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Why Volunteerism Matters

It has been seven years now that UPS has rallied its employees all over the world to volunteer during the month of October. While UPS’s culture has always supported volunteerism, there were some concerns when we proposed the program that has become Global Volunteer Month (instead of Global Volunteer Week). Our research showed that corporate volunteerism was a new and sometimes unwelcome concept outside the United States. In Europe, we were told, volunteerism is a very personal decision unrelated to the workplace. Similarly, we were told that in Asia that most human service needs are met by families or governments and that corporate involvement might not be welcome.

But we knew that the core UPS culture has been embraced by employees throughout the world – so we decided to proceed. And the first year, we were pleased to have 1,000 volunteers in 14 countries across Europe, Asia and Latin America. When we began planning for year two – we started by asking our colleagues outside of the U.S. whether they wanted to try it again. And I knew it had caught on when their response was – “We’re going to do this again with or without Corporate.” The numbers nearly tripled in year two – to more than 3,500 volunteers in 30 countries!

I had a chance to tour one of our facilities in Germany in the early years and was amazed and thrilled to see the group Global Volunteer Week photos prominently displayed on their bulletin board. Since then, the program has grown and morphed – rallying more and more of our employees and expanding critically into the largest part of the UPS employee base in the U.S.

UPS employees everywhere have embraced the opportunity to work together to address needs in their local communities – taking on activities from helping people who are hungry, homeless and handicapped to improving the planet by planting, painting or pruning. Incredibly – this year it looks like we’ve topped 250,000 hours! That’s more than one hour per employee. What a proud moment for all of us!

Category: Caring for Communities
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