Our employees’ volunteering activities have carried on despite the pandemic. We are continuing to offer training and guidance programmes to the most vulnerable groups and are organising specific initiatives to cope with the changes in circumstances caused by covid-19.
+ 38,000 employees are taking part in community support activities
+140,000 hours devoted to helping those in most need
More than 38,000 Santander employees are taking part in community support activities, devoting more than 140,000 working hours to sharing their professional and personal experience to help those most in-need.
New virtual initiatives
Our collaboration and commitment to social organisations has not been interrupted during the pandemic. Santander’s volunteers in all our markets are continuing to devote their time to contributing to a more inclusive society.
The regular programmes on financial training, legal advice and mentoring for women who have been victims of gender-based violence are still running. When these programmes cannot be carried out face-to-face, they can be delivered virtually, which is where our online volunteers come in. Since March we have also launched several new social initiatives covering new needs. Some examples include making face masks for healthcare workers and customers, and a telephone ‘befriending’ service for the elderly living alone or in care homes or hospitals.
To support people who are isolated or vulnerable, our volunteers are making phone calls and offering assistance to older people and those affected by dementia. These simple initiatives can make a major difference for anyone going through a difficult time or who is potentially isolated and lonely. In the United Kingdom, our volunteers are working to support the charity partners Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK. To increase the engagement, we doubled the available time that colleagues can claim for volunteering in work time from 35 hours to 70 hours in total in 2020.
In June, we launched volunteering campaign to invite colleagues to signed up to multiple volunteering initiatives with our Charity Partners Age UK and Alzheimer’s Society. See the description of the activity.
A special programme has also been set up during the covid-19 crisis called Reaching Out. This initiative is whereby branch colleagues contact some of our more vulnerable customers by telephone – focussing on those customers who are over 65 years old and normally use the branch. These calls are to check-in on their well-being and offer support around topics like access to cash during the covid-19 pandemic.
The social initiatives carried out in Poland in recent months have focused on sewing protective masks and donating them to health centres, welfare homes and other institutions that need them. The material needed by the volunteers to make them was sent to their homes. They have produced over 15,000 cloth face masks to date.
In the De Mujer a Mujer programme (in conjunction with Fundación Integra) 15 women provide mentoring support to female victims of gender-based violence. Santander helps them boost their self-esteem so that they can break the circle of violence and take control of their lives. It also organises workshops so that the participants in the programme can improve their CVs and learn how to face a job interview successfully and look for work online.
In the Minutos en compañía campaign (in conjunction with “Adopta un abuelo” and Fundación United Way) 75 volunteers received training and talked over the phone (for 12,300 minutes in total in one month) with elderly people living either alone or in care homes or hospitals.
In the Finanzas para mortales (Finance for mortals) programme, we set our employees the challenge of recording a short video explaining a concept of financial education, which will be uploaded to the programme’s website. Here’s an example of these videos:
Fernando Bolivar, a volunteer in the Finanzas para mortales programme, explains what a budget is
In Speaking without frontiers students with disabilities receive mentoring and training to improve their English (carried out in conjunction with Universia Foundation). In total, 20 volunteers are supporting this group of university students as mentors and converse with them in English.
Virtual pro bono sessions for 12 NGOs that had won previous editions of the Euros de tu nómina (Euros from your salary) programme. In these workshops, some 15 volunteers give talks on topics like agile project management and cybersecurity.
Our customers from Santander Argentina each received a face mask thanks to the participation of Cooperativa La Juanita (which produced the face masks) and the Bank’s volunteers. Silvia Flores, the manager of Cooperativa La Juanita, defined this action as an opportunity to provide “dignified employment to people in the neighbourhood, while also helping us take care of ourselves and save lives”.
Producing face masks at Cooperativa La Juanita, Argentina, for Santander customers in the country
Executives from the Bank are taking part in a tutoring programme for pupils from various schools supported by Fundación Belén Educa, a non-profit institution promoting quality education in the poorest and most peripheral areas of Santiago.
For the last six months (initially online), 54 volunteers have been providing guidance and support to students to ensure they keep studying. They share their professional and personal experiences, and build up a rapport and trust with these young people. The volunteers also help the students discover their personal, academic and job-related concerns, while encouraging them to continue their higher education and shape their future and their possibilities.
More than 50 volunteers from Banco Santander carried out telephone surveys over the course of a week among 200 people who live in camps (irregular settlements). This was part of a study, in collaboration with Fundación Techo, on the current living conditions of the country's poorest people as a result of the health crisis.
Santander Presente is a programme launched in June in which 50 volunteers from the Bank, using a digital platform, will help 100 people aged over 18 who have not completed their schooling, so that they can do so. This initiative is part of the Compromiso País programme led by Chile’s first lady, Cecilia Morel.
More than 100 volunteers from the Bank chat on the phone regularly to 82 people aged over 60 who live alone or in care homes, to provide company during the quarantine. Most of the senior citizens are either involved in the programmes that Santander takes part in during the year such as the Parceiro Do Idoso programme, or live in a particular group of care homes.
They chat about their hobbies, discuss their concerns and even perform educational activities.
Santander contributes by giving talks to groups affected by the pandemic such as a session on “How to do business during the covid-19 crisis”, through Santander Universities. In these talks, leading figures from various business schools share content and useful insights into learning how to cope in this new scenario.
We are also offering online talks on the subject of “Your investments in the current context”, led by a team of executives from the Bank, along with local analysts and international experts, who are supporting investors at this very difficult time and helping them to gain a clear view of the situation.
The team of volunteers has organised a Virtual Solidarity Corner for the sale of exclusive t-shirts. The funds raised are used for supporting two solidarity projects: the Casa das Cores, which provides a shelter for children at risk of exclusion and aid for their families, and the Ação e fé project, which organises visits and support for the elderly in the village of Alcoutim.
Another outstanding initiative is the contact programme called Aqui e Agora (Here and Now) in which bank employees call elderly customers who are less digitally savvy. The volunteers ask after the customers’ health and ask if they can solve any problems or provide information in relation to their accounts. Most importantly, they provide company and conversation in the long days of solitude, giving rise to remarks such as, “you have called me more often than two of my three children” and “I thought that this type of service was only given to rich people”.
We have organised virtual talks from our Work Café to guide entrepreneurs, SMEs and the general public on ideas to overcome the challenge of covid-19, promoting creativity, strategic management of finances during the pandemic, how to establish a business survival plan and how to approach digital transformation, adaptation to the new normal and remote team management. In addition to these business meetings we also invited an expert to give advice on how to make coffee from home. These talks have brought together more than 23,000 participants remotely.