The world needs us. The environment asks us to move together in the same direction and do our bit for society which still has a long way to go to reach a real equality of opportunities for everyone.

A message that seems to touch our hearts step by step. Because we are increasingly more supportive, according to the data. According to the Report “Voluntary Action 2018”elaborated by the Platform of Volunteerism of Spain and the Observatory of Volunteerism, in 2018 around 42% of the Spanish population collaborated with an NGO, in comparison to 37% last year. A figure that has significantly increased since 2014, when the percentage was 30.2%. It shows our deeper conviction to the prosperity of society and to the attainment of an inclusive and sustainable future.

Concerning this area, companies have a great deal to say. From a privileged position, they have an immense capability of changing the world. So, being aware of their power to influence and improve the society, corporate volunteering has become the best tool to boost the inclusive and sustainable growth of society as a way of satisfying the current needs without endangering the resources and possibilities of future generations.

Companies and employees, increasingly more sensitized

In order to face this commitment, companies make an important economic and human effort in favour of aiding people at risk of social exclusion. Banco Santander, committed to the prosperity of society, counts on a corporate volunteering program in which last year more than 66,000 employees took part, 130,000 hours were invested and more than 360,000 people were aided.

By markets, the employees of Latin America were the leaders in this commitment, with 45,108 employees involved, followed by The UK, mainland Europe and United States, with 10,303, 7,276 and 3,930 employees, respectively. According to Mónica Torres, Director of Culture, Compromise and Experience of the Employee of Banco Santander “We want to be simpler, more personal and fairer with our clients, shareholders and our society and the Santander volunteers help us achieve our goal of contributing to the prosperity of society”.

According to the Observatory of the Volunteerism, the most demanded activities are those related to childhood and youth, followed by those for people with disabilities and the elderly. In the case of Banco Santander, the initiatives focus on three fundamental points:

  • Financial education for scholars, young people and groups.
  • Support for preventing school dropouts.
  • Support for labor integration of communities at risk of social exclusion, such as people with disabilities or victims of domestic violence.

For the entity presided over Ana Botín, the corporate commitment goes beyond the economic donation as a clear example that companies no longer seek only to create a positive image before society, but instead look to build trust among clients and employees and promote the feeling of belonging. A way of involving the employee based on its philosophy “Best Place to Work”, with which it tries to create a pleasant, conciliatory, diverse and inclusive labor environment. Precisely, an advantage of the corporate volunteering is the increase of the pride of belonging and the commitment of the employees, as well as the contribution to the change of the society and the promotion of the relationship among employees.

Corporate volunteering program: a year of success

Last year, Banco Santander launched for the first time its program of professional volunteerism in its corporative center in Boadilla del Monte (Madrid) as an evolution of the program started in 2011. A program, also known as pro-bono, focused on offering to the organizations of the Third Sector the most important and valued asset of the entity: the talent of its professionals to contribute in their projects and the successfulness of their goals.

During the first year, the program has counted on more than 2,000 volunteers who have directly aided more than 14,000 people through its programs of financial education, mentoring and coaching of collectives at risk of exclusion aimed at preventing school dropouts and improving their employability. According to Elena Leal, in charge of the corporate volunteering of Santander, “This program offers the employees an additional opportunity to develop ourselves and learning, taking us out of the comfort zone and increasing our commitment, our satisfaction and making us feel useful to society”.

The commitment of Banco Santander to the prosperity of society and the communities where it operates crosses borders with more than six million people aided in the last four years

Among all the organizations with which Banco Santander collaborates, it highlights the Fundación Valora, a pioneering organization specialized in collecting surpluses of companies and individuals (furniture, books, clothes…) to distribute them among NGOs and other social entities. This year, this joint collaboration has benefited more than 9,250 people and 51 entities, including Cruz Roja Española, Cáritas, AECC or the Association of Numerous Families of Madrid; and it has collected more than 3,600 kg of clothes, 68 pieces of computer equipment, 577 pieces of furniture and 520 classic and graphic works of art.

Also, Fundación Valora is in charge of managing the solidarity street markets organized during the Semana Somos Santanderheld last June, in which 5,443.32 euros were collected in favor of Foundation Dalma, Foundation Calpau, Foundation Capacis, Fundation Afanias, Foundation Prolibertas and Foundation Querer.

For the next years, the program plans to increase and strengthen its commitment to the organizations with which it collaborates with during the year.

As for Santander España, last year they counted on more than 3,300 employees who invested more than 21,000 hours in different projects with the goal of contributing to the prosperity of people. Among them, they highlight Santander Natura, Finanzas para Mortales and the campaign “2,000 million kilometers” along with ACNUR in support of refugees. Thanks to all this work, the entity has been recognized as a “Committed Company” for the 60th ANNIVERSARY AWARDS of Manos Unidas as a recognition of the years of collaboration of Santander España with the mission of the organization, which translates into support and backing of the awareness and cooperative development activities of Manos Unidas.

A global commitment

The commitment of Banco Santander to the prosperity of society and the communities where it operates crosses borders with more than six million people aided in the last four years.

As evidence of its good work, there are an important number of initiatives linked to corporate volunteering in countries such as Brazil, the UK, Mexico and Portugal. Concerning Argentina, for example, the employees of the entity focus on boosting the financial education and improving employability through programs such as “Red de Educadores Financieros” and its collaboration with the Centro Educativo Pensar. The employees in Uruguay also contribute to this global commitment of Banco Santander through actions focused on boosting financial education. In this country, more than 70% of employees took part in corporate volunteering.

In Chile last year more than 1,200 employees collaborated to benefit the community, especially focusing on children, young people, adults and old people at risk of social exclusion through organizations such as Un Techo Para Chile or Foundation Belén Educa. Meanwhile, in the United States, the corporate volunteering initiatives are divided into two big areas: Financial Education and Social Well-being.