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Serving Our Communities - a 2nd Quarter 2014 CSR Report

April 7, 2014


Give2Gether and Serve2Gether are platforms that American Express uses to encourage, promote and reward our employees who give to, and volunteer for, nonprofit organizations and causes in their communities.

In 2013, we sponsored employee giving programs (Give2Gether) in the United States, Canada and India, which resulted in over $7 million being contributed to nonprofit organizations and causes in those countries by our employees, 100 percent of which was matched dollar for dollar or rupee for rupee by the company. Over 75 percent of our employees in the United States participated in this program, with over 50 percent in Canada and over 60 percent in India.

Likewise, our Serve2Gether program promotes, facilitates and rewards the volunteer efforts of American Express employees across the globe. This year-round program is designed to connect employees with company-sponsored volunteer opportunities, help employees plan their volunteer activities, and record and recognize that service.

In 2013, Serve2Gether resulted in over 150,000 hours of company-sponsored volunteer service throughout the world. While we are getting better at tracking the number of volunteers, the number of hours that they volunteer, and the impact of what they accomplish as volunteers, the accurate accounting of this activity remains a challenge for us. In fact, we estimate that less than 50 percent of company-sponsored volunteer activity is currently tracked.

What we do know is that just in the United States our employee volunteers were able to participate in driving the following outcomes, among other things:

  • Building or restoring over 400 homes
  • Planting 50,000 trees and restoring 125 parks
  • Mentoring 90,000 young people
  • Creating over 100,000 care kits for hospitalized children
  • Rescuing 45 million pounds of food to be distributed to the hungry.

Over the past two years, we have extended our volunteer programs to include pro bono or skills-based volunteer programs under the umbrella of Serve2Gether Consulting. By partnering with organizations like the Taproot Foundation, Ashoka, Points of Light and NPower, we have extended these efforts to seven countries outside the U.S.: Canada, India, Argentina, Mexico, Singapore, Japan, and the U.K.

In 2013 alone, our employee consultants delivered over 6,000 hours of consulting services valued at over $750,000 to 35 nonprofit organizations around the globe through the Serve2Gether Consulting program. This is done through providing teams of American Express pro bono consultants in eight practice areas in the U.S., which were developed in partnership with Taproot:

  • Key Messages & Brand Strategy (Articulating mission, describing programs and developing differentiated positioning from peer organizations)
  • Digital Marketing Strategy (Determining how to best use digital channels and digital marketing to achieve objectives)
  • Building Customer Relationships (Developing strategies to deepen relationships with existing clients)
  • Targeting New Audiences (Developing strategies for targeting new clients)
  • Peer Benchmarking Analysis (Mapping the competitive landscape)
  • Opportunity Analysis (Developing an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
  • Performance Management (Identifying HR strategies in increase productivity and staff engagement)
  • Human Resources Capacity Building (Assessing talent management capabilities)

Globally, our practice areas are slightly different because our focus is more on assisting social entrepreneurs and social enterprises. These five practice areas were developed in partnership with Ashoka:

  • Strengthening Messages & Branding (Improving communications and messaging)
  • Social Media Roadmap (Creating a social media strategy)
  • Marketing Strategy & Effectiveness (Evaluating and improving marketing efforts)
  • Financial Modeling (Improving financial tracking and modeling)
  • Strategy (Building a strategy for a line of business using SWOT analysis)

In the past year, in an effort to give more employees the tools to develop their own skills-based consulting projects, we have launched Innovation Days, which was designed to train and equip American Express employees to organize one-day, problem-solving sessions around s specific area of need for a nonprofit, small business or social enterprise.

To date, over 300 employees have signed up to participate in the Innovations Days program, and 120 employees in 10 countries have been trained. More are expected to enroll in the coming months.

100 percent of American Express employees who participate in programs like Serve2Gether Consulting report that these programs contribute to their belief that American Express is a great place to work. Likewise, 100 percent of our nonprofit partners would recommend the program to a colleague.

Similarly, the high percentage of employees who participate in our Give2Gether and Serve2Gether programs points to a deep desire that employees have to honor the American Express value of Good Citizenship by giving their time and money to the causes and organizations that they believe in.

If you have a comment or question regarding our community service activity, please send us a note by clicking here. Alternatively, you can follow me on Twitter at @timmcclimon and comment there. Thanks for reading and sharing this blog with friends and colleagues.
 

 

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