Ulster Bank: Engaging staff for greater financial impact in the community

Year:ulster-bank 2013

Company Description:
Ulster Bank Group is one of Ireland’s largest banks and a subsidiary of RBS group. Across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, Ulster Bank Group employs 5,800 staff and delivers a range of financial services to over 1.9 million customers through its branch, telephone and online channels.

Business Issue:
We want to encourage our employees to get involved with charities and good causes wherever they can.  Apart from investment in community programmes, Ulster Bank encourages employees to give their time and money to support their own causes through volunteering or direct donations.  We do that by encouraging payroll giving and matching the donations made through payroll by our employees.

Solution Applied:
The Ulster Bank Staff Charity Funds (SCFs) in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were set up to encourage employee payroll donations to charities.  Staff donations are paid in monthly to the SCFs and the monies are matched by Ulster Bank, effectively doubling the value of donations accumulating in the Fund.  The SCFs are managed by voluntary committees of staff, who meet quarterly to make decisions on the donations to be made from the Fund.

The SCF is a tangible way to support many small, local causes which can find it difficult to attract new funds.  Staff members can apply to the Fund to make a lump sum donation to the charities they are involved with.  Over 70% of the charities supported by the SCF have been nominated by employees.

In the past 5 years, Ulster Bank Staff Charity Funds has paid out more than one million euro to many hundreds of charities and good causes, not only locally but also to international aid appeals.

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Company Benefits:

  • Gives employees control over which charities to support and how much to donate.
  • Ulster Bank is viewed as an organisation that supports its local communities.
  • The scheme helps to deepen employee engagement with the community and charity sector. 

Stakeholder Benefits:

  • As funding has become increasingly scarce, charities (particularly small, local causes that have to compete with larger charity brands) receive lump sum funding to achieve a particular project.
  • When charities write to us to ask for our help, it means we have a fair scheme in place to accept their applications and contribute wherever possible.

Constant recruitment of new members to the voluntary staff committee is essential to counteract the impact of redundancies and natural attrition.

Encourage business leaders to champion the Staff Charity Fund – helps attract new donors.

Departments Involved:
Bank-wide initiative

Solution Champion:
Fergal Fitzgerald, Community Manager.
Email: Fergal.fitzgerald@ulsterbank.com