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.

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.

You’re Invited: CECP’s Giving In Numbers Survey

Logo for CECP (the Committee for Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy)Would your company like to be represented in the leading research on corporate philanthropy trends?

Giving in Numbers is the leading benchmark on corporate giving and socially motivated employee engagement programs. Last year, 261 companies participated, including 62 of the largest 100 companies in Fortune 500.

This year, the theme is Making the Business Case, and CECP wants your input.

Why participate?

  • Leadership: Establish your company as a leader in corporate responsibility.
  • Data: Use the results to benchmark your company’s programs. Help make your case!
  • Peer Learning & Collaboration: Exposure to, and recognition from, leaders in global CSR.
  • Recognition: Your company name would be prominently displayed on the publication and CECP website.
  • Free copy: Participants receive a hard copy of the Giving in Numbers report in the mail.

Participants are asked to complete survey questions across 6 categories on their 2014 contributions (basic company information, total giving, international giving, employee engagement, corporate foundation structure, and impact evaluation & measurement).

The survey will only remain open until Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

Interested? Learn more.

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.

2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Insights: From Lackluster to Stellar: Re-imagining 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: RE-imagine Your Program, summarized by Julie VanDeLinder.

Photo of Julie VanDeLinder

Julie VanDeLinder, Vice President of Client Services, VolunteerMatch

As a client relations manager, I see a variety of employee volunteer programs (EVPs).Whether big or small, EVPs all seem to have the same opportunity: To turn a lackluster program into a stellar one. Sometimes, however, companies get stuck in a routine and fail to evolve.

Many lose sight of what is called the sweet spot: A place where a program is perfectly aligned with company focus, employee passions, and the needs of the community. Our goal in this session was to challenge clients to re-imagine their program by looking at seven elements of successful programs:

  1. Communication
  2. Strategic Focus & Brand Alignment
  3. Measurement
  4. Leadership Engagement
  5. Partnerships
  6. Organizational Development
  7. Recognition & Incentives

I asked attendees to look at these elements and think about which ones they struggle with. I also asked them to think about each element as if it had no restraints, forcing them to think outside the box with creative solutions. We asked each other how we have benefited from innovation in the past, and how we defined success for the future.

We then conducted a fishbowl brainstorm: We asked four attendees to come onstage, but had five chairs. We picked one of the seven elements and asked the attendees onstage to talk about how their company handles that particular element. If someone in the audience wanted to contribute, they could come up on stage and take the fifth seat, but a current participant would have to step down. This forced the conversation to stay lively and evolving, with new ideas and speakers constantly shuffling through.

Many attendees said that discussing these seven elements forced them to think about their weak spots, and even more importantly, the things that weren’t working well but had been tradition for so long that they never thought to question it. We talked about the difficult realization that a nonprofit partner is no longer a good fit, or perhaps was not a good fit from the start. Many said that using surveys or interview techniques helped them pick a valuable partner. Others said they were brave enough to ask a nonprofit “What do you need from us?” instead of proclaiming “This is what we can give you.”

Overall, our session was small, yet very interactive. Participants had the chance to pose questions to some of the best program leaders around, as well as reflect on how to become more innovative, evolving and successful.

You can view the slides from this session here, or download all the session insights here.

A Fresh Take on CSR Professional Development

Guest post by Katy Moore, Director of Corporate Strategy, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Photo of Katy Moore

It’s nearly the end of the year. (How did that happen?!) And, if you’re like most corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals, you’re currently looking for – and budgeting for – potential 2015 professional development opportunities. I know this because you’re calling me – a lot. And, I love it!

As your companies face increasing pressure from consumers, shareholders, and society to be more socially responsible, you, as CSR practitioners, are increasingly looking for ways to expand your skills and your networks, stay inspired (or perhaps get re-inspired), and learn practical, applicable best practices that can help you deliver maximum value back to your company and the communities you serve.

Back in 2012, in response to this growing pressure, the corporate members of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) asked us to develop a new type of professional development opportunity for the CSR field, one that would meet the growing and ever-changing needs of CSR professionals, would be grounded in practice, would be associated with an accredited college or university, and would be affordable.

In 2014, after nearly two years of exploration, research, and curriculum development, WRAG, in partnership with Johns Hopkins University, launched the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility. Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility LogoThis four-part, year-long course of study examines the scope and complexity of CSR, including its evolution, components, best practices, measurement models, key issues and current trends. At the end of the year, all of this results in a professional certificate in CSR from Johns Hopkins University.

More importantly than the curriculum, however, is the Institute’s structure and philosophy. The program, which was created by CSR professionals for CSR professionals, was designed with applicability in mind (that is, skills and ideas that are immediately useful and are realistic to implement once you’re back at the office). And, to ensure that the curriculum remains current and relevant to practitioners’ needs, all classes are taught by leading CSR professionals from the field. Faculty members include Tim McClimon of the American Express Foundation, Diane Melley of IBM, Carolyn Berkowitz of the Capital One Foundation, and Margaret Coady of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, to name a few.

As to the structure of the program, only 25 CSR practitioners are accepted each year. Jennifer-Kim-Field-Guest-Speaker-UN-FoundationThese 25 professionals spend 10 months together learning, exploring best practices, and, ultimately, building a powerful network of peers, mentors, and confidants. They do this not only with each other and faculty members, but also with guest speakers from companies and organizations such as Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Disney, The White House, the United Nations Foundation, and Greenpeace.

There are a lot of workshops, conferences, and discussion forums available to CSR professionals. But, if you’re looking for something a bit different, if you’re looking for a cohort of peers to learn with and from, if you’re looking for a course of study steeped in practice and real-life case studies, check out the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility, and what our alumni are saying about their experience. And give me a call – I’d love to hear from you!

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