Lessons learnt from 10 years of Giving in Bank of Ireland

Members News - Jun 29, 2017

Give Together, Bank of Ireland’s charity and community investment initiative, is celebrating 10 years of giving this year. In the past decade, close to €31 million has been raised for good causes and over 7,000 days volunteered!

Up to the introduction of Give Together in 2007, charitable support was largely driven by projects selected by the Bank.  One of the best examples of this was the Bank’s support for the Special Olympic World Games which saw over 1,000 colleagues volunteer over the duration of the games.  This left a powerful legacy and feedback from colleagues was that they liked the opportunity to volunteer and raise money but they wanted the option to choose the causes which they felt passionate about.

And so, Give Together was introduced and brought about an important shift – for the first time colleagues could choose the causes to support and the Bank would support them by providing matched funding and by providing one day of paid leave for every colleague in the Bank to volunteer.

Since then, colleagues have supported thousands of local charities and community organisations around the country through fundraising and providing their time and skills. While the impact on the community has been significant, it has also helped to build a real sense of pride in the organisation and genuine engagement with colleagues.   Feedback from colleagues demonstrates what the Give Together programme means to them:

  • “It means I can give back to an organisation who gave my family great support in a very difficult time.”
  • “I think it’s fantastic to work in an organisation that not only recognises its corporate social responsibility, but acts on it as well.”
  • “The list of things that qualify for the Give Together funds is endless. It’s a great way to meet people, to help people and to get the funds to areas where it’s needed most.”

Along the way lessons have also been learnt. Many colleagues are clear about which charities they want to support based on their own networks and interests but others are more likely to get involved around centrally-supported causes. Hence for the past number of years, Bank of Ireland has worked with a number of flagship charities and these have been central to building effective community and colleague engagement.

Audrey Nolan, Head of CSR, Bank of Ireland with representatives of three flagship charities: The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation, Irish Heart and Age Action

The current flagship charities in Ireland are Age Action, Irish Heart and the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation; and the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK.  Bank of Ireland is working with these organisations to develop an integrated calendar of fundraising and volunteering opportunities that will engage colleagues and make a genuine difference to their work.

Effective internal communication of the CSR approach and charitable campaigns is also vital to maximise the potential for engagement.  In a large organisation such as Bank of Ireland with its many administrative and branch locations, it is important to utilise a mix of digital, local and face-to-face interventions to ensure the broadest possible reach.

Vincent Mulvey, Chief Risk Officer, Bank of Ireland at an event to celebrate 10 years of Give Together

Bank of Ireland is proud of the commitment to charity and community organisations shown by its colleagues and looks forward to supporting and facilitating this activity for many years to come.