Let’s donate time
The Estonian Employers’ Confederation and Swedbank invite employers across Estonia to join the charity initiative “Let’s donate time” and give their employees one paid day off per year, so that the employees could use it for doing good. This is a simple and flexible model for starting a charity in an enterprise or for adding to the already existing responsible actions.
How to join?
The conditions for joining the initiative are very simple and flexible. There are only two prerequisites:
- the employer gives its employees one day off per year, so that the employees could decide in teams where their help is needed and actually provide the help in the course of this one day. A day off can be given at any time of the year. A team may also do good, for example, during a weekend or a national holiday; however, the earned day off is later taken in a flexible manner, so as not to disrupt the organisation’s time sheets and processes;
- the employees can decide (or have a say in the decision-making), to whom they donate their time during this one working day.
The team (or employer) registers the performed good deed on the webpagewww.annetameaega.ee, entering in the form the beneficiary of the good deed, the number of team members, contacts and, if possible, adds photos-videos or links to them.
A beneficiary of the good deed may be an individual or organisation: it may be a family with many children who needs help with repair works; it may involve tidying up a public park; working in an animal shelter; designing a webpage for a non-profit association, etc. Also, professional volunteering is possible, i.e. helping someone with your professional skills. Activities on behalf of a profitable business belonging to the employees themselves or related to their close ones, activities related to a company, or politics do not count.
The employer participating in the initiative may, at its own discretion, adjust the project to suit the nature and wishes of its organisation: it may grant several days off; there may be one large team instead of several teams (e.g. one common bee day within the entire organisation), etc. Also, to cover the costs, pocket money may be allocated to the teams to motivate them and cover costs, e.g. for transport or purchasing paint, cleaning supplies, etc. Traditional charity initiatives by an organisation can also be added to the initiative, if these involve time donations.
How it all started?
In 2015, Swedbank initiated an internal charity project, within the framework of which employees could use one paid day off for charity work. At the same time, the only condition was that the good deed was to be done as teamwork (teams were “spontaneous,” there was no obligation to follow the organisational structure), and a profitable business related to the employee or their close ones, a company, or initiative related to politics could not serve as a beneficiary. As far as everything else was concerned, the employees were free to decide. In addition, Swedbank allocated up to EUR 15 per person to cover the costs of activities related to charity (costs were reimbursed based on expense receipts).
The main recommendation to the employees was to think, how to:
– achieve as much as you can during a specific day?
– ensure that the chosen activity helps as much and as long-term as possible?
To assist the staff in finding objects of charity, the opportunities for voluntary work mediated by almost 40 organisations had been gathered into the donation environment “Ma armastan aidata” (I love to help). Even so, a majority of the teams searched for and found their objects of charity themselves.
The initiative was extremely well received by the staff, with a total of 1100 employees in 82 teams participating.
The success encouraged and inspired the bank to expand the idea and invite employers from all over Estonia to join the initiative, sharing with them the experience of Swedbank and adjusting the model, implemented and tested by Swedbank in practice.
In order to reach as extensive a target group of employers as possible, the project is being coordinated by the Estonian Employers’ Confederation.