2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Insights: A Swedish REflection

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: A Swedish REflection.

Guest post by Anna Snell, Volontärbyrån

Anna Snell chats with Vicky Hush, VolunteerMatch staffer and emcee of the VolunteerMatch Client Summit.

Anna Snell (left) chats with Vicky Hush, VolunteerMatch staffer and emcee of the VolunteerMatch Client Summit.

Two months have passed since the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit, but Detroit stays with me. What an inspiration it was to be bused around the city, seeing what we are capable of achieving when we come together, devoting time and passion in the effort to create a better life for ourselves and each other.

Detroit’s journey back on track reminds me of the history of volunteering in Sweden, where I come from. It goes back to the 19th century, when Sweden was a very poor country. A third of the population emigrated (most of them to the United States), and the people that were left behind took it upon themselves to create a brighter, healthier and more equal society.

Initiatives like dental care, libraries, health care for children and home visits for the elderly came about around this time – things that volunteers and nonprofit organizations created. Responsibility for things have since been taken over by the state and are now largely tax-funded, but the appetite for organizing ourselves and volunteering has remained.

Volontärbyrån is VolunteerMatch’s Swedish cousin, and we have been exchanging insights from our respective countries for years. Volontärbyrån rests on the same firm foundation as VolunteerMatch, the drive to make it easy for people to volunteer and to support nonprofits in finding volunteers.

In Sweden, corporate volunteering isn’t as widespread as it is in the U.S. However, volunteering in general in Sweden is very popular, with every other Swede devoting on average 16 hours per month to volunteering. Companies are catching on to the fact that encouraging volunteering among their staff isn’t just a great way of involving staff in the company’s CSR activities and employer branding, it’s also beneficial to the well-being of each individual who participates.

I manage Volontärbyrån’s corporate partnerships, and came to the VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit in order to get inspired, take home some ideas and to network. And I wasn’t disappointed! I met some really great people, from the dedicated VolunteerMatch staff to passionate company coordinators as well as inspiring nonprofits. I took home lots of ideas and advice to our partners about what a successful internal infrastructure for a volunteer program looks like, how to create visibility around volunteering, and different ways to measure the success of a volunteer program.

Thank you, VolunteerMatch, for enabling all of us to network and exchange insights and ideas like this, in our joint efforts to connect people with great causes!

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On #GivingTuesday, Take Your Volunteer Impact to the Next Level

Today is #GivingTuesday. Step up your volunteer impact by donating to VolunteerMatch.Today is #GivingTuesday, a day dedicated to giving back. Today, millions come together to focus on one thing: giving money, time, skills and passion to help make the world a better place.

At VolunteerMatch, though, we know that many of you focus on this type of thing all year round. Whether it’s through your company’s volunteer programs, or volunteering you do on your own time and with family, you know what it means to make a difference for what you care about most.

So today, on #GivingTuesday, we want to show you how to take things to the next level. This year, we’re reaching out to our network and asking you to donate to VolunteerMatch.

Donate to VolunteerMatch and help create more superheroes.Why? Great question! Because VolunteerMatch is a nonprofit, just like where you volunteer your time. Each donation we get helps millions more people find ways to make a difference. (In fact, our unique work with companies helps close to 100,000 organizations connect with skilled volunteers.)

We’re participating in the CrowdRise Giving Tower Holiday Challenge this year to build a tower of donations that reaches higher than any existing building in the world!

So please click here to donate to VolunteerMatch, and then you can click here to download the app and view the Tower being built in real time.

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

Click here to donate to VolunteerMatch.

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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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Upcoming Best Practice Network Webinar: 2014 Giving in Numbers – Insights from CECP’s Annual Research

Giving in Numbers 2014 EditionGiving in Numbers is the leading benchmark on corporate giving and socially motivated employee engagement programs.

In this year’s report, CECP, in association with The Conference Board, collected data from a record 261 companies on their 2013 contributions and employee engagement programs.

2014 Giving in Numbers: Insights from CECP’s Annual Research

In the November Best Practice Network webinar, CECP’s Michael Stroik will discuss trends in giving in the four years since the recession; how giving stacks up against consumer and CEO confidence; what it takes to be among the top 25 percent of corporate givers; which types of employee engagement programs are expanding; and for the first time, how companies are measuring the social impact of their giving.

Register for this free event.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
10am – 11am PT (1-2pm ET)

Follow along with the conversation on Twitter: @VM_Solutions and #VMbpn.

Our Speaker:

Michael Stroik
CECP

Register for this free webinar now.

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The Potential Profit in Serving Nonprofits

Guest post by Kari Travis, The Super Service Challenge

The Super Service Challenge helped an Arizona real estate firm enrich its work culture by motivating the company to step up for a worthy cause.

Read about how The Super Service Challenge helped an Arizona real estate firm enrich its work culture by motivating the company to step up for a worthy cause.

Dub Dellis thought the Super Service Challenge sounded too good to be true. As Chief Operating Officer of Walt Danley Realty in Paradise, Arizona, Dellis heard about The Challenge’s drawing out of a $1 million giveaway for nonprofits, and felt a healthy skepticism. But when a trusted acquaintance recommended The Challenge as an opportunity to make a difference, Dellis took the next step.

The results amazed him, and today Dellis calls The Challenge a dream come true – a dream that allows companies across the nation to improve their performance while also making a positive impact in their communities.

How service transformed Walt Danley Realty by turning a giving company into a company of givers.

The Super Service Challenge lit a fire for the team at Walt Danley Realty, according to Dellis. The company was already a close-knit community, with employees devoted to serving throughout the community. But what the firm needed was a platform on which it could encourage its entire team to serve a local cause.

The 2013 Super Service Challenge felt like the perfect opportunity, Dellis says.

The entire office participated by volunteering at St. Mary’s Food Bank on the Monday before Thanksgiving. Team members created videos about their service projects which they then entered into The Challenge’s prize drawing. The group had a lot of fun – so much, in fact, that they served at St. Mary’s several times again following The Super Service Challenge project.

When the prizes were announced, Walt Danley Realty won $25,000 for St. Mary’s Food Bank, enough to provide 175,000 meals for those in need. It was an exhilarating day for Dellis and rest of the Walt Danley team – and for everyone at St. Mary’s.

“It lifted us up as a company,” Dellis remembers. “We got way more out of it than even St. Mary’s Food Bank. Positive feelings and positive emotions translate to a better workplace.”

Team morale soared, and Dellis remembers the office was excited for an entire month following the announcement. It was an unforgettable experience, and one that gave him and his coworkers a sense of real accomplishment. This year, the team is participating in The Challenge again, motivated once again by the opportunity to make a lasting impact through service.

“These kinds of things make you stop and value what you have,” Dellis says. “It takes just 10 minutes to make a video – and to do something about it.”

The Super Service Challenge is a nationwide movement to transform business through service.

Getting involved is simple. Here’s how it works:

First, grab a few co-workers and go serve your favorite nonprofit(s). Next, create a short video on your phone that answers two questions: how did you serve, and how did serving impact your team? Finally, enter your video online for a chance to win part of the $1 million giveaway. All prize funding is donated in support of the nonprofits served by the winning teams.

The Super Service Challenge runs until November 30, 2014. For more information on how your business can participate, contact Anna Weaver at aweaver@superservicechallenge.com, or visit the website at www.superservicechallenge.com.

How has volunteering helped bring your team closer together? Tell us about it below!

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How Jacquelyn Londo and Sue Osten Inspire by Example at UnitedHealth Group

We're thrilled to honor two employees from UnitedHealth Group as 2014 Champions of the Year in the VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards!Before this year’s exciting VolunteerMatch Client Summit, you got the chance to meet some of the finalists for the 2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards. And then, you found out the winners.

Two award categories, however, are unique, in that they don’t have finalists – they are chosen by VolunteerMatch Client Relations Managers based on their experiences working directly with their corporate clients. These special categories are Breakout Performance and Champions of the Year.

When it comes to embodying the values of teamwork, leadership, accomplishment, dedication and spirit celebrated by the Champions of the Year Award, there are two individuals who definitely lead by example: Jacquelyn Londo is Social Responsibility Manager, and Sue Osten is Director of the Office of Social Responsibility at UnitedHealth Group. But really, they are employee engagement champions who have fought tirelessly for innovation and evolution in the corporate social responsibility space.

UnitedHealth Group has been a partner of VolunteerMatch since 2006, and these two women have pushed both their program AND ours to dream big and do the best work we can. For example, this past year UnitedHealth Group was the official sponsor of the unique, innovative product MobileMatch. Plus, since 2012 UnitedHealth Group employees have tracked over 1,000,000 volunteer hours!

Everyone on the VolunteerMatch staff who has been lucky enough to work with Jacquelyn and Sue has seen firsthand their dedicated and passionate work ethics, and the way they inspire everyone around them to do more.

“UnitedHealth Group has a strong commitment to volunteering among our employees and as an organization, and so it’s a tremendous honor to receive this award,” said Kate Rubin, vice president of social responsibility for UnitedHealth Group. “Having our team members collaborate with VolunteerMatch on the development of new VolunteerMatch mobile solutions that are making it easier for employees, other corporate volunteers and the general public to participate in volunteer activities that transform local communities, has been a rewarding and impactful experience for them and one of which we were extremely proud to support.”

Congratulations to Jacquelyn, Sue, and UnitedHealth Group. We are proud and honored to be your partner!

To learn more about the 2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards, click here.

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Mobilize Employee Champions for #GivingTuesday

It may come right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but #GivingTuesday is all about giving back to the causes we care about most. And volunteering can be a great way to do that. And engaging employees in #GivingTuesday initiatives is a great project to add to your company’s calendar.

Building on the buzz and energy of #GivingTuesday can help your company increase impact and support for the causes you support. This webinar discusses ways for you to do exactly that.

Join speakers from #GivingTuesday, Salesforce Foundation and VolunteerMatch for this special webinar to talk about ways you can organize your networks of family, friends, or coworkers to make a big difference for your cause on #GivingTuesday.

You are more powerful than you realize – and by mobilizing your employees to be volunteer champions, you can harness that power to help the causes your company supports, and that you care about.

Watch the webinar on YouTube.

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