“Come Together” at the 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit

Come Together at the 2015 VolunteerMatch SummitAt VolunteerMatch, we believe everyone should have the chance to make a difference. And for over 15 years, we have been connecting companies with nonprofits through our easy technology.

Amazing things have taken place online – we’ve made over 9 million volunteer/ nonprofit connections! Now, we’re bringing our communities together offline for a one-of-a-kind event.

Always a Unique Space for Collaboration. Even Better in 2015.

The VolunteerMatch Summit is a place for like-minded professionals in the fields of employee engagement and corporate responsibility to get together, share best practices, and learn from industry experts. The previous 13 Summits have only been open to VolunteerMatch corporate clients.

This year, we’re going even bigger and have invited companies far and wide who are committed to community engagement. And we’re not stopping there. We’re also creating a collaborative place for national nonprofits to join the conversation.

This year, all attendees will “Come Together” to explore ways to work across sections, harnessing knowledge, resources and passions of volunteers to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

Highlights of the 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit include a plenary session from Derreck Kayongo, Founder of the Global Soap Project, as well as panels of experts, interactive workshops, and networking opportunities.

Save the Date: December 1 & 2, 2015 in Oakland, CA.

Registration opens June 2015. Learn more.

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Corporate/ Nonprofit Partnerships Can Save the World (And We Can Help, Too)

worldWhile a big check is nice, it’s not going to cut it these days. Corporate social responsibility is NOT about how much money your company can give.

It requires planning. It requires creativity. Most importantly, it requires deliberate and strategic partnerships with nonprofits whose work aligns with your company’s mission.

(For more on why multi-faceted nonprofit partnerships are important, check out this webinar we hosted in December 2014 with CSR expert Susan McPherson.)

Because we know the importance of these partnerships, and because we know it can be daunting when you don’t know where to start, VolunteerMatch Solutions helps companies work better with nonprofits in three main ways.

VolunteerMatch Solutions’ Tools
VolunteerMatch partner companies have access to the web’s largest network of nonprofits seeking assistance: The VolunteerMatch Network. It includes nearly 100,000 nonprofits across the country (and increasingly, across the world). In seconds, your company and its employees can find volunteer opportunities that fit your specific corporate goals.

Building Corporate Nonprofit PartnershipsAnd once you find your nonprofit partners, it’s easy to feature them on your company’s custom volunteer site, making your partnerships prominently visible to all your employees. There’s many more ways to grow these partnerships through our tools, such as recruiting employee volunteers for a specific nonprofit’s event, or even sponsoring a nonprofit’s own custom VolunteerMatch site. To learn more about our corporate tools, watch our demo.

Growing Your Specific Initiatives
When simply searching for volunteer opportunities isn’t enough, we help you go above and beyond. For example, in 2014, we partnered with Walmart Foundation for their Fighting Hunger Together Initiative. Together, we trained more than 3,000 volunteer coordinators at hunger-fighting organizations to more effectively recruit and manage volunteers. We also created over $171 million in social value that continues to help Americans get the healthy food they need. Whatever your cause, we’ll work with you so you can have the most impact, where it matters most.

2015 VolunteerMatch Summit
We believe the world’s most pressing problems can best be solved through cross-sector collaboration. And what better setting to share resources, knowledge and passion for change than face-to-face? For-profit and nonprofit organizations don’t always get this opportunity, which is why we decided to create it.

For the past 13 years, VolunteerMatch has hosted a Summit for its corporate clients, offering a space for like-minded CSR professionals to gather and share ideas. This year, however, we are opening our Summit doors to non-client companies, as well as national nonprofits. Learn more about this one-of-a-kind event.

At VolunteerMatch, we know that corporate/ nonprofit partnerships are the key to real social change. Let’s all come together to make a difference.

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CSR Food For Thought: A Look Back on National Volunteer Week

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 post.

In case you missed it, last week was National Volunteer Week. I was blown away by the amount of companies that celebrated by giving back to their communities and recognizing their employee volunteers. Here is just a sample:

Celebrating National Volunteer Week by Contributing to a Better Future
This heartfelt post from AT&T employee Monique Weber illustrates how volunteering changes lives on both an individual and a global scale. AT&T has allowed her to pursue her personal volunteer passion of empowering women leaders. As Monique puts it, “I’m thankful to work for a company that promotes such important, impactful programs.”

4 Benefits of Volunteering as a Company
In this LinkedIn post, Alison Grenkie of Intelex Technologies explains why National Volunteer Week isn’t just for nonprofit organizations to recognize their volunteers. From employee happiness to enhanced company reputation, it’s easy to see why companies should get involved. After all, “The company that volunteers together stays together.”

Volunteers – A Critical Contribution to Our Communities
Microsoft used National Volunteer Week as an opportunity to thank its motivated employee volunteers, who recently spearheaded the creation of the Tech Talent for Good program with their question, “How can we do more?” This post is full of appreciation – just the way we like it!

5 Reasons Why Green Volunteering is Red Hot
Picking up trash doesn’t sound very glamourous. But when it’s done with coworkers? The benefits can be astounding. In this post, Verizon employee Abigail Ashley explains the benefits she sees from volunteering with her coworkers, both personally and professionally.

Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.

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Better Together: NYC Service & VolunteerMatch

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” -Harry S. Truman

VolunteerMatch and NYC Service PartnershipIf you’ve spent any time working in the nonprofit sector, you know that there is a cultural expectation to publicly avoid the appearance of competition between organizations…even when (actually, particularly when) they are in fact competing.

So it would be polite to say that NYC Service and VolunteerMatch have for many years been working in the same space…with a shared goal of making it easier for New Yorkers to find volunteer opportunities.

But now, thanks to the leadership of the city’s Chief Service Officer Paula Gavin and her team at NYC Service, we don’t have to say that anymore because now we can say we are partnering to achieve that goal together.

That is right, just in time for National Volunteer Week (April 12-18), NYC Service is breaking new ground to become the first City of Service in the nation to adopt VolunteerMatch’s free Public Use API.

What does this mean? Read the full post from VolunteerMatch President Greg Baldwin.

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Celebrate the Fun Side of Volunteering with #FestiVOL15

Celebrate National Volunteer Week with VolunteerMatchEmployee volunteer programs have a myriad of benefits. One of the top, and often overlooked, benefits? They’re fun.

This National Volunteer Week (April 12-18, 2015), VolunteerMatch is celebrating the fun side of volunteering with our second annual FestiVOL. Time to put on those party hats, dig out those noisemakers, and shout with us, “Volunteering is AWESOME!”

Of course, it’s not all fun and games. One of our #FestiVOL15 goals is to help you, your company, and your employees strengthen and get creative with your employee volunteer program. We want you to get the most out of National Volunteer Week.

To help reach this goal, each day of the week we’ll post three nuggets of information: One piece of inspiration, one piece of knowledge, and one action. Check out our #FestiVOL15 webpage to follow along as they’re posted. You and your employees can also follow the hashtag #FestiVOL15 on Twitter to see everything as it’s released, and to join in the fun yourself!

Whether you run a great employee volunteer program, volunteer through your company, or volunteer on your own time, here’s to you!

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ConAgra Foods: Fighting Child Hunger One Voice at a Time

ConAgra employee Rajan Taylor volunteers at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

ConAgra employee Rajan Taylor volunteering at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Guest Post by Kori Reed

I am a child of the ’80s whose mom played Barry Manilow’s albums throughout my formative years. So, what does this have to do with April’s National Volunteer Month?

Rajan Taylor, a security contractor at the ConAgra Foods’ St. Louis office, makes me want to break out into song. Specifically, Manilow’s One Voice, which he also performed at the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Concert. It’s inspired by the idea that if one person stands up for what he believes in, the rest will follow.

Rajan read about ConAgra Foods’ long-standing commitment to take action against child hunger and that generated an idea. He’ll humbly tell you he simply called a few friends and sent an email, but he ultimately sparked the largest, single-day, citywide food drive in history to benefit the St. Louis Area Foodbank – a member of the Feeding America network. He called the event, held on March 20, 2015, “Spring into Giving,” which is an appropriate phrase to describe his actions to engage more than 75 St. Louis companies to raise more than 50,000 lbs. of food, or rather more than 40,000 meals in one day.

Rajan embodies ConAgra Foods’ spirit of taking and catalyzing action to eradicate child hunger, a big problem. Nearly 16 million children in the U.S. struggle to get enough to eat, and this can hold them back from the opportunities they deserve — education, hope and a thriving future. Hunger will not be solved by one organization alone; we value our partnership with Feeding America, friends and even competitors, but we need more people like Rajan to join in, spark change and give hope to our neighbors. (For even more inspiration see youth Making a Mark on Hunger.)

In April, we celebrate National Volunteer Month and work to fight hunger through ConAgra Foods’ Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. Rajan is one of many champions in the company, across office locations and facilities, who are inspired to engage in the annual, coordinated hunger-service event. During last year’s month of service, employee efforts lead to packing more than 1 million meals and contributing more than 7,000 hunger-service hours in more than 25 U.S. cities in a single month.

This year we will do it again – only on an even larger scale. On April 1, ConAgra Foods officially launched its fifth-annual, coordinated hunger-service event. Throughout the month, employees will pack meals, organize fundraising events and may even apply skills, like project management, to enhance efficiencies at food banks and pantries. This year, our goal is to reach 10,000 hunger-service hours by volunteering in our respective communities.

Rajan is doing his part. He tells us he is excited that ConAgra Foods will be known throughout St. Louis as a company that acts on its belief to end hunger; and we tip our hats to Rajan. To borrow from Barry, “We need just one voice facing the unknown, and then that one voice would never be alone.” Thanks, Rajan, for being the One Voice and inspiring the rest of us to join you.

Kori Reed is vice president, Cause and Foundation, at ConAgra Foods.

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CSR Food For Thought: Corporate Volunteerism Done Right

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 post.

The Power of Corporate Volunteerism
In response to a recent Boston Globe article that framed corporate volunteerism as a “burden for nonprofits,” Danielle Holly of Common Impact published this LinkedIn post explaining why this isn’t the case – if corporate volunteering is done right. And there are so many companies doing it right.

The Impact of Skills-Based Volunteering
This article from America’s Charities is full of great stats. For example, did you know it can cost a company $2000 per year for each employee not engaged with their company? The solution? Skills-based corporate volunteerism. An example comes from our client NetSuite, who runs the employee volunteer program SuiteVolunteers. Find out how this program has successfully improved their employee engagement.

Volunteerism and Community Engagement Tops Climate Change in 3BL Media Study of Most-Read CSR Content
This press release from 3BL Media shows an interesting trend: Out of all the topics on their CSR news distribution site, “volunteerism and community engagement” has the highest readership. Why? As 3BL Media’s CMO puts it, “It’s clear that corporations are proud of the volunteer work their employees are doing in the communities where they do business.”

Ten Characteristics of the World’s Best Corporate Sustainability Programs
CSR has been around long enough now that we can finally start to see some real trends. This CSRwire post looks at what companies that are doing it right have in common. Whether it’s ramping up CSR transparency, rewarding internal CSR champions, or one of the other eight commonalities, you just might find a new strategy to take back to your own company.

Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.

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