Their Impact is Both Large and Diverse

Congratulations to all of the companies honored as finalists in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Corporate Citizenship Awards.Being a part of something as powerful as the VolunteerMatch network means that you’ll often hear about the amazing things individuals, nonprofits and companies are doing to make a difference. Here’s a great example:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation recently named 24 business finalists for its 15th Annual Corporate Citizenship Awards. The awards program honors businesses for their significant positive impacts in communities around the world. And this year, a whole bunch of VolunteerMatch clients and partners are on the list of honored finalists.

  • Congratulations to UnitedHealth Group for being a finalist for Best Corporate Steward in the Large Business category.
  • Big kudos to Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft for the Best Commitment to Education Program award.
  • Amway’s impressive community work is being recognized as a finalist for Best Community Improvement Program.
  • Farmers Insurance Company, as well as our partner Cornerstone OnDemand, Inc., are finalists for Best Disaster Response & Community Resilience Program.
  • Both Dow Chemical Company and Qualcomm are finalists for Best Economic Empowerment Program.
  • Great job Apollo Education Group for being a finalist for Best Environmental Stewardship Program.

“It’s great to see our clients honored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation,” says Julie VanDeLinder, VP of Client Services, VolunteerMatch. “While we already know our clients do great things in the community, it’s wonderful to see them in this elite group of Corporate Citizens.”

The winners in each category will be announced on November 20, 2014. But all of these companies are already winners, considering the huge impact they’ve made in their communities and for their employees in all of these different areas. (If you’d like to learn more about the over-achieving companies in the VolunteerMatch network, check out this series on the finalists for the 2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards.)

We’re proud of all of our corporate clients and partners! Congratulations, and keep up the great work.

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REinventing Giving & Engagement: A Keynote of a Different Color from Kiva and DonorsChoose.org

On September 18-19, 2014, VolunteerMatch will gather its corporate clients for a day and a half of learning, sharing and networking. The 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit will feature numerous sessions led by corporate social responsibility (CSR) and employee engagement thought leaders. In this series of posts, we’ll introduce you to each of the speakers and what they’ll discuss at the Summit.

Premal ShahName: Premal Shah

Title: President

Organization: Kiva

 

 

Charles BestName: Charles Best

Title: Founder & CEO

Organization: DonorsChoose.org

 

 

About the Session: “REinventing Giving & Engagement”

With our theme of “Transformation. Begin Again.” at the upcoming 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit, there’s a lot that’s out of the ordinary – from the innovative programming, to the exciting location, to the impressive speakers and attendees. This year’s keynote address is going to bring everything to a whole new level.

Get ready for the most unique and interactive keynote session you’ve ever experienced – we’re flipping the traditional keynote on its head. We’re starting out with a surprise right at the start, and then two incredible leaders will discuss their experiences running organizations that have changed the way individuals make an impact.

Premal Shah of Kiva, and Charles Best of DonorsChoose.org, will have a conversation with one another about their approaches to transforming the giving sector. They will also share their advice for where corporate engagement could – and should- go in the future.

As we soak in the transformation happening every day in Detroit, Premal and Charles will put it all into context for us and highlight the importance of thinking differently to find new ways to create impact with our engagement programs.

Whether you’ll be attending the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit in person, or just following along virtually, start thinking now about the questions you have for these two groundbreaking leaders, and how their stories can help you on your own road to transformation.

About Premal Shah

Premal first began dreaming of “internet microfinance” while working at PayPal, the online payments company. In late 2004, Premal took a 3 month leave from PayPal to develop and test the internet microfinance concept in India. When he returned to Silicon Valley, he met other like-minded dreamers and quit his job at PayPal to help bring the Kiva concept to life and eventually to scale. Kiva today raises over $1 million each week for the working poor in +60 countries and was named a Top 50 Website by TIME Magazine. For his work as a social entrepreneur, Premal was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and selected to FORTUNE magazine’s “Top 40 under 40″ list. Premal began his career as a management consultant and graduated from Stanford University.

About Charles Best

Charles Best leads DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit organization that provides a simple way to address educational inequity. At DonorsChoose.org, public school teachers create classroom project requests and donors can pick the projects they want to support. Charles launched the organization in 2000 out of a Bronx public high school where he taught history. DonorsChoose.org is one of Oprah Winfrey’s “ultimate favorite things” and was named by Fast Company as one of the “50 Most Innovative Companies in the World,” the first time a charity has received this recognition. For three years, Fortune Magazine has named Charles to its “40 under 40 hottest rising stars in business.”

Connect with Premal, Charles and DonorsChoose.org on Twitter, and check out Kiva’s website and their Kiva Zip program, as well as the DonorsChoose.org website.

Learn more about Premal, Charles and other speakers at the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit by clicking here!

This year’s event is generously supported by: General Motors, MGM Resorts International, Delta Air Lines, The United Way of Southeastern Michigan and Newell Rubbermaid.

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How Corporate Volunteer Programs Increase Employee Engagement

Guest post by Scott Huntington

Volunteers from Whirlpool pose with school supplies during the company's 2012 Volunteer Week.

Volunteers from Whirlpool pose with school supplies during the company’s 2012 Volunteer Week.

Business magazines and blogs frequently discuss how important it is for employees to work together in teams, but have you ever thought about whether your workplace may be suffering from a lack of overall employee engagement?

When employees are not committed to their jobs, they may not be as productive and might even start looking for other places to work. Fortunately, corporate volunteer programs could remedy the common problem of low employee engagement and help your workers learn to progress towards common goals, as well.

Volunteering Creates a Sense of Purpose

Most people want to be able to feel they’re doing something good with their time and their lives. It can be hard to come to those conclusions if a person feels like he or she is stuck in a monotonous job or is just uncertain of how particular work duties fit into the overall scheme of what the company is trying to achieve.

However, volunteerism offers a great way for people to remember just how valuable their time is, especially when it is used for the benefit of others. Eventually, that could translate to people being more willing to pitch in and go above and beyond what their job titles dictate that they should do while on the clock at work.

Employee Retention Could Increase

There is also evidence to suggest employees expect workplaces to offer volunteer opportunities. A recent article from Forbes discussed an in-depth survey performed by America’s Charities, which found how 68 percent of respondents looked to employers to provide ways to give back. In some cases, that meant instituting a workplace giving program, and in others, employees wanted permission to use work hours for volunteer purposes.

Clearly, volunteerism is becoming more and more important for today’s workers. If a workplace doesn’t meet the desire its employees have to do good for others, it makes sense why some people might start looking for workplaces that are built around more generous-hearted ideals.

Volunteering Builds Good Leaders

Employees who volunteer are also often willing to frequently lead others, even if they are not in supervisory positions. There are several reasons why this is the case. For starters, volunteerism helps people expand their perspectives, which can often mean they become much more in tune with things happening outside of the workplace.

Additionally, being a volunteer often causes a person to discover new talents. That’s especially true if he or she has a very open mind and is willing to pitch in wherever it is necessary, even if that means going outside a comfort zone.

Acquiring skill sets tends to make a person feel more self-confident. Plus, once that individual enjoys the kind of broader worldview volunteerism can cultivate, he or she may feel compelled to not only leap into action and improve the world, but make the work environment better, too. Often, colleagues notice that attitude and want to follow suit.

Case Study

WebpageFX, an internet marketing company, has seen a huge jump in employee engagement since they started their Pencils of Promise program. The employees call their volunteer project “#FXBuilds” and are working to raise $25,000 to build a school in rural Guatemala. They’ve been working hard and feeling extremely rewarded at their progress so far. Their excitement is spreading and other local businesses like Bortek Industries have decided to look into Pencils of Promise and other employee volunteer programs as well.

These are just a few reasons why increased employee engagement and volunteerism can go hand-in-hand. When employees are not engaged, the workplace could suffer in ways ranging from loss of profits to higher turnover rates. Consider giving your employees ways to volunteer and see if they become more engaged as a result.

Scott Huntington is a writer and blogger with a passion for volunteering. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington or check out his blog, blogspike.com.

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Meet Jake Sanches, a 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Speaker

On September 18-19, 2014, VolunteerMatch will gather its corporate clients for a day and a half of learning, sharing and networking. The 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit will feature numerous sessions led by corporate social responsibility (CSR) and employee engagement thought leaders. In this series of posts, we’ll introduce you to each of the speakers and what they’ll discuss at the Summit.

Jake SanchesName: Jake Sanches

Title: Leverager

Organization: Palantir Technologies

Description of the Session: “REanalyze: What is Your EVP Data Saying?”

Demonstrating your employee volunteer program’s impact internally and externally is critical to its success. While the industry as a whole is still looking for ways to get beyond traditional metrics, some companies are taking it upon themselves to identify outcomes that reflect their priorities, and are looking for new ways to quantify the engagement and impact of their employees. They want new ways to use data to measure and synthesize their success so that they can better tell their stories to leadership, to employees, and to nonprofit partners.

Join Jake Sanches, internal metrics and analytics guru at Palantir Technologies, to discuss VolunteerMatch’s recent metrics benchmarking project. We’ll review our findings and key takeaways, cover industry trends across key metric benchmarks, and discuss metrics analysis in finer detail and how it can be leveraged to drive improved programmatic and reporting approaches. At the end of the session, Jake will provide recommendations and demonstrate examples of ways to increase your use and presentation of data in your communications.

What is one way you’ve transformed your personal or professional life recently for the better?

I recently decided that I wanted to focus on being more present in my life and to be mindful of how I spend my time. One way that I transformed my life in this way was to stop checking work email on my phone before I get to work. I commute from San Francisco to Palo Alto via Caltrain, and instead of using that time to process emails and think about the day ahead, I have chosen to spend that time reading local and international news and commentary. Not only do I find myself less stressed and mentally prepared for the day ahead, but also I am a better-informed citizen of my community.

About Jake Sanches:

Jake works at Palantir Technologies, a big data analytics company that builds products used to solve the world’s hardest problems for government, commercial, and nonprofit institutions. He has worked in strategy and operations, analyzing Palantir’s internal data to inform leadership and drive decision-making around hiring and headcount growth, and he currently manages and analyzes Palantir’s product metrics, working to provide insight to engineering and business development teams about how their customers are using and engaging with their products.

Previously, he worked at Mattersight Corporation in Chicago, where he analyzed customer service interaction data and built customer satisfaction, attrition, and fraud predictive models. Jake is currently a volunteer for VolunteerMatch, lending his data science skills to help with VolunteerMatch’s metrics benchmarking project. He earned his B.A. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Washington University in St. Louis, and he lives in San Francisco.

Connect with Jake’s LinkedIn profile, and follow Palantir Technologies on Twitter.

Learn more about Jake Sanches and other speakers at the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit by clicking here!

This year’s event is generously supported by: General Motors, MGM Resorts International, Delta Air Lines, The United Way of Southeastern Michigan and Newell Rubbermaid.

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Meet Daniella Lippert & Wendy Hershey, 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Speakers

On September 18-19, 2014, VolunteerMatch will gather its corporate clients for a day and a half of learning, sharing and networking. The 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit will feature numerous sessions led by corporate social responsibility (CSR) and employee engagement thought leaders. In this series of posts, we’ll introduce you to each of the speakers and what they’ll discuss at the Summit.

Daniella LippertName: Daniella Lippert

Title: Program Manager, Volunteering and Engagement

Organization: Marsh & McLennan Companies

 

 

Wendy HersheyName: Wendy Hershey

Title: Principal/Senior Investment Consultant

Organization: Mercer

 

 

Description of the Session: “Reorganize: Building Support through Champions”

In this session, participants will learn how two companies with limited resources developed global, grassroots networks of employee champions to further their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. The discussion will feature three perspectives: one from a CSR professional at a midsize company, another from a CSR professional at a large company with several operating companies, and a third from a current employee champion outside the CSR business function.

Participants will gain insight into the development and growth of both companies’ networks; specifically, the speakers will discuss the genesis of their individual initiatives, the impact they’ve created to date, and how they continue to balance the goals of top-down CSR programs, policies and platforms with the needs, passions and voices of their champions in the field.

What is one way you’ve transformed your personal or professional life recently for the better?

Daniella: Personally and professionally we’re all juggling a lot to be happy and successful in life. We often want/create large goals to achieve; which can feel overwhelming. For myself, I’ve made a conscious effort to transform the way I approach goals. It’s important to enjoy the process. Each day, I “begin again” by tackling tasks that help bring me closer to my goal. This way, I feel like I’ve achieved something every day that I can feel good about.

Wendy: Taking lessons and energy from my work at Mercer and applying it to my position as a new Board member for a local charity.

Connect with Daniella on Twitter, as well as Mercer, and check out Mercer’s page on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Daniella, Wendy, and other speakers at the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit by clicking here!

This year’s event is generously supported by: General Motors, MGM Resorts International, Delta Air Lines, The United Way of Southeastern Michigan and Newell Rubbermaid.

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People Make the Difference: The Joys of Discovery

Each day, people discover ways they can make a difference. And as the VolunteerMatch network grows, so does our impact.You may have noticed lately that we’ve been highlighting the data and stats in our 2013 Annual Impact Report. And these numbers are exciting, don’t get me wrong. We’re data nerds with the best of them.

But data isn’t the whole picture, especially when we’re talking about social impact. The truth is, there’s no substitute for the stories behind those numbers. These are what show us that each one of us – staff member, employee, volunteer, company, nonprofit – can make a difference. Hearing about real-life stuff going on in the network is what inspires us to take action.

So as you browse the Impact Report, take a look at some of these great micro stories that showcase the amazing work happening in the VolunteerMatch network. You’ll see how technology, and your company’s use of it, creates real change in the community.

Each day, people discover ways they can make a difference. And as our network grows, so does our impact.

Keep up the great work!

Has VolunteerMatch made a difference for your company and employees? Share it on social media using #vmstory, or submit the full story here!

Has VolunteerMatch made a difference for your company and employees? Share it on social media using #vmstory, or submit the full story here!

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2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards: A Look at Finalist NV Energy

On September 19, 2014, winners of the 2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards will be announced at our annual VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit, Mich. In this series of posts, we’ll introduce you to people and ideas behind the ten most effective employee volunteer programs in our family of corporate clients, determined by performance against four benchmark measures in 2013.

What makes your employee volunteer program special?

 Fun Day for Kids – Boys and Girls Club

Fun Day for Kids – Boys and Girls Club

NV Energy’s Employee Volunteer Program plays an essential role in bringing employees together to support causes in our community. The program is geared towards employees and their family members who participated in more than 1,400 volunteer opportunities last year, choosing to concentrate on causes that they are passionate about, including: health and human services, hunger, seniors, homelessness, animals, veterans, education and the environment. The NV Energy team creates programs and volunteerism opportunities that address emerging issues and promote healthy and vibrant communities. These engagement activities create opportunities to partner with local organizations, and empower employees to make a positive difference.

NV Energy has a strong commitment to engage employees as volunteers in community service, and employees are encouraged to support their communities through the company’s volunteer program. The key components of the Employee Volunteer Program are the Community Relations staff, Employee Volunteer Council, and Project leads. Through regular communication and feedback from surveys, employees help the staff determine the types of activities everyone participate in.

NV Project – Assemble care packages for the military

NV Energy employees assemble and ship care packages to the military as part of NV Project.

Some favorite activities are:

  • The Senior Energy Assistance Expo, a community event where seniors age 62 years of age or older can come out to get help with their power bill.
  • Goodie Two Shoes – outfit low-income children with a pair of new tennis shoes and socks.
  • Three Square Backpack program – fill backpacks with kid-friendly food for students on free and reduced lunch programs.
  • NV Project – assemble and ship packages to the men and women serving our country overseas.
  • Other events include a lunch hour event, Day at Dorostkar Park clean-up, Safe Haven Rescue Zoo, United Way Golf Tournaments, and department/team volunteer projects that create camaraderie.

Additionally, the senior management team and other employees serve on the boards of more than 100 nonprofit organizations throughout the state of Nevada.

What are some key accomplishments from 2013 you’re especially proud of?

Despite challenging economic times, NV Energy employees are still committed to giving back, because they recognize that giving back to our communities is critical now more than ever. The company’s goal is to improve the quality of life for the people who live and work in its service territory. In 2013, over 2,500 employees gave more than 44,000 hours as volunteers at various organizations in this service territory. Employees surpassed their goal of 42,000 hours by logging in an impressive 44,834 hours. With the estimated value of a volunteer hour at $22.14, the company’s volunteering contributions are estimated at close to $1 million for 2013!

How do you get employees excited and involved in volunteering?

Dorostkar Park Clean-up

Dorostkar Park Clean-up

NV Energy launched the VolunteerMatch tool in 2008, with employees logging 393 hours, and concluded 2013 with employees logging over 44,000 hours. Their success can be attributed to communication and carefully selecting projects to match their resources.

Their recruitment strategy varies from episodic to large projects so that they are flexible enough to match skills and interests to fit each project. They also determine how to reach and engage the right volunteers for establishing a consistent volunteer team to help meet the needs of each project during various stages.

NV Energy supports employee volunteers by helping them find community service opportunities, recognizing and rewarding their work, and providing grants to the nonprofit organizations they volunteer with through a Dollars for Doers Program. In 2013, The Dollars for Doers Program awarded 38 – $250 grants, totaling $9500, to local nonprofit agencies on behalf of employees giving their time.

Senior Energy Assistance Expo

Senior Energy Assistance Expo

Last year, they held a volunteer challenge among departments. The Volunteer Challenge is a friendly competition that pits teams within the company against each other to earn the most number of volunteer hours. The hours are logged between January 1 and December 31, and are ranked by average of team member hours. The team with the most hours during that period earned a $2,000 grant for a nonprofit of their choice, recognition and bragging rights.

The Community Relations team at NV Energy maintains excellent communication with any nonprofit organization the company partners with so that everyone has a clear understanding of what is expected of them. They also explain the benefits of volunteer work to employees and use examples to show the many benefits to the larger community.

Kudos to NV Energy for being a leader in employee engagement and inspiring social impact!

Stay tuned for more finalist profiles in the coming weeks, and announcement of the winners on September, 2014 during the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit.

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