The Value of Giving Back: 1st Source Bank

It’s Pro Bono Week 2014! Join us in celebrating the amazing volunteers who donate their professional skills to great causes. This week’s final featured company: 1st Source Bank.1st Source Bank Volunteers at Super Saturday

As many a cheesy song or cliché politician has reminded us, the children are our future. As it turns out, kids are pretty smart already. The nonprofit Junior Achievement knows this, which is why they teach entrepreneurial and financial skills to children.

Also, as it turns out, professional bankers know quite a bit about finance. This is why 1st Source Bank partnered with Junior Achievement to put their pro bono thoughts into actions. 31 bank employees recently spent a day at an elementary school introducing children to financial literacy. Bank employees called the experience valuable for them – not just the kids!

1st Source Bank also participates in other pro bono activities, such as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Super Saturday (pictured above), where they partner with the United Way to offer tax preparation and filing for free. Giving back to their community is one of 1st Source Bank’s core values, which is evident in the fact that over 45% of their employees are active volunteers. Last year, employees volunteered 27,000 hours, equal to about $600,000. Talk about giving back!

Thank you to 1st Source Bank and the other companies that engage in pro bono work. You truly are role models. Pro Bono Week 2014 may be coming to an end, but we don’t want the momentum to stop! VolunteerMatch makes it easy to set up your own employee volunteer program and encourage pro bono work. Find out how.

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The Important Thing We Can Learn From MUFG Union Bank

It’s Pro Bono Week 2014! Join us in celebrating the amazing volunteers who donate their professional skills to great causes. Today’s featured company: MUFG Union Bank.MUFG Union Bank Volunteers at JA Finance Park 2014

The employees at MUFG Union Bank, or MUB, recognize something important. A concept so important that it’s the driving force behind Pro Bono Week. They recognize that volunteering their specialized professional skills is one of the most impactful contributions they can make to society. That’s why they created their annual Financial Literacy Campaign. During this three-month campaign, employees go out into their communities to teach financial education. They make presentations and facilitate workshops that equip their neighbors with skills to manage their own finances. In 2014’s campaign, MUB employees volunteered over 4,200 hours to this awesome pro bono endeavor.

But it doesn’t stop there. These amazing folks do pro bono work year-round with nonprofit partners in their communities. While the focus is financial education, employees offer their skills in all kinds of areas. All in all, MUB employees have tracked 42,000 volunteer hours this year alone.

Looking for an easy way to track your company’s pro bono impact? Visit VolunteerMatch Solutions today to get started.

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Challenge Your Employees to Go Pro Bono: A Lesson from Morgan Stanley

It’s Pro Bono Week 2014! Join us in celebrating the amazing volunteers who donate their professional skills to great causes. Today’s featured company: Morgan Stanley.Volunteers from the Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge

Morgan Stanley doesn’t just encourage its employees to volunteer. It challenges them. The Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge pairs some of the company’s best workers with 12 nonprofits for eight weeks. During this time, the groups work together to assess and improve the nonprofits’ business and financial strategies. The final result is a plan complete with tangible next steps and tools for future success. The results are invaluable, but if you had to put a price on it, it would be… $6.8 million. This five-year total is equivalent to 45,000 hours of pro bono work.

But it’s not just the nonprofits that benefit. Morgan Stanley employee David Kosh, who participated in the program in 2013, claims the experience was “eye-opening, educational and inspirational”. He learned about the nonprofit sector, gained professional connections, and improved his own skills. Pro bono work, along with other types of volunteering, is truly a win-win arrangement.

Want to be the next Morgan Stanley in terms of pro bono excellence? Visit VolunteerMatch Solutions to learn how to get your company’s employees volunteering.

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Raising the Pro Bono Bar: The U.S. Bank Law Division

It’s Pro Bono Week 2014! Join us in celebrating the amazing volunteers who donate their professional skills to great causes. Today’s featured company: The U.S. Bank Law Division.Volunteers from US Bank Law Division

Pro bono work was made famous by the law profession, and the crew at the U.S. Bank Law Division is living up to this precedent.

The U.S. Bank Law Division works all across the U.S. at places such as a Vet Law Clinic, Housing Court, Immigrant Law Center, and Children’s Law Center. In the Twin Cities region alone, they’ve donated their time and skills to eight clinics.

In 2013, 70% of their lawyers engaged in pro bono activities. Even their non-lawyers got involved at a rate of 52%. The U.S. Bank Law Division is rightfully proud of their staff. Talk about impressive! They cite pro bono work as a priority for both their employees and their company as a whole.

Pictured above are some of the U.S. Bank’s pro bono volunteers. From left to right: Melissa Vermeersch, Sarah Stroebel (Chair), Jeannie Mccarver, Shannon Mahoney (Coordinator), Kyle Bakken, and Nick Richtman.

Encourage your own employees to get involved with pro bono and other volunteering opportunities with VolunteerMatch Solutions.

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Pro Bono Week 2014: Celebrating Work “For the Public Good”

Pro Bono Week 2014 #PBW14 TwitterPro bono. We’ve all heard this strange phrase, but what does it actually mean?

Pro bono comes to us from the Latin “pro bono publico”, or “for the public good”. It’s a special form of volunteering where people use their professional career skills for a good cause.

At VolunteerMatch, we love pro bono. When volunteer roles align with expertise, everyone wins. How? If your company facilitates and encourages pro bono work for its employees, you gain valuable connections with and respect from your community. Your employees gain new ways to practice their skills. And everyone gets to feel the joy that comes with making a difference.

So this week, VolunteerMatch, along with others all over the world, is celebrating this wonderful form of volunteering. It’s Pro Bono Week 2014!

In honor of this exciting week, we’ll spend the next few days highlighting stories from some of our clients whose employees engage in pro bono work. For example, Christie’s created the Arts Assembly volunteer fair, in which their trained auctioneers assist in the planning of benefit auctions. Just this year, they’ve helped with 161 auctions across the world and in turn helped nonprofits raise more than $28 million. Go Christie’s!

Help us celebrate this week by:

  • Exploring #PBW14 on Twitter and sharing your stories.
  • Find a local event, such as those sponsored by Taproot Foundation.
  • Swing by the VolunteerMatch site to find a pro bono volunteering opportunity of your own.
  • Encourage your employees to get involved with pro bono and other volunteering opportunities with VolunteerMatch Solutions.
  • And stay tuned to our blog this week for more stories of people working “for the public good”!
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VolunteerMatch’s Engagement Team Just Got Stronger

Tess Srebro - VolunteerMatch's Newest Employee

Tess Srebro, VolunteerMatch’s Lead Generation and Marketing Associate

The following post is by Tess Srebro, VolunteerMatch’s newest employee. Please join us in welcoming Tess to the team!

When fantasizing about my dream job, I pinpointed a few non-negotiable qualities it would possess.

First, I needed a nonprofit. After spending two years earning a Master’s of Nonprofit Leadership at Seattle University, that was a given. But it couldn’t be just any nonprofit – I sought one whose mission was centered around technology. I believe there’s so much untapped potential for technology to contribute to social good. VolunteerMatch uses technology to connect good people and good causes. Check.

Second, I needed to write. A love of language has been a core part of me throughout my life. I discovered that through nonprofit marketing, I could put this love to a professional use while having an impact. VolunteerMatch was seeking a Marketing Associate. Check.

Finally, I needed to trust in the organization. I value efficiency, accountability and openness. VolunteerMatch embodies these qualities, while being extremely successful at what it does. Aaaaand check.

I feel incredibly lucky, honored, and most of all excited to join the VolunteerMatch team in this “dream job”. As Lead Generation and Marketing Associate, I’ll be supporting companies in their volunteer engagement efforts. I admire companies that give back to their communities and encourage their employees to do the same.

To learn more about me, my history, and projects I’ve worked on, visit tessasrebro.com. I can’t wait to get started helping more companies get involved with volunteerism, and in turn, make it easier for more good people to connect with more good causes.

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How to Design a Volunteer Program for Your Small Business

Guest post by Scott Huntington

Tips for designing a volunteer program for your small business.As a small business, finding ways to give back is important. Volunteering is a way to do something “better” for the community your business is in. It allows your employees to cooperate in a new way and creates a sense of empowerment.

However, creating a volunteer program for your business might not be the easiest task in the world. With thousands of choices available, how do you decide in which direction to proceed?

Why Choose a Cause?

Even though the benefits for giving and volunteering in the workplace are hard to dispute, many small business struggle to choose a specific cause to support. It’s difficult; you may have employees with a variety of causes close to their hearts, or have hesitations about aligning with one specific cause. When these barriers exist, volunteering efforts fall short, never take off or become scattered. None of these help your mission to give back. Choosing a cause and committing to it is a good way to stay focused and effective in your volunteer program.

5 Questions to Consider When Designing a Program

Below are a few questions and factors to consider when creating a volunteer program for your small business:

1. Does my business already donate to something?

Does your business already donate to a specific cause? If so, developing a volunteer program can be a no-brainer; simply align your actions with your giving. It’s likely your employees are already engaged in the cause and would be enthusiastic if volunteer opportunities would become available. If they’re not engaged, it may be time to find something that they’re more likely to care about.

2. Is there a natural relationship between our products/services and a specific cause?

Think about the products and/or services your business provides. Is there a natural link between those services and ways you could volunteer? For example, a shoe retailer could donate shoes to an underprivileged country – like TOMS has been doing for years. From there, the company could create mission trips and other ways for employees to become involved in the giving process.

Smaller companies like Mr. Rooter or AquaPhoenix, where clean water is the entire point of their business, could find a charity that is dedicated to providing the world with clean water. Food business or wholesalers could donate food to local food kitchens and employees could volunteer on a rotating schedule. Is there a natural link between your products and a volunteering opportunity? If so, that’s a perfect place to start.

3. Is there a local charity you could become involved with?

Sometimes the biggest movements start locally. Local initiatives are likely to be important to your employees and make excellent starting points for volunteerism. Run a search on a site like VolunteerMatch.org or reach out to your local Chamber to find out what charities surround your business’s physical location. Find out if there’s a way to get involved.

When you volunteer locally, you’re able to see the results first hand, and this could raise the excitement factor among your employees. It also can create a little positive buzz about the company and maybe even get your name in the local paper, which is always a plus. That shouldn’t be your motivation, but it’s a nice perk of going local.

4. Does my business have past ventures or partners that could have available volunteering opportunities?

Look back over the history of your business. Have any of your past clients been nonprofit organizations or charities? If so, you could revive the relationship by looking for ways to volunteer with those past clients. It adds a personal factor that highlights the fact you value your past clients and customers.

5. What matters to my employees?

While your employees may change from time to time, it’s still important to empower them to get involved in the design of a volunteer program. Set up a meeting to announce your company’s new focus and let them know their input matters. From there, put together a survey and encourage all employees to participate. You could provide a list of 5 potential charities, or ask employees to submit their own ideas. Look for overlap and narrow it down to two. From there, hold a vote. When your employees feel as though they’ve been a part of the process, they’re more likely to take ownership and to become involved in the volunteering process.

Creating a volunteer program is an essential aspect of giving back to and becoming part of your business’s community. If you’re unsure of where to start inside your company or organization, consider the 5 questions above prior to moving forward.

Has your small business implemented a volunteer program? Tell us about it!

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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