CSR Food For Thought: What’s Your Perfect Cause Marketing Fit?

Image of wheat growing in the sun.The CSR Food for Thought series is a roundup of relevant news from around the web that you may have missed last week, presented to you in one bite-sized blog post every Monday. Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.

Talbots & Dress for Success: A Perfect Cause Marketing Fit
At VolunteerMatch, we were founded on the idea that everyone should have the chance to find their perfect fit. The same goes for your nonprofit partnerships. This post from America’s Charities reflects on why Talbots & Dress for Success are such a great match, and it will hopefully get you thinking about the why behind your cause marketing. So, what’s your company’s perfect fit?

Beyond Incremental: Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan Takes Innovation to Scale
Who says change has to be gradual? “Sustainability driven innovation” is the next step in CSR, according to John Sterman of the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative. This article from Sustainable Brands discusses how rather than being an afterthought, CSR is now being incorporated into every stage of production and planning for many companies.

UPS Named Climate Leadership Award Winner by EPA
Many companies are stepping up to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. But which company is doing the most to fight climate change? According to the EPA, that award goes to UPS. Read this press release on CSRwire to find out how UPS is surpassing its goals and living up to its 2014 title as one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies.”

Will Corporate Social Responsibility Adapt or Die?
This Triple Pundit article argues that CSR isn’t making enough of an impact. Why? Because companies are still seeing it as an effort separate from their core business. However, this shouldn’t be seen as the end of CSR, but instead as a shift to a new form of CSR. What do you think? Is CSR as we know it on its way out?

Continue reading

Why GM and Apollo Education Group Say Volunteering is Transformational

Photo of Sabin Blake

Sabin Blake, General Motors

VolunteerMatch caught up with some of the speakers, sponsors and presenters from the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit and asked them what they thought about the event and about corporate volunteerism. We heard from General Motors, MGM Resorts International, and ConAgra Foods, to name a few.

Sabin Blake of General Motors said, “Volunteerism has been absolutely transformational for our organization… I think it’s really helpful to hear from other companies their perspective of the challenges they’ve gone through to create a program, to sustain a program.”

 

Picture of Lauren Keeler

Lauren Keeler, Apollo Education Group

Lauren Keeler of Apollo Education Group said, “Volunteering has been transformational for our company because it really gives our employees the chance to get to know another facet of our organization. They get to understand more about our community impact and our values. It provides them an opportunity to get to know each other on a different level when they’re not in the office.”

Find out what everyone else had to say. Watch the interviews.

 

Continue reading

CSR Food For Thought: Is Your CSR Social?

Image of wheat growing in the sun.The CSR Food for Thought series is a roundup of relevant news from around the web that you may have missed last week, presented to you in one bite-sized blog post every Monday. Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.

CSR and Social Media: How to Amplify Your Communication Efforts
Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship explores the question, “What is the key to successfully promoting your CSR efforts on social media?” One idea we especially love: Encouraging your employees to talk about the company’s CSR, especially their role in it! Check out this post for more ideas, and a recap of the who, what, how and why of social media and CSR.

Wells Fargo Offers Free Financial Education During Military Saves Weeks
Today kicks off Military Saves Week, and Wells Fargo employees will be volunteering their skills in an innovative way: By hosting free virtual webinars for military families. Topics include advice for first-time homebuyers, managing credit, and creating budgets. Oh, and Wells Fargo also offers free financial literacy courses throughout the year through their Hands on Banking program – a great example of cause-focused CSR.

Final Days to Enter the 2015 International Corporate Citizenship Film Festival
What’s your CSR story? Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship invites you to share it in a three minute video for this year’s Corporate Citizenship Film Festival. This post on 3BL Media covers all the details, but the most important thing is: The deadline is this Friday 2/27, so don’t wait!

Your #1 Stakeholder: Building a Giving Strategy through Your Employees
Your employees play a dual role: They are part of your company, and they are part of their own communities. Corporate volunteerism and giving is the bridge that connects these two roles. This post from Realized Worth looks at why it makes sense to use this connection to increase the impact of your CSR program. How? By involving your employees in your company’s CSR strategy.

Continue reading

How to Create a Stellar Employee Volunteer Program

VolunteerMatch Employees Greg Baldwin and Laura Ellis volunteering at the SF Marin Food BankIf your company currently has an employee volunteer program (EVP), that’s amazing! EVPs increase employee satisfaction and retention, and can be a key tool for recruiting top talent. A formal EVP also allows you to track results, so you can easily show the world your company’s impact. And our favorite part: implementing EVP tools simplifies your tasks, so you have more time to spend out in your community.

If you don’t have a formal program set up, you may be wondering, “Is now the right time?” To find out, ask yourself the following:

  • Are our consumers or business contacts asking what we are doing for our community?
  • Are we seeing an increase in the number of employees asking each other to support a charity?
  • Are we seeing an increase in the number of employees asking to volunteer?
  • Are we losing talented employees to the job market or having trouble retaining employees?
  • Am I or my coworkers spending a lot of time on volunteer event coordination?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, it’s time to consider a formal EVP program. We put together 5 easy steps to building a successful EVP to guide you through the process. Even if you already run a great EVP, you may find some new ideas.

Download the PDF: 5 Steps to Building a Successful Employee Volunteer Program.

Continue reading

How VolunteerMatch Employees Volunteer: Tessa Srebro, Content Marketing Associate

At VolunteerMatch, we’ve talked and talked (and talked and talked) about the benefits of employee volunteer programs, including volunteer time off (VTO). In this series of posts, we’ll interview some of our own employees to find out how they spend their volunteer hours, and how they benefit from VTO.

VolunteerMatch's Content Marketing Associate, Tessa SrebroSo, who are you?
I’m the newest member to VolunteerMatch’s Engagement Team. As content marketing associate, I make sure nonprofits, volunteers and companies know about us and how easy we make it for good causes and good people to connect.

Where do you volunteer and what do you do?
I’m a digitizer at the Internet Archive. Right now, my focus is CDs. I transfer audio files and artwork from the CDs to preserve them in the Internet Archive’s online collection.

What drew you to that particular organization and/ or type of volunteering?
Access to information for everyone is one of my core beliefs. When I met some of the Internet Archive team upon moving to San Francisco, their mission of building an all-encompassing, free virtual library was immediately appealing.

Many people see volunteering as a social activity – a way to meet people or bond with friends. And it certainly can be! However, as an introvert, I’m drawn to solitary volunteer activities, too. It’s a way for me to unwind while still making an impact. In the past, I re-shelved books at the small, quiet library in the Seattle Art Museum. At the Internet Archive, I can go into my own little world while archiving information. (This isn’t to say the people at the Internet Archive aren’t fun and amazing, because they truly are!)

What’s the most fun part of your volunteering? What’s the most valuable?
I love feeling like I’m a part of Internet Archive. I donate money to other nonprofits, but don’t feel very connected to those organizations, no matter how many thank you emails, program updates, or event invites I receive. Volunteering at the Internet Archive regularly makes me truly feel like I’m part of their organization. I get excited at their successes, and I’m a vocal advocate for their mission… or should I say “our successes” and “our mission”?

Internet Archive's headquarters, a former church.

Internet Archive’s headquarters, a former church.

Can you share a story from your time volunteering with Internet Archive?
In alignment with their mission of open-access to information, the Internet Archive opens their doors to the public every Friday for lunch. Each employee (and volunteer!) shares what they’re working on that week, and also any off-topic updates they want to offer the team. I try to coordinate my volunteer schedule to be there on Fridays so I can be part of this fun event. If you’re in the San Francisco area, you should stop by!


Would you be able to volunteer if VolunteerMatch didn’t offer VTO?
When I moved to San Francisco, before I started working with VolunteerMatch, I assumed I would have to stop volunteering once I found employment. (The Internet Archive is generally only open weekdays from 9-5). When I learned about VolunteerMatch’s generous VTO, I was ecstatic.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
VTO, in my opinion, is a huge draw for employee recruitment and retention. Would I still be working for VolunteerMatch if they didn’t offer VTO? Yes. But it certainly adds to both the pride and the gratitude I feel for my organization.

Continue reading

CSR Food For Thought: A New Professional Norm

Image of wheat growing in the sun.The CSR Food for Thought series is a weekly roundup of relevant news from around the Web, presented to you in one bite-sized blog post. Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.

This week’s roundup focuses on the shifting landscape of employee engagement, professional volunteerism, and product development.

10+ Million Professionals on LinkedIn Make Social Impact Part of Their Identity [Infographic]
Three years ago, LinkedIn added a “Volunteers and Causes” section to their user profiles. Fast forward to today: Over 10 million professionals list some sort of cause-affiliation, and 4 million indicate that they are interested in volunteer opportunities (which they can conveniently find with the help of LinkedIn’s partnership with VolunteerMatch!) Check out this infographic on LinkedIn’s blog to find out who these cause-focused professionals are.

Remembering the Value of Volunteerism
Is CSR as an industry, complete with metrics and measurements, getting in the way of the original CSR vision? In this CSRwire post, Peter Dudley of Wells Fargo posits that the best company-sponsored volunteer programs focus on the employees, not on the bottom line. The latter follows later as an added benefit.

How Millennials Are Changing Product Development for Good
In the not-so-distant past, the driving factor behind business decisions was cost. This Wired article argues that with the rise of millennials in both management and consumer roles, the status quo is shifting. Renewable energy, local patronage and employee care are no longer options; they’re simply a part of doing business. Do you agree?

The Untapped Power of Employee Engagement
This Green Biz article boldly asks, “What’s the next frontier in sustainability?” Their answer: Employee engagement. If we want to make real progress for our planet, every single member of a company needs to change their actions. The responsibility of the corporate leaders has shifted from isolated sustainable business decisions to encouraging and facilitating their employees’ sustainable decisions.

Continue reading

How VolunteerMatch Employees Volunteer: Susan Briggs, VP of Product Management

We’ve talked and talked (and talked and talked) about the benefits of employee volunteer programs, including volunteer time off (VTO). Now we want to show you. In this series of blog posts, we’ll interview some of our own employees to find out how they spend their volunteer hours, and why they love VTO.

Photo of Susan BriggsSo, who are you?
I’m Susan Briggs, and I recently joined VolunteerMatch as the Vice President of Product Management. As a committed volunteer, it’s fitting to work for something which allows everyone to find a volunteer opportunity and to give back to their communities. Working here allows me to focus my professional skills of managing product and design teams on a cause near and dear to my heart.

Where do you volunteer?
I have been volunteering regularly for the last 17 years. Currently, I sit on two boards: one for the education foundation at my daughters’ public high school and the other for the nonprofit One Millions Lights.

In my most recent volunteer activity, I participated in a trail day for Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation in the San Francisco Bay Area, an opportunity I found out about through VolunteerMatch!

Do you have any stories to share from your volunteer day?
The day I chose to volunteer with Santa Clara County Parks happened to be in the middle of several weeks of torrential rain that the Bay Area received. My task was to dig channels on the trail to remove puddles of standing water. Because of the rain, there were so many puddles, and it was exhausting! But that made it even more rewarding to complete.

What drew you to that particular organization and/or type of volunteering?
I wanted a push to get me outside on a Saturday. This type of activity is something I always thought about trying, and finally did it!

Photo of Susan volunteering at her son's school.

Susan volunteering at her son’s school.

What is the most fun part of your volunteering? What’s the most valuable?
Volunteering allows me to have new experiences while doing something to help out a good cause. I also enjoy the people I meet while volunteering.

Would you be able to volunteer if VolunteerMatch didn’t offer VTO?
Because I enjoy volunteering so much, I would do so even without the added benefit of volunteer time off (VTO). However, I do greatly enjoy having VTO and regularly use it to help out at local schools and with community projects.

Continue reading