VolunteerMatch’s Corporate Volunteering Network is Now Global!

VolunteerMatch to Pilot International Expansion of Corporate Volunteering Network Using TechSoup Global TechnologyToday we announced a new partnership with TechSoup Global, an international network that leverages technology to help build the capacity of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to increase social impact across the globe.

We will leverage each other’s strengths in technologies for the greater good. The collaboration enables the growth of VolunteerMatch’s expansive network of U.S.- based nonprofits to include NGOs from around the world by utilizing TechSoup Global’s technology to validate these organizations.

This pilot project promises to strengthen the global NGO community and amplify the social impact of employee volunteer programs — no matter where they are.

Through TechSoup Global’s unparalleled international NGO partner network and its expertise in NGO validation, we will begin providing our volunteer engagement services outside the U.S. for the first time. We’ll be initially offering the service for our community of corporate clients (like you!) and will make international listings available to your employees around the world. This pilot project promises to strengthen the global NGO community and amplify the social impact of employee volunteer programs — no matter where they are.

We are piloting the initiative in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia and is evaluating additional countries and regions.

To learn more about this exciting partnership, check out the full press release.

Do you work with charity and NGO partners outside the U.S.? Make sure they know they can now use VolunteerMatch to connect with great volunteers!

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It Takes Money to Do Good: Expanding our Business Model for a Win-Win-Win

Keep your remote employees in the volunteering loop.Yes, VolunteerMatch works with sponsors. It’s a good thing that helps us do even more good in the world. Over the past couple of years we have tested out ways to help companies, brands and other nonprofit organizations get their special messages in front of our massive membership of dedicated do-gooders. In exchange, these sponsoring groups help support VolunteerMatch.

This sponsored content shows up on the side of VolunteerMatch.org where folks update their nonprofit’s listings, sign up for a webinar, or search for a volunteer opportunity. They also could see a sponsored message in an email or newsletter, and in one of their personalized Opportunity Alert emails.

Why Sponsorship is Good for Everyone

Here’s a truth: It takes money to do good, and VolunteerMatch is no exception. We’ve developed a unique business model that enables us to support ourselves sustainably while also fulfilling our mission. Our work helping companies run successful employee volunteer programs not only further fulfills our mission of connecting good people and good causes by connecting large populations of corporate volunteers to the VolunteerMatch network of opportunities, it also helps support the free services we provide for nonprofits and volunteers.

Sponsorship is one more way to do that – it gets important messages about social good and giving back from companies in front of nonprofits and volunteers, and helps support the VolunteerMatch organization and network so we can continue to provide free services and better support.

The Third “Win” is Yours

We know why sponsorship is great for VolunteerMatch and for nonprofits and volunteers who care about doing good, but it can also be beneficial for your company. We are engagement experts and our members want to take action. The VolunteerMatch network is growing by leaps and bounds: we had 12 million visits to the website in 2013, and 2014 is shaping up to be even better. Hundreds of thousands of people get our emails each month.

A screenshot of the sponsorship ad space on VolunteerMatch.org.

With millions of members and close to 100,000 nonprofits using the site, we are a trusted resource and destination for anyone who cares about getting involved in their community. Where better to put messages about your company’s projects and efforts related to social impact?

We’ve got a bunch of different, flexible opportunities for you to share your company’s message with the perfect audience, inspire more people to get out and make a difference, and support VolunteerMatch’s work. Win-win-win.

Interested in sponsorship options at VolunteerMatch? Get in touch!

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Meet the Team: David Selsky, Senior Client Relations Manager

They have facilitated millions of employee volunteer hours. All they have to do is pick up the phone, and corporate executives invest in volunteering. Some claim that they came up with the term “CSR.” They are: The Most Interesting Client Relations Managers in the World.

David Selsky1. Give us your elevator speech — what do you do at VolunteerMatch?

I’m a Senior Client Relations Manager here at VolunteerMatch. I work with our corporate and academic partners on the best ways to use technology to connect with, and positively impact, their communities. We discuss everything from program branding, to involving key stakeholders, to communications plans and reports. In addition, I provide software trainings, liaise with our engineering and design teams, and offer best practices based on our team’s years of experience in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

2. What brought you to VolunteerMatch? How long have you been here?

I’ve been here almost 5 years! My parents used to take my sister and me volunteering when we were young – planting trees, working at shelters, hospitals, and local events – and that commitment to improving my community and the world has stayed with me. After working at a few nonprofits with a focus on fundraising, activism, communications, and technology, I found VolunteerMatch and was excited by its overall mission as well as the chance to help leverage the scale and skills of its corporate partners for positive change.

3. What is the most inspiring part of your job? What’s your favorite part?

It’s inspiring how volunteerism cuts across all kinds of divides in our society – political, religious, cultural – and brings everyone together in service. Tangible projects have so much potential for dialogue and understanding, between the volunteers themselves and the volunteers and the community, that might not normally occur on an average day. These connections can spark very interesting external and internal changes. It’s also inspiring helping people see how they can make a contribution to their community even if they haven’t given it much thought before.
Two favorite parts of my job – one is doing deep dives with clients on their programs and seeing changes we’ve discussed put into practice and succeed, and the other is the people I work with at VolunteerMatch – always a good time!

4. If you were to start a foundation or a nonprofit, what would its mission be?

In grad school I studied how practices like yoga, meditation, dialogue and the arts could be used to resolve and recover from interpersonal and even international conflicts. I’d imagine my organization could train people working on social change in some of these models which could then inform their work, while also teaching them how to take better care of themselves to prevent burnout and do what they’re called to do most effectively. I’d probably also have a separate but related program about vegetarian or vegan diets, which can have a huge impact on improving health, conserving natural resources and reducing animal suffering.

5. Where will the Corporate Social Responsiblity (CSR) industry be in 5 years?

I’d like to think that almost every company will have an employee volunteer program and a well-defined CSR strategy aligned with their business model, with a dedicated CSR staff. I also think that business will become more open to learning from nonprofits than they are now. Nonprofit leaders need to have comprehensive skill sets and wear many hats to help their organizations survive difficult financial and social situations, all while keeping their enthusiasm for their mission alive and being involved in the day to day life of their communities. Companies could learn from such passionate and skilled people, see things in new and different ways, and perhaps even change their ways of doing business to make a bigger social impact without impacting their bottom line.

6. Tell us a story (or two) about something that happened in your work that you consider to be a success, something that you’re proud of, and explain why.

I work with a number of companies in the New York City area, and in December 2013 I arranged a happy hour for them to meet and share thoughts on volunteerism and CSR. This led to a number of follow-up conversations and deeper local relationships. I’m proud to be able to facilitate conversations like these, especially for new clients who want advice from those who have been around the block, and especially between those who are local, which can lead to more information sharing and a concerted impact.

Want to learn more about how David and VolunteerMatch help companies engage employees in volunteering? Get in touch!

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Join Us for a Week-Long FestiVOL

Volunteering is the best, right? So this year, in honor of National Volunteer Week, we’ve decided to celebrate volunteers and the difference they make by launching a spectacular week-long FestiVOL – and we want YOU to join us!

Why FestiVOL?

Join VolunteerMatch for FestiVOL, a week-long celebration of volunteering in honor of National Volunteer Week.At VolunteerMatch, we hope FestiVOL will help you, your company and your employees make the most of National Volunteer Week. Whether it‘s appreciating your volunteers, demonstrating impact, or building out new projects, VolunteerMatch will be providing tips on how you can increase engagement.

Each day we will release three “nuggets” just for you: One piece of inspiration, one piece of knowledge, and one action. We hope you’ll share these with your community members, learn from them, and encourage everyone to get more involved.

Join FestiVOL!

FestiVOL will run from April 6-12. You can see all the nuggets as we release them on the FestiVOL landing page.

You and your employees can join FestiVOL by following on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the hashtag #FestiVOL. We hope FestiVOL gives you the energy, passion and ideas to make our communities stronger and our world happier all year long!

How will YOU celebrate volunteering during FestiVOL?

Gorgeous FestiVOL graphic designed by Katy Roby.

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Mercer’s Incredible Accomplishment: The Year of 5x

MerceronTrail

Mercer colleagues volunteer to clean up a trail in Seattle.

In 2013 Mercer employees tracked over 26,000 volunteer hours – more than 5 times what they recorded in 2012. How did they do it?

Mercer is a global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement, and investments. The company is a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, which is a VolunteerMatch corporate client. According to Deb Krause, who is a Principal at Mercer, the VolunteerMatch platform is one of the valuable tools Marsh & McLennan provides its companies that helped Mercer achieve such stunning success in their employee volunteering program.

VolunteerMatch data shows that the top causes supported by Mercer colleagues during 2013 were children & youth and education & literacy (50% in total). However, colleagues also enjoy volunteering for a variety of other causes, as shown by the breadth of volunteering Mercer colleagues were involved in throughout the year.

What were they keys to Mercer’s incredible achievement? Click below to learn the four ingredients Deb and other volunteer leaders at Mercer identified as being keys to their success.

Read the rest of Mercer’s inspiring story…

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CSR Food for Thought: ROI-Proving Research

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.

Do socially responsible business practices influence the value of your company? Research says yes.

And so does Katherine Smith, Executive Director of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. In this succinct blog post, she summarizes a growing collection of research that shows a clear link between corporate financial performance and social performance. CSR shows a correlation with everything from access to capital, to investment returns, to reputation and brand value.

Cold Winter, Warm Story

Read about (and see inspiring pictures of) Amway’s annual volunteer program in Guatemala, when teams from the US, Central America, South America and the Caribbean descend on Guatemala to build homes alongside families who need them. This Habitat for Humanity project goes back nearly a decade, and is responsible for funding and building entire neighborhoods of homes in remote areas of the country. Most volunteers come back year after year, falling in love with the people, the land, and the experience.

What Will Influence Business and Purpose Globally in 2014?

Carol Cone, Global Practice Chair of Edelman Business & Social Purpose and a former VolunteerMatch Client Summit keynote speaker, takes a look a growing trends and shifting relationships between corporate, government, and charity sector strategies during 2014. In this particular post she focuses on what she predicts for four key regions: the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Tracking the Data: What Not to Do in the RFP Process

As part of a special Tech series curated by Charities@Work on CSRWire Talkback, our own Director of VolunteerMatch Solutions Seth Thompson describes the pitfalls and challenges faced by so many companies when looking for tools to help manage employee volunteering and giving. Take a look at Seth’s tips for success – after all, he truly is the expert!

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