Russia: development of corporate volunteering

Moscow forum discusses the development of corporate volunteering


More than 500 people, including representatives of large companies, government agencies and NGOs, took part in the fourth Moscow international forum ‘Corporate Volunteering: Business and Society’. The forum established that corporate volunteering in Russia could be developed through the creation of a supportive infrastructure, as well as cooperation between rival companies.

According to Alexandra Babkina, the director of the project Dobro Mail.Ru, half of all employees who are not already involved in charity work would be prepared to volunteer with the support of their company. Babkina is certain that such support could become the catalyst for positive changes.

Dobro Mail.Ru’s partners NetByNet and МТС represent one such example. In February 2016 as part of a joint project with Dobro Mail.Ru, МТС will raise awareness among its staff about charity projects and opportunities to provide assistance.

X5 Retail Group’s director of corporate communications Elena Konnova believes there is a desire to volunteer, provided a convenient philanthropic infrastructure and competent partners are in place. Employees of X5 Retail Group have become volunteers for the food bank ‘Rus’, offering shoppers in their company’s stores the option to buy products for low-income families.

Joint initiatives with rival companies can act as a further catalyst for corporate volunteering. KPMG’s manager of corporate social responsibility Yulia Bogdanova is convinced that these initiatives reinforce a sense of corporate citizenship. She argues that companies should create a dedicated website for employees who want to volunteer, enabling them to determine where their support is needed and how they can help.

At the same time, Aleksei Minyailo of the ‘Midday’ project notes that corporations must be able to work together with NGOs, combining the advantages of both types of organisation. “NGOs can make the world better, inspire people. Their culture is less corporate, so they can inspire people to work for free. But they are unable to clearly construct processes and communicate with the client”, stated Minyailo.

He cautioned companies against meaningless volunteering. The business must understand why it is needed and explain this clearly to its employees. Clearly defined goals increase the efficiency of employees and improve cooperation with NGOs.

Author: Olga Vorobeva

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