In 2017, Accenture New Zealand achieved “legendary” status when it became the first country to get all employees involved in various volunteering causes. Impressively, New Zealand achieved 100% volunteer participation rate again in 2018.
We sat down with New Zealand Corporate Citizenship Sponsors, Daniel Lund and Jane Holland, to hear where their passion comes from and the secrets to their success.
“When the role of NZ CC Sponsor came up at a NZ Leadership team meeting, I volunteered”, Daniel shares. “It is something I feel passionate about and it is important for us as a company and as a community to have a real sense of purpose in what we do in New Zealand.”
Volunteers at the KiwiHarvest Cooking for a Cause event where they helped cook meals to be donated to
United We Stand Waka of Caring Group, a group that supports South Auckland’s homeless.
Jane brings her own brand of passion to the table, offering a different perspective on NZ CC. “It’s an absolute privilege to be in the role”, she enthuses. “To me, corporate citizenship is how we live and work in our communities. It’s thinking about how we can benefit the local communities that we live and work in. I love thinking that even though I’m working for a corporate company, we’re able to help the less fortunate.”
Bikes for Tykes - building bikes from scratch for underprivileged children
The secrets to their success:
Gain leadership support
Our Country Managing Director's support helped steer our corporate citizenship participation to success in New Zealand. “We have great Leadership buy-in”, Daniel explains. “Justin Gray feels passionately about corporate citizenship and doing the right thing in the community, and this is echoed by all of the leadership team. When you have that kind of leadership support things are easier. Leadership brings a sense of importance that helps us drive our campaigns.”
Justin’s involvement in NZ CC also convinced Jane to move. “Wellington is my new adoptive city”, Jane shares. “I moved to New Zealand when Justin offered me an opportunity here. I had worked with him previously, and I knew he was fostering a really good team here in Wellington. It’s a wonderful place to relocate—I came here for the job!”
“One of the critical success factors is that there are local people driving events in each location”, shares Daniel. “When I took on the sponsor role for Auckland, Jane started in Wellington, where her office is. We come together once a month with the ANZ CC team and talk about the charities we want to work with. We also discuss how we can deliver events effectively in each location.”
Jane echoes Daniel’s sentiment. “These monthly catch-ups help us bounce ideas off each other. We run our locations quite separately from each other.”
“We provide our volunteers with options to do something. When we come up with an event that will be fun for people to do, we let them choose among the important things they can do in the community”, Daniel explains. “We offer options and hopefully they pick something and sign up. If they don’t sign up the first time, we continue to ask, offering options.”
Aside from different events in convenient locations, the NZ CC also offers online activities. Daniel reveals, “For the past two years, we have been holding an online volunteering activity for those who find it hard to attend events for some reason.”
It helps to pay attention to who has and who hasn’t joined the activities. “For the fraction who weren't too keen, we needed to be creative to get them to help out”, Jane shares how they did it. “It involved literally talking to them in person - e-mail them and reach out to them individually.”
“We also contact people directly if they haven’t contributed yet and ask how they are going to contribute”, Daniel adds. “We ask their managers to help; they are accountable for the people who haven’t volunteered yet”.
Let your passion make things happen
Success doesn’t happen overnight. Jane confesses, “When Justin set us the goal of 100% volunteering rate in New Zealand, it was initially very daunting. However, it was a goal that really excited me because it meant getting everyone to give back to the community. That was a goal I felt very passionate about”.
Daniel puts emphasis on passion as well, saying, “we knew that with a little bit of passion, we can achieve our goal”.
Benefits of volunteering
When we do something good, the community gives back to us in unexpected ways.
For Jane, volunteering gives us perspective. She explains, “helping others and meeting new people give us a very good perspective in life. It makes us feel how lucky we are, urging us to find ways to help them”.
For Daniel, meanwhile, volunteering also taught him valuable lessons. "By volunteering and getting involved in other corporate citizenship activities such as some of the pro-bono consulting engagements we have done, you get the opportunity to hear other people’s stories and get closer to different kinds of people who are perhaps not as lucky as you are. This widens your perspective on life; it helps you to build empathy and shows you again the importance of having an inclusive and diverse team".
Volunteers went to Stand Children’s Village to see the amazing work that the Stand For Children organisation does to transform the lives of at-risk children and young adults.