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FedEx and Red Cross Relationship Showcased at Global Vounteer Conference in Singapore

President IFRC at Singapore Conference.jpg

I received a call some months ago from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Geneva, Switzerland inviting FedEx to present at the International Association of Volunteer Effort (IAVE) Global Conference in Singapore the week of January 24 (www.iave2011.org). More than 1,000 delegates from 100 countries participated in the Conference.

As the IAVE conference is the world's premier global conference in the volunteering arena, it was quite an honor to receive the invitation. Presenters and attendees were quite diverse. They included the President of Singapore, the President of the IFRC, actors Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh – who are both active volunteers, hundreds of non-governmental organization (NGO) founders and leaders, and many corporate representatives.

It was inspiring to hear from the leaders of international NGOs who testified to world changing power of the global volunteer movement. We also heard from NGO founders who shared inspirational stories of how they began as volunteers, saw a need and passionately took action to see that the need was met. While Jet Li spoke mostly through an interpreter, he spoke in English when he challenged the young men in the audience. He told them not to tell him they “don’t have time to volunteer.” Li claimed that isn’t a valid excuse since young men are always able to have time when they find a girlfriend! One makes time for what’s important.

While most of the conference centered around formal volunteering where organizations engage volunteers to help move the needle to meet big social issues, an important point was made about “informal” volunteering. An “informal” volunteer is the person who gets groceries for their homebound neighbor, picks up children from school for a working single mom who needs help, mows the yard for an elderly neighbor, or who performs other selfless acts of volunteer service.

When the IFRC asked me to present on behalf of FedEx, addressing the volunteer work we do with the Red Cross, I immediately reached out to my colleague Amanda at the American Red Cross. We have worked together for several years on many disaster preparedness and response initiatives across the country and around the world. Our presentation came together quite naturally and was well received by the NGO, government and corporate representatives in attendance. One of the things attendees commented on that they appreciated most was the way we presented together in such a seamless way. We essentially modeled in the way we worked together the strength of the relationship between FedEx and the American Red Cross about which we were presenting!

The IFRC has posted a recap of the session on their blog site. To learn more about the ongoing strategic relationship between FedEx and the Red Cross, please visit the IFRC blog site at:

http://www.ourworld-yourmove.org/uncategorized/secrets-behind-a-solid-corporate-ngo-partnership/

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