How Aviva Canada surpassed their employee volunteering target, logging 8,835 hours in a year

Thanks to a hugely successful Aviva Climate Day and the Benevity Spark platform, Aviva Canada surpassed their 2022 volunteering target.

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volunteering hours logged through the Benevity platform on Aviva Climate Day

Aviva Canada is one of the leading property and casualty insurance groups in the country. A wholly owned subsidiary of Aviva plc, one of the world's largest insurance groups and the largest insurance services provider in the UK. Thanks to Aviva’s sustainability ambition, they are taking action to help protect the planet by getting their employees involved in this mission.  

Living up to sustainability promises

Aviva Canada’s sustainability ambition outlines the ways in which the company is tackling climate change with the goal of becoming Net Zero by 2040. To engage employees in this corporate purpose, Aviva Canada has aligned their community investment initiatives with their larger sustainability goals. 

From their giving programme to their partnership with the World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada) to Aviva Climate Day, all of their programming invites employees to aid in the fight against climate change.


“We have a pretty open volunteer policy, so employees can even help at their children's school or at a Seniors home doing their own litter pick-up or collecting used clothing for donation. Anything that has a sustainability focus.” 

Lana Manoharan, Sustainability Consultant at Aviva Canada


Getting field volunteering back on the calendar

To create a connection between employees and their sustainability ambition, Aviva Canada aimed to increase engagement in their volunteering programme.

But, like many companies, they saw a steep drop in field volunteering participation after the pandemic. To achieve their goal, they launched Aviva Climate Day, an all-employee volunteer day, rallying team members in eighteen locations to volunteer their time to environmental causes.

Their main challenges were to:

  • Plan, promote and execute the event in just six weeks.
  • Engage employees in different locations, including remote workers, in causes that align with their sustainability ambition.
  • Reinstil an in-person volunteering spirit into their company culture so that employees feel empowered to contribute volunteer hours beyond special campaigns. 

Launching Aviva Climate Day

Aviva Climate Day is an opportunity for employees to come together and volunteer for sustainability-related causes. Highlighting their partnership with the World Wildlife Fund Canada, the event put a focus on restoring natural habitats and rebuilding local ecosystems to help with biodiversity loss. 

The company offered their employees a variety of options to participate: 

  • Native planting for employees. Employees were provided with a native plant to introduce into their own backyards to help their their local ecosystems thrive. They were also offered a $50 native plant subsidy with information on native plant nurseries to purchase greenery for their area. 
  • Climate-focused volunteering activities. They also organised a variety of volunteer events for teams to come together in-person and participate in environmentally friendly activities such as tree planting, community clean-ups and repurposing donated furniture to help families in need. 

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“Benevity's Spark platform was helping in mobilising all those people, signing them up all for different events and shifts that were happening around the same time.”

Lana Manoharan, Sustainability Consultant at Aviva Canada


Leveraging communication channels for maximum impact 

To capture the attention of employees, Lana and her team employed the following communication methods leading up to the event:

  • Executive support. First, they pulled data on the number of signups they were seeing for Aviva Climate Day. Segmenting this data by department, they then shared weekly updates to leaders. This effort encouraged leaders to cascade messaging down to the rest of the company, pushing departments with low participation to get involved. 
  • Programme ambassador newsletters. By sending out newsletters to programme ambassadors detailing the events happening in their hub, they spread information about how employees get involved in their location.  
  • Aviva intranet. To combat the drop off in signups after launch, they sent out consistent reminders via internal channels like their intranet and Yammer. 
  • Benevity platform. They made the front page of their volunteering and giving platform all about the event and created special news articles that promoted volunteer opportunities based on location. 

“Whenever we have campaigns like this we utilise the Benevity platform…featuring all the volunteer opportunities there so they’re easily accessible and people know if the opportunity is near them.”

Lana Manoharan, Sustainability Consultant at Aviva Canada

Exceeding goals by bringing teams together

With the help of the 1,195 employees who participated, Aviva Canada surpassed their target for the year, in larger part to this event which brought in a total of 2,978 volunteer hours in one day. 

It was also an effective way of empowering employees to volunteer on their own time using the company's policy of three paid days off to volunteer.


“We use Benevity to promote the individual ways that you can use your volunteer hours outside of the scheduled events.”

Lana Manoharan, Sustainability Consultant at Aviva Canada

Thanks to these efforts, they saw 5,587 hours volunteered outside of Aviva Climate Day, landing them at a total of 8,835 for the year

This helped them to achieve of their goal of ramping up their volunteering programme. Particularly given that 96% of employees surveyed said they would participate in Aviva Climate Day again. 


“I think a lot of them really liked Aviva Climate Day because it was one of the first times people were seeing everybody…it was just nice to have that feeling of everybody coming together on the same day.”

Lana Manoharan, Sustainability Consultant at Aviva Canada


Lana added, “We’ve had a lot of good feedback for what we’ve done, and I think people just want to see more. So we're doing it again this year. And now that we have a lot more time, they're expecting us to do it bigger.”


“We've had Benevity for about a year, it’s an incredible platform. What we were able to see is that they help us increase both our retention and our engagement. We have our 'Voice of Medallia' survey, which is our employee engagement survey that goes out every couple of months. And we have key questions that we ask: Do you feel that Medallia is a great place to work? Do you plan to be with Medallia this time next year? Do you trust our leadership? Do you feel as though your work is meaningful? Do you feel like you belong at Medallia? And what we saw was that people who use Benevity, so people who volunteer and donate, have a higher score on all of those key drivers and a 10% increase in the sense of belonging.”