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WHILE corporate giving today is largely centred on fund-raising, cheque writing and ad hoc volunteer days, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has moved beyond those to look at more strategic and sustained giving by tapping the group's business expertise for good.
The multinational consumer goods company started the P&G Pro Bono School in June 2016 as a key pillar of the P&G APAC Beyond Borders: Pro Bono School Program. Borne out of the realisation that many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) face challenges like any brand or business would, the company endeavoured to bring solutions to their problems by applying frameworks and expertise P&G employees utilise on a daily basis.
As part of Giving Week 2016 (an initiative by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre to encourage all spheres of society to give), P&G hosted a half-day P&G Pro Bono School on Dec 1, 2016, for 30 participants from 11 NGOs across Singapore such as World Vision Singapore, and the Society for the Physically Disabled.
The session saw P&G employees share their knowledge in driving brand awareness, building brand loyalty and fund-raising.
The session was well-received by participants including Elizabeth Lee from World Vision Singapore. She said: "The P&G team from the P&G Pro Bono School were very engaging and the session was very interactive. It felt like I learnt about social media in a very fun way. Having a skilled team to support us and give us advice really helped to shape our marketing plan and help us engage in a more strategic manner."
P&G associate brand director Maithreyi Jagannathan said it was fulfilling to see her company's volunteers and representatives from the NGOs interact at such a close level.
"What you don't see is the skill-sets that you have and are experts at, can actually make a huge difference for NGOs," she said.
There have been two Pro-Bono Schools so far and NGO participants have requested for additional one-on-one follow-up sessions to learn more and get further hands-on guidance from P&G employees. As a result, a third Pro-Bono School is in the works.
By integrating giving into their everyday business functions, P&G is increasingly viewed by employees as a platform to make a difference.
"Through our brands, our operations and our people, we strive to not only improve the lives of our consumers, but also the broader community," said Jamie Endaya, leader of P&G APAC citizenship programme and communications director.
Other than the Pro Bono School, P&G also encourages other forms of employee volunteerism with a wide range of opportunities - including three-month sabbaticals with the United Nations' children agency Unicef - depending on the age and flexibility of each employee.
Said Mr Enday: "P&G is committed to being a good corporate citizen and doing the right thing. As a company, it has always been in our DNA to give back to our communities locally, regionally and globally."