Upcoming Best Practice Network Webinar: Show Me the Value – Committing to Impact Measurement

Do your volunteer programs generate social and business value? Apollo Group and True Impact share how measuring employee volunteerism helps to prove – and improve – your impact on society, employees, and the company’s bottom line. Learn tips for how to leverage impact data to communicate with leadership and guide continuous program improvement.

Show Me the Value: Committing to Impact Measurement

Register for this FREE event
Monday, December 3rd, 2012
10-11 a.m. PT (1-2 p.m. ET)
Follow the conversation on Twitter @VM_Solutions, #VMbpn

About Our Guest Speakers

Farron Levy, True Impact

Farron Levy, president and founder of True Impact, specializes in triple-bottom-line assessments, having helped a broad range of companies and their nonprofit partners evaluate the impacts of their social and environmental investments. Farron is a member of the Reimagining Service Council. He earned an MPP in Business and Government Policy from Harvard University, and a BS with university honors from Carnegie Mellon University.

Lauren Keeler, Apollo Group

Lauren Keeler is the Director of Community Engagement for Apollo Group working to help support the organization’s nonprofit partners through engaging staff, students, faculty and alumni in high impact opportunities to give back. In her role she engages internal stakeholders in the CSR and engagement conversation to promote community engagement and volunteerism as an essential part of the workplace.

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Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship to Moderate Panel on Impact Measurement at 2011 VolunteerMatch Client Summit

The 2011 VolunteerMatch Client Summit, May 12-13th at The Art Institute of Chicago, is coming up and we are excited to share with you the speakers and events of the day.  Here are a few details about our main panel discussion, which takes place in the morning, before the networking luncheon.

This year’s panel discussion will focus on “Measuring The Business Impact of Community Involvement Programs”, with moderator Vesela Veleva, Sc.D., Research Manager, from the Carroll School of Management at the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College. Dr. Veleva will present corresponding research from BCCCC and lead a discussion with two VolunteerMatch client companies.

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Lessons from the Road: Shaking Up Employee Volunteer Programs

This article is part of a special series penned by VolunteerMatch leadership focused on the changes we all need to make to our programs and strategies to shape the future of employee volunteering and corporate social responsibility. How will you innovate your employee volunteer program? Here are some ideas we picked up on the road.Earlier this month I hit the road with Vicky Hush, VolunteerMatch’s VP of Engagement & Strategic Partnerships. We headed up to Portland to present to Hands On Greater Portland’s Corporate Volunteer Council to share our expertise with employee volunteer managers about how to keep your employee volunteer program (EVP) fresh and exciting. Leading up to the presentation, we had a tough internal conversation which amounted to this: how controversial did we want to be? What would happen if we just came out and said that we think EVPs should be doing more? We decided to go for it – those Portlanders are a tough bunch with all that fresh air! And it worked: when we asked the room of EVP managers “how many of you feel like your employee volunteer program is as strong as it can be?” we (not surprisingly) didn’t see a single hand. Through the conversation, we reviewed a few frameworks that can help companies “reinvent the road,” including:

  • Go back and review the core reasons that your company has a volunteer program – other than for the community benefit. And be honest.
  • Look at the overlap between your employees’ passions, your corporate strategy and your communities’ needs. Think about the shared value between your company’s strategy and society’s needs.
  • Constantly adapt, assess and evolve using the program change model.

Towards the end of the presentation, we shifted to brainstorming specific program components. There were some great insights!

Communications Trends

We discussed communications, and two trends became clear:

  1. People are overstimulated with messages, so we have to think about creative, new ways to reach them, particularly focused on social, inclusive, lively, fashionable, and visual methods.
  2. We have to go back to basics. Sometimes the least efficient mode of communication is the most effective (meaning, sometimes you have to go back to face-to-face interactions).

Measurement Challenges

One area where most companies struggle is measurement. Everyone in the room agreed that the silver bullet is tracking impact, but we have not yet developed a way to successfully track this. By the end of the discussion, the trending idea was that corporations need to invest in nonprofit infrastructure to build open-source tools to track metrics that are mutually beneficial for corporations and nonprofits. VolunteerMatch loves this idea – who is up for helping us achieve this project?

Incentives that Work

Finally, we brainstormed on creative incentives. While we all agreed that awards, competition, dollars for doers and VTO are effective, there was one major idea that emerged: incentives need to be carefully implemented to feel authentic. The culture of philanthropy is not something that can be forced or created through incentives, as the true motivation to volunteer is inherently intrinsic. You want to create incentives that match this ethos: Make it easy and rewarding for the volunteers who already engage, and don’t try to force employees to volunteer who aren’t naturally drawn to it. In an ideal world, what if you could flip incentives on their heads, and instead recruit and hire employees based on their community-minded drive? So now our challenge for you – how can you innovate on your EVP to increase your impact? Think about how your program is unique, and what value your employees can bring to the community. Think critically about why you do what you do, and start to challenge your company to do more. We’re here to help if you need us! Let us know how you want to innovate on your EVP – connect via Twitter at @VM_Solutions, and check out the rest of the blogs in this special series.

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What’s Your Giving in Numbers?

If your company has revenue of more than $2 billion, you can participate in this year's CECP Giving in Numbers survey.How does your company’s giving stack up against others? CECP’s annual Giving in Numbers report helps answer that question, and each year the insight becomes more valuable as more data is collected from more companies. This year, we’re helping spread the word to companies who can participate in the survey.

The source for the most comprehensive look at corporate giving trends year to year, CECP, in association with The Conference Board, has opened its 13th annual Giving in Numbers survey. This is the only rigorous study of corporate societal engagement available for public download at no cost. The data is gathered through a survey of approximately 250 of the largest companies in the world, and will capture information on total giving, program areas, employee engagement, predictions for 2014, and more.

Not only does the survey allow for year-over-year tracking of key industry giving benchmarks, but this year will also include new perspectives on key trends such as:

  • Societal impact measurement
  • Global giving, including questions on total giving using the CECP Global Guide valuation guidance and giving data by country
  • Employee engagement and company gift-matching programs

CECP's annual Giving in Numbers report.All companies with $2 billion or more in revenue are invited to join the free benchmarking project by contacting CECP. The submission deadline for inclusion in the analysis is April 1, 2014. CECP will provide an exclusive look at the findings from the survey to its affiliated companies at the CECP Summit on May 20, 2014 in New York City and will share results with the media later that day.

If your company has revenue of $2 billion or more, contact CECP to participate in the 2014 Giving in Numbers survey!


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City of CSR: Announcing the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit

The 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit will be held in Detroit, sponsored by GM.We are thrilled to announce that the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit will be held on September 18-19, 2014, and will be hosted by General Motors at the company’s world headquarters in Detroit.

Similar to previous years, this two-day, invitation-only event will showcase ideas and best practices in corporate volunteering, employee engagement and community impact. In attendance at the event will be practitioners and experts in corporate social responsibility (CSR), including representatives from the VolunteerMatch family of corporate clients. Session topics will range from inspiring employee giving and measurement of volunteer programs to effective corporate-nonprofit partnerships.

In our minds, Detroit is the perfect place to host our Client Summit this year. We will be able to showcase the variety of programs underway to build resiliency and opportunity in metro Detroit. A point of focus will be United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s high school turnaround initiative that aims to help 90% of students in the Detroit area complete high school prepared for postsecondary study and entry into the workforce by 2018. Through significant financial support, employee volunteerism and other unique programs, both GM and the GM Foundation are playing a large role in this initiative.

“We are looking forward to hosting this important summit that will bring together the brightest minds and the best ideas in volunteerism and corporate philanthropy,” said Sabin Blake, GM’s manager of Cadillac Marketing who also runs the “teamGM Cares” employee volunteer program.  “We are dedicated to showcasing the best of GM and Detroit to summit participants, and we are certain they will be inspired by all they encounter.”

To see highlights of the 2013 VolunteerMatch Client Summit click here: http://solutions.volunteermatch.org/summit.

Stay tuned for more news next year about the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit!

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Meet the 2013 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Speakers: Carmen Perez

On May 16-17, 2013 VolunteerMatch will gather its corporate clients for a day and a half of learning, sharing and networking. The 2013 VolunteerMatch Client Summit will feature several sessions led by corporate social responsibility (CSR) thought leaders. In this series of posts, we’ll introduce you to each of the speakers and what they’ll discuss at the Summit.

Carmen PerezName: Carmen Perez
Title/Organization: Senior Research Analyst, Global Valuation
Organization: Head of Standards & Measurement, CECP

Best Practice Cafe Topic: “Reporting Program Inputs & Outcomes”

This best practices café will be a friendly debate between measuring inputs versus measuring outcomes. Carmen Perez, a senior research analyst with CECP, will represent measuring inputs while Bea Boccalandro, President of VeraWorks, will represent measuring outcomes.

Participants of 2013 VolunteerMatch Client Summit who attend this session will learn why one measurement might be preferable to or easier than the other in certain scenarios. The session is going to be presented as a mock debate where Carmen and Bea will make opening statements and will then proceed to introduce publications and tools as evidence supporting their cases and respond to questions and arguments from the audience. This format will allow attendees to help drive this debate with their own questions and counter-points.

At the end of the session Carmen and Bea will present their best closing arguments to the participants leaving it to them to decide which they prefer. Ultimately, regardless of “side,” everyone who attends learns how to take their measurement methodology to a new level and, therefore, wins!

About Carmen Perez:

As part of CECP’s Research & Analysis team, Carmen manages CECP’s Global Corporate Giving Initiative. This project includes coordinating the research, synthesis, and collaborative processes of developing CECP’s global valuation guidance, the publication of the Global Initiative’s report, and the engagement of an international stakeholder network.  Ultimately this project will result in the collection, analysis, and benchmarking of global giving data for a growing membership of multinational corporate firms from around the world.

Carmen joins CECP from the community economic development sector. Most recently, she was the Organizer and then CEO of a newly opened federal credit union in Long Island City, Queens. Her background includes work in the microfinance and small business development fields, as well as experience in data and project management for the City of New York. Carmen holds a master’s in Public Administration, Financial Management Specialization, from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and a bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a triple major in International Studies, Political Science and French.

This year’s event is generously supported by: JetBlue | The New York University Center for Student Activities, Leadership & Service | The New York University Office of Civic Engagement | Newell Rubbermaid | 3BL Media

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Taking Time to Hone Our Strategy for Good

Strategy for Good SummitI had the pleasure of speaking at the 2nd Annual Strategy for Good Summit recently and more than a month later continue to think about the conversations that took place.

The Summit was “held” virtually between February 25 – March 1 and featured 25 speakers spread across 27 sessions, all sharing a range of perspectives and approaches to giving back – from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and employee volunteering, to trends in philanthropic approaches and broader discussions on what really works when it comes to the “For Good” movement.

Realizing that a virtual event isn’t a new concept, I’ve still really enjoyed listening in on the other sessions when I have the time. And, because this was a smaller gathering, I didn’t have to dig through tons of unrelated topics to get to the core of my interests – how companies and individuals are tackling “strategies for good”.

Ranging from philosophical topics to specific actions for companies to implement, these strategies bridge many of the conversations we’re having at VolunteerMatch every day. For example, are there new ways to think about an organization’s structure that impacts social issues more effectively (B corporations versus nonprofits, nonprofit versus for-profit values)? What role can a pledge play to kick start action within a corporate program? How do cause-marketing campaigns actually engage consumers and employees? And of course there is no limit to how helpful a good story can be to showcase challenges and solutions for all to learn from. Phew!

I’ll even confess this blog entry fell victim to some procrastinating tendencies because I am still jumping in and out of the conference to listen in on the other conversations that took place. After speaking with Susan Hyatt, the Host and founder and CEO of Core Thought, it seems I’m not alone. In fact, many of the 375+ attendees are also still viewing and downloading content.

So, at long last, here are some of my favorite speakers and topics from the event. Enjoy!

  • [Shameless Plug] My session that shared the results of VolunteerMatch’s Client Insights survey was a lot of fun. For more information, download the report here.
  • Mark Kramer of FSG had a wonderful discussion on “Redefining the Role of Corporations in Society” based on Kramer’s co-authored articles on Collective Impact and Catalytic Philanthropy published over the years in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and more recently his article on Shared Value from the Harvard Business Review. All three articles are worth checking out and will leave you inspired and excited to continue pushing for productive social change. For more on FSG’s approach, take a look at their website.
  • Our friends at Realized Worth, Chris Jarvis and Angela Parker, shared their expertise on “Creating a World Class Employee Volunteer and Giving Program.” These two are always great at sharing their first hand experience and translating it into real action steps that companies can apply to their program.

Two others worth mentioning are:

  • Farron Levy’s (True Impact) session “CSR Measurement Matters: What to Measure When” (also check out their website for additional resources.)
  • Kate Olsen’s (Network for Good) “Digital Strategy for Good: Cause Marketing Trends 2013.” Check out the latest from Network for Good’s Insights.

To access all of the sessions and discussions from this year’s Strategy for Good Summit (for a fee), you can visit the website now.

What topics and issues do you think are most critical to your “Strategy for Good?”

Vicky Hush is VP of Client Services & Strategic Partnerships at VolunteerMatch.

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