The “day of giving” project was first launched as a pilot in 2017 in Bucharest, Vancouver, and at EA's former Tokyo location.
“This was, in a sense, a relaunch of the program,” Annie said. “The pilot was only at three locations, and this year, we're doing five locations. And just by coincidence, we're circumnavigating the globe this time.”
Because of the positive feedback the pilot had received in 2017, Annie's team was able to get the support they needed to relaunch the EA Gives Back day of giving tour this year.
The team partnered with Points of Light, a global organization connected to key governmental NGOs and nonprofits that are focused on corporate clientele.
“We also partnered with local leads who would execute the events on the ground to ensure the causes and activities resonate with the local EA culture at each location,” she said.
Annie explained the day of giving tour's goals are predominantly focused on enhancing the employee experience.
She said one of EA's core focuses is to create a culture of community and inclusivity — and they want to tie that culture into team building through giving programs.
“We also want to increase our volunteerism efforts,” said Annie. “This helps with that goal by providing big, fun events for people to contribute volunteer hours. And we want to increase our social footprint in our local communities, because if we want to be the greatest game company, we also want to strive to be the greatest game company in our communities.”
Each location involved in the tour shut down their site for an entire day, and employees were encouraged to sign up for a variety of volunteer activities Annie's team provided.
“It's an all-day community experience that focuses on team building, building new relationships, and getting closer in touch with the local community through non-profit organizations that we're partnering with,” Annie said.
So far, they've completed four of the five stops on the tour, and each location had a similar itinerary.
“Then, the other two or three activities would be outside in the community, in partnership with a nonprofit,” she said. “They did a whole day of giving and learned about the nonprofit and how their volunteer activity would impact the local community.” Annie said the activities included things like picking up trash, cleaning up an animal shelter, and refurbishing a children's center.
Finally, each day ended with a post-event celebration, complete with a slideshow of photos from that day.
“We also collected high-level impact reports and presented them to employees at the end of the day to highlight the impact they made,” she said. “And in Bucharest, they even went around and provided feedback on how the day made them feel about being a part of EA and how it felt to be able to give back to the community.”
Annie said they've been receiving positive responses from the employees and communities involved.
The nonprofits they partnered with in each location shared posts across their social media platforms — and United Way even wrote up an article about the Austin day of giving project.
They've also received overwhelmingly positive feedback internally around an increased sense of belonging and pride for EA as well as increased awareness about the needs of the local communities.
“A lot of our offices don't get the chance to cross-collaborate on different teams, so we were hoping that employees would meet some new friends,” Annie said. “And we're even set to surpass last year's company-wide participation percentage.”
Executing on the day of giving is just one side of their EA Gives Back program — the other side involves making sure their other locations are able to participate in the program.
Annie's team is opening the campaign from May to September to encourage other locations not involved in the day of giving tour to set up their own team-building community events.
“We sent a toolkit, or an ‘event in a box,' for them to leverage,” she said. “And there will a contest where one of our non-tour locations will be selected as a future location for the tour.”
One of Annie's biggest key learnings has been understanding the value of a program like this because of how far EA's locations are from one another.
Annie emphasized the importance of connecting with people face to face, and when given the opportunity, employees everywhere will answer the call to action.
“Not to mention the importance of our leaders' passion to give back,” she said. “Because they have that passion, it cascades down to the rest of us.”
She advised connecting with leaders who have that same passion, because they can help drive the project forward and be an advocate.
“Once you have the right advocates and you've connected with people on the ground who can support you, it just comes down to the execution,” Annie said. “Building strong relationships and being aligned with people who have a passion for this area is key.”
Annie Lim has been a member of the CSR Board since 2019. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.