Meet the Team: Shannon David, Senior Associate, Community Support

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.

Meet Shannon David, Senior Associate of Community Support at VolunteerMatch1. Give us your elevator speech — what do you do at VolunteerMatch?

I support the community of nonprofits and volunteers that visit our site every day. Whether it’s a volunteer looking for a way to get involved in their hometown, or a nonprofit looking to grow their volunteer program, I’m here to point them in the right direction and help make sure their experience with VolunteerMatch is a positive one.

I also work with our Education & Training team to deliver free webinars for nonprofits every week. Topics range from interview strategies and creating a great volunteer training program, to using social media for volunteer engagement and how to look at your volunteer program strategically. Finally, I also act as the voice of our nonprofit and volunteer users, advocating for their feedback and ideas as we continue to improve our service and make it even easier for good people and good causes to connect.

2. What brought you to VolunteerMatch? How long have you been here?

I am a huge believer in the value of stepping outside your own little universe to get involved in the larger community. I love that VolunteerMatch works so hard to make this easier for millions of people, both in the larger public and through the support of corporate employee volunteering programs. Having just joined the team in October of 2013, I feel like I’m still soaking up the warm welcome of a really great group of people, and learning every day!

3. What is the most inspiring part of your job? What’s your favorite part?

I look at hundreds of mission-based organizations a week, and it’s amazing to see the different things people are doing to serve their communities and the world. From the huge international nonprofits that continue to spread their reach and fight issues like poverty on a large scale, to the guy who suffered a tragedy in his family and decided to start spreading awareness to protect others from a similar fate, it’s just awesome to be constantly reminded of the good in people. And I love being able to help with even a small part of what they’re doing.

4. If you were to start a foundation or a nonprofit, what would its mission be?

There’s a lot to be said for helping existing organizations broaden their impact rather than reinventing the wheel. If you feel strongly about a cause, chances are there is already an established organization out there that could use your energy and expertise to strengthen their operations and reach more lives. That said, if I were to start a nonprofit or foundation, I would focus on rights and access to education for women and girls in poverty. Improvement in these areas has the potential to change so many other problems plaguing our planet. I’m a long-time volunteer with 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing center for kids, and I like thinking about how that model could be translated to other parts of the world.

5. Where will the Corporate Social Responsiblity (CSR) industry be in 5 years?

I think we’ll see the public and private sectors collaborating more closely on finding sustainable solutions to big problems. Established CSR programs will be a given, and corporations will get more creative about who they’re working with and whether they’re creating real change. Consumers will be even more informed and discerning, and the market won’t allow companies to ignore their social impact. I like to think that companies interviewing potential new hires will get asked, at every interview, “How does your company give back? How can I expect to be involved in that?” That this will be seen as an important measure of a company’s strength, a point of pride, rather than just a question of employee benefits.

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’m proud of the timely service we provide our users on a regular basis. I like to look at it as dozens of little successes every day when we’re able to resolve issues, offer personalized support, and represent VolunteerMatch with a friendly voice.

This hit close to home for me when my dad entered retirement a few months ago and started serving on the board of a community garden called Fertile Groundworks. They needed volunteers, so I helped him find an existing VolunteerMatch account for the garden, access and update their profile, and post new volunteer opportunities (including my favorite, Squashing Bugs, great for kids!). Within weeks they had some awesome volunteers getting their hands dirty in the garden, including one who actually works for one of our corporate partners, Charles Schwab, and found the opportunity as part of their employee volunteer program! It was fun to see the impact of what we do on a more up-close and personal scale.

Want to learn more about how Shannon and VolunteerMatch help companies engage employees in volunteering? Get in touch!

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VolunteerMatch’s Corporate Volunteering Network is Now Global!

VolunteerMatch to Pilot International Expansion of Corporate Volunteering Network Using TechSoup Global TechnologyToday we announced a new partnership with TechSoup Global, an international network that leverages technology to help build the capacity of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to increase social impact across the globe.

We will leverage each other’s strengths in technologies for the greater good. The collaboration enables the growth of VolunteerMatch’s expansive network of U.S.- based nonprofits to include NGOs from around the world by utilizing TechSoup Global’s technology to validate these organizations.

This pilot project promises to strengthen the global NGO community and amplify the social impact of employee volunteer programs — no matter where they are.

Through TechSoup Global’s unparalleled international NGO partner network and its expertise in NGO validation, we will begin providing our volunteer engagement services outside the U.S. for the first time. We’ll be initially offering the service for our community of corporate clients (like you!) and will make international listings available to your employees around the world. This pilot project promises to strengthen the global NGO community and amplify the social impact of employee volunteer programs — no matter where they are.

We are piloting the initiative in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia and is evaluating additional countries and regions.

To learn more about this exciting partnership, check out the full press release.

Do you work with charity and NGO partners outside the U.S.? Make sure they know they can now use VolunteerMatch to connect with great volunteers!

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Meet the Team: David Selsky, Senior Client Relations Manager

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.

David Selsky1. 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!

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Meet the Team: Kevin Johnson, Community Support Manager

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.

Meet Kevin Johnson, Community Support Manager at VolunteerMatch1. Give us your elevator speech — what do you do at VolunteerMatch?

I’m the Community Support Manager here at VolunteerMatch. My main focus is working with our “Preferred Partners”. I manage the relationship between VolunteerMatch and 18 national nonprofits to ensure that their chapters are utilizing their VolunteerMatch accounts to the fullest. Some of our partners include The Red Cross, Girl Scouts, National Church Residences and the California Libraries. My goal is to be a resource to these organizations regarding not only volunteer recruitment, but engaging and retaining those volunteers once they are on board.

I also work closely with the Community Support Team to deliver top notch service to our millions of volunteers and thousands of nonprofits that use VolunteerMatch every day.

2. What brought you to VolunteerMatch? How long have you been here?

I joined the VolunteerMatch Team in the fall of 2007. Growing up, my parents taught me that it’s important to be involved in your community. This led to my interest in nonprofit work as well as a general sense of wanting to help generate positive change. Even though I’m not seeing our nonprofits and volunteers face to face, I know that I’m making a huge impact every day toward connecting good people with good causes.

3. What is the most inspiring part of your job? What’s your favorite part?

My coworkers are far and away the most inspiring part of my job. My favorite part is working hard every day to fulfill our mission, and not forgetting to have fun. Our team is great at both of those things.

4. If you were to start a foundation or a nonprofit, what would its mission be?

My wife is a teacher so I’d be in big trouble if I didn’t say something to do with Education! I think Seniors are an underused resource when it comes to helping today’s youth. So ideally my organization would connect older folks with students to help with school work and share their life’s lessons.

5. Where will the Corporate Social Responsiblity (CSR) industry be in 5 years?

CSR is rapidly becoming second nature for companies. What was once seen as just good PR is morphing into companies really making a positive impact in their communities. I also think we’ll see employees utilizing their professional skills more and more when it comes to their day to day volunteering. And I think having a meaningful CSR program will be just as common as having a board of directors or an accounting department.

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’m proud of the work we did on our Fighting Hunger Together Initiative. We received funding from the Walmart Foundation to put a focus on helping organizations around the U.S. that are on the front lines in the fight against hunger every day. We provided tools and resources for hunger organizations to ramp up their volunteer recruitment and engage and retain the volunteers they gained. Over the course of two years we generated over 100,000 connections between volunteers and hunger organizations around the U.S. and provided volunteer engagement training to over 3,000 volunteer coordinators!

Want to learn more about how Kevin and VolunteerMatch help companies engage employees in volunteering? Get in touch!

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Welcome To Our New Communications & Social Media Intern

Hey everyone! My name is Tori Fukumitsu, I am the new Communications & Social Media intern at VolunteerMatch, and I am very excited to join the Online Communications team and the VolunteerMatch family.

I currently attend Hamilton College in Clinton, NY where I am a Junior and an English major with a Japanese minor. At Hamilton, I have had the privilege to meet so many great people from diverse backgrounds who are extremely driven and love learning, and I can’t wait to build similar relationships at VolunteerMatch. My studies have helped cultivate my written and verbal skills which I am very eager to apply to the internship at VM.

Outside of the classroom I am involved in a number of activities. After two semesters of tutoring local elementary school students in an underserved school district through America Reads, I took on a larger role this past semester as a site coordinator for HAVOC, Hamilton’s largest volunteer and outreach club. I led students on weekly trips to a local homeless and hunger shelter called Rescue Mission of Utica where we lent a helping hand to their food service program.

In addition to my volunteer work, I hold two on-campus jobs, am a member of the Hamilton College Orchestra, and captain three intramural sports. In my spare time I enjoy playing acoustic guitar, watching hockey, hiking, and listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

Back at home in the Bay Area, I have had the pleasure of applying my passion for giving back to my community in various volunteer opportunities. Last summer, I volunteered with the nutrition program at Kimochi, a Japanese nonprofit in San Francisco, and embodied its mission of the younger generation helping the older generation by serving lunch twice a week to over two hundred senior citizens. My time at Kimochi inspired me to learn more about my Japanese heritage, and led me to decide to study abroad in Tokyo this April.

I also spent the summer as a research assistant for a Stanford graduate student’s Ph.D project on mixed race high school youth, and had a very enlightening experience. Additionally, I serve as an assistant editor for the Sierra Club of San Francisco’s online publication, the Yodeler, spreading the word about the Club’s stance on legislative measures and environmental concerns.

These experiences and the skills I have developed led me to this internship at VolunteerMatch, and I believe it will be a great fit on both sides. Much as I anticipate a career in a business setting, I am very passionate about volunteering, and am excited for this opportunity where those two spheres coexist.

As a Communications & Social Media intern, I will be engaging the public, spreading the word not only about VolunteerMatch’s service to the world, but also the importance of volunteering and supporting our communities. And what better way to do so than at the intersection of volunteers, nonprofits, and business leaders.

I will be on this blog a lot in the coming months, and I am really looking forward to meeting you all!

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Meet the Team: Laura Ellis, Client Relations Manager

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.

Meet Laura Ellis, Client Relations Manager at VolunteerMatch1. Give us your elevator speech — what do you do at VolunteerMatch?

I am a Client Relations Manager at VolunteerMatch, which means I’m in charge of keeping my corporate partners ahead of the corporate social responsibility game! I make sure that technically their employee volunteering sites are in top shape, along with consulting them on any new products, metrics or volunteer trends I think suit their program.

2. What brought you to VolunteerMatch? How long have you been here?

I’ve been at VolunteerMatch for a year and a half, but I feel like I learn 10 new things everyday! I studied Audiology & Speech Pathology in college and used VolunteerMatch to find some clinical volunteer opportunities. After browsing the website I saw they were hiring and thought what an amazing place to work!

3. What is the most inspiring part of your job? What’s your favorite part?

The most inspiring part of my job is showing our corporate partners reports that emphasize the impact their company has made in their communities. I know how much hard work goes into planning year-round volunteer opportunities, so it is rewarding to tell them when they’ve had a great year!

4. If you were to start a foundation or a nonprofit, what would its mission be?

I’m an avid hiker and just finished climbing Mount Whitney this past summer. I’ve always been inspired by national walks & runs for various causes but have trouble finding organizations where I could hike to raise money. If I were to start a nonprofit, it would involve bringing climbing & hiking into the world of fundraising.

5. Where will the CSR industry be in 5 years?

I see organizations these days having corporate social responsibility as an option for their company, a perk, something they feel sets them apart from other companies. In 5 years, I see all companies having a CSR story, and a new bar will be set. The competition won’t be talking about IF you have a program, but HOW BIG of an impact you are making.

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.

The employees at VolunteerMatch live up to their name by volunteering their time for amazing causes! I was blown away by the time they set aside and the stories they shared about their favorite organizations. I’ve always loved to write but felt my skills weren’t quite up to par for any professional outlet. My manager encouraged me to start a blog series about what inspires me at VolunteerMatch, and I instantly started writing about the volunteer time of my coworkers. I’m proud that I have sharpened my writing skills along with recognizing my inspiring coworkers.

Want to learn more about how Laura and VolunteerMatch help companies engage employees in volunteering? Get in touch!

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