Raising the Pro Bono Bar: The U.S. Bank Law Division

It’s Pro Bono Week 2014! Join us in celebrating the amazing volunteers who donate their professional skills to great causes. Today’s featured company: The U.S. Bank Law Division.Volunteers from US Bank Law Division

Pro bono work was made famous by the law profession, and the crew at the U.S. Bank Law Division is living up to this precedent.

The U.S. Bank Law Division works all across the U.S. at places such as a Vet Law Clinic, Housing Court, Immigrant Law Center, and Children’s Law Center. In the Twin Cities region alone, they’ve donated their time and skills to eight clinics.

In 2013, 70% of their lawyers engaged in pro bono activities. Even their non-lawyers got involved at a rate of 52%. The U.S. Bank Law Division is rightfully proud of their staff. Talk about impressive! They cite pro bono work as a priority for both their employees and their company as a whole.

Pictured above are some of the U.S. Bank’s pro bono volunteers. From left to right: Melissa Vermeersch, Sarah Stroebel (Chair), Jeannie Mccarver, Shannon Mahoney (Coordinator), Kyle Bakken, and Nick Richtman.

Encourage your own employees to get involved with pro bono and other volunteering opportunities with VolunteerMatch Solutions.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

What Makes ADT a Breakout Performer?

Congratulations to ADT for winning the Breakout Performance Corporate Volunteer Award!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.

This year, ADT was a favorite winner of the Breakout Performance Award. This award is given to a new VolunteerMatch client that has shown significant success for a newly launched program – and boy, does ADT fit the bill.

Alex Price, Community Relations Manager of ADT Corporation, accepts the Breakout Performance Award from VolunteerMatch Greg Baldwin at the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit.

Alex Price, Community Relations Manager of ADT Corporation, accepts the Breakout Performance Award from VolunteerMatch Greg Baldwin at the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit.

Launched in July 2013 with a pilot program focused in seven key regions, ADT developed a branded program with focus and flexibility, and produced trainings and materials that were easily scalable. During this pilot phase, over 30% of ADT’s eligible employees volunteered!

Then, to celebrate the company’s 140th anniversary in August, 2014, they expanded the program to over 200 locations. And in its first year, this program welcomed more than 14,000 unique visitors to their new VolunteerMatch site, and connected employee volunteers to more than 350 nonprofit organizations.

Core focus areas include Disaster Response and Public Safety, along with many walks and Habitat builds, but ADT employees are also encouraged to contribute as much as possible in any area, and to submit group project ideas via the Opportunity Builder feature on their VolunteerMatch site.

ADT as a company has thrown itself headfirst into the EVP world, participating in webinars and quickly learning best practices for communications, executive and middle manager support, events, and incentives, leading to one of the most impressive programs of the past year.

“ADT was so honored to be recognized with the 2014 ‘Breakout Performance of the Year’ award,” said Alex Price, Community Relations Manager of ADT Corporation. “What a wonderful way to cap off our companywide rollout of the ADT Always Cares program, and so motivating for me to expand it as we enter our second year.”

Big congratulations to Alex Price, ADT Corporation, and all your employees for winning Breakout Performance of the Year – and keep up the great work!

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

Continue reading

6 Transformational Companies Honored in a Transformational City

GM Renaissance Center in Detroit - setting for the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit.Last week’s VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit was like no other conference any of us have ever attended…but more on that later. Today, we want to focus on one particular event during this year’s Client Summit: the 2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards.

In a city whose corporate sector is showing every day the impact that can be made by true community involvement, six socially responsible companies were honored for their commitments to their own communities – and to the engagement of their employees.

You’ve gotten to know some of the finalists over the past few months, and now we are thrilled to announce the winners.

For the third year in a row, Morgan Stanley and Old National Bank took top honors as Employee Volunteer Programs of the Year in the Large and Small-Medium Sized Business categories. Lilly and ADT were recognized for their outstanding first year of success in the VolunteerMatch network. And staff members from UnitedHealth Group and California State Library were acknowledged for being dedicated champions of employee and consumer volunteer engagement.

The winners of the 2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards are:

Morgan Stanley

Old National Bank


Jacquelyn Londo & Sue Osten – UnitedHealth Group
Carla Lehn – California State Library

Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards! May you continue to be an inspiration to your employees, your communities, and the rest of us.

Continue reading

How Ohio State Walks the Talk

This post was originally published on The Lantern.

Guest post by Alex Drummer

How Ohio State Walks the TalkAn out-of-body experience helped an Ohio State official develop one of the university’s newest initiatives.

OSU’s Office of Volunteer Relations was partially inspired after Andy Gurd, chief operating officer of the OSU Alumni Association, realized there was no official route for volunteering through OSU during a speech he gave at an alumni club event in New York, he said.

“As I’m speaking to the club, I almost had an out-of-body experience that I really hope that nobody raises their hand and says, ‘Hey Andy, how do I volunteer at Ohio State?’ because I really didn’t know the answer — and I work here,” he said.

The Office of Volunteer Relations connects OSU community members with volunteer opportunities either at or for the university.

And it seems as though OSU might be one of the first schools with a volunteer office.

While in the process of creating the office, the task force working on the project contacted between eight and 12 different peer universities and did not find any with similar programs, Gurd said.

“In fact, they all said ‘when you have that up and running, we really want to take a look at it,'” Gurd said.

Ohio State launches office to connect community with volunteer options, using the VolunteerMatch tools.

The office provides an online database of volunteer opportunities through a third-party website called VolunteerMatch. The first year and setup cost for the website was $28,000. The funds for this came out of the Alumni Association’s budget, said Michell Domke, director of the Office of Volunteer Relations.

It will cost $20,000 annually to continue to use the service, Domke said in an email.

The initial annual budget for the office is $200,000, but the Alumni Association will make changes to the budget as needed in order to ensure success, Domke said.

Gurd said buying into software that was already developed saved some time, and the office has still been able to customize the website to its needs, so it’s the “best of both worlds.”

The site went live on July 1, and 116 people had signed up for a volunteer opportunity as of Sept. 8, Domke said.

The volunteer opportunities on the site are divided into departments, such as the Fisher College of Business or Wexner Medical Center. There were 20 departments on the site as of Sept. 15. . Within them, there were 34 opportunities posted as of Sept. 8, Domke said.

Opportunities will continually be posted as they come up, and more departments are slated to be added as well, Domke said.

If someone is looking to volunteer, he or she can search for an opportunity on the website without having to sign in, but when the user identifies an opportunity and clicks to sign up for it, he or she will be redirected to sign up for an account, Domke said. After signing up, the user should receive an email confirmation, and then after the user has volunteered, the hope is that he or she will be thanked for their service — an advantage of the new system, Gurd said.

“Because we now have everything in a database, we can now understand who’s volunteering. We can say thank you to them, which in the past, I don’t know that always occurred,” Gurd said.

Another asset of the system is it allows users to sign up for what interests them, rather than the university guessing, Gurd said. “It really helps us understand what an individual is passionate about because many times in the past we looked up what school you graduated from and that’s what we sent you information on,” Gurd said.

As for the creation of the Office of Volunteer Relations, it took about a year and a half to do the research, get the committee together, gain approval and get funding in order to create the office, Gurd said.

Because student volunteers have already been extensively tapped into, the new office focuses on nonstudent volunteer opportunities, Domke said.

As for the inclusion of other members of the university community, like fans — instead of just alumni — Gurd said that it goes along with the spirit of begin an Ohioan, and nonaffiliates can sign up to volunteer too.

“We’re the Buckeyes, and this is the Buckeye State,” Gurd said.

Being a state school, OSU has a large fan base that might consist of people who, although did not graduate from OSU, want to become involved in the university, he said.

“For people who are passionate about Ohio State, who care about this university and the things we do, we want to provide an opportunity for them to be able to engage with the university as well, and we want strong relationships with them,” Gurd said.

The alumni are a special group themselves, he said, and the hope is that the system will not only help strengthen alumni and university relationships but also strengthen relationships among alumni, he said.

“One of the great things about it is when you volunteer, it’s cross-generational, so we can have brand new graduates volunteering with someone who graduated 50 years ago. I get chills talking about it,” Gurd said.

Huge, happy welcome to The Ohio State University and your community, new members of the VolunteerMatch network!

Continue reading

Their Impact is Both Large and Diverse

Congratulations to all of the companies honored as finalists in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Corporate Citizenship Awards.Being a part of something as powerful as the VolunteerMatch network means that you’ll often hear about the amazing things individuals, nonprofits and companies are doing to make a difference. Here’s a great example:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation recently named 24 business finalists for its 15th Annual Corporate Citizenship Awards. The awards program honors businesses for their significant positive impacts in communities around the world. And this year, a whole bunch of VolunteerMatch clients and partners are on the list of honored finalists.

  • Congratulations to UnitedHealth Group for being a finalist for Best Corporate Steward in the Large Business category.
  • Big kudos to Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft for the Best Commitment to Education Program award.
  • Amway’s impressive community work is being recognized as a finalist for Best Community Improvement Program.
  • Farmers Insurance Company, as well as our partner Cornerstone OnDemand, Inc., are finalists for Best Disaster Response & Community Resilience Program.
  • Both Dow Chemical Company and Qualcomm are finalists for Best Economic Empowerment Program.
  • Great job Apollo Education Group for being a finalist for Best Environmental Stewardship Program.

“It’s great to see our clients honored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation,” says Julie VanDeLinder, VP of Client Services, VolunteerMatch. “While we already know our clients do great things in the community, it’s wonderful to see them in this elite group of Corporate Citizens.”

The winners in each category will be announced on November 20, 2014. But all of these companies are already winners, considering the huge impact they’ve made in their communities and for their employees in all of these different areas. (If you’d like to learn more about the over-achieving companies in the VolunteerMatch network, check out this series on the finalists for the 2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards.)

We’re proud of all of our corporate clients and partners! Congratulations, and keep up the great work.

Continue reading

2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards: A Look at Finalist NV Energy

On September 19, 2014, winners of the 2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards will be announced at our annual VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit, Mich. In this series of posts, we’ll introduce you to people and ideas behind the ten most effective employee volunteer programs in our family of corporate clients, determined by performance against four benchmark measures in 2013.

What makes your employee volunteer program special?

 Fun Day for Kids – Boys and Girls Club

Fun Day for Kids – Boys and Girls Club

NV Energy’s Employee Volunteer Program plays an essential role in bringing employees together to support causes in our community. The program is geared towards employees and their family members who participated in more than 1,400 volunteer opportunities last year, choosing to concentrate on causes that they are passionate about, including: health and human services, hunger, seniors, homelessness, animals, veterans, education and the environment. The NV Energy team creates programs and volunteerism opportunities that address emerging issues and promote healthy and vibrant communities. These engagement activities create opportunities to partner with local organizations, and empower employees to make a positive difference.

NV Energy has a strong commitment to engage employees as volunteers in community service, and employees are encouraged to support their communities through the company’s volunteer program. The key components of the Employee Volunteer Program are the Community Relations staff, Employee Volunteer Council, and Project leads. Through regular communication and feedback from surveys, employees help the staff determine the types of activities everyone participate in.

NV Project – Assemble care packages for the military

NV Energy employees assemble and ship care packages to the military as part of NV Project.

Some favorite activities are:

  • The Senior Energy Assistance Expo, a community event where seniors age 62 years of age or older can come out to get help with their power bill.
  • Goodie Two Shoes – outfit low-income children with a pair of new tennis shoes and socks.
  • Three Square Backpack program – fill backpacks with kid-friendly food for students on free and reduced lunch programs.
  • NV Project – assemble and ship packages to the men and women serving our country overseas.
  • Other events include a lunch hour event, Day at Dorostkar Park clean-up, Safe Haven Rescue Zoo, United Way Golf Tournaments, and department/team volunteer projects that create camaraderie.

Additionally, the senior management team and other employees serve on the boards of more than 100 nonprofit organizations throughout the state of Nevada.

What are some key accomplishments from 2013 you’re especially proud of?

Despite challenging economic times, NV Energy employees are still committed to giving back, because they recognize that giving back to our communities is critical now more than ever. The company’s goal is to improve the quality of life for the people who live and work in its service territory. In 2013, over 2,500 employees gave more than 44,000 hours as volunteers at various organizations in this service territory. Employees surpassed their goal of 42,000 hours by logging in an impressive 44,834 hours. With the estimated value of a volunteer hour at $22.14, the company’s volunteering contributions are estimated at close to $1 million for 2013!

How do you get employees excited and involved in volunteering?

Dorostkar Park Clean-up

Dorostkar Park Clean-up

NV Energy launched the VolunteerMatch tool in 2008, with employees logging 393 hours, and concluded 2013 with employees logging over 44,000 hours. Their success can be attributed to communication and carefully selecting projects to match their resources.

Their recruitment strategy varies from episodic to large projects so that they are flexible enough to match skills and interests to fit each project. They also determine how to reach and engage the right volunteers for establishing a consistent volunteer team to help meet the needs of each project during various stages.

NV Energy supports employee volunteers by helping them find community service opportunities, recognizing and rewarding their work, and providing grants to the nonprofit organizations they volunteer with through a Dollars for Doers Program. In 2013, The Dollars for Doers Program awarded 38 – $250 grants, totaling $9500, to local nonprofit agencies on behalf of employees giving their time.

Senior Energy Assistance Expo

Senior Energy Assistance Expo

Last year, they held a volunteer challenge among departments. The Volunteer Challenge is a friendly competition that pits teams within the company against each other to earn the most number of volunteer hours. The hours are logged between January 1 and December 31, and are ranked by average of team member hours. The team with the most hours during that period earned a $2,000 grant for a nonprofit of their choice, recognition and bragging rights.

The Community Relations team at NV Energy maintains excellent communication with any nonprofit organization the company partners with so that everyone has a clear understanding of what is expected of them. They also explain the benefits of volunteer work to employees and use examples to show the many benefits to the larger community.

Kudos to NV Energy for being a leader in employee engagement and inspiring social impact!

Stay tuned for more finalist profiles in the coming weeks, and announcement of the winners on September, 2014 during the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit.

Continue reading