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Executive Perspectives

EXECUTIVE PERSPECTIVE: Serving People Well – RBS and #GivingTuesday

Michael Duncan

28 Nov 2017

“As a bank we are concentrating on ‘Serving People Well’, that’s our purpose. To us this means making a commitment to help both our customers and employees support the causes that they care about.”

The following is an interview with Michael Duncan, Head of Giving Programmes at RBS. He provides a case study on RBS’s involvement with #GivingTuesday as a founding supporter. 

Thomson Reuters Sustainability: Who is RBS and what do you do?
Michael Duncan:
RBS is a UK Retail and Commercial Bank with a focused Markets division. From our headquarters in Edinburgh, RBS serves over 19 million customers predominantly based in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Our most recognisable brands in the UK are NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Thomson Reuters Sustainability: How many employees do you have, where are they located and what are some of the typical roles?
RBS employs more than 70,000 people globally and given the scale and size of our community, there are thousands of colleagues performing many different functions. There are frontline staff dealing with customers face to face, teams working in our security centres making sure customers accounts are safe and secure and even colleagues working in our innovation hubs predicting what banking will look like in the future. It is a vibrant and busy place.

Thomson Reuters Sustainability: You are founding supporters of #givingtuesday in the UK, could you tell us why you got involved?
RBS became a #givingtuesday partner four years ago when the campaign started in the UK. It struck a cord with us in many ways – as a bank we are concentrating on ‘Serving People Well’, that’s our purpose. To us this means making a commitment to help both our customers and employees support the causes that they care about. #givingtuesday enables us to do this, whilst celebrating all of the amazing work, whilst raising as much money as possible for thousands of charities.

Thomson Reuters Sustainability: Why does #givingtuesday work for you and what would you tell other corporates?
I’d say to anyone who isn’t yet involved in #givingtuesday, either a corporate, a charity or an individual – please do consider it. It is a hugely empowering way to do good and feel good whilst bringing about change for thousands of charities and their beneficiaries.  It’s an amazing way to make a difference.

Thomson Reuters Sustainability: What are your plans for this year and what are you most proud of since 2015?
Over the past years we have grown our #givingtuesday campaign. It started as a campaign based on awareness in the first year, and then we promoted the benefits of long term giving through Payroll Giving to employees in 2015. In 2016, we developed this further by reaching out to our Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest customers, encouraging them to donate to charity through their Reward Account. This was a great success as we saw a huge uplift of 269% against the average monthly customer donation through this account. Last years campaign saw charities benefitting from an additional £500,000 due to the generosity of our customers and colleagues, something which we are immensely proud of.

This year we will be running a similar campaign – incentivising our colleagues to give through our Payroll Giving scheme and celebrating all the outstanding things they have collectively done for the causes that matter most to them.  We will also be engaging our Reward customers; asking them to donate their reward points for charity donations.  We are aiming to bring our customers and colleagues together for this moment in time on Tuesday 28 November and really make a difference in our communities.

Michael Duncan
Head of Giving Programmes, RBS
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