Upcoming Best Practice Network Webinar: Advocate for Your EVP

Photo of man in suit explaining something.Companies today are asking more of employee volunteer programs (EVPs) than ever before – such as increasing brand reputation, recruiting talent, and increasing employees’ health, happiness and productivity.

You know that your programs are doing all of these things. But how can you show this value to others to get the budget, staff, tools, partnerships and cross-department collaboration you need to take your program to the next level?

Join Debbie Donahey of OhioHealth, Rachel Tallant of Appirio, and Julie VanDeLinder of VolunteerMatch as they share their stories of EVP advocacy. If you are stuck or overwhelmed, this webinar will give you practical tips, and lead you toward a plan to advocate for your EVP.

Register for this free event.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
10am – 11am PT (1-2pm ET)

Guest Speakers:
Debbie Donahey, OhioHealth
Rachel Tallant, Appirio
Julie VanDeLinder, VolunteerMatch

Follow along with the conversation on Twitter: @VM_Solutions and #VMbpn.

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A VTO Success Story: What One VolunteerMatch Employee Learned in Chile

At VolunteerMatch, we like to practice what we preach, which is one of the many reasons I feel lucky to work here. Last month, I was able to take a week off from my normal duties supporting our nonprofit community and join 11 other volunteers from around the U.S. on a week-long trip to Santiago, Chile with Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village Program.

Shannon David ready to shovel cement.

Me in my cement-shoveling look.

When I started at VolunteerMatch just over a year ago and learned about the paidvolunteer time off (VTO) benefit offered to employees, I knew I had to make the most of it. A friend recommended Global Village, and before I knew it, I had completed a phone interview with the volunteer team leader and signed up for the trip. That was in early 2014, so I had nearly a full year to fundraise for Habitat Chile, learn a little Spanish, and talk up the trip to anyone who would listen.

We worked on a program called Nuestros Hijos Vuelven a Casa (Our Children Return Home), which supports families with children who have catastrophic illnesses or serious disabilities. Habitat Chile gets referrals from the hospital and screens the families to make sure they comply with program requirements. Then, they develop a plan to improve their existing home to better meet the physical and medical needs of the child. My team spent a week at the home of Patricia, a 17-year-old suffering from cancer. She lives with her parents and two little sisters in a very small apartment…

Read the rest of Shannon’s story.

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CSR Food For Thought: New Year, New CSR? What the Experts Say About 2015

Image of wheat growing in the sun.The CSR Food for Thought series is a weekly roundup of relevant news from around the Web, presented to you in one bite-sized blog post. Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.




Eight CSR Trends to Watch Out For in 2015
In this Forbes article, Susan McPherson asked CSR experts to share their thoughts on what the field will look like in 2015. They predict new technologies for tackling social issues, shifts in the language we use when discussing CSR, and emphases on important and growing cause areas – to name a few.There’s certainly a lot to consider – and to get excited for.

How to Make 2015 the Year of Corporate Social Responsibility
After looking at hundreds of corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, FrontStream noticed four themes they believe will lead to an amazing new year in CSR. They include two of my personal favorites: Creating shared value and promoting skilled volunteering. Read the full post to find out the others.

Twitter Chat Recap: 2015 CSR Trends w/ PwC & Campbell Soup Co.
This week, TriplePundit joined representatives from PwC, PwC Foundation and Campbell Soup Company for a Twitter chat all about CSR in the New Year. If you’re like me and missed the chat, don’t worry. You can read all the tweets in this post from TriplePundit, as well as a short summary of the highlights.

Doing Good is Good for Business – Corporate Social Responsibility in 2015
In this blog post, Huffington Post tells us what so many of us already know: CSR is no longer just an option or an obligation – it’s a central, critical strategy for a successful company. Using data from CECP’s annual Giving in Numbers report, we’re reminded that employee engagement is one of the greatest driving factors behind CSR. This internal CSR culture among companies will drive efforts forward in 2015.

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Linking CSR And HR: A New Approach to Talent Development

Guest post by Brad Jamison

Picture of handshakeAs a former corporate social responsibility (CSR) executive and current consultant, I have come to recognize a missed opportunity when it comes to developing talent within organizations: The use of service to hone essential skills.

Too often CSR and HR departments operate in silos, even though there are compelling reasons why they should be working together. When the two do come together, it is often to organize team building service opportunities, such as an entire department spending an afternoon together at a local food bank.

Building stronger, more cohesive and trusting teams – something serving together can absolutely do – is vital, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of all that service can be used for in the corporate world.

Here are some thoughts on how organizations can better use service to help their employees at three different levels of development and responsibility: Entry-level staffers, middle management, and senior executives.

Entry-level Staffers

Service projects can help develop two skills that are important in any industry: Interpersonal communication and the ability to collaborate with others. These skills often come with work experience, which recent college grads may not have. The good news is, just about any service project that is not solitary can help individuals hone these skills. Whether it’s tutoring a student one-on-one or working with a team of colleagues to build a house, helping employees find ways to serve offers endless opportunities for them to practice collaboration and communication. Such an investment in their growth will position them well to do their best, which of course means better results for the company.

Middle Management

Two of the hallmarks of a good manager are the abilities to lead and solve problems. Both are arts that need to be practiced and fine-tuned over and over again, as nothing in business remains static. That said, not all corporate settings provide ample opportunities to try new approaches to solving issues. By helping employees immerse themselves into service, they are given a chance to collaborate with others on solving different types of issues, which in turn can teach new ways of thinking that will be brought back to the workplace. For example, by serving as a board member with a local nonprofit, an employee is able to see organizational issues and business challenges from a unique perspective.

Senior Executives

By the time someone is a senior executive, it should be fair to assume they are effective at what they do. Sometimes, however, they can be rather set in their ways of doing things. What’s often frustrating for the more junior people in the organization is that their leaders may be out of touch with their teams and are insulated in their leadership. Basically, the leaders can begin to lack empathy for what it’s like to not be the one running the place.

The tricky thing about empathy is that it’s not something you learn in school or can just implement after reading a book. The good news, though, is that we can increase our empathy by opening ourselves up to learning, seeing and feeling new things. And, yes, service offers great opportunities for this. By working directly with those who are hungry, homeless, wounded or have some other challenge, senior level executives are almost guaranteed to see things from a new perspective. Over time, those feelings will begin to impact all that they do, including how they approach being a leader.

These are just a few examples of how service can benefit an organization – there are many more to be found at the intersection of CSR and HR. We have an opportunity to use service as a development tool in corporate America, and now is the time to act.

Brad Jamison is an award-winning professional who has built a career combining his love of media and passion for helping others. As an executive and humanitarian, he has leveraged the most powerful mediums to increase awareness, raise millions of dollars, encourage involvement and, above all, make a difference in the lives of others. Learn more on his website, Good Citizen.

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3 Ways to Honor Martin Luther King’s Legacy of Service and Social Justice

Guest post by Ann Saylor

Photo of Martin Luther King, Jr.Once in a while, a seemingly ordinary person rises up to be a hero, changing culture forever. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of those men, and we now recognize him as a renowned American civil rights leader. He was hugely influential on American culture through his campaigns to end racial segregation and promote racial equality. To honor his legacy, the third Monday of January has been named a federal holiday. This year, it falls on January 19th.

Though many people have the day off from work or school, national service organizations have adopted the slogan A Day On, Not a Day Off to challenge Americans to rally together in service. Here are three ways your company can continue Dr. King’s legacy on Martin Luther King Day or throughout the year:

  1. Serve together. King said:

    “Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve… You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

    Where can you and your employees share a little love in your community?  If you don’t already have a nonprofit partner in your corporate social responsibility plan, then find a daycare center, an animal shelter, a nursing home, or a community center (to name a few). Ask them how your employees can help, and make plans to serve.

  2. Work together to empower your community. Dr. King wisely believed:

    “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

    Study a community issue that is a fit with your company, such as homelessness, illiteracy, or hunger. Identify one of the root causes and develop a targeted action plan that will inspire change and strengthen impoverished areas of your community.

  3. Seek justice through advocacy. Rally your employees to speak up about community issues and challenge others to take action. Ponder Dr. King’s words in this quote:

    “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”

    Identify a cause and a message that is important to your employees. Craft a plan for how you will spread your message and start speaking up – even if it’s uncomfortable.

Want more information on the strategies above? Get a free copy of the Seasons of Service Curriculum complete with three half-day experiences for leading an MLK Day event. It also has 12 highly interactive lessons plans to explore ways to use your individual gifts and talents to change the world. Finally, it outlines 11 half-day engaging and empowering service-learning experiences to introduce youth to meaningful service.  Request your copy by emailing cad@TheAssetEdge.net.

Ann Saylor is a nationally recognized trainer in positive youth development, service-learning, and play with purpose. She is also the co-author of 7 books including her latest, Groups, Troops, Clubs & Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth, (published in September 2014 by Search Institute Press). Learn more through her website and her blog, or reach her at cad@TheAssetEdge.net or on Twitter @TheAssetEdge.

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CSR Food For Thought: Unselfish Selfies and Other 2014 CSR Spectaculars

Image of wheat growing in the sun.The CSR Food for Thought series is a weekly roundup of relevant news from around the Web, presented to you in one bite-sized blog post. Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.




A Year in CSR: The Top 10 Trends of 2014
Cone Communications analyzed which CSR-related trends took the main stage in 2014, and came up with the top 10. As this Triple Pundit article put its, “2014 was a landmark year for corporate social responsibility.” From (un)selfish selfies to digital #trending, 2014 overflowed with CSR creativity. I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings!

2014: The Year Sustainable Investment Went Mainstream
US SIF Foundation releases a report every other year on sustainable, responsible and impact (SRI) investing trends. What did they find this year? SRI investments grew 76% since 2012! “Sustainable investment strategies are being applied across asset classes to promote corporate social responsibility…” said Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF. Check out this article from GreenBiz for a detailed account of the report’s findings.

Outstanding Citizenship Programs of 2014: RW Staff Picks
Realized Worth admits, “With so many truly fantastic employee volunteering programs out there, we couldn’t possibly narrow it down to a measly top five.” In this post, they highlight six companies’ volunteer programs that rocked 2014, according to Realized Worth staff. They encourage readers to share which programs they’d add to the list. So… which would you add?

Let the Countdown Begin! Top 14 Volunteering is CSR Post of 2014
It wouldn’t be New Year’s without a little self-reflection. At VolunteerMatch, we were curious to see which Volunteering is CSR blog posts were the most popular this year. So, we resurrected the most-viewed posts of 2014. While looking back on our year, we hope you find some useful information to carry you to a CSR-filled 2015.

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Let the Countdown Begin! The Top 14 Volunteering is CSR Posts of 2014

Happy New Year from VolunteerMatch! Here are the top 13 blog posts about employee volunteering and CSR from 2013.In just a few short hours, many of us will be welcoming 2015 and celebrating a brand new year – a fresh start. Cheers to that!

Before the countdown to midnight begins, however, here’s another countdown. Stroll down memory lane with me as I look back on the 14 most popular Volunteering is CSR posts of 2014. I have a feeling you’ll find something useful to take with you into the new year.

14. VolunteerMatch and LinkedIn Built a Technology Bridge to the Future of Skilled Volunteering

13. Tracking the Data: What NOT to Do in the RFP Process

12. Meet MobileMatch™, and Engage Your Employees Anytime, Anywhere

11. How Influencer Marketing Can Strengthen Your Employee Volunteer Program

10. How Corporate Volunteer Programs Increase Employee Engagement

9. VolunteerMatch’s Corporate Volunteering Network is Now Global!

8. No Offense, but Your CSR Program is Boring

7. The Important Thing We Can Learn From MUFG Union Bank

6. No Money? No Problem! 14 Ways to Engage Employees and Save the World on a Slim Budget

5. 4 Easy and Creative Ideas for Engaging Employees in Skilled Volunteering

4. Volunteering Does the Body (and Your Employees) Good

3. Challenge Your Employees to Go Pro Bono: A Lesson from Morgan Stanley

2. People Make the Difference: The Joys of Discovery

And the number one most popular post of 2014?

1. 21 Ideas for Re-Purposing All Those Volunteer Event T-Shirts

Happy New Year from VolunteerMatch!

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