6 January 2021

Annual report 2020

What happened at Samen voor Eindhoven in 2020?
What did we change and what did we learn?
How did we as a team stay positive with all the challenges we faced? And what is the impact of our work on society, companies and employees?

In this personal annual letter, we look back on 2020. And we look forward to the future.

You will also find here a video that shows our work of the past year in a nutshell.

Dear concerned reader,

Last year, the importance and necessity of our mission became even clearer. Did you know that about 10% of the inhabitants of Eindhoven live below the poverty line? And do you realise that after covid-19 - besides an economic - also a social crisis will follow? As a result, the number of people with problems is growing. Moreover, the survival of some social organisations is in jeopardy and the implementation of their programmes is compromised. This is especially true for organisations that do not receive subsidies. And yet more and more people will rely on these organisations.

A gap is perceived between the well-earning, highly educated Eindhoven knowledge workers on the one hand and the people who are struggling on the other. And covid-19 has made these people (even) more vulnerable. This means more people with psychological problems, an increase in the number of homeless people and people in debt, an increase in domestic violence, growing loneliness, children who are unable to participate and who derail, unrest on the streets, declining prosperity and welfare.

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Our Dream

We all want a better world.

"We believe, and see in practice, that something magical happens when employees of companies and civil society organisations work together to 'do good.'"

Together for Eindhoven is the connector between companies, social organisations and the local government. Together we go for a closer society where everyone can participate. We help foundations and charities to make more impact, thanks to the expertise, time, talent and hands of corporate volunteers. By building a cohesive society based on mutual understanding, we contribute to the realisation of the Global Goals (the business plan for a better world).


72% fewer corporate volunteers due to covid-19, made great strides in innovation and development of new services to remain meaningful to those in need.

#Doing good makes you happy

Despite all the challenges we encountered as a home-based team, we continued to work enthusiastically and tenaciously. The energy generated by our work among corporate volunteers and social organisations made us even more passionate and creative. The connections we were still able to make were also our 'bright spots' during this time and gave us positive energy to keep going.

Our role in 2020 as a connector

We believe that only by connecting and collaborating with a diversity of parties can you make the most impact. While in recent years we have had an average 30% growth in the number of corporate volunteers, in 2020, for the first time since our founding in 2013, the number of volunteers decreased by 72% compared to 2019.

The demand from the social field was indeed there, as less than 10% of the volunteer spots were filled. In 2019, this percentage was 27%.

Archipel Dommelhoef HIGHLIGHT #corona help (8)

We asked a lot of attention for loneliness; no less than 61% of all volunteer hours were used for Global Goal 3 'good health and well-being'. With all activities, we reached more than 10,000 people who could use Vitamin A (of attention) or a helping hand. Customer satisfaction decreased slightly by 0.2 to an average rating of 8.4.

Due to the RIVM guidelines, almost all companies in our network encouraged their employees to work at home and were not intended to go out for volunteering. From the first lockdown in March, we adjusted our activities with special 'health and safety' guidelines, even reducing the groups to groups of two volunteers at the end of the year during the 'heartwarming December period'.

"Wonderful what you were able to do in the city. So flexible in switching in corona time. Also on behalf of Stichting Ik Wil, thank you very much for your mediation, support, positivity and links to your network. So that we too can continue to grow.

Esra Altmis, initiator of Stichting Ik Wil.

Together for Eindhoven is about meeting and connecting people and worlds that normally do not meet in everyday life. Given the many restrictions, this was very difficult in 2020. We were forced to cancel a large number of activities because of the lockdown measures. After years of growth to over 100 partners in our network, this dropped to 93 partners. 19 companies ended their cooperation at the end of the year.

Homeless team...

From mid-March onwards, our office at NXP was also closed and we worked as a team from home throughout the year. We had to say goodbye to two colleagues. Halfway through the year, we received an employee for a year from Philips Employment Plan. A great gift!

Photography: Bea Staver


If you are familiar with the committed team of Samen voor Eindhoven, you know that we did not sit still. A week after the first lockdown, in mid-March we were already working from home and our work and consultations continued 'digitally'. In the context of vital employees, we introduced a walking consultation from home via Whatsapp. In March, we immediately started talking to our partners with whom we have often worked for years and asked them what they needed. We brought our social partners together via webinars, which were super interactive.

And we experimented with new approaches that will continue to be relevant in the years to come:

  • As many as 25% of corporate volunteers did so online or from home. Some examples: corporate volunteers make the feel-good news every week. Every week, 2,500 people in care institutions read this newspaper containing only positive news. Our idea was also adopted by our colleagues in London and Paris via our global network Points of Light during our online meetings, where we share knowledge, tips and experiences. Teams of communication professionals gave online communication advice during our annual Pro Bono Communication Day. And we found new online video call buddies for the Sunflower Active people who felt alone. We also transformed the annual community coach programme into an online one.
  • We organised 12 webinars and online (match) events
  • We have teamed up with 'Allemaal Digitaal' and donated 600 laptops and iPads to children from primary schools (in cooperation with Eindhoven Library) and to social organisations in our network.
  • The MO040 Dinner in May was cancelled. Fortunately, the biannual matchevent in November did take place. Here, together with DLL, NXP and the Municipality of Eindhoven, we organised the first successful interactive online version 'MO040 Late Night' in the studio at Ergon.
Duo presentation by Marije Rhebergen (DLL) and Esther Hofstede (Together for Eindhoven) 'in the studio' at Ergon on MO040 Late Night. Photography: Thomas Abrahams | Beeldbaas
Now everyone was involved in the pitches and questions and many matches were made quickly. This is much more efficient.ëThis is much more efficient than a physical MO040 dinner.. Let's keep this online format in the future.

Participant (source SurveyMonkey)

  • A number of companies - including Philips - approached us with a request for advice on donations. We carried out a needs analysis on how this money could end up in the right place, in line with the goal. This resulted in € 170,000 for good causes in the Brainport region.
  • We implemented a chat function on our website and volunteer platform and optimised the search pages for volunteer opportunities.
  • Under the guidance of facilitators 'strategy and governance' from our founder Woonbedrijf, we received three strategy sessions together with the board.
  • At the end of 2020, after 17 years of using the same 'Samen voor Betrokken Ondernemen' model, we implemented a new financing model in cooperation and with the help of DLL's Head of Sustainability.
"Companies must take co-responsibility for the well-being of society. They can build a bridge to society through public-private partnerships."
Online MO040 Late Night
Hans de Jong, President of Philips Netherlands and member of the board of VNO-NCW. In this picture as a participant of MO040 Late Night. Photography: Thomas Abrahams | Beeldbaas
Anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur without social awareness is doomed to fail".

Frits Philips.


Theory of Change

The 'Samen voor' formula has existed since 2004, when Esther Hofstede set up the first branch 'Samen voor Zeist'. In 2012, she also founded Samen voor Eindhoven. Since our start, we have activated more than 10,000 corporate volunteers. Every participant receives a SurveyMonkey questionnaire after the activity. But we always kept asking ourselves: 'How do we make our impact visible? How do you get from good intentions to really making a difference in practice? And how do you measure that?

Facilitated by consultants from Avance-Impact bureau, in 2018 we drew up a Theory of Change (ToC) or change model together with all branches of the national foundation 'Samen voor Betrokken Ondernemen' (Together for Involved Enterprise). The aim was to gain even more insight into our added value and a measurement recommendation for the next two years for more insight into our impact. After two years - in 2020 - we asked Avance-Impact to make a data analysis of 1,162 respondents (N).

Below are the research results by Avance-Impact. See also appendix II for further results, graphs and explanations. This is the largest, multi-year research among corporate volunteers of various companies in the Netherlands.

The impact & added value
for company, company volunteers, social organisation and their target groups.

The following results emerge from the study:

  1. Employees have a higher appreciation of their employer (95%)
  2. Employees gain more insight into the target group and social problems (84%). During their volunteer work, employees come into contact with problems they might not encounter in their daily lives. This leads to a broader understanding of specific vulnerable groups and/or social problems.
  3. Employees feel more committed to the mission of the civil society organisation' (84%)
  4. Employees got to know their colleagues better by participating in the activity (69%)

The lonely century

"No matter how fragmented or polarised our countries, cities and communities are, by spending time with people who are different from us and by practising the capacity for cooperation, compassion and consideration, we can begin to feel more unified and develop a sense of shared destiny and connection."

says Noreena Hertz, professor at University College London in her book 'The Lonely Century'. 

Positive experience: 8.61 rating

To gain insight into the extent to which corporate volunteers have a positive experience, we look at the rating the volunteer give to the project and whether they would recommend the volunteer work to a friend or colleague (the NPS score). On average, corporate volunteers give the activity a score of 8.61. By far the largest group gives a high mark: more than half give a 9 or 10. None of the 1,162 volunteers gives the project an insufficient mark. The company volunteers also consider it likely that they would recommend the voluntary work to a friend or colleague.

The largest group is currently not active as volunteers; however, 80% of this target group is enthused and plans to get involved more often.

In order to gain insight into the contribution of Samen voor Eindhoven to activating employees to volunteer more often, it was asked whether the company volunteers are already active as a volunteer. The largest group is currently not active as a volunteer: 30% has done voluntary work in the past but does not do so now and 44% does not volunteer. More than a quarter are already involved as volunteers. A follow-up analysis showed that the volunteers who are already active as volunteers, slightly more often intend to volunteer again for Samen voor Eindhoven and the social organisation.

Samen voor Eindhoven aims to activate participants to volunteer more often. Participants who do not volunteer at the moment are an important target group. They are still new to doing voluntary work and Samen voor Eindhoven wants to stimulate their curiosity (the tourist phase). This is the first step in long-term social involvement.

We see no significant relationship between participants who already volunteer and the intention to volunteer more often (for the social organisation or Samen voor Eindhoven). This is a significant result, because it shows that also the target group that normally does not volunteer is being enthused.

The graphs show that 71% of the participants who do not volunteer, consider it (extremely) likely that they will volunteer again for the social organisation. In addition, 80% of the target group that does not volunteer intend to volunteer more often for Samen voor Eindhoven.

A view to 2021

Voluntary commitment from companies to society is more important than ever and contributes to social cohesion. It facilitates people to get out of their own bubble and bridge the gap. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has designated 2021 as the National Year of Voluntary Effort. The theme of the year is aptly named: 'People make the Netherlands'. Queen Maxima kicked off this year's activities on National Volunteer Day.

Heartwarming Together
We ended the year with the Heartwarming Winter Weeks in December. Many people feel more vulnerable and lonely. We start the new year around Valentine's Day with a heartwarming campaign: 'Hartverwarmend Samen' (Heartwarming Together) in cooperation with our new founder De Heeren van Vonder.

Our strategy remains: connecting and creating added value for all stakeholders: social partners, companies and employees. We do this through:

  • awareness campaigns and sharing our magical and positive stories on our social media channels,
  • mobilising large numbers of corporate volunteers,
  • cooperation and co-creation
  • Measuring impact and customer satisfaction.

Partnership Choice Menu
We have changed our funding model as of 2021. Based on the ambition and the social impact to be realised, companies opt for an annual partnership or foundership. This entitles a company to a number of hours of service. Every year, we discuss how and on what we spend the available hours and which goals, results and impact we want to achieve. A quarter of the membership fee is spent on strengthening the social organisations.    

  1. Office for matchmaking & impact days
    Creating impact for society through matchmaking and (online) (team) activities
  2. Social projects and programme management
    Implementing community projects that contribute to important themes in the city. Including use of the digital volunteer calendar
  3. Consultancy - CSR & HR Business Partner
    CSR Policy development: ambition statement & principles and choice for the Global Goals. Advice on implementation and link between HR and volunteering, a.o.
    • well-being & vitality & sustainable employability
    • purpose & commitment
    • soft skills & competence development

As long as the physical deployment of corporate volunteers is hardly possible due to covid-19, it will remain difficult to achieve the high numbers of previous years. We continue to focus on online volunteering, but have noticed that it is less popular with companies. In the past, many volunteers preferred to work as a team activity. At the end of 2020, we made a careful start with online briefings and reflection (rather than physical attendance) according to our 'transformational learning method'. This is proving much more effective than our old method!

Towards fundamental and structural cooperation between commercial and non-profit organisations
We constantly ask ourselves what the world would look like if non-profit organisations, which run on volunteers, had access to the same facilities as large companies. Access to the same knowledge, skills, networks and resources for example in strategy, marketing and social media management, finance, IT, organisational advice and development. What would the world be like then? We are convinced that it would substantially reduce the gap between joining and leaving. It would significantly improve our prosperity and well-being.

How can we transform the good will of occasional one-day contributions into fundamental and structural contributions? We hope that we can create a movement in which companies and teams of employees 'adopt' social organisations for a longer period - six months to one year. This is a much-heard wish from many of our social partners. Next year, we want to start at least three long-term adoption programmes.

In the coming year, Foundation Together for Eindhoven - as well as other social initiatives - will be confronted with uncertainty regarding our own financial situation. We hope that we will be able to retain sufficient manpower to continue to dedicate ourselves to our common dream.

This is how we make an impact together, contribute to the Global Goals and create a more cohesive society. Together for Eindhoven, together for Brainport.

We are at the beginning of an important period.

Will you join us? Join us!


Joining forces and a common approach works.

We accomplish our mission with the help of our fans, founders, business partners, social partners and board who support us with money, capacity, knowledge, network and volunteers.

The Municipality of Eindhoven has been an important partner since our establishment and is also responsible for 30% of our income through subsidies. 66% of our income comes from involved companies. The remaining income comes from donations and funds.

With a special thanks to our 'Brainport founders' NXP, Philips Benelux and DLL. Something we are very grateful for.