How to Tell Your Employee Volunteering Story: The Best Example We’ve Seen

Emirates NBD’s “Give In To Giving” initiative encourages employee to volunteer for a cause, big or small, and fulfill the “natural instinct to help, share and get involved.  It is never too early, or too late to become a volunteer and leave positive impact on people’s lives and the community-at-large.

Realized Worth is always on the lookout for great examples of employee volunteering and storytelling to share with our readers. Today, on International Volunteer Day, we are proud to share a video produced by Emirates NBD, a leading banking group and a leader in the practice of employee volunteering in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The video was produced to encourage UAE residents to “Give in to Giving” by giving time to volunteer in the community.

You can watch the video below. Feel free to share it on Facebook or Linkedin! It’s a great example of how people around the world can come together in empathy for others and volunteering as an expression of our shared humanity.

In 2015, the bank developed an exceptional employee volunteer program, Emirates NBD’s Exchangers. The volunteering program is an integral part of the bank’s CSR commitment and supports the UAE government’s goal to increase community volunteering in the Year of Zayed following the Year of Giving (2017). As further testament to the bank’s commitment to employee volunteering, Emirates NBD is a Collaborating Partner of IMPACT 2030, a private sector-led initiative to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through corporate volunteering. In 2017, the bank had completed over 26,000 hours of volunteering service with over 4000 employees and partners participating, which is a phenomenal feat in the region.

So, why do we love this video?

While we do know and respect the team at Emirates NBD, they’re not the reason we love this video. We love it because of its gentle yet poignant message, its refusal to adhere to formulaic marketing, and its philosophical angle on the relationship between giving and receiving.

At the beginning, the main character doesn’t notice opportunities for generosity because giving is simply not part of his lifestyle. Human beings aren’t prone to take special notice of anything unless it’s new or different (a cognitive bias we all use). In this case, every expression of need around him seems typical and mundane – until he’s shocked into a new way of seeing by a disorienting encounter. While his decision to help was reactive and not intentional, it was still a moment that allowed him to lift his head and begin to notice opportunities to help.

At Realized Worth, we refer to this moment as a “disorienting dilemma.” We’ve all had events in our lives that change us forever – sometimes in extremely significant ways; sometimes more subtly. There are simple methods that make it possible for corporate volunteer experiences to invite gentle disorienting dilemmas in order to help people see their reality in a new way – just like the character in the video does.

After his disorienting moment, the character begins to actively look for ways to express the meaning he assigns to his first interaction with helping. He notices signs he had ignored before and people he had dismissed and opportunities to help that he hadn’t even wanted to see. The point is, once he realized he had the capacity to help, his view of himself changed. When our view of ourselves change, our behaviors follow.

Chris Jarvis - Chief Strategist

Chris Jarvis

Chief Strategist

In the end, the character’s life-changing experience proves to be so meaningful that he wants others to experience it too. So, for a stranger who reminds him of who he used to be, he manufactures a similar disorienting dilemma of his own. This video is not about solving every one of the world’s problems – because we can’t. People still need to give blood, accidents still happen, little girls lose their balloons. This video is about participating in the human journey together and opening ourselves up to who we can become when we give to others.

Congratulations to Emirates NBD and the employees who exemplify the best of who we are and can be through volunteering.


Realized Worth offers consulting on employee volunteering and giving programs. We are a global agency that specializes in program design, employee volunteer training, and employee engagement. Contact us to learn more!


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