The Cloud’s Silver Lining

Picture of Appirio employee volunteers

Appirio employees volunteer with the East Bay Youth Consortium.

To use the company’s time, talents and technology for social good.

That’s the straightforward mission of Appirio Silver Lining, the corporate responsibility arm of the global cloud services provider Appirio. VolunteerMatch is thrilled to welcome Appirio as a partner; they are aiming for the sky, and they are reaching it: Since its launch in 2010, the Silver Lining program’s employee participants have donated over 15,000 hours, $350,000, and helped over 400 different nonprofits. How do they do this? Three things…


Read the rest of Appirio’s Volunteer Spotlight
 to learn the three things Appirio does to make this magic happen, and the amazing things they have in store for #GivingTuesday.

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2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Insights: How to Turn Transition into Opportunity for Your EVP

At the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit, we learned from experts in CSR, volunteer engagement, technology and program administration. In this series of blog posts, we’ll share with you the valuable insights offered at each session. Up today: REalign: Managing Your EVP During Turning Points & Transitions.

Transitions and turning points in companies can be painful and scary, but they can also open up possibilities and create new efficiency. Alex Price of ADT Corporation and Bill Egan of United Airlines both offered advice on managing an employee volunteer program (EVP) through challenging times at this year’s VolunteerMatch Client Summit.

Picture of Alex Price

Alex Price, Community Relations & Corporate Responsibility, ADT Corporation

Alex explained how he led EVP initiatives during ADT’s spin-off from Tyco. They changed from a huge company headquartered far away to a sizable, but much smaller, organization headquartered at home. This created some serious cultural challenges as well as some excellent opportunities. For example, ADT had the chance to reinvent itself. Alex made sure the employee engagement programs were the center of this culture change. ADT has gone on to create an award-winning EVP that continues to grow and improve.

 

Picture of Bill Egan

Bill Egan, Manager, Corporate & Community Affairs, United Airlines

United Airlines faced a similar, yet opposite, situation. They were a large company that got much larger when they merged with Continental. The merger created the opportunity to create a program with the best of both worlds, but the transition had to be managed delicately. The atmosphere was tense as people navigated the transition in an uncertain and changing environment. Bill and his team were able to use their EVP as a way to inspire employees to a purpose, work together, and feel better about the new company.

Alex and Bill shared five key steps to create an EVP that not only survives change, but also helps smooth the bumps that are common with any transition.

 

1. Assess Your Situation

Take a look at your workplace structure, including the culture, programs, workforce and current partners. Whether you are starting from scratch like ADT, or merging like United Airlines, you must evaluate your current situation and pinpoint your own unique needs before moving forward.

2. Develop a Plan Based on Your Situation, Aimed at a New Definition of Success

While change can be unnerving, it allows you to redefine what success means for your newly changed company. Both Alex and Bill recommended plotting your course before acting, determining program focus & branding, making sure focus aligns with the company brand, and deciding which department will house the program.

3. Involve Company Leadership, Obtain Senior-Level Buy-in

Both Alex and Bill could not stress this point enough. They explained that the best way to be successful at this critical step is to get feedback from senior leaders. Learn what they want for the new iteration of the company and discuss their ideas on how the EVP can help get there. Executives should also become champions of key events and connect with the leaders at partner nonprofits.

4. Embed Your EVP into the DNA of the New Entity

Include employee volunteer information in recruiting and on-boarding new employees, weave volunteer engagement into your big moments, and leverage company assets and interdepartmental relationships for your EVP.

As an example, ADT’s corporate structure lent itself to encouraging locations to form their own geographical “Always Cares Committees”. The committees are selected by local executives through an application process. The positions are prestigious and receive leadership recognition.

5. Take Time to Evaluate and Measure

To create ongoing programs that thrive and help your company meet business goals, you must create meaningful measures and metrics that you can track over time. This includes quantifying the value of your program, getting baseline metrics, conducting follow-up studies, reporting on program output, monitoring PR and social media performance, and identifying areas for improvement.

Thank you to both ADT and United Airlines for showing how employee volunteering can use transition as an opportunity to grow and smooth out issues. In both cases, two much stronger companies and brands have emerged. Want to explore this topic further? View the slides from Alex and Bill’s session.

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Encourage Your Employees to Be Like Batman (or Woman)

Your employees can help us create more superheroes by donating to VolunteerMAtchVolunteers are like superheroes. They use their time, skills and passion to save the world. Shouldn’t EVERYONE have the chance to make a difference for what they care about most?

With that in mind, we’re doing something different this holiday season at VolunteerMatch. And we’re hoping you and your employees will want to be a part of it.

We’ve joined the CrowdRise Giving Tower Holiday Challenge, a friendly fundraising competition that is taking the power of donations to new heights – literally. During the holiday season this year, and especially on #GivingTuesday, we’ll be reaching out to our members to donate to VolunteerMatch.

What’s great about this Challenge is that there are multiple ways to get involved. After all, giving back is not a one-size-fits-all undertaking.

Volunteers are like superheroes - and your employees can donate to help us create more of them!In addition to donating, your employees can easily participate by becoming volunteer fundraisers. This is a great way for any employee, no matter their role or schedule, to get involved in the community.

It’s super easy – all they have to do is go here and click ‘Fundraise for This Campaign.’ In seconds, they can set up their own fundraising page to share with everyone they know.

If creating more superheroes sounds like a good fit for your company, then please spread the word to employees and encourage them to donate and become volunteer fundraisers.

With your help, we will build a network of volunteer superheroes that will make anything possible – even a tower to the moon!

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2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Insights: Why We Went to Detroit and What We Saw There

At the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit, we learned from experts in CSR, volunteer engagement, technology and program administration. In this series of blog posts, we’ll share with you the valuable insights offered at each session. Today’s special post highlights the tour we took of Detroit and why the city proved to be a great choice of location.

Public Art in Detroit

Public Art in Detroit

“Why did you pick Detroit for this year’s Client Summit?”

This was the question posed to me many times during the Wednesday night reception at this year’s VolunteerMatch Client Summit. And it’s a good question. Detroit isn’t your typical conference destination anymore, but it is rooted deep in America’s history. In response to the question, I shared the goal of our destination choice: To draw attention to a city on the rebound and show the importance of communities and companies working together for local benefit.

More than just explain this, we wanted our clients to see it firsthand. So, we loaded up a bus on Thursday morning for a city tour put together by the United Way of Southeastern Michigan. As we drove through the different neighborhoods, it became clear that Detroit is not as vibrant as it once was. Yet, signs of rebirth were everywhere!  We saw and heard about a thriving artist community taking hold in various neighborhoods. There are new industries and a growing foodie scene. Investors such as Dan Gilbert are putting their money and resources toward rebuilding the city’s business district.

The story of the old Detroit Tigers baseball stadium was my favorite from the tour. Our guide explained that for years after the stadium was torn down, the city didn’t have the money to maintain the open space. It was destined to become yet another area of blight in the city. So, residents took matters into their own hands. Every week, they would mow the lawn and maintain a field. Today it’s a baseball field open to the public.

Inspiring stories like this are common in Detroit. Detroit is certainly filled with challenges and uncertainty, but the people are committed to a common goal of restoring it to a prominent and thriving U.S. city. We finished our tour at a local school that equips Detroit’s youth with the skills they need to create a thriving future. With their impressive dedication, it won’t be long until the people of Detroit have achieved their goal.

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CSR Food For Thought: A Tall Glass of Gratitude from Jack Daniel’s

Stack of NewspapersThe 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.

 

 

Jack Daniel’s Continues to Help Service Members Get Home for the Holidays
It’s that time of year. Many of us travel across the country (and the world!) to be with family and friends for the holiday season. And as Jeff Arnett of Jack Daniel’s puts it, “No one understands more deeply than a service member what it means to be home for the holidays.” Read this press release on 3BL Media to learn about Jack Daniel’s partnership with the Armed Services YMCA on “Operation Ride Home”.

Giving Programs that Lead to Deeper Engagement
Yes, the holidays are the biggest time of the year for donations of both time and money. But how do you keep your employees from feeling like your giving program is just one more out of the hundreds they’re pitched? In this post, Realized Worth suggests a strategy for creating volunteering and monetary giving programs that truly engage your employees, using the amazing nonprofit Kiva as an example.

Many Top Fortune 500 Companies Receive Perfect Score on LGBT Equality
The Human Rights Campaign released its 2015 Corporate Equality Index, which evaluates companies based on their policies surrounding LGBT employees. 150 Fortune 500 companies, including JPMorgan Chase, General Motors, and UnitedHealth Group, received a perfect score of 100%. The study looked at factors such as the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in non-discrimination policies, inclusive health benefits, and a public commitment to equality.

Volunteerism 2.0: Local and Global Citizenship through Employee Engagement
At the 2014 Net Impact Conference, Laura Asiala of PYXERA Global gave an inspiring talk on the relationship between volunteerism and employee engagement. New Global Citizens has posted the text of this talk. Hear examples of how companies have used volunteering as a strategic (and successful) tool – and how your company can do the same.

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2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Insights: Overcoming CSR Challenges as an “Intrapreneur”

Guest Post by Danielle Holly

At the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit, we learned from experts in CSR, volunteer engagement, technology and program administration. In this series of blog posts, we’ll share with you the valuable insights offered at each session. Up today: REsiliency Doesn’t Have a Sector.

Picture of Danielle Holly

Danielle Holly, CEO, Common Impact

While we all know that it takes institutional support to make corporate social responsibility and pro bono programs succeed over the long term, it also requires purpose-driven individuals who are willing to roll up their sleeves and create the kind of change employees, businesses and the community want to see. We had a room of these “intrapreneurs” at the VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit earlier this fall.

Here are a few of the themes that came up in our discussion, which corporate change-makers are striving to address every day:

The workforce has transformed: Over the past 20 years, the workforce has completely transformed. The corporate “lifer” is a thing of the past. Employees are switching jobs and sectors every 2-3 years. They’re increasingly remote, and they’re focused on building careers that make a measurable impact on society. This workforce is also 70% disengaged* in their current role, suggesting there are far too many employees who are unhappy, frustrated or actively seeking other opportunities. This environment leaves companies asking the question, “How am I going to recruit, engage, and retain my future leaders?”

Engaging the disengaged?  Companies know they need to provide real opportunities to engage the time and talent of their employees beyond the holiday food and fundraising drives. But how?  Many of our session participants said that it’s the same employees that engage time and time again in all of the volunteer opportunities they offer. Is it worth it to continue to try to involve employees that aren’t responding, aren’t engaging, and just don’t seem interested? Or should these already-strapped corporate managers focus on enriching the experience of the employees that are coming to the table on their own?

Activating beyond the “corporate” base:  Finally, how do you get hourly, part-time, contract, and front-line employees engaged in service when it’s challenging or impossible for them to leave their post? Manufacturing, retail, healthcare and other sectors that rely heavily on these employees are struggling with how to make volunteer programs available to their full workforce – not just their corporate marketing, HR and finance arms.

All of these challenges require slightly different approaches from each of the companies that joined the recent conversation in Detroit, but there is one imperative for progress across the board: These corporate employee engagement initiatives need to be a core part of the company’s business. This integration needs to happen not just in ethos or messaging — though that’s helpful — but in budget, resourcing and measurement.

Once that becomes a reality for more companies, these intrapreneurs will have a tangible foundation on which to build. They can then have the ability to experiment with new programs and new incentives that activate those disengaged employees. They can have the personnel budgets to staff appropriately so that hourly employees can get out in the community and support nonprofit leaders in building better businesses. And most importantly, they can provide evidence of impact to justify the support they need. They’ll know, along with their companies, that their efforts to build a purpose-driven workforce are working.

For resources and more information, view the slides from this session.

*Source: Gallup 2013 Report: State of the American Workplace
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2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Insights: The How and Why of Global Pro Bono

At the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit, we learned from experts in CSR, volunteer engagement, technology and program administration. In this series of blog posts, we’ll share with you the valuable insights offered at each session. Up today: REview Your Company’s World View: Global Pro Bono.

Global World MapMore and more multinational companies are getting their employees involved in pro bono work. Ever wonder how these large, effective employee volunteer programs got started and how your company can follow suit? At this years’ VolunteerMatch Client Summit, we were lucky enough to hear from leaders at Dow, JPMorgan Chase and PYXERA Global about just that. Here’s a quick summary of my takeaways from this awesome session.

Speakers:

  • Gavin Cepelak: Director, International Corporate Volunteerism at PYXERA Global
  • Michelle Langley: Program Leader, Dow Sustainability Corps/ Global Disaster Relief/ STEM at The Dow Chemical Company
  • Tosha M. Tabron: Vice President, Relationship Manager, Global Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase

What is Global Pro Bono?

  • Employees cross international borders to serve local clients using the skills from their daily jobs.
  • Their projects offer economic and social benefit to local organizations and communities.

Who Benefits?

  • Employees develop hard and soft skills, increase motivation, and improve leadership competencies.
  • Local NGOs and clients get better access to resources and new technologies, achieve greater capacity, and grow the scope and success of their services.
  • Businesses reinforce positive corporate culture, strengthen brand reputation, identify new market opportunities, spark product and service development, and grow employee recruitment and retention.

Examples from the Field

  • The Dow Sustainability Corps sent 78 employees in 2013 and 2014 to Ghana and Ethiopia to work on projects relating to water, agriculture, education, housing, and public health & sanitation.
  • JPMorgan Chase Financial Services Corps partnered with IBM to send employees to Brazil and India in 2013 and 2014.

Lessons Learned

  • Recruit your high achieving, high potential employees across all departments to engage in these projects. You are investing in future globally competent leaders for your company.
  • Don’t forget virtual! Employees can engage with local NGOs through virtual consulting for months in advance of shorter visits abroad. This keeps cost down and optimizes impact.
  • Partnerships are everything. You don’t have to do this alone! Work with other corporations and established NGOs to identify highest need and implement successful projects. Organizations like PYXERA Global can help with these connections.

Interested in learning more? View the slides from this presentation.

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