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NBCUniversal’s Approach to Employee Volunteerism


June 13, 2023

As social impact programs evolve and become a greater focus in business, employers understand that it is important to be good corporate citizens and also play a key role in helping their employees become more compassionate, inclusive leaders. 

NBCUniversal is fulfilling this dual mission with a unique approach to employee volunteerism— one that is distinctive not only within the media and entertainment industry, but across the entire business landscape. Through combining leadership development and training with immersive volunteer experiences, the company is investing in the growth of its employees and the communities where it operates. 

NBCUniversal created a suite of experiences through its corporate university, the Talent Lab — ‘SERVE,’ ‘PRO-BONO,’ and ‘INSPIRE’ — that offer robust service-learning opportunities for employees, where they learn more about nonprofit board service, skills-based consulting, and how to be a more equitable leader in the workplace. Through these programs that represent a unique partnership between NBCUniversal’s Corporate Social Responsibility and HR functions, NBCU executives contribute their functional expertise while gaining inclusive leadership skills like empathy, trust-building, navigating team dynamics, and problem-solving in sometimes unfamiliar and complex environments. 

Below are more details about the programs: 

  • SERVE: A board service training program for HR-nominated employees who are passionate about giving back and want service leadership opportunities. Executives learn the expectations and responsibilities of being a board member, how to make a positive impact on a board, the fundamentals of reading a nonprofit balance sheet, and how to choose a board seat that is the right fit for them. This unique model of education, coupled with service leadership, is equally beneficial to the employee, the nonprofits, NBCUniversal, and our communities. Following the completion of SERVE, employees interview for board seats and are ultimately placed on nonprofit boards for NBCU’s partner organizations. NBCU also works with Board Lead, an external ‘matchmaking’ for nonprofit board placement, as part of its effort to expand  board service and learning opportunities for employees.  

This year’s SERVE program wrapped up in Los Angeles on June 8th.  Over the two-day finale, 37 employees in the program heard from a panel of past SERVE participants, heard from a variety of NBCU’s nonprofit partners about the mission and objectives for its board, and participated in a community service activity with the company’s partner, Story Pirates Changemakers. 

Over the next couple months, participating employees will decide what organizations they are most passionate about and apply for board seats.  

  • PRO BONO: A consulting experience for skills-based volunteering in which employees are nominated and matched with nonprofits according to their functional skillsets, in areas such as legal, marketing, communications, and human resources. Participants also partake in a number of Labs, including Nonprofit 101 and Empathy in Leadership. The exercises are designed for employees to hone their inclusive leadership skills and to better understand the needs of the communities they are serving. 
  • INSPIRE - A multi-day community, service-learning experience that pairs NBCU leaders with high school students from the buildOn after-school program in the South Bronx. Together, they participate in community service and students share their lessons on leadership through activities that focus on curiosity, passion for the possible, courage, and resilience. The participating NBCU volunteers not only have the opportunity to give back in a more meaningful way, but can translate learnings from the experience to model inclusive leadership at NBCUniversal. 

To learn more about NBCUniversal’s social impact work, visit and to learn more about the Talent Lab, visit