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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How to Design a Volunteer Program for Your Small Business

Guest post by Scott Huntington

Tips for designing a volunteer program for your small business.As a small business, finding ways to give back is important. Volunteering is a way to do something “better” for the community your business is in. It allows your employees to cooperate in a new way and creates a sense of empowerment.

However, creating a volunteer program for your business might not be the easiest task in the world. With thousands of choices available, how do you decide in which direction to proceed?

Why Choose a Cause?

Even though the benefits for giving and volunteering in the workplace are hard to dispute, many small business struggle to choose a specific cause to support. It’s difficult; you may have employees with a variety of causes close to their hearts, or have hesitations about aligning with one specific cause. When these barriers exist, volunteering efforts fall short, never take off or become scattered. None of these help your mission to give back. Choosing a cause and committing to it is a good way to stay focused and effective in your volunteer program.

5 Questions to Consider When Designing a Program

Below are a few questions and factors to consider when creating a volunteer program for your small business:

1. Does my business already donate to something?

Does your business already donate to a specific cause? If so, developing a volunteer program can be a no-brainer; simply align your actions with your giving. It’s likely your employees are already engaged in the cause and would be enthusiastic if volunteer opportunities would become available. If they’re not engaged, it may be time to find something that they’re more likely to care about.

2. Is there a natural relationship between our products/services and a specific cause?

Think about the products and/or services your business provides. Is there a natural link between those services and ways you could volunteer? For example, a shoe retailer could donate shoes to an underprivileged country – like TOMS has been doing for years. From there, the company could create mission trips and other ways for employees to become involved in the giving process.

Smaller companies like Mr. Rooter or AquaPhoenix, where clean water is the entire point of their business, could find a charity that is dedicated to providing the world with clean water. Food business or wholesalers could donate food to local food kitchens and employees could volunteer on a rotating schedule. Is there a natural link between your products and a volunteering opportunity? If so, that’s a perfect place to start.

3. Is there a local charity you could become involved with?

Sometimes the biggest movements start locally. Local initiatives are likely to be important to your employees and make excellent starting points for volunteerism. Run a search on a site like VolunteerMatch.org or reach out to your local Chamber to find out what charities surround your business’s physical location. Find out if there’s a way to get involved.

When you volunteer locally, you’re able to see the results first hand, and this could raise the excitement factor among your employees. It also can create a little positive buzz about the company and maybe even get your name in the local paper, which is always a plus. That shouldn’t be your motivation, but it’s a nice perk of going local.

4. Does my business have past ventures or partners that could have available volunteering opportunities?

Look back over the history of your business. Have any of your past clients been nonprofit organizations or charities? If so, you could revive the relationship by looking for ways to volunteer with those past clients. It adds a personal factor that highlights the fact you value your past clients and customers.

5. What matters to my employees?

While your employees may change from time to time, it’s still important to empower them to get involved in the design of a volunteer program. Set up a meeting to announce your company’s new focus and let them know their input matters. From there, put together a survey and encourage all employees to participate. You could provide a list of 5 potential charities, or ask employees to submit their own ideas. Look for overlap and narrow it down to two. From there, hold a vote. When your employees feel as though they’ve been a part of the process, they’re more likely to take ownership and to become involved in the volunteering process.

Creating a volunteer program is an essential aspect of giving back to and becoming part of your business’s community. If you’re unsure of where to start inside your company or organization, consider the 5 questions above prior to moving forward.

Has your small business implemented a volunteer program? Tell us about it!

Scott Huntington is a writer and blogger with a passion for volunteering. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington or check out his blog, blogspike.com.

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Profile of a Champion: How Carla Lehn Inspires Engagement at California State Library

California State Library is a Preferred Partner of VolunteerMatch.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.

We’re especially excited about one of our Champions this year, because it marks the first time any non-corporate client has won a Corporate Volunteer Award. Carla Lehn from California State Library wowed us all this year with her outstanding teamwork, leadership, accomplishment, dedication and spirit.

Carla Lehn accepts her Champion of the Year Award, with VolunteerMatch President Greg Baldwin.

Carla Lehn accepts her Champion of the Year Award, with VolunteerMatch President Greg Baldwin.

California State Library is part of the VolunteerMatch Preferred Partner Program. This program works with a select group of nonprofits and civic organizations that have partnered with VolunteerMatch to place a special focus on volunteer recruitment, retention and engagement. (Want to know more? Give us a shout.)

A VolunteerMatch member since 2009, the California State Library organization connects over 600 volunteers to their local libraries each month. Since 2008, the number of volunteers recruited by the Library has increased by 48%!

Carla’s tireless enthusiasm, energy, and drive amazes the entire VolunteerMatch Staff on a regular basis. The strides made due to her efforts have helped thousands of individuals become more involved in their local community and have truly created positive change across the state of California.

“It was so nice to be recognized, but I felt like all my library and VolunteerMatch colleagues should have been standing there with me,” said Carla. “We’ve had some awesome successes together!”

Kudos to Carla Lehn for being a VolunteerMatch Champion of the Year. We salute you and your hard work!

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

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