In 2009, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) made a strategic decision to increase their commitment to solving some of the world’s toughest health challenges. Integrating philanthropic goals with employee learning and development priorities, GSK crafted an immersive skills-based volunteer program that provides skills and leadership development to employees while increasing the company’s impact on its nonprofit partners and elevating its brand.
Each year, PULSE matches 100 high potential employees with a nonprofit for a 3 – 6-month full-time volunteer fellowship. Employees apply their skills to solve challenges such as how to prevent Black Fever (in partnership with CARE India) and how to improve the logistics and supply chain distribution for paediatric diarrhea treatments in Nigeria (in partnership with the Clinton Health Access Initiative).
Impressively, the PULSE experience is already starting to show results. 75% of employees who participate feel reinvigorated to do their jobs; 85% contribute newly developed skills that have improved overall company performance, and all participants are 41% more likely to stay at GSK. The success of PULSE supports the fact that strategically aligning a company’s philanthropic and human capital priorities yields powerful results.
Since its launch in 2009, PULSE has empowered nearly 400 employees from 45 countries to serve as volunteers. They have worked with 85 PULSE Partners in 57 countries, supporting non-profit and NGO organizations that work on health care access and children issues. Stop Hunger Now has been the recipient of 6 of these incredibly driven, passionate volunteers to help our organization streamline everything from business development to business processes across multiple departments.
“My experience at Stop Hunger Now has been very rewarding, both professionally and personally. Gandhi’s quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”, resonates with me because big changes can start from small beginnings. Using my skill sets, GSK tools and ways of working, I was able to make positive and sustainable changes to an organization that already has a strong vision and mission to end hunger in our lifetime. I now have the opportunity to share back to GSK the great ideas and passion that Stop Hunger Now embraces. This PULSE assignment is truly a WIN-WIN for all.”
2013 PULSE volunteer, Ralph Puckett, became so committed to our mission to end hunger that immediately following his 6-month assignment, he became a Stop Hunger Now Certified Hunger Event Facilitator (CHEF) — supervising meal packaging events across the country. He does this in addition to working a full-time job. His unending desire and relentless efforts to impact global hunger earned Ralph a prestigious Points of Light Award in 2014.
As the PULSE program proves, it’s imperative to give your employees something to be proud of. Working directly with nonprofits who benefit from GSK’s products helps employees take a fresh look at the importance of their jobs. As a result, 72% of PULSE participants say they’re proud to work for GSK.
Additionally, empowering employees to reach their full potential requires a challenge they won’t find sitting behind their desk. Working in the resource-constrained environment of a non-profit forces PULSE participants to creatively overcome new challenges. Employees gain confidence in their ability to solve problems, affect social change, and act as leaders. After returning to GSK from the PULSE experience, participants are more confident leaders; 98% of participants are more capable of supporting the development of others and 92% are more proactive and open to empowering colleagues.
Go here for more information on Stop Hunger Now’s Skills-Based Volunteering program.

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