They have facilitated millions of employee volunteer hours. All they have to do is pick up the phone, and corporate executives invest in volunteering. Some claim that they came up with the term “CSR.” They are: The Most Interesting Client Relations Managers in the World.
1. Give us your elevator speech — what do you do at VolunteerMatch?
I’m a Senior Client Relations Manager here at VolunteerMatch. I work with our corporate and academic partners on the best ways to use technology to connect with, and positively impact, their communities. We discuss everything from program branding, to involving key stakeholders, to communications plans and reports. In addition, I provide software trainings, liaise with our engineering and design teams, and offer best practices based on our team’s years of experience in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
2. What brought you to VolunteerMatch? How long have you been here?
I’ve been here almost 5 years! My parents used to take my sister and me volunteering when we were young – planting trees, working at shelters, hospitals, and local events – and that commitment to improving my community and the world has stayed with me. After working at a few nonprofits with a focus on fundraising, activism, communications, and technology, I found VolunteerMatch and was excited by its overall mission as well as the chance to help leverage the scale and skills of its corporate partners for positive change.
3. What is the most inspiring part of your job? What’s your favorite part?
It’s inspiring how volunteerism cuts across all kinds of divides in our society – political, religious, cultural – and brings everyone together in service. Tangible projects have so much potential for dialogue and understanding, between the volunteers themselves and the volunteers and the community, that might not normally occur on an average day. These connections can spark very interesting external and internal changes
. It’s also inspiring helping people see how they can make a contribution to their community even if they haven’t given it much thought before.
Two favorite parts of my job – one is doing deep dives with clients on their programs and seeing changes we’ve discussed put into practice and succeed, and the other is the people I work with at VolunteerMatch – always a good time!
4. If you were to start a foundation or a nonprofit, what would its mission be?
In grad school I studied how practices like yoga, meditation, dialogue and the arts could be used to resolve and recover from interpersonal and even international conflicts. I’d imagine my organization could train people working on social change in some of these models which could then inform their work, while also teaching them how to take better care of themselves to prevent burnout and do what they’re called to do most effectively. I’d probably also have a separate but related program about vegetarian or vegan diets, which can have a huge impact on improving health, conserving natural resources and reducing animal suffering.
5. Where will the Corporate Social Responsiblity (CSR) industry be in 5 years?
I’d like to think that almost every company will have an employee volunteer program and a well-defined CSR strategy aligned with their business model, with a dedicated CSR staff. I also think that business will become more open to learning from nonprofits than they are now. Nonprofit leaders need to have comprehensive skill sets and wear many hats to help their organizations survive difficult financial and social situations, all while keeping their enthusiasm for their mission alive and being involved in the day to day life of their communities. Companies could learn from such passionate and skilled people, see things in new and different ways, and perhaps even change their ways of doing business to make a bigger social impact without impacting their bottom line.
6. Tell us a story (or two) about something that happened in your work that you consider to be a success, something that you’re proud of, and explain why.
I work with a number of companies in the New York City area, and in December 2013 I arranged a happy hour for them to meet and share thoughts on volunteerism and CSR. This led to a number of follow-up conversations and deeper local relationships. I’m proud to be able to facilitate conversations like these, especially for new clients who want advice from those who have been around the block, and especially between those who are local, which can lead to more information sharing and a concerted impact.
Want to learn more about how David and VolunteerMatch help companies engage employees in volunteering? Get in touch!