The Novartis Engagement & Volunteering program is an essential component of the company’s role as a responsible citizen. Born as a grassroots movement, the program has evolved from a philanthropic, hands-on approach to a sustainable, skills-based model that generates impact for associates, Novartis, partners and society. The program unleashes the power of our people by leveraging their diversity, energy and creativity to build trust with society. In supporting our communities, the program engages with a wide range of strategic partners, from areas of global health to environmental sustainability and helps Novartis create a positive social change and embody societal impact as a core business objective.
Our people told us that purpose-driven engagement with the wider community gives them a greater sense of wellbeing and the satisfaction of being able to play their part in society. So, building on 25 years of associate volunteering across the company, we have reimagined volunteering. This is a natural evolution of our peoples’ desire to make a difference to society, and will enable Novartis to continue supporting associate volunteering in the years ahead.
With this new approach, all associates on a permanent contract can choose when, where and how they engage plus which skills and expertise they wish to share. The Novartis volunteering platform matches associates’ profiles with a range of opportunities, from on-the-ground projects in underserved communities to virtual volunteering from home and integrates skills, expertise and competency-building in line with the Novartis learning and development strategy. As one of the most inclusive volunteering programs, there is no upper limit on the number of volunteering or engagement hours and volunteering is permitted during work hours.
Listening first to where we may make an impactful difference to society, we aim to develop sustained, enduring partnerships with organizations where associates can choose to volunteer their time and most importantly, the skills and expertise they feel able to contribute, for a purpose and cause they personally care most about.
Estelle Roth, Global Head Engagement & Volunteering
Our projects are partner-led and we are committed to listening to partners’ needs and collaborating fully with them on an end-to-end journey. With more than 110,000 associates, Novartis has a wide range of skills, knowledge and expertise to share with our partners. Through our skills-based volunteering program, associates volunteer with partner organizations on projects which address their greatest challenges. The focus of volunteering at Novartis is on nurturing long-term strategic partnerships with organizations where our people’s time and skills can make the most sustainable impact.
An example of this is the long-term engagement of Novartis volunteers in Hyderabad, India, who completed the launch of the Leprosy Patients Records Database (LEOPARD). The volunteers helped design and build a health management tool for the Sivananda Rehabilitation Home. Through the project, Novartis volunteers also plan to support other organizations in the fight to eliminate leprosy.
Novartis Volunteering works with a range of partners: the US President’s Malaria Initiative, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Max Foundation, Last Mile Health, the Tropical Health & Education Trust and many more. Example projects include supporting refugees, migrants and asylum-seekers through the International Rescue Committee and mentoring LGBTQI refugees via the Tent Partnership for Refugees. With Save the Children, we have engaged in a number of virtual volunteering opportunities, ranging from Latin America to Africa to Europe to the Asia Pacific.
Our ambition is to embolden this associate-led movement and focus on impact measurement to capture the ‘return on engagement’ with every country offering an inclusive, diverse and responsible approach to society’s biggest challenges. Through an enterprise-wide volunteering framework, we will gain a much better understanding of the impact we are making on society – making this a win for society, our partners, our associates and the company.
Our aim is to transform the relationship between Novartis and local communities and to become a partner of choice for civil society. For the first time, external partners have direct access to posting engagement and volunteering opportunities – and additional opportunities such as associate giving, crowdsourcing, matching funds and the expansion to family, friends and Novartis retirees are on the future roadmap.