Mapping the DNA of Effective Employee Volunteer Programs

The 2012 VolunteerMatch EVP Client Insights Survey

At VolunteerMatch, we help our corporate partners manage, track and report on community engagement activities and program outputs. We live and breathe data tracking so our partners can benchmark program success over time. And in result, we’ve seen our partners outperform industry-wide benchmarks time and time again.

One thing we’ve never taken a data-driven approach to is the program inputs of these elite programs – such as budget, staffing and program attributes. In the fall of 2012, we set out to determine the inputs that make a successful employee volunteer program (EVP) by surveying our family of corporate partners. The results of the 2012 VolunteerMatch EVP Client Insights Survey provide a first-ever look at what strong programs look like, and offers best practices for all companies looking to build an effective program.

A few highlights from the survey include:

Large Program, Lean Staff

Large Program, Lean Staff: The survey found that for every 32,000 employees eligible to take part in an EVP, there is only 1 full-time-equivalent (FTE) program manager. That means there is one person trying to connect thousands of employees to volunteer opportunities, in addition to organizing events, driving engagement and reporting results. This highlights the importance of EVP partners that make it easier for this one manager to connect employees with active volunteer opportunities and tracking participation (like VolunteerMatch) or event vendors that ease the pressure of planning large days, weeks or months of service.

Volunteer Committees/Councils Popular

Volunteer Committees/Councils Popular: Along with evidence of lean program staffing, we found that most (71%) programs have build volunteer committees or councils to help support the program manager and localize volunteer activities. Many of these committees are self-selecting groups of employees who are highly engaged in the EVP, and looking for additional ways to play a leadership role. Allowing – and empowering – employees to take this advanced position is not only a way to help ease the pressure from the program manager, but also builds participation by having many “program champions” showcasing their enthusiasm and passion for service.

Skilled and Pro Bono are Untapped Opportunities

Skilled and Pro Bono are Untapped Opportunities: One surprise from the survey is the low rate of skilled (13%) and pro bono (4%) volunteering reported by participants. While this isn’t necessarily a negative finding, we do see these low rates as an untapped opportunity for companies to grow within their program over time. Particularly with initiatives such as the A Billion + Change pledge and the launch of the Taproot Foundation’s new service to help nonprofits define their pro bono needs – we predict the barriers for companies to participate in these types of service will lessen, and more will begin to take part.

For more findings from the 2012 VolunteerMatch EVP Client Insights Survey, download the full fact sheet, or watch a recording of our January webinar where Casey Brennan discusses the findings and shares tips for program success.

CSR Food for Thought: Can Corporations Be Superheroes?

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


Can Corporations Be Superheroes?
The “corporate world” sometimes gets a bad rap as a greedy, money-sucking leech (okay, maybe that’s a little harsh…). But the researchers at Corporate Knights re-imagines this stigma in light of their latest Global 100 ranking of the world’s most sustainable companies. The companies on the list are disproving the negative reputation of the “corporate world” and showing how companies can make big – even heroic – progress toward social and environmental change.

The Growth of Cause Marketing
Now in its 28th year, the IEG Sponsorship Report reports year-over-year growth in sponsorship spending by North American companies. It breaks this activity down by type including how much money is spent on cause partnerships. While cause sponsorship remained higher than average during the economic downturn, 2012 saw slower growth as companies went back to more traditional sponsorship deals.

How Business and Civil Society Can Solve Problems
While at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013, BSR’s Aaron Cramer recaps the discussion of how civil society – “an incredibly diverse system of local and global organizations” – is evolving. He notes that civil society has the ability to operate both locally and globally, and identifies that nonprofits have built the expertise to deliver solutions and advocacy for important issues. (Check out how VolunteerMatch delivers solutions to make it easier to manage successful community engagement programs.)

Mo Millennials Mo Problems
We often consider Millennials to be the most socially conscious generation. But in fact, this generation of twenty-something’s is not alone. Network for Good offers tips for companies looking to engage consumers of all socially conscious generations.

CSR Food for Thought: Ten Reasons Why Doing Good Is Good For Business

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



Ten Reasons Why Doing Good Is Good For Business
The next time someone tries to question the purpose of your role in corporate social responsibility (CSR), make sure to have this article on hand. Here the author outlines 10 basic, and impactful, reasons why CSR is good for society and for business.

The Power of Collaboration
We often use the word “collaboration” heavily when we discuss what it will take to build a more socially responsible world. But achieving successful collaboration is not an easy task. The experts at BSR offer the first in a series of articles exploring what works and what doesn’t when trying to build collaborative programs.

Brand Citizenship Rules
Consumers care less about the good you’re doing for the public when you’re not first doing a good job taking care of your employees. So it’s critical to first focus internally on engaging employees and important business stakeholders before looking beyond your organization’s walls. However, building your program from the inside out won’t hold you back from the public good you’re trying to achieve, it will actually bolster the external impact you’ll have.

Is Being a Responsible Consumer More Important Than Voting?
Havas Worldwide recently published the latest study to show how consumers increasingly look to companies and nonprofits to fill the role that government traditionally played in helping to solve social issues. As this Cause Marketing Forum article notes, there is a huge opportunity for companies and nonprofits to engage citizens in their efforts to create change.

Shaking the Donor Engagement Ladder
A low percentage (9%) of cause supporters are first engaging through social media channels. However, as Emily Nichols of Cone Communications explains, this is not to say that these supporters don’t deserve to be engaged. In fact, people who engage first through social media are more likely to stay involved by donating and volunteering for a cause than when engaging first through traditional channels. That is enough reason to make you think twice about how you’ll engage consumers in your next campaign.

CSR Food for Thought: Employee Engagement Is Not A Fad

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



Skills-Based Volunteering: The New Executive Training Ground
Some believe a CEOs ability to build, develop and attract talent is the single most important thing they do as a leader. Some organizations are turning to the practice of skilled volunteering (sometimes internationally) to do all these things in one fell swoop, while also gaining benefits in the areas of R&D, business development and social impact.

Employee Engagement Is Not A Fad
Network for Good’s Kate Olsen wrapped all we truly believe in one headline: Employee Engagement Is Not a Fad. When done well, it can create deep, meaningful connections that help deliver business results, too.

The Value of Meaningful Work
We see many ties between our first three articles this week. This piece discusses the value of meaningful work – when employees can see how their work benefits customers, society and themselves. This brings us to the need for employee engagement (above) and one new method of engagement through skilled volunteering (also above). Read all three and you’ll be ready to make the case for more employee engagement in 2013 to anyone!

13 Conferences for 2013 – Plus 17 More!
Each year, we pinch our pennies and try to stretch them across as many CSR conferences as possible, limiting the scope to only the best out there. Luckily, our friends at Realized Worth have made narrowing the list easier with their top 13 conferences for 2013 – plus more in case those don’t strike your fancy. (Don’t miss the mention of the 2013 VolunteerMatch  Client Summit!)

Upcoming Best Practice Network Webinar: Corporate Giving (& Volunteering) in Numbers

Corporate social responsibility is ever growing and evolving. As we kick off 2013, now is the time to assess the current landscape of corporate giving and volunteering trends, and determine how our programs will respond to changing marketplace demands.

Corporate Giving (& Volunteering) in Numbers: A Look at Studies from CECP & VolunteerMatch

Join us for a deep-dive into two studies from the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) and VolunteerMatch, which will offer perspective and advice for your 2013 program planning.

Register for this FREE event
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
10-11 a.m. PT (1-2 p.m. ET)
Follow the conversation on Twitter @VM_Solutions, #VMbpn

This session will feature findings from the 2012 edition of CECP’s Giving in Numbers report, tracking trends in corporate philanthropy. The analysis looked at data from 214 companies, including 62 of the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500, presenting a profile of the state of corporate philanthropy, and pinpointing how corporate giving is evolving and becoming more focused.

VolunteerMatch will release the findings of it’s first-ever survey of highly effective employee volunteer programs (EVPs) in January 2013. The survey analyzed 44 EVPs among VolunteerMatch’s corporate partners, which are independently recognized as high performing programs. The results provide benchmark data for the inputs required to run an effective program at your company.

About Our Guest Speakers:

Margaret Coady, Director, CECP

Margaret Coady
Margaret also directs the Committee’s partnership initiatives including joint research and events such as the development of Principles of Social Investment with the United Nations Global Compact, the release of a dollar valuation for corporate pro bono service in collaboration with the Taproot Foundation, and the forward-looking research report “Shaping the Future: Solving Social Problems through Business Strategy” with McKinsey & Company.

Since joining the organization in early 2005, Margaret’s close work with member companies, oversight of the Committee’s proprietary Corporate Giving Standard online benchmarking system, and her authorship of four editions of the annual “Giving in Numbers” report have established her as a leading authority on emerging trends in the field of corporate giving.  She lectures for national and international audiences and has appeared on television and radio programs including BBC World Report, CNBC Morning Call, and CNBC Street Signs.

Prior to joining CECP, Margaret worked as a senior IT consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers and played a key technical role in several global custom software implementation projects for Fortune 500 clients.

A native of New York City, Margaret graduated with magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors from Williams College and was Valedictorian of her class at Columbia Business School.

Casey Brennan, Marketing & Insights Manager, VolunteerMatch

Casey Brennan
As Marketing & Insights Manager at VolunteerMatch, Casey focuses on communications, thought leadership and marketing strategy for the organization’s corporate audience. Her responsibilities include refining and managing the brand, producing the VolunteerMatch Solutions’ Best Practice Network webinar series, developing engagement campaigns for the VolunteerMatch network, identifying partnership opportunities with like-minded organizations, producing the annual VolunteerMatch Client Summit, monitoring key trends in CSR and developing original insights materials on behalf of the organization.

You can find Casey on Twitter @CaseyB.

CSR Food for Thought: Empower Employees through Charitable Giving

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



Empower Employees through Charitable Giving
If you’re looking for an employee holiday gift with meaning, look no further than this list of creative ideas. Instead of a gift card, why not gift a charity gift card to support a cause each employee cares about? Replace a yankee swap with a toy drive for a local children’s organization. Can’t give a bonus? Offer an additional day off each year to volunteer instead!

Understanding ‘Engagement’ for Better Business: A Practical Approach
When talking about stakeholder engagement in CSR, we can’t overlook one critical component: Consent. This can be difficult to achieve, and requires a strong component of respect – but in the end, will help a company provide lasting, collaborative impact.

Twitter’s Manager For Social Innovation On How Social Is Shaping The Future Of Nonprofits
A great discussion of how social media is changing how we engage with causes, and how the power of giving time can sometimes be more powerful than giving money.

The Most Dynamic Social Innovation Initiatives of 2012
Susan McPherson outlines her list of the year’s most innovative social campaigns. Check them out, share your own, and get inspired to take 2013 by storm!

“Inspiring Our World” Engages MGM Resorts’ Employees in Culture, Diversity and Corporate Social Responsibility
Our partner MGM Resorts took a creative approach to communicating its ongoing dedication to diversity and CSR to its 62,000 employees – a pep-rally style event reinforcing its commitments. Showcasing the talents of 70 different employee performers, this is a perfect example of a company using its unique culture and talents as a platform for discussing CSR.

CSR Food for Thought: The Latest Snapshot of Giving Trends

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
Corporate Philanthropy: The Latest Snapshot of Giving Trends
The annual Giving In Numbers report from Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) is a much-anticipated analysis of giving among Fortune 500 companies. While some may have braced for a slow year in corporate contributions, the results show a much sunnier outlook than expected. For more on the details of this report and a soon-to-be-released analysis of highly effective corporate volunteer programs, join us on January 22, 2013 for a webinar discussing the two studies.

BCLC’s ‘The Citizens’ Prove CSR is Just Good Business
Network for Good’s Kate Olsen recognized one common thread among this year’s nominees for BCLC’s Corporate Citizenship Awards – programs that are closely tied to business capabilities. We’re also tickled to see many of our corporate partners on the list of nominees.

Compelling Brand Purpose Must Guide Radical Innovation
Attendees and speakers at the 2012 Sustainable Brands London conference identified the need to stop focusing on short-term goals in order for CSR to truly align with business goals. As companies look to go beyond the current status-quo, many are taking a long terms view and focusing on innovation to bring about transformation.

Measuring Employee Volunteerism: Who Knows Your EVP Performance Best?
When surveying your employees about your corporate volunteer program, what can active volunteers help you understand vs. non-active volunteers? True Impact takes this questions to heart, showcasing what insights you can gain from each population.

Looking Ahead: Sustainability Trends for 2013
What will your company do in 2013 to encourage social, environmental and business sustainability? Taiga Company’s Julie Urlaub outlines 14 trends she foresees gaining traction in 2013. Social media for stakeholder engagement, employees become important program stakeholders, reliance on company rankings and surveys. Which of these are you prepared to take on?