“Come Together” at the 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit

Come Together at the 2015 VolunteerMatch SummitAt VolunteerMatch, we believe everyone should have the chance to make a difference. And for over 15 years, we have been connecting companies with nonprofits through our easy technology.

Amazing things have taken place online – we’ve made over 9 million volunteer/ nonprofit connections! Now, we’re bringing our communities together offline for a one-of-a-kind event.

Always a Unique Space for Collaboration. Even Better in 2015.

The VolunteerMatch Summit is a place for like-minded professionals in the fields of employee engagement and corporate responsibility to get together, share best practices, and learn from industry experts. The previous 13 Summits have only been open to VolunteerMatch corporate clients.

This year, we’re going even bigger and have invited companies far and wide who are committed to community engagement. And we’re not stopping there. We’re also creating a collaborative place for national nonprofits to join the conversation.

This year, all attendees will “Come Together” to explore ways to work across sections, harnessing knowledge, resources and passions of volunteers to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

Highlights of the 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit include a plenary session from Derreck Kayongo, Founder of the Global Soap Project, as well as panels of experts, interactive workshops, and networking opportunities.

Save the Date: December 1 & 2, 2015 in Oakland, CA.

Registration opens June 2015. Learn more.

Upcoming Webinar: Volunteer Recognition Programs Your Employees Will Love

Business Woman Shouting I Won In Front of her LapTopEmployee volunteers who go above and beyond deserve recognition. Rewards and awards programs offer your employees incentive to get involved, fun competition with their coworkers, and a feeling of being appreciated.

But we think these volunteer champions deserve something more than a free t-shirt or a small grant to the nonprofit of their choice (to name a few typical rewards). In this month’s Best Practice Network (BPN) Webinar, we’ll hear from Nationwide and AT&T – companies that have or are working on creative employee recognition programs. They’ll inspire you to start your own unique reward practices for your stand-out employee volunteers.

Oh, and we’ll also be doing things a little differently this month in our BPN Webinar Series. We know you’re all busy professionals out there doing good in your communities… and who has time to sit through an hour-long webinar? That’s why we’re excited to announce what we’re calling “Bite-Sized BPNs”: The same great information packed into half the time. Pairs well with coffee, lunch, or snack breaks. Enjoy!

Reserve your complimentary spot today.
Thursday March 26, 2015
12pm – 12:30pm PT (3pm – 3:30pm ET)

 

Why GM and Apollo Education Group Say Volunteering is Transformational

Photo of Sabin Blake

Sabin Blake, General Motors

VolunteerMatch caught up with some of the speakers, sponsors and presenters from the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit and asked them what they thought about the event and about corporate volunteerism. We heard from General Motors, MGM Resorts International, and ConAgra Foods, to name a few.

Sabin Blake of General Motors said, “Volunteerism has been absolutely transformational for our organization… I think it’s really helpful to hear from other companies their perspective of the challenges they’ve gone through to create a program, to sustain a program.”

 

Picture of Lauren Keeler

Lauren Keeler, Apollo Education Group

Lauren Keeler of Apollo Education Group said, “Volunteering has been transformational for our company because it really gives our employees the chance to get to know another facet of our organization. They get to understand more about our community impact and our values. It provides them an opportunity to get to know each other on a different level when they’re not in the office.”

Find out what everyone else had to say. Watch the interviews.

 

Webinar Recap: Advocate for Your EVP (With Extra Insights from Appirio!)

Photo of man in suit explaining something.You know that your employee volunteer program is valuable. But how do you show this value to others in your company to get the budget, staff, tools, etc. you need to take your program to the next level?

On January 21, 2015, Debbie Donahey of OhioHealth and Rachel Tallant of Appirio joined VolunteerMatch and shared how they were able to gain internal support for their employee volunteer programs. We were impressed by the wealth of insights Debbie and Rachel offered, as well as the thoughtful questions from our attendees.

The discussion unfortunately had to end as our allotted time ran out, and a few questions went unanswered during the session. Below are Rachel’s post-webinar answers to your questions regarding Appirio’s Silver Lining Program.

Also, if you missed this webinar, don’t worry! You can watch full recording here.

Q: Can you provide specific examples of how executive sponsors support your program?

A: Our executive sponsors provide tangible budget and program strategy support. They’re focused on making the program an integral part of the employee experience by incorporating volunteering into large company events. They also support the program in intangible ways. Hearing that the CEO or head of HR has taken part in a volunteer activity, championed a pro bono project, or posted positive feedback in response to a Silver Lining activity speaks volumes to the rest of the team.

Q: Do you have any resources for “making the business case” that you would be willing to share?

A: We calculated the cost to manage our program’s events based on our past management technology vs. the cost to use VolunteerMatch Solutions. As your program grows, and you start to manage more and more employees, you need a sophisticated management system. In addition to the other benefits, it allows for great visibility into metrics.

For example, before VolunteerMatch, we could generate a report on the hours employees had volunteered, but not which nonprofits or locations they had volunteered for. VolunteerMatch helps us build stronger relationships with nonprofits around the globe that we support, as well as making the business case for our program.

Q: What are some of the outcomes you’re focused on?

A: A big win for us is ease of use. Employees want to give back, but sometimes they don’t have the time to search out their own opportunities to volunteer. The VolunteerMatch database streamlines the process by easily connecting employees with nonprofits in their location and cause area.

Thanks again, Rachel and Debbie!

14 CSR Insights from the ’14 VolunteerMatch Client Summit

On September 18-19, 2014, VolunteerMatch welcomed 120 participants representing 60 companies to Detroit, MI, for the annual VolunteerMatch Client Summit. We hope you followed along as we summarized each summit session in this series of blog posts. From hearing inspiring keynotes, to participating in group discussions, to seeing firsthand the progress of the Detroit community – it was truly an event to remember.

However, if you’re just tuning in now, don’t worry! You can get all of the key insights from the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit in one convenient PDF. Topics include employee well-being, engaging millennials, creative CSR strategies, and much, much more.

Download the PDF today:VolunteerMatch Insights - The 2014 Client Summit

2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Insights: A Rewarding Discussion on VTO

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. In this post: REwards: The Ins and Outs of VTO.

This past year, our Client Summit REwards session on paid Volunteer Time Off (VTO) was, well, rewarding. Thought leaders from Time Warner Cable and Brooks Brothers shared valuable insights and tangible takeaways for companies either hoping to launch or already fostering a VTO program for their employees. Jennifer Reed Holick and Hannah Nance walked us through different approaches for how VTO can be used, the ins and outs of pitching a VTO policy, and how to ensure robust participation while keeping the company’s best interests in mind.

Photo of Hannah Nance

Hannah Nance, Senior Specialist, Social Purpose at Brooks Brothers

The benefits of a VTO program are numerous and compelling, not just for the employee, but for the company as a whole. Hannah from Brooks Brothers explained that by giving employees the freedom to choose where they volunteer, a company is making a donation to that organization: The employee’s time, which might not have been available otherwise. While the organization an employee chooses to volunteer for might not fit into the company’s core cause areas, it means the company can have a broad presence and impact in its community. It will also prove it cares about its employees by supporting causes near and dear to its employees’ hearts.

For those employees who don’t have much volunteer experience, or don’t yet have a favorite charity, paid time off to volunteer provides a risk-free trial for them to check out a new organization or new type of volunteering. Presumably, some of your employees will go on to volunteer regularly outside of their VTO. The idea that VTO is just the foundation is core to how Brooks Brothers views the ideal commitment to service.

Photo of Jennifer Reed Holick

Jennifer Reed Holick, Community Investment Manager at Time Warner Cable

Jennifer from Time Warner Cable then dove further into how VTO can fit into a company’s volunteer program. She believes that while VTO is not critical to employee retention, it’s the “secret sauce that can take a strong volunteer program to new heights”. Her “must haves” for starting a program include: Oversight from a senior management task force, an involved legal and HR team to work out important logistics, a review of the cost implication and ROI, a strategy for maximizing results, and use of a strong management tool to support employees’ efforts, such as VolunteerMatch’s corporate toolset.

Jennifer presented deliberate and convincing formulas around the cost and return of implementing a VTO program. She shared how she opted to use conservative data when pitching her program, in order to drive home just how clear it was that the program would have positive payback.

Both Jennifer and Hannah emphasized the importance of asking key questions at the outset, such as how the program will be communicated and how much time off will be given in the policy. They agreed that it’s important to have strong, visible support from leadership. They also emphasized how important it is to “do your homework” around legal or impact issues specific to your industry, such as if employees on commission will participate, or what risks are being assumed by the company during team outings.

During this session, audience engagement and participation were high. It seemed that everyone walked away with renewed enthusiasm about the role VTO can play as the “cherry on top” of employee engagement efforts.

Interested in learning more about VTO programs? Check out the slides from this presentation.

2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Insights: Build Support for Your Program with Employee Champions

Guest post by: Daniella Lippert

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: REorganize: Building Support Through Champions.

Photo of Wendy Hershey, Daniella Lippert, and Annalisa Amicangelo

Presenters from left to right:
Wendy Hershey – Principal, Mercer Investment Consulting, Inc.
Daniella Lippert – Program Manager, Volunteering & Engagement, CSR, Marsh & McLennan Companies
Annalisa Amicangelo – Manager, CSR, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a company’s consciousness; it brings awareness to the inner connectivity of people, communities and companies. It’s great that VolunteerMatch clients have an opportunity to share insights and best practices. The things we learn from each other help us better leverage our business resources, assets, and procedures. They also help us continue to influence the companies we work for and to increase our positive impact in the community.

During my breakout session, I covered the topic of engaging volunteer champions within a large global organization. At Marsh & McLennan Companies, our CSR department has a twofold approach. We start with a top-down effect from corporate. Then, each operating company has a grassroots approach – they can “flex their muscles and creativity” to engage colleagues in a way that’s tailored to their individual company’s brand. The main points I focused on in the session were:

  1. Establishing a clear mission, a clear strategy, and clear goals.
  2. Creating programs, policies, and platforms that can be used across the company.
  3. Implementing incentives to volunteer.
  4. Using VolunteerMatch’s reporting function for quarterly reporting, goal setting, and evaluating.

Our CSR team supports our company’s global community, which includes offices in more than 130 countries with over 55,000 employees worldwide. Because our CSR team is relatively small, we have to be thoughtful, creative, and strategic when engaging colleagues from different backgrounds and cultures.

Our company focuses on helping communities through education and disaster preparedness/ recovery. We select nonprofit partners, and then conduct strategic fundraising campaigns and employee volunteer initiatives. Our mission provides a clear direction on what the CSR department supports, as well as what we don’t support.

By focusing our energy we can see: Better alignment with our company’s brand, increased colleague engagement, and greater social impact.

It’s important to recognize employees who are taking the time to give back their community. Our company has created fun ways to recognize and reward exceptional volunteers for tracking their community involvement on VolunteerMatch. For example, this year, our company will give the top “Walk/Run for a Charitable Cause” leaders an opportunity to win a Fitness Fitbit-Activity tracker. This is a great way to encourage employees to organize walks/runs that support their local nonprofit organizations, and to include their colleagues.

In 2013, Marsh & McLennan Companies increased engagement significantly, doubling both our volunteer hours and employee participation rate. Tracking volunteer engagement has allowed our CSR team to establish metrics and internal benchmarking. Establishing volunteer goals and creating targeted communications to increase awareness can spur healthy competition that drives engagement. Another advantage of reporting is the ability to identify cause areas, types of volunteering, and programs that motivate our employees.

For more information on building support through champions, view the slides from this session.