60 Second Interview: Franklin Templeton Rallies Employee Volunteering During “Impact Days”

Cassandra Bennett July 25, 2017 Employee Engagement

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The 60 Second Interview series features success stories from our Global Good Network, and a rapid-fire interview with the partner on how it was achieved.

This month, we sat down with Cristina Lam, the Senior Community Relations Specialist at Franklin Templeton Investements, to discuss their 11th annual “Impact Days” event. Check out what Cristina had to say:

Cristina Lam Headshot
Cristina Lam


Please give an overview of Franklin Templeton Investment’s “Impact Days” campaign?

Impact Days in June is Franklin Templeton’s global month of service. It’s a month in which we celebrate volunteerism and put an extra emphasis on encouraging our employees around the world to get involved and serve their communities.

Service projects can range from volunteering at a local food bank, to job training interviews, to hosting students in the office for a job shadow day. We offer a wide range of projects and this year we had 123 different volunteer events taking place in 31 offices around the world.


What results did you see this year in the month of June?

  • 1,878 volunteers
  • 5,938 hrs volunteered
  • $143,000 = Index value of volunteer time
  • 92 charity partners


We also run two specific campaigns within Impact Days that had great success:

World CAN Competition – This is a global canned food drive to fight hunger in our local communities. Employees work in teams to collect and donate food items, while also using the cans to design creative structures or sculptures. We hold a global photo competition between offices and the winning team receives a financial grant to their local food bank. This year we had nine cities participate with 11 total teams. We collected nearly 12,000 food items, which was up 28% from last year.

Franklin Templeton - World Can Competition
World Can Competition sculpture.


Red Cross Mapathon – This is a virtual volunteer opportunity where employees worked with the Red Cross to map satellite imagery to help with disaster relief. We encouraged our employees to log their volunteer hours through the ‘Involved portal’, the YourCause platform, and for every employee who logged an hour of time during Impact Days, we donated $100 to the Red Cross. We had 87 participants in this inaugural year of the mapathon which led to a Franklin Templeton donation of $8,700 to the Red Cross.


This was your 11th year hosting Impact Days. In what ways has it changed / improved?

Our employee base is recognizing the importance we put on Impact Days so year-over-year our volunteer program has grown. The total number of volunteers has increased by 70% from 5 years ago. That’s a huge testament to how much the program, and also visibility of Impact Days has grown.

At the same time, I think a lot of our employees are just excited to use their volunteer paid time off to do team-building exercises that contribute to their communities or causes they’re passionate about.

Many times, our charity partners will tag us on social media and it’s good to see external people recognizing the great work that our employees are doing.

Our ‘Involved’ portal makes it quick and simple for all our employees to track volunteer hours. During Impact Days alone we had 280 new portal users who registered in our portal.

The portal also has awesome features we use to remind employees they have the opportunity to earn Donations for Doers or Cause Cards for every 20 hours they volunteer.


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How do you setup the volunteer events? (What obstacles do you encounter?)

Luckily we leverage our volunteer ambassadors, or “Site Council Members,” in each office to create projects. It’s up to them to manage the logistics and coordinate the behind-the-scenes with the charity partners.

These site council members and project leaders put in time and effort on top of their day-to-day work to inspire their colleagues to join in on the events. It really says a lot about our employee base that we have so many philanthropic leaders who go above and beyond to make sure these projects are successful for their colleagues to join.

The range of volunteer projects is diverse and we’ll often leverage our existing business resource groups. For example, June was Pride Month so our Florida office partnered with the Pride@FTI network to recruit volunteers to be at their local Pride parade.


How do you manage and get international employees involved?

We tap into our international site council members who have strong ties with the local nonprofits. They’re the ones that will coordinate the events.

We encourage these volunteer ambassadors to share their photos and stories, which we share on our internal intranet. This helps encourage the participants but also inspires their colleagues in that region to get involved, too.


FTI Employee Volunteering


Can you share what made certain volunteer events a success?

Events work best when there is a sense of collaboration and appreciation from peers to be part of the unified effort of Impact Days.

The World CAN Competition is a great example because every year the participating teams get really invested. It really drives our employees to not only work together to find a creative way to collect the cans, but to also put creativity to work for building and engineering the sculpture. This teamwork makes the event a win-win for everyone.


Stats showing the success of Impact Days


What is the overall communication strategy to make sure people are aware of the campaign?

Throughout the year, I stay in touch with all of our site council members to remind them to start planning early. We constantly remind employees of the importance to post their events on the Involved portal so that anyone can find them to sign up.

Here are some of our email and marketing efforts to promote the campaign:

  • We create a screensaver with Impact Days that pops up whenever employees are away to remind you to sign up.
  • A ‘Kickoff’ email that has links to resources and events.
  • ‘All Things Involved Info Session’ – A Skype call I hosted that is a perfect way for folks to learn about the Involved portal’s features and our year-round Involved employee volunteer program.
  • We encourage executives and managers to reach out to their employees.


Quote Graphic about CSRconnect Portal

What incentives do you offer to employees?

For every 20 hours volunteered an employee can earn a $250 Cause Card. This really incentivizes employees to log their hours regardless if it’s a team event hosted by the site council or their own personal event.

The simplicity of logging the hours, getting an email, and being reminded of the Cause Card has made our redemption rate really great.