Upcoming Best Practice Network Webinar: Lessons From the Field – Unique & Innovative Strategies for Increasing Engagement

Join VolunteerMatch for this upcoming webinar about unique & innovative strategies for increasing employee engagementYour employee volunteer program is up and running, but now what? How do you get your employees involved and out in the community volunteering? Or maybe your engagement levels have plateaued and you can’t seem to figure out how to inspire employees who haven’t been involved in the past. Don’t worry – we’ve got answers for you!

Lessons From the Field: Unique & Innovative Strategies for Increasing Engagement

We will be joined by expert employee volunteer program practitioners from Allina Health System, Apollo Education Group and NV Energy who will share with you the unique and innovative ways that they have increased engagement in their programs.

Join us for this special Best Practice Network webinar and walk away with tangible ideas to capture the attention of your employees and inspire them to get involved in your programs.

Register for this free event.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
10am – 11am PT (1-2pm ET)

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

Our Speakers:

Doretha Graham-Easler
NV Energy

Lauren Keeler
Apollo Education Group

Samantha Lucas
Allina Health

Register for this free webinar now.

Continue reading

Can Asking “What If?” Really Change the World?

Can asking "what if?" really change the world?This year’s Sustainable Brands conference kicks off today, and is urging us to do something we don’t often indulge in as CSR professionals: to dream big.

Sustainability, brand and innovation professionals from around the world are descending upon San Diego to be inspired, engaged and equipped to succeed by building better brands of tomorrow. Focused around the theme “Reimagine, Redesign, Regenerate,” the week is an opportunity to share our dreams for a better corporate world, and begin discussing how to make those dreams a reality.

What if your employees were so passionate about your company’s mission and values that they became your brand’s most enthusiastic ambassadors? Tweet this!

So what is our “What If?” At VolunteerMatch, we believe that the key to changing the world for the better is people. It’s the people at a company who will ultimately enable shifts in policy, practice and production. Advocates like you will get employees engaged in volunteering and giving programs that improve the communities around you. This belief drives our products and services, helping us provide the cutting-edge technology solutions that enable you to run incredible employee volunteer programs.

We ask:

What if your employees were so passionate about your company’s mission and values that they became your brand’s most enthusiastic ambassadors?

How would this change your company, both internally and externally? How would it enable you to have a greater impact on the world around you? What can we do today to make this “what if?” a reality tomorrow, next year, or five years from now? And what tools and processes do we need to put in place to make it a success?

Well, what do YOU think?

At Sustainable Brands this week? Find Abby and Julie at the VolunteerMatch booth in the Expo hall to talk about your “What ifs”. And whether you’re there or not, follow the conference discussion using #SB14sd.

Continue reading

Upcoming Best Practice Network Webinar: Virtual Volunteering – An Untapped Resource for Employee Engagement

Virtual Volunteering – An Untapped Resource for Employee EngagementVirtual volunteering, e-volunteering, microvolunteering, digital volunteering – it goes by many names, but it all means the same: people volunteering remotely via a computer or handheld device, including a smart phone.

It’s a practice that’s been around for more than 30 years, and it presents terrific opportunities for employees to donate time and expertise as a part of an official company employee volunteering program. Yet, many companies aren’t utilizing this great opportunity to engage even more employees in their volunteering programs.

Why is it worth encouraging at your company, what policies do you need in place, how can you support employees as online volunteers, and how can you track and celebrate their accomplishments?

Virtual Volunteering: An Untapped Resource for Employee Engagement

Join VolunteerMatch in conversation with virtual volunteering expert, Jayne Cravens, and Kaye Morgan-Curtis of Newell Rubbermaid, to answer these questions and hear how companies are using this strategy to engage employees who might not have otherwise been able to participate in their programs.

Register for this free event.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
10am – 11am PT (1-2pm ET)

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

Our Speakers:

Jayne Cravens
Coyote Communications

Kaye Morgan-Curtis
Newell Rubbermaid

Register for this free webinar now.

Continue reading

Achieving True Connectivity at the Local Level

Guest post by Christina Brown, The Huntington National Bank

Community Connection Day in Columbus, Ohio, brought corporations and nonprofits together.The word “connectivity” seems easy enough to understand. But in the world of corporate engagement, we strive to do better at it each and every day. It’s not often enough that corporations and nonprofits get together in one place to share ideas about how to best work with each other. Recently in Columbus, Ohio, Volunteermatch was able bring leaders of these two communities together in the first ever “Community Connection Day,” and the results were outstanding.

The day started at the Columbus Foundation, with 75 nonprofit leaders from across the city of Columbus discussing their successes and challenges surrounding volunteer engagement. The conversation, facilitated by VolunteerMatch expert Jennifer Bennett, covered topics from event creation and volunteer recruitment to organization hurdles and best practice sharing.

The Columbus Foundation

The Columbus Foundation

In another room, 20 corporate engagement leaders from local companies gathered to discuss their own programs. This is where I spent my time, and I truly started to realize the impact that this day would have on me as a leader and even more deeply as a member of my community. During an inspiring conversation led by Realized Worth’s Chris Jarvis, the room was captivated with the conversation around social and transitional change and what our impact as leaders truly means to the community.

This meeting of the minds brought together a group of representatives from very different companies, yet allowed us to feel joined by our responsibility to provide opportunities for our colleagues to experience rare moments of meaning and unity. With Chris’s insight and the engaging conversation in the room, it was as if a thread started to weave our experiences and opportunities together. Suddenly we were there as change agents working together, not just representatives from the various companies in our community. A refreshing feeling of inspiration came over me that morning.

After the nonprofits and companies were done with their respective conversations, both groups came together for lunch and an opportunity to share what they had learned in the earlier sessions. Excitement and anticipation spread throughout the room, as familiar faces reconnected and new ones were welcomed with open arms.

Shortly after lunch was served, a panel gathered at the front of the room to hold an honest discussion on volunteerism and share how nonprofits and corporations are working together. As a member of the panel, I was thrilled to present in front a room of change agents and share how my nonprofit partner and company best work together. Sharing personal stories of what works versus the challenges that we all face from time to time was invigorating.

And again, that word “connectivity” showed itself on both sides. In a room full of people who live and breathe community, the conversation danced across each table and the togetherness that I felt truly cemented that thread between each of us in the room.

If not for VolunteerMatch’s Community Connection Day, this conversation and opportunity to bring our voices together would not have occurred in such an intimate fashion. No matter whom you represent – a company, nonprofit or your individual passions – the need for connectivity is real. When an organization takes the time to create a moment of togetherness and allow for creative conversation, that is when change is possible and the true connectivity begins.

Interested in bringing a Community Connection Day event to your area? Get in touch with Inga Langford!

Christina Brown is Vice President of Financial Education and Volunteerism for Huntington. She is responsible for the company’s external financial education, as well as the corporate-wide volunteer program.

Continue reading

Upcoming Best Practice Network Webinar: Lessons from the Field – Employee Volunteer Program Managers’ Top Tips for Success

Join VolunteerMatch and some of our great clients for a free webinar sharing top tips for employee volunteer program success.If you are launching a new employee volunteer program, or taking over an existing one, you probably have a million questions: “How should I scale my launch?” “What tactics should I use to win over key leaders?” “How can I keep my program focused on what’s important to my company while still engaging all of my employees’ interests?”

Don’t worry! We’ve got the answers for you.

Join some of VolunteerMatch’s superstar clients for a conversation to answer these burning questions. Folks from ADT, NetSuite, Prometheus Real Estate Group and JetBlue will share insights and advice about how they overcame common obstacles and learned from experience to design and launch successful programs.

Lessons From the Field: Employee Volunteer Program Managers’ Top Tips for Success

Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned pro, you’ll walk away from this webinar more prepared than ever to take your company’s employee engagement to the next level.

Register for this free event.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
10am – 11am PT (1-2pm ET)

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

Our Speakers:

Erin Dieterich
NetSuite

Kate Wetzel
JetBlue

Alex Price
ADT

Jessica Johnson
Prometheus Real Estate Group

Register for this free webinar now.

Continue reading

Get Your Employees Involved in Something Bigger on Good Deeds Day

Encourage your employees to sign up to volunteer as part of Good Deeds Day.Here’s a great idea for motivating your employees to sign up for volunteering: Make it part of a big, special day. Many of you already do this by running Days, Weeks or Months of Service.

But you can also piggyback on existing days, like the upcoming Good Deeds Day on March 9, 2014. By connecting your call to action with a worldwide movement like this one, you’re helping your employees to feel a part of something much bigger – and this will inspire them to take those extra steps to sign up.

Good Deeds Day is quite simply an annual celebration of good deeds – and a way to inspire and incite action to create even more impact. You can watch this video to get an idea of how big this movement has become:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR9QVZZGJGk

We love this idea because it’s so simple, yet so inspirational. And that’s why it’s so successful. Focusing on thinking, speaking, and doing good is something everyone can do in some way. Good Deeds Day founder Shari Arison believes that if we mobilize enough people to act, we can reach a critical mass, and change the world.

Mobilize your employees to join in on Good Deeds Day – because no matter how big your company is, adding in your employees will help us all reach that critical mass a little faster.

Check out the Good Deeds Day site for stories to inspire and project ideas. Then put out the call to your employees to sign up for volunteer opportunities in celebration of Good Deeds Day!

Continue reading

How to Do Good Well at SXSW This Year

This post also appears on Engaging Volunteers.

Heading to SXSW Interactive this year? You won’t be alone. Attendance at the year’s coolest tech conference – where digital creatives, techies, do-gooders and marketers come together to figure out the future — tracks the tech bubble. And with apps these days selling for this many zeros, you can bet SXSW will see more than the 30,000 people who showed up last year.

A round-up of technology for social good sessions at SXSW Interactive 2014.

In years past, SXSW was trumpeted as a great place to launch new products. That’s changed recently, as fewer apps have kept their mojo after getting lots of attention during SXSW. These days, what’s keeping SXSW hotter than ever is an increased awareness of the power of SXSW conversations and ideas to have an impact in society.

That’s great news if you work in technology for social good. When everyone is focused on the hot new app, it’s hard to get in a word edgewise about things like online organizing, new forms of digital activism, digital cause marketing, or microvolunteering. But with the focus on the change that can be wrought with all this new technology, we nonprofits and social do-gooders can finally seize the day.

So without further ado, here’s my roundup of what I think are the important sessions, lounges, and events that will focus on social good this year at SXSW.

The Beacon Lounge

The Beacon Lounge will be back at Austin Convention Center for its sixth year, and it remains as vital as ever, with four days of meet ups, expert-led discussions, beer, live music, food, and casual hanging out. This year the Beacon debuts the Do Good Dialogues, where pretty much everyone is invited to grab the mic and share how you are using design, technology, and communication to lean in to solutions for us all.

SXSW Social Good Hub

The action moves offsite from the convention center to two nearby locations for this series of talks and sessions on social good. The awesome teams at Change.org, Participant Media, and the UN Foundation have put together an amazing agenda of counter-programming on topics like design strategy, innovation, conscious consumption, and more. Plus, a party…of course. (It’s SXSW, after all.)

Why Clicktavisim Is Not a Dirty Word

After a decade of Facebook helping billions on the Web learn about issues, it’s amazing that people still doubt the power of social media. But we see time and again how sharing stories about important issues, filling out petitions, and even just liking organizations can be incredible ways to support an organization. Come hear folks like Tumblr’s Liba Rubenstein set the record straight.

Ethics & Future of Crowdfunding for Communities

There’s so much hype about the awesome power of crowdfunding that the ethical questions – like what makes for a good social impact investment, and what happens to the money – often get ignored. This session with social good tech ombudsman David Neffis definitely ahead of the trend.

Multiplatform Strategies for Making Good Happen

Tons of conversations at SXSW this year will be about multiplatform planning – that is, using all kinds of media formats to keep a story going and influence people to get involved. Nonprofit folks can definitely learn a bunch in this sessionwith some of the best minds in the business like Caitlin Burns and Lina Srivastava.

How Tech Companies Can Renew Capitalism

Over the years I’ve seen dozens of web services get launched purporting to have a business model that will change the world. Most fell flat. That’s why I think tech founders with truly innovative approaches like Ben Rattray from Change.org are worth a listen.

Hackathons for Social Good

With so many smart folks around, it’s hard not to be inspired by the possibilities. The idea of getting down to business to make the future come to life is why hackathons are so incredibly popular at SXSW.

The list above just scratches the surface. Here’s a big hot tip: Follow #sxgood to keep up with events and real-time memes during and round the conference.

How about you? Are you headed to SXSW this year? Let us know what’s inspiring you about technology for social good.

Continue reading