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Corporate Volunteering, fortifying CSR in Panama

Posted: Friday 27 March 15, 4.55pm GMT

On a global scale, corporate volunteering has been established as an effective tool for companies to develop their CSR strategies with an internal and external impact on the company┬┤s sustainability.

In 2013, Sumarse launched the first ever corporate volunteering workshop in Panama in response to demands from corporate leads, to deepen knowledge and understanding on; the subject of volunteering, the national movement for the formulation of a National Law for Volunteering (approved in 2014) and the establishment of the Latin-American Center for Volunteering.

Sumarse launched a workshop to facilitate the practice of carrying out effective corporate volunteering programmes. The workshop provided an opportunity for companies to design, plan and coordinate a methodology and guide for the effective implementation of the Corporate Volunteering Programme, including how to monitor and evaluate. A total of 22 local and transnational companies have participated in this process. The workshop adopted an inductive methodology that has allowed the construction of each corporate volunteering programme, according to the specific needs of the companies participating.

The corporate volunteering workshop has been a space that has led the exchange of experiences, good practices and lessons learned between the companies, the elaboration of 22 Corporate Volunteering Programmes, guaranteed by the top management of each Company and aligned with their CSR strategy. Panama have seen in these companies the empowerment of the volunteering committee, an increase in the number of volunteers, and the strengthening of the ability to conduct volunteering teams. It has also contributed to the improvement of the working environment, which translates in higher profitability for business and good relationships with key players. It is a way to align the desire of the contributors to support the community.

The main outcome from this workshop is the Corporate Volunteering Guide which is a practical and systematic document that suggests steps and actions to be taken into account, in the conformation and development of a Corporate Volunteering Programme, from the experience captured of the good practices from global companies, and through the vision and experience of Panamanian companies. The guide proposes fundamental principles, easy to adapt to the corporate culture, and is a practical manual to customise the program. The participating companies in 2014 produced a video (Spanish) that motivates company heads to implement volunteering programs as a strategic action to accomplish their corporate goals.

Posted by
Aroa Campo

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