Volunteer Engagement 2.0 Author Spotlight: Angela Parker & Chris Jarvis, Realized Worth

Angela Parker and Chris Jarvis, contributors to Volunteer Engagement 2.0, VolunteerMatch's new book

VolunteerMatch’s new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World, features chapters from 35 experts in the field of volunteer engagement.

In post, get to know two of the #35experts (along with their expertise): Angela Parker and Chris Jarvis, co-founders of Realized Worth.

First of all, what is your chapter about?
It’s about how corporations and nonprofits can more effectively work together to create employee volunteer programs that produce value for everyone involved. From trends and challenges in workplace giving and volunteering to practical steps for effective volunteering events, our chapter covers the basics of corporate/ nonprofit partnerships and how to do it better.

Why is this topic important?
In recent years, the phrase corporate social responsibility (CSR) has taken on increasing weight. In most corporate circles, the term now carries with it important implications. At the same time, many nonprofit organizations are becoming increasingly savvy corporate partners. It is essential that the two learn to work together and create value that benefits society in a way that makes this increased effort by both parties worth the resources that are being invested.

Explain your background on this topic. (In other words, what makes you “volunteer engagement experts?”)
Angela co-founded Realized Worth with Chris Jarvis in 2008 to help corporations around the world develop workplace volunteer programs. Today, the company’s clients include Estée Lauder, Microsoft, AT&T, Abbott Labs, Ball Corporation, AstraZeneca, and others. Angela holds a Global MBA from IE Business School located in Madrid, Spain.

Chris spent more than two decades working with nonprofits ranging from urban centers in North America to informal settlements in Africa. Widely known for his thought leadership, Chris was asked by the United Nations Office of Partnerships to design and launch Impact2030, the first private sector-led initiative to achieve the post-millennial Sustainable Development Goals through corporate volunteering.

What did you learn and/or struggle with when writing your chapter?
It’s difficult to communicate years of research and experience into a short chapter so that people will understand the importance of applying it in daily practice. This is a game-changing field all of us are in, and it carries enormous potential to solve social and environmental problems through the collective power of individual men and women. We hope this book will take hold of people, and they will follow-up with authors to glean even more value.

Finally, what one piece of advice would you give volunteer managers to take with them to the future?
We would advise them to do what is necessary to maintain their own belief in what they’re doing. This is a high calling. Volunteering and giving is never just about stacking boxes, raising money, and collecting cans. These aren’t transactional moments where someone gives in order to get something. These are moments where individuals can become involved in their communities and real transformation can occur.

When we volunteer, we transform into better versions of ourselves. If companies and nonprofit organizations can work together to enable more people in the workplace to realize better versions of themselves, the world will, over time, become a better place, too.

Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldTo read Angela and Chris’ full chapter, Partnering with Workplace Volunteer Programsorder your copy of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World today.



Corporate/ Nonprofit Partnerships Can Save the World (And We Can Help, Too)

worldWhile a big check is nice, it’s not going to cut it these days. Corporate social responsibility is NOT about how much money your company can give.

It requires planning. It requires creativity. Most importantly, it requires deliberate and strategic partnerships with nonprofits whose work aligns with your company’s mission.

(For more on why multi-faceted nonprofit partnerships are important, check out this webinar we hosted in December 2014 with CSR expert Susan McPherson.)

Because we know the importance of these partnerships, and because we know it can be daunting when you don’t know where to start, VolunteerMatch Solutions helps companies work better with nonprofits in three main ways.

VolunteerMatch Solutions’ Tools
VolunteerMatch partner companies have access to the web’s largest network of nonprofits seeking assistance: The VolunteerMatch Network. It includes nearly 100,000 nonprofits across the country (and increasingly, across the world). In seconds, your company and its employees can find volunteer opportunities that fit your specific corporate goals.

Building Corporate Nonprofit PartnershipsAnd once you find your nonprofit partners, it’s easy to feature them on your company’s custom volunteer site, making your partnerships prominently visible to all your employees. There’s many more ways to grow these partnerships through our tools, such as recruiting employee volunteers for a specific nonprofit’s event, or even sponsoring a nonprofit’s own custom VolunteerMatch site. To learn more about our corporate tools, watch our demo.

Growing Your Specific Initiatives
When simply searching for volunteer opportunities isn’t enough, we help you go above and beyond. For example, in 2014, we partnered with Walmart Foundation for their Fighting Hunger Together Initiative. Together, we trained more than 3,000 volunteer coordinators at hunger-fighting organizations to more effectively recruit and manage volunteers. We also created over $171 million in social value that continues to help Americans get the healthy food they need. Whatever your cause, we’ll work with you so you can have the most impact, where it matters most.

2015 VolunteerMatch Summit
We believe the world’s most pressing problems can best be solved through cross-sector collaboration. And what better setting to share resources, knowledge and passion for change than face-to-face? For-profit and nonprofit organizations don’t always get this opportunity, which is why we decided to create it.

For the past 13 years, VolunteerMatch has hosted a Summit for its corporate clients, offering a space for like-minded CSR professionals to gather and share ideas. This year, however, we are opening our Summit doors to non-client companies, as well as national nonprofits. Learn more about this one-of-a-kind event.

At VolunteerMatch, we know that corporate/ nonprofit partnerships are the key to real social change. Let’s all come together to make a difference.

All About Partnering with Nonprofits

All about partnering with nonprofitsOne great way to enrich your employee volunteer program and get your employees more engaged is to partner directly with a nonprofit organization.

Forming a close, long-term relationship with an organization gives your employees the opportunity to really get to know the cause, and find more ways to give their time and skills to help.


Here’s a round-up of articles and resources from VolunteerMatch about how your company can partner with nonprofits:

Why VolunteerMatch is Like the Golden Gate Bridge

How are companies and nonprofits connected through the VolunteerMatch network? This unique model ensures that everyone – individual, employee, organization, or company – has the opportunity to make a difference.

How a Corporate-Nonprofit Partnership Created Something Amazing

See the possibilities of working with nonprofits realized: The story of VolunteerMatch’s partnership with UnitedHealth Group, and how we created something together that will benefit the rest of the world…

The Overhead Myth and the Role Business Can Play in Fixing Nonprofit Funding

Don’t fall victim to the dreaded Overhead Myth! Work with your nonprofit partners to overcome the prejudices and support nonprofits in a way that will impact their communities and your own business.

A 360-Degree View of Corporate-Nonprofit Partnerships

What are the key ingredients for a successful corporate-nonprofit volunteer partnership? How can nonprofits and businesses, no matter the size, industry or level of experience, create a strong relationship for employee volunteer programs? Get the answers to these questions and more in this recorded webinar.

The New Philanthrotech: 4 Ways Tech Innovators Can Partner with Nonprofits

New tech companies often have a lot of energy, passion and resources to put towards making a difference. Why reinvent the wheel? By partnering with existing nonprofit organizations who already know the needs and lay of the land, more can be done to help more people, more successfully.

Employee Volunteer Solutions from VolunteerMatch

The Employee Engagement Platform from VolunteerMatch Solutions has easy-to-use functionality built right in that connects you and your employees to nonprofits in the community, and helps you manage and strengthen those relationships. Find out more and request a demo!

Why VolunteerMatch is Just like the Golden Gate Bridge

How the way VolunteerMatch works with companies and nonprofits is just like the Golden Gate Bridge.Here at VolunteerMatch, we see ourselves as being somewhat similar to the Golden Gate Bridge. Not just because we are based in San Francisco, but because of the types of relationships we build.

Explaining the Metaphor

For those of you who are unfamiliar with San Francisco, the Golden Gate connects two sides of the Bay Area. In keeping with this metaphor, let’s say that either side of the Bay represents two key VolunteerMatch audiences: nonprofit organizations and socially responsible businesses.

On one side of the “Bay” we have our network of nonprofits. We support them as they strive to recruit and manage volunteers. On the other side we see our corporate partners, companies just like yours. We encourage and guide you to create a more engaging employee volunteer program.

VolunteerMatch makes it easier for companies and nonprofits to connect and do good.With all the fog in San Francisco, it’s often hard to see what others are doing on the other side of the Bay. What everyone needs is something that will give them access to one another, while still supporting the particular needs of each side. In San Francisco, this is the Golden Gate Bridge. In the world of volunteer engagement, this is VolunteerMatch.

We use this metaphor to emphasize the unique position Volunteermatch holds for you and your nonprofit partners, and how we can help increase the connection between you. Much like the Bridge, we not only want to bring you together once, but we want to make it easy for you to form a strong and lasting relationship. We want to show both sides how much amazing work is happening and give you tips for working better together.

Strengthening the Bridge

This has already been happening for years via emails, webinars and blog posts, but recently we decided that we needed to do more. So we created Community Connection Day. These events will bring together nonprofits and corporations from the same geographic area to talk about what’s going on in their world of volunteer engagement – on both sides of the bridge.

At the end of February 2014, we had the first ever Community Connection Day in Columbus, Ohio. Thanks to Nationwide & Limited Brands, we held a beautiful, inspiring education day at the Columbus Foundation. In the morning, the groups split up into their respective tracks for training. After individual sessions, we came together for lunch and a panel discussion. We paired corporations with their strongest nonprofit partner and had them share their relationship with the group. We discussed best practices, what works for their collaboration and common barriers.

We found that Community Connection Day brought out insights on both sides. Participants commented that while training was helpful, the most rewarding part of the day was meeting other volunteer managers in their area and having the chance to discuss their programs, their struggles, and how they could help each other.

We were so thrilled with the reaction and results from the first Community Connection Day that we’ve decided to open the door to more!

If you want to find more ways to bridge the gap between your company’s employee engagement activities and the nonprofits in your area, let us know!

How a Corporate-Nonprofit Partnership Created Something Amazing

How a Corporate-Nonprofit partnership between VolunteerMatch and UnitedHealth Group created the amazing MobileMatch product.In my role at VolunteerMatch I see a lot of partnerships – between corporations, nonprofits, schools, government agencies, departments, teams and individuals. I truly believe that as we all try to solve the world’s biggest challenges, it is only through true partnerships that we make progress.

At VolunteerMatch we partner with companies in many different ways: to scale employee engagement, build actionable cause marketing and inspire volunteering and social impact. I am particularly proud of the partnership we’ve developed with UnitedHealth Group – they are collaborative, innovative and bold in their vision for VolunteerMatch’s future and how to partner with us to keep expanding it. The most recent realization of this partnership is MobileMatch.

Developing MobileMatch was a great opportunity to turn VolunteerMatch’s corporate sites into a mobile-friendly tool to further our goal of making volunteer engagement easy, manageable and accessible. At the same time, it aligned with UnitedHealth Group’s desire to involve more employees in volunteering across the U.S.

UnitedHealth Group employees are an impressively engaged bunch, and one of the reasons for this success is that the folks responsible for CSR and employee volunteering are always looking for ways to do it even better. Based on feedback from their employees, UnitedHealth Group decided to investigate creating a mobile app or dedicated site so that users can quickly and easily add volunteer hours.

VolunteerMatch and UnitedHealth Group worked together to scope the project, and over the course of a year developed a powerful tool designed to make volunteering accessible anytime, anywhere. MobileMatch allows corporate volunteers to search, signup and track hours whether they’re in the office, working remotely, onsite at a volunteer project or commuting to work.

As Kate Rubin, Vice President of Social Responsibility at UnitedHealth Group says, the partnership enabled both VolunteerMatch and UnitedHealth Group to achieve more than if they had embarked on the project alone. “We are always looking for ways to innovate and broaden the appeal of our volunteer program,” Kate said. “Technology and innovation go hand-in-hand, and innovation is one of our company’s five core values. An added plus is that the partnership increased the scope of what we were able to accomplish, not just for our employees, but for corporate volunteer programs across the country.”

Indeed, UnitedHealth Group’s contribution and support of the MobileMatch project ensured its availability for any VolunteerMatch client who wishes to make volunteer engagement easier and more convenient for its employees.

And according to what we’ve heard so far, things are going really well. Kate shared some reactions from UnitedHealth Group employees to the tool:

“Thanks for making this easier to access through my mobile device.”

“Love the mobility factor. This alone should allow employees an easy way to enter their volunteer hours into the system.”

“I do a lot of volunteering and think this app will help me keep more up-to-date with my hours. The app is easy to use and very functional.”

“This will make adding hours a lot easier! I love it!”

Of course, VolunteerMatch loves it, too! We also love that this partnership not only enabled us to create an entirely unique, transformational tool for employee engagement, it also strengthened our relationship with one of our favorite and most engaged clients.

We can’t wait to see the impact MobileMatch will have on more volunteers, our corporate clients and our mission!

Click here to learn more about MobileMatch and how your company can engage your employees successfully with VolunteerMatch Solutions.

(Photo by manuelsvay on Flickr.)

MLK Day of Service: Creating a Blueprint for Employee Volunteer Program Success

You want to get your employees more involved in the volunteer opportunities available to them through your nonprofit partners. But you keep running into obstacles: a lack of motivation, time, or participation.

How do you solve these issues and successfully engage both the nonprofit and your employees?

We asked questions like this on Monday, January 20th, the National Day of Service commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Volunteering came to VolunteerMatch when twenty New Sector fellows lent their time to help create a strategy to better engage volunteers, nonprofits, and business leaders in the new year.

But before we answer the question of employee volunteer engagement, what is New Sector?

At the heart of New Sector Alliance’s mission is empowering young leaders while strengthening the social sector. Partnered with Americorps, New Sector’s Residency in Social Enterprise (RISE) fellowship program allows 25 talented individuals to hold full-time positions at nonprofits of their interest. The fellows also meet as a group to learn how to professionally apply their unique skills to address social dilemmas. This Service Day event at VolunteerMatch was an example of the diverse activities that the young leaders get to experience for the duration of their fellowships.

So how can this Service Day event serve as inspiration for leading your successful Employee Volunteer Program (EVP)?

Identify Your Needs 

The idea to invite twenty New Sector fellows for a Day of Service arose from VolunteerMatch’s need to design a strategy to engage skilled volunteers in 2014. Unlike past Service Days spent going out into the community to serve, we decided to take an innovative approach and bring volunteering to us. By gaining the perspectives of talented young leaders, we spent the holiday refining our strategy in order to better execute our goals in the new year.

Listen to the Nonprofit’s Needs

Maintaining a dialogue with the nonprofit at which your employees will be volunteering is crucial. By understanding what the nonprofit seeks to accomplish, you can align your employees’ skills and unique qualities with appropriate volunteer roles that will benefit both parties. Your employees will be motivated to serve because of their interest in the volunteer work, and the success of the event will reflect highly on your leadership.

While the Service Day event was designed for tackling future goals, it was a great model for the benefits of listening to a nonprofit’s needs. With New Sector seeking a professional environment for its fellows, VolunteerMatch was able to provide a hands-on experience addressing the need to get people to volunteer.

The participating VolunteerMatch staff members were able to facilitate discussion groups relevant to their specific departments: big picture engagement, global expansion, technology, and marketing. The event thus exemplified the rewards of employee volunteering, where the VolunteerMatch team members were provided fresh insight into improving their strategy to engage skilled volunteers.

Fill Those Needs with an Event

With so much to be learned from an event like this, why not try it yourself? Invite a nonprofit to the office and with your employees create a strategy to better engage with that nonprofit. Not only will your employees be exploring skills that can be applied to their actual work, but you will create a stronger and more personable relationship with that nonprofit.

Held a similar successful event with a nonprofit? Have additional ideas to engage employees in volunteering? Please share your thoughts and comments below!

Webinar Recap: The Overhead Myth and the Role Businesses Can Play in Fixing Nonprofit Funding

The way your company gives its philanthropy money matters. Learn about the Overhead Myth.As a socially responsible business, you already know that your company and its philanthropic efforts do not exist in a vacuum. And while you might do a great job supporting your nonprofit partners both financially and with your employees’ time, most nonprofit organizations have at one point fallen victim to the Overhead Myth.

The Overhead Myth is a misconception that spending money on administrative and fundraising costs is a bad thing. It’s been confusing donors and funders for too long about what matters when judging a nonprofit, and it is actively harming our ability to solve the world’s problems.

On Wednesday, October 16th VolunteerMatch hosted a special Nonprofit Insights webinar, “The Overhead Myth: What It Is, Why It Matters…and What Now?” Guest speakers Jacob Harold, president and CEO of Guidestar, and Ann Goggins Gregory, Senior Director of Knowledge at the Bridgespan Group, joined Greg Baldwin of VolunteerMatch to discuss the cultural values and past behavior of nonprofits, businesses and funders that have led to the current problem, and to answer the critical question of “What now?”

What the Overhead Myth is, why it exists, and how you and your community can take action to change things…for good.

Predictably, there just wasn’t enough time in the session to cover all of the critical information pertaining to this issue, and there certainly wasn’t enough time to answer all of the great questions asked by attendees. So below is a list of resources for you to learn more about what the Overhead Myth is, why it exists, and how you and your community can take action to change things…for good.

Explore resources and this webinar recap to help your nonprofit organization fight the Overhead Myth!A special message from Ann Goggins Gregory for Bay Area-based participants: We’ve seen a keen desire for more in-person conversation about how to break out of the Overhead Myth. If you are interested in participating in in-formal meet-ups on this topic—facilitated by Ann and her colleagues at Bridgespan’s San Francisco office—we are very interested in hearing from you. Our intent would be to hear about and learn from what approaches you have tried, trouble-shoot together ways to break out of the myth, etc. If you are interested, please reach out to Ann directly at ann.goggins@bridgespan.org.

We hope you’ll explore these resources and use them to engage your community, employees and leaders in ending the Overhead Myth.

Is your company doing something to fight the Overhead Myth? Share it with us below!