Professional skills put to pro bono use across Macquarie

Global, 07 December 2014

One of the most valuable things businesspeople can provide when looking to support their community can be found in their heads.

Harnessing the brain matter of Macquarie staff for community benefit is a key feature of Macquarie Group Foundation’s philanthropic approach, and to this end a range of events to bring employees and charities together are regularly organised.

Some of these events form part of a Macquarie talent development program that brings together senior Macquarie executives with non-profits to provide business planning advice or work on other strategic goals.

In New York: In October, a team of seven New York staff developed a series of training sessions for local community organization America Needs You (ANY).

At ANY’s request, training focused on time management and prioritization; communication and feedback; and managing up and delegation, with the overall goal of helping ANY’s growing staff and new managers learn how to work as efficiently as possible. The Macquarie Group Foundation partnered with the Taproot Foundation and Macquarie’s local learning and development team to ensure the project’s success.

ANY provides career development, mentorship and professional networks to high-achieving, low-income, first generation college students. Currently operating in New York and New Jersey, the organization is expanding and will shortly open an office in Chicago. Macquarie staff have been involved as volunteers and donors with ANY since 2010.  

In Sydney: Staff from across business groups came together in September to provide input and advice to several social entrepreneurs in a half-day workshop to help with a range of issues around fundraising, business planning and scaling up their social businesses. The session also kicked off a longer 8-week mentoring program with the School for Social Entrepreneurs between some of the Macquarie executives and entrepreneurs.

Participants from both sides found it a positive experience, with one social entrepreneur saying the interaction had prompted a “lightbulb” moment for her that would have a profound impact on her business. 

In Singapore: A team helped create a robust fundraising model for one of Macquarie’s community partners, HOME, to assist its fundraising target of $S500,000 within a year.

During two half-day skill ‘scalathon’ sessions in September, 16 Macquarie employees worked in small groups, alongside representatives from HOME and the facilitating organisation Conjunct Consulting. Discussion centred on identifying critical stakeholders for HOME’s donor outreach programme, recognising untapped potential donor segments and ways of optimising donor penetration and frequency.

HOME (Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics) is involved in case work and legal advocacy for foreign workers who are abused, exploited and not paid their salaries in Singapore. One Macquarie staff member said the scalathon had provided “a whole new perspective on volunteering”.

In London: A six-month program building the capacity of five charities in Islington concluded in November, marking the fifth year the CoRe (Community Resourcing) program has taken place in the borough.

32 volunteers (comprising 19 from Macquarie and 13 from partner company Slaughter and May) were matched across the charities depending on their skills and the organisation’s needs. Projects ranged from developing a volunteering scheme across three organisations, producing a framework for public contract bidding, and building an income generation plan.

One charity noted that the volunteers brought “a huge reservoir of expertise” and that being able to tap into their combined professional backgrounds and resources was “excellent for us!”


Image caption: During two half-day skills sessions, Macquarie Singapore staff worked with community organization HOME to optimise the non-profit’s fundraising strategy.