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!

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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.)

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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

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!

Continue reading

Upcoming Special Webinar: A 360-Degree View of Corporate-Nonprofit Partnerships

This month VolunteerMatch presents a special joint edition of our Nonprofit Insights and Best Practice Network webinar series. We invite our nonprofit and corporate members to come together and learn from experts in building strong volunteer partnerships.

Join VolunteerMatch for a special joint webinar about 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?

This month VolunteerMatch is offering a special joint edition of the Nonprofit Insights and Best Practice Network webinar series, as we welcome three experts in corporate-nonprofit partnerships to tackle these questions from multiple perspectives: Nonprofit consultant Mazarine Treyz will represent the small nonprofit viewpoint, Desiree Adaway of The Adaway Group will provide the voice of large organizations, and Amanda Lenaghan from the Charles Schwab Foundation will present the corporate angle.

A 360-Degree View of Corporate-Nonprofit Partnerships

Register for this free event.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
11am – 12pm PT (2-3pm ET)

Follow the conversation on Twitter @VM_Solutions#VMbpn.

Whether you work at a nonprofit or a corporation, this webinar will teach you the critical focus areas for partnering across sectors to create fulfilling, engaging and high-impact employee volunteer programs.

About Our Speakers:

Amanda Lenaghan is Manager of the Charles Schwab FoundationAmanda Lenaghan has a deep passion for connecting people with opportunities to use their talent to make an impact. As Manager of the Charles Schwab Foundation, Amanda leads the employee volunteer strategy and is responsible for engaging Schwab’s 13,000 employees in service. Amanda has nearly a decade of experience in volunteerism, philanthropy, and nonprofit management.

Prior to Schwab, she served as Deputy Director of Taproot Foundation, the nation’s leader in pro bono service. There she led their award winning Service Grant program in the Bay Area and advised corporations on effectively engaging their employees and clients in service. Amanda’s background also includes managing nonprofit fundraising campaigns totaling $10 million, leading community development programs in Ecuador, and competing as a varsity track athlete at Georgetown University.

Desiree Adaway has over 20 years experience creating, leading and managing international, multicultural teams through major organizational changes in over 40 countries.Desiree Adaway has over 20 years experience creating, leading and managing international, multicultural teams through major organizational changes in over 40 countries. Her deep level of expertise in fundraising, grant management, and environmental, social justice, and faith-based initiatives, allows her to offer specific insights that help organizations achieve consistent, quality program results at the chapter, national, and international levels.

Mazarine Treyz is the author of The Wild Woman’s Guide to Fundraising and other popular, well-reviewed books on nonprofit fundraising.Mazarine Treyz is the author of The Wild Woman’s Guide to Fundraising, called one of the Top 10 books of 2010 by Beth Kanter, author of the Networked Nonprofit. Her second book is The Wild Woman’s Guide to Social Media, published 2012, given a 5 star rating by Joanne Fritz, editor, Her latest book, Get the Job! Your Fundraising Career Empowerment Guide, was published April 2013. Ms. Treyz has raised over $1M for small, national and international nonprofit organizations via grants, events, appeals and more.

Register for this free webinar now.

Continue reading

Get a New Perspective on Pro Bono

Join a special webinar about building and managing pro bono projectsDoes your company have a pro bono volunteer program? Curious how to best manage one? We’re running a free webinar for our nonprofit audience that will shed some light on these issues for you.

While our Nonprofit Insights webinar series is mainly geared towards nonprofits, this month’s installment is also great for companies.

Becoming an Organization Powered by Pro Bono

Register for this free event.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
11am – 12pm PT (2-3pm ET)

Follow along with the conversation on Twitter: @VolunteerMatch and #vmlearn.

In the February edition of the Nonprofit Insights webinar series, Aaron Hurst, President & Founder of Taproot Foundation, and Megan Kashner, Founder & CEO of Benevolent, will walk us through the steps necessary for nonprofits to embrace and manage pro bono projects.

Attend this webinar to get a peek into the challenges nonprofits face when working with pro bono volunteers, and how your company could work with organizations to form strong and impactful partnerships.

About Our Speakers:

Aaron Hurst (@aaron_hurst) is a globally recognized social innovator and leading architect of the growing pro bono services movement. He is known throughout Taproot offices for his striped socks, Post-it® doodling, and endless supply of bold ideas.

Aaron’s career is dedicated to challenging and empowering the public and private sectors as well as individuals and organizations to drive our collective social, environmental and economic progress. He is the founder of the Taproot Foundation—a nonprofit organization building a national pro bono marketplace and leading the global service movement—and is a creative force behind the conception of the national Billion + Change initiative and the Service Enterprise model.

A member of the Nonprofit Times Power and Influence Top 50, Aaron is widely known for his thought- leadership in civic engagement, nonprofit management and corporate social responsibility. He is a regular blogger for the Huffington Post and Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Megan Kashner, Founder & CEO, BenevolentMegan Kashner is Benevolent’s founder, CEO, tea-kettle refiller, blogger and overall chatterer. A seasoned nonprofit leader with over 20 years of strategic management, community partnership building and organizational planning.

Megan has spent her career leading organizations and programs dedicated to bringing innovation to the nonprofit sector and to improving social service support for women and families living in poverty and at risk. She has served as an Executive Director for the Taproot Foundation and earlier for the Infant Welfare Society of Evanston, Chief Development Officer for Chicago’s Deborah’s Place and Program Director for organizations including the Howard Area Community Center, Methodist Youth Services and the Heartland Alliance.

Click here to register for the webinar.

Continue reading