Discovery Communications held their annual Impact Day on June 16, 2017. Over 4,000 Discovery employees across 60 offices in 37 different countries completed nearly 200 service projects. In this post, Laurel Schepp, Manager, Corporate Relations at Discovery, discusses the planning that goes into Impact Day, how they align the day with business goals, and what makes their overall volunteer program shine.
By Laurel Schepp
Discovery Communications launched Impact Day in 2010, in conjunction with our 25th anniversary. It was part of a spirit week that celebrated the creativity and innovation within the company and the communities outside of our walls with a day of service.
With a day that engages over 4,000 employees, we dedicate a significant amount of time, energy, and resources to ensure its success. We kick off the planning process 6 months in advance, at which point we finalize and communicate the date, secure our global team of Impact Day Ambassadors, and begin conversations with local nonprofits.
We rely heavily on an 80+ person team of Ambassadors across our US and international offices, who take on the responsibility of planning and executing their local projects. They have a pulse on the needs of their communities and the causes that resonate most with their employees, so are essential to localizing the day for each office’s workforce.
In addition to gathering input on organizations from employees, we also align projects with our business goals.
For example, one of Discovery’s networks across Europe, Eurosport, acquired rights to the Olympics across Europe starting in 2018. With that acquisition, we targeted sports-related charities/projects through this year’s Impact Day, particularly across Europe. We also partner with organizations that are year-long partners of our network teams such as ASPCA, who works closely with Animal Planet. We even had an employee who adopted a dog she met during her Impact Day project with ASPCA last year!
In addition to Impact Day, our employee volunteer program, called Discovery Impact, includes a global Dollars for Doers program where Discovery donates $3,000 to pre-vetted nonprofit organizations after an employee volunteers 30 hours of community service. We also have a pro bono initiative called Creating Change that leverages employees’ professional skills to help nonprofits tackle their business needs, a disaster relief program that includes launching employee matching campaigns around large-scale global disasters, a sports sponsorship program to support employees who participate in races/sporting events benefiting charities, various holiday give back programs, and more.
One story that touches not only Impact Day, but many of our other corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, is a multi-year partnership with the DC Diaper Bank. We were first introduced to the organization, which supplies diapers to families in need in the DC-area, over five years ago through our pro bono program, Creating Change, where we created a marketing and creative campaign for them.
From that introduction, we explored in-person volunteer opportunities and integrated them into our Impact Day, where a few employees fell in love with the organization and began volunteering in their personal time through our Dollars for Doers program. Through Dollars for Doers, we’ve now donated over $20,000 and counting to DC Diaper Bank, and have linked them with our Employee Resource Group that supports working parents. We’ve also hosted diaper drives in our offices to further benefit their incredible work and mission.
Discovery is and always has been, at its heart, a purpose-driven company. Our volunteer program gives employees a way to bring that mission to life in the communities where they live and work, and gives our local communities a way to engage more fully with Discovery.
Impact Day provides employees from different backgrounds, departments, levels, and skill sets with the opportunity to cross paths with colleagues they might never meet otherwise and contribute to something bigger than themselves. It breaks down global barriers and allows our employees across the world to feel more connected to one another as everyone is volunteering “together” on one day, even though they might be thousands of miles away.
Thank you, Laurel, for sharing Discovery’s story! VolunteerMatch is honored to support Discovery’s volunteer efforts through our YourMatch™ solution.