media impressions about a company’s CSR efforts were 10 times more effective than impressions about all of the company’s activities. CCC hopes that findings and tools like the Reputation Index will inspire companies to engage in more corporate citizenship efforts.

— Marc DeCourcey, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Impact Grants

$12m+

$12m+

Value of the nearly 400 grants awarded in 2015

$53m+

$53m+

Value of 1,900 grants awarded over program lifetime

$6m+

$6m+

Value of IBM software donated to more than 200 organizations since 2012

Supporting essential causes

The IBM Employee Charitable Contribution Campaign (ECCC) in the U.S. and Canada makes it easy for IBMers to contribute their time, talent and financial support to a wide range of charitable organizations — including those that employees nominate. ECCC contributions crossed the $1 billion threshold in 2015, a year in which hundreds of IBMers also met with dozens of community service agencies, conducted nonprofit beneficiary workshops in such vital areas as project management and social media, collected and donated food and winter clothing, assisted veterans’ groups, and volunteered to assemble such donations as charitable food backpacks and children’s dental health kits. Company-wide, IBM employees also engaged in a variety of “We Care” projects such as house building through Habitat for Humanity.

Driving efforts to sustain the environment

Beginning in late 2014, IBM volunteers Daniel Flores, Francisco Elera and Sergio Zarate worked with Peru’s Minister of Environment to develop a digital environmental awareness campaign to coincide with the United Nations’ COP20 Climate Change Conference in Lima. The IBMers used the IBM Bluemix cloud-based development platform to construct a web and social media presence for the campaign. Their long-term goal was to engage 1 million Peruvians in environmental sustainability awareness and commitments to take action. International NGOs and local companies helped sponsor the initiative, which required the technical capabilities to manage data, analytics and social sharing, and the professional expertise to make it work. More than 150 IBMers helped launch the campaign, which was recognized internationally for its excellence, and which engaged more than 600,000 Peruvians (60 percent of target) after just a few months. Pon de tu parte (“Do your part”) was an outstanding example of how IBM and IBMers effected transformative change through skills-based volunteering, through collaborating with governments, NGOs and other corporations, and by deploying breakthrough technologies.