Congratulations, UnitedHealth Group! An Honor Well-Earned.

Since 2006, UnitedHealth Group and VolunteerMatch have been working together to motivate and engage employees to give back to their community. We’ve seen the company evolve and grow into one of the strongest, most innovative CSR programs out there.

Which is why we weren’t surprised when Points of Light acknowledged their hard work by presenting them with the 2014 Corporate Engagement Award of Excellence. The award recognizes UnitedHealth Group for their amazing employee volunteer program, INVOLVE. With a core CSR mission to help build healthier communities, the program involves over 156,000 employees.

Points of Light commented that, “The annual Award recognizes companies that apply their resources, expertise and insights to activities that benefit society, and create a culture that inspires and equips employees to volunteer.”

UnitedHealth Group isn’t just encouraging its own workforce, the company also actively seeks new and innovative ways to change the space.

Last year, UnitedHealth Group released their “Doing Good is Good for You” study, a close look at the link between health and volunteering. They found that the effects of volunteering helped lower stress levels and increased happiness, proving that giving back is good for your mental, physical and emotional state!

We also see UnitedHealth Group investing in groundbreaking volunteering products, such as sponsoring VolunteerMatch’s MobileMatch, released in early 2014. With their support, VolunteerMatch was able to release a tool that allows volunteers to search & sign up for volunteer opportunities, and track volunteer hours, on the go!

As the Client Relations Manager for UnitedHealth Group, I can personally speak to the level of commitment and passion this team has. They are constantly striving to improve not only their own program, but the Corporate Social Responsibility sector as a whole.

I speak for the whole VolunteerMatch family when I say we are honored to partner with UnitedHealth Group, and look forward to even greater success in the future!

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Meet John C. Havens, a 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Speaker

On September 18-19, 2014, VolunteerMatch will gather its corporate clients for a day and a half of learning, sharing and networking. The 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit will feature numerous sessions led by corporate social responsibility (CSR) and employee engagement thought leaders. In this series of posts, we’ll introduce you to each of the speakers and what they’ll discuss at the Summit.

JohnName: John C. Havens

Title: Founder

Organization: The H(app)athon Project

About the Session

Wearable and emerging technologies are transforming the workplace, allowing employees to gauge everything from their heart rates, stress levels, and even emotions while on the job. Utilizing these tools can provide leadership with brand new ways of encouraging emotional intelligence, empathy, and purpose-based roles for employees.

Learn how to take a measure of employee well-being, to increase their happiness and your company’s mission.

What is one way you’ve transformed your personal or professional life recently for the better?

In the past two years or so, my work has been largely focused on measuring happiness or well-being based on actions that bring you purpose. This work has transformed my life, since I’m forced to consider how my daily actions can increase my sense of purpose/wellbeing, which is also directly tied to other people via values like altruism. It’s been a challenge, because while I don’t feel I have to always be in a good mood, I certainly can’t be a jerk to people. That wouldn’t be good branding for “that happiness guy.”

About John C. Havens:

John C. Havens is Founder and Executive Director for The H(app)athon Project, a nonprofit foundation, “Connecting Happiness to Action” via the use of Values-Tracking surveys, interactive workshops, and quantified self technology. He is also the author of Hacking H(app)iness: Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World (Tarcher/Penguin) which has been featured on NPR and C-SPAN.

John has delivered workshops and keynotes around the world in support of leveraging technology to increase wellbeing. His work on happiness and technology has been featured in USA Today, Forbes, Mashable, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, Slate, NPR, and BBC News. A former EVP for a top ten global PR firm, his former clients include Gillette, HP, Merck, and Monster and he has also provided advising and consulting services for numerous technology companies like BlogTalkRadio, Vision Critical, Datacoup, Rypple (now Work.com, acquired by Salesforce), and Geo-Papyrus, an Augmented Reality company.

Connect with John C. Havens on Twitter.

Learn more about John C. Havens and other speakers at the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit by clicking here!

This year’s event is generously supported by: General Motors, MGM Resorts International, Delta Air Lines, The United Way of Southeastern Michigan and Newell Rubbermaid.

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Ready to Give Your Best Work?

Guest post by Stephen Ristau

Ready to give your best work for skilled volunteering?Too often I hear from highly skilled and motivated people, “I just can’t seem to find a nonprofit organization that uses my professional talent well.” And despite the great strides that nonprofits have made in recent years to design volunteer or pro bono work experiences that require advanced expertise or training, I still see a disconnect between the available talent pool and the engagement opportunities nonprofits offer.

Do you find this to be true also? Have you had to go through many frustrating encounters with nonprofits before you were able to find a good “skills” match? What enables you to do your best work?

I am interested in hearing about your experiences, cool ideas and best practices regarding best work engagement.

Here are some of mine:

  1. Do your homework. While it might not seem that this should be “like work,” finding a good fit with a nonprofit will require all the research, scanning, assessment, and analytical skills you’ve honed in your line of business. Investigate several organizations with various missions and sizes to learn about them and to assess your fit. Large nonprofits often resemble larger corporations in function and structure, while smaller nonprofits may mirror small “mom and pop” businesses. You know best what kind of issues (mission) you feel passionately about, your preferred work environment, and how your skill set matches with the organization’s needs.
  2. Network relentlessly. Simultaneously explore new organizations and drill deeper with vetted prospects to develop relationships with those leaders who will help you with your search. Know in advance that this will take more time than you expect and make sure you are willing to commit to this process. If not, you need to seriously consider if this is the path for you.
  3. Convey your understanding about the uniqueness of nonprofit cultures. When selling your professional, managerial, or technical skills, make sure you help organizations to see how your skills fit into the culture of the organization in particular and the nonprofit sector in general. Nonprofits tend to have process-oriented, consensus decision-making practices and may not be as results-driven as you may be used to in other sectors. Explain how you can contribute these skills as a part of a decision-making team.
  4. Be aware that, in some cases, you will have more skill and experience than your manager. When it comes to professional, managerial, or technical areas, you may be “senior” to the person who engages you or to whom you will report. Be effective at “managing up,” respecting individual talents (and constraints), and appreciating the value of intergenerational mentoring.
  5. Prepare yourself (for the opportunity) to wear many hats. Because of limited resources, most nonprofits, especially smaller ones, cannot afford the specialization of skills and functions that other sectors can. This may be an opportunity for you to contribute your unique skills to an initial project engagement and even additional ones in the future.

“Best work” organizations, nonprofit and for-profit, are those with human resources that champion innovation and learning, are accountable for outcomes, and are able to work in a coordinated team environment. What are some of the “best work” volunteer experiences you have had?

Let’s give a shout-out to those nonprofits that are empowering volunteers to make a lasting difference. Let us know what you think.

Stephen Ristau has been a nonprofit executive and social entrepreneur.  An innovator in the national encore movement, he has led Transforming Life After 50 and the SVP Portland Encore Fellows program.Contact Stephen at stephenristau@gmail.com and www.linkedin.com/pub/stephen-ristau/4/75/b28.

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2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards: A Look at Finalist Humana

On September 19, 2014, winners of the 2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards will be announced at our annual VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit, Mich. In this series of posts, we’ll introduce you to people and ideas behind the ten most effective employee volunteer programs in our family of corporate clients, determined by performance against four benchmark measures in 2013.

What makes your employee volunteer program special?

Humana volunteers and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer take a quick break from playground landscaping at the Keystone Learning Academy.

Humana volunteers and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer take a quick break from playground landscaping at the Keystone Learning Academy.

Humana encourages employee volunteerism connected to promoting health and well-being in communities where Humana has a presence, however, all cause areas of interest to associates are recognized. Associates at Humana enjoy volunteering on their own, as well as with each other – in work teams, departments or company-wide initiatives.

Humana places a large emphasis on Days of Service, including Make a Difference Day and National Volunteer Week. Humana also regularly recognizes associate volunteerism through several grants, including Dollars 4 Doers, Volunteer of the Year, and awards the “Spirit of Philanthropy,” a distinction given to a group or department of associates who display exceptional commitment to the community through volunteerism.

What are some key accomplishments from 2013 you’re especially proud of?

In 2013 Humana implemented the Humana’s Volunteer Fellowship, a unique program that sent a team of five Humana associates to work at a nonprofit full-time for four weeks on a special project designed to create transformational change for the organization and the community.

The Humana Fellows assisted the Volunteer Center of Brown County in Green Bay, by formalizing their Neighbors Helping Neighbors program to a year-round initiative. Neighbors Helping Neighbors sends volunteers to help seniors and people with disabilities with routine home upkeep. The Humana team created a guidelines and procedures handbook, developed a marketing and outreach plan, established a database to track volunteers, and set up an evaluation plan to measure success.

The number of hours volunteered by Humana associates increased from 131,137 hours in 2012 to 164,434 hours in 2013; the number of volunteers increased from 4,521 in 2012 to 4,917 in 2013.

How do you get employees excited and involved in volunteering?

Humana volunteers unite for their 'before' picture this spring before helping Louisville's Keystone Learning Academy beautify its facility.

Humana volunteers unite for their ‘before’ picture this spring before helping Louisville’s Keystone Learning Academy beautify its facility.

One benefit offered to Humana associates is the WOW! Working on Well-being® Account, which recognizes associates’ efforts in enhancing their overall health and well-being. The WOW! Account rewards participation in activities and engagement with resources that support associates’ sense of purpose, belonging and security.

By taking part in certain activities associates can earn up to $150 to spend on items and services that broadly support associates and their family’s well-being. One of the activities for which associates earn WOW! dollars is logging volunteer hours on the Humana Volunteer Network website. Associates can earn $5/month for logging an individual volunteer event and up to twice each year, associates may earn $10/month for engaging in a group volunteer event.

Kudos to Humana for being a leader in employee engagement and inspiring social impact!

Stay tuned for more finalist profiles in the coming weeks, and announcement of the winners on September, 2014 during the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit.

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Meet Alex Price, a 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Speaker

On September 18-19, 2014, VolunteerMatch will gather its corporate clients for a day and a half of learning, sharing and networking. The 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit will feature numerous sessions led by corporate social responsibility (CSR) and employee engagement thought leaders. In this series of posts, we’ll introduce you to each of the speakers and what they’ll discuss at the Summit.

Alex Price from ADT will be speaking at the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client SummitName: Alex Price

Title: Community Relations Manager

Organization: The ADT Corporation

The Session: “Lessons from the Field: Launching a Company-Wide EVP”

What is one way you’ve transformed your personal or professional life recently for the better?

I’m always in pursuit of cause areas to focus on that match a personal passion. In my (very limited) time outside of work, I’ve recently poured myself into a focus area: my home state of Florida. This summer I’m assuming a new role on the board of Connect Florida, an organization that educates, engages and inspires my state’s top emerging leaders to make Florida a better place. I’ll be spending the next few years working on things like Everglades restoration, public school improvement, veterans issues, and other areas of need in the Sunshine State.

About Alex Price:

Alex leads Community Relations & Corporate Responsibility for ADT Corporation. Over the past 2 years, Alex has helped build the corporate citizenship function at ADT and recently launched ADT Always Cares, their nation-wide community service program promoting volunteerism for their 16,000 employees. Prior to his current role, Alex managed media relations for ADT’s commercial business unit.

Alex began his career in New York City at BBDO, one of the world’s most prestigious ad agencies. Alex then transitioned into a role in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, and for three years served as Manager of Communications for the NYC Department of Education, focused on promoting education reform.

In 2006, Alex launched a nonprofit organization nycTIES (a 501(c)3) to engage young professionals in critical local causes and promote life-long volunteerism and board service. It’s now one of the city’s strongest service organizations. He served as President for its first 4 years and now advises the organization as a director on its board.

Connect with Alex Price on Twitter.

Learn more about Alex Price and other speakers at the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit by clicking here!

This year’s event is generously supported by: General Motors, MGM Resorts International, Delta Air Lines, The United Way of Southeastern Michigan and Newell Rubbermaid.

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2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards: A Look at Finalist 1st Source Bank

On September 19, 2014, winners of the 2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards will be announced at our annual VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit, Mich. In this series of posts, we’ll introduce you to people and ideas behind the ten most effective employee volunteer programs in our family of corporate clients, determined by performance against four benchmark measures in 2013.

What makes your employee volunteer program special?

A team of 1st Source employees volunteer with Rebuilding Together to improve the home of a low-income resident in South Bend.

A team of 1st Source employees volunteer with Rebuilding Together to improve the home of a low-income resident in South Bend.

1st Source Bank, based in South Bend, IN, is the largest locally controlled financial institution headquartered in the northern Indiana-southwestern Michigan area. This past year, 1st Source celebrated 150 years of service to its clients and the community. Being volunteer leaders in the community has been one of the company’s principal values since its founding, and it holds true today.

Key focus areas of the program include education, affordable housing, and financial literacy. Employees regularly assist with building Habitat for Humanity homes, repairing homes through Rebuilding Together, and mentoring local students.

What are some key accomplishments from 2013 you’re especially proud of?

This year, 1st Source partnered with Junior Achievement again to bring “JA in a Day” to a local elementary school. Thirty-one bank employees volunteered their time to teach financial literacy to 325 K-4 grade school students. The day was a valuable learning experience for bank employees and students alike!

1st Source employees join together for Junior Achievement’s “JA in a Day” at Warren Primary Center. Thirty-one bank employees taught financial literacy to 325 K-4 grade school students.

1st Source employees join together for Junior Achievement’s “JA in a Day” at Warren Primary Center. Thirty-one bank employees taught financial literacy to 325 K-4 grade school students.

Another key project this year was the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Super Saturday, in which 1st Source volunteers joined with the United Way to prepare and e-file income taxes free of charge for lower income individuals. 1st Source volunteers also raised funds for worthwhile organizations by forming countless walk teams and even “spinning” in support of mammogram funding.

1st Source employees volunteered almost 27,000 hours in 2013, an increase of more than 2,000 hours from the year prior. More than 45% of the company’s employees were active volunteers, and averaged 52 hours of volunteer activity per employee for the year. Based on an estimated $22 per hour value of volunteer time, 1st Source employees contributed almost $600,000 of volunteer services in their communities.

How do you get employees excited and involved in volunteering?

1st Source employees volunteering at La Casa’s Help-A-House. The 1st Source team helped replaced a roof and more for an elderly homeowner in need.

1st Source employees volunteering at La Casa’s Help-A-House. The 1st Source team helped replaced a roof and more for an elderly homeowner in need.

1st Source encourages its employees to use VolunteerMatch to communicate volunteer opportunities, and internal messages to direct employees to the VolunteerMatch system.

The company communicates bank-wide each quarter the volunteer hours for business units and regions. This creates some competition in the bank and is a reminder to use VolunteerMatch.

Kudos to 1st Source Bank for being a leader in employee engagement and inspiring social impact!

Stay tuned for more finalist profiles in the coming weeks, and announcement of the winners on September, 2014 during the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit.

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People Make the Difference: Explore a Year of Impact

Everyone should have the chance to make a difference – wouldn’t you agree?

That’s why VolunteerMatch makes it easier for people to connect with the causes they care about.

Explore the 2013 VolunteerMatch Annual Impact Report

To take a look at how far we have come, it is a pleasure to share with you VolunteerMatch’s Annual Impact Report – a graphic look at people and causes, like you and your employees, who are making a difference.

Last year was an important time for us: we re-launched www.VolunteerMatch.org with a one-of-a-kind recommendations engine, overhauled our workplace group management services, ventured onto your mobile phone, and pushed our entire technical infrastructure into the cloud.

And it worked. The improvements helped us power almost a billion dollars’ worth of volunteer service in 2013. And together, we can do even more.

Don’t worry, we’ll dive into each of the sections of this awesome infographic in detail, but for now, enjoy exploring the impact we made together last year – and join in as we create impact in 2014 that exceeds all expectations.

Click here to explore the 2013 VolunteerMatch Annual Impact Report!

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