CSR Food For Thought: Recycling Pays Off Thanks to Sprint

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.

Sprint Offers $5K to Students Who Find Innovative Ways to Recycle Smartphones
Most of us know that electronic waste (e-waste) is a huge problem. But what most of us don’t know is what we can do about it. This article from Triple Pundit explains how Sprint is giving motivation for college students to tackle a segment of e-waste problem – by coming up with new ways to recycle their old smartphones.

Groupon Logs 14,355 Volunteer Hours
How does a company increase its employee volunteer hours by nearly 500%? In this post, Groupon explains how they were able to accomplish this awe-inspiring feat in 2014. From carefully crafted partnerships to some friendly competition, Groupon’s employee volunteer program really took off in 2014. And in 2015, they’re reaching even higher.

2015: The Year of Hyper-Transparency in Global Business
The Guardian predicts a fast increase in the number of global companies practicing full transparency. Why? The benefits, of course – benefits that span from better purchasing decisions to more growth capacity. Read this article for more details on what to expect in the coming years.

The Chocolate and Peanut Butter of Volunteerism
LinkedIn for Good doesn’t just encourage their own employees’ volunteerism. With their huge network of professionals across industries and across the world, they have the ability to encourage virtually every employees’ volunteerism. And that’s exactly where they’re heading with their announcement of taking their volunteer marketplace internationally.  And remember, nonprofit posts on VolunteerMatch automatically get pushed through to LinkedIn, making us the chocolate to LinkedIn’s peanut butter – yum!

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Webinar Recap: Advocate for Your EVP (With Extra Insights from Appirio!)

Photo of man in suit explaining something.You know that your employee volunteer program is valuable. But how do you show this value to others in your company to get the budget, staff, tools, etc. you need to take your program to the next level?

On January 21, 2015, Debbie Donahey of OhioHealth and Rachel Tallant of Appirio joined VolunteerMatch and shared how they were able to gain internal support for their employee volunteer programs. We were impressed by the wealth of insights Debbie and Rachel offered, as well as the thoughtful questions from our attendees.

The discussion unfortunately had to end as our allotted time ran out, and a few questions went unanswered during the session. Below are Rachel’s post-webinar answers to your questions regarding Appirio’s Silver Lining Program.

Also, if you missed this webinar, don’t worry! You can watch full recording here.

Q: Can you provide specific examples of how executive sponsors support your program?

A: Our executive sponsors provide tangible budget and program strategy support. They’re focused on making the program an integral part of the employee experience by incorporating volunteering into large company events. They also support the program in intangible ways. Hearing that the CEO or head of HR has taken part in a volunteer activity, championed a pro bono project, or posted positive feedback in response to a Silver Lining activity speaks volumes to the rest of the team.

Q: Do you have any resources for “making the business case” that you would be willing to share?

A: We calculated the cost to manage our program’s events based on our past management technology vs. the cost to use VolunteerMatch Solutions. As your program grows, and you start to manage more and more employees, you need a sophisticated management system. In addition to the other benefits, it allows for great visibility into metrics.

For example, before VolunteerMatch, we could generate a report on the hours employees had volunteered, but not which nonprofits or locations they had volunteered for. VolunteerMatch helps us build stronger relationships with nonprofits around the globe that we support, as well as making the business case for our program.

Q: What are some of the outcomes you’re focused on?

A: A big win for us is ease of use. Employees want to give back, but sometimes they don’t have the time to search out their own opportunities to volunteer. The VolunteerMatch database streamlines the process by easily connecting employees with nonprofits in their location and cause area.

Thanks again, Rachel and Debbie!

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Hey, Over Here! The Best Place to Discuss Volunteering & CSR

We might be biased. But we LOVE our blog. Volunteering is CSR is a challenge to companies to include volunteerism as a prominent part of their corporate social responsibility – because it pays off in so many ways.

But you know what Screenshot of Volunteering & Corporate Social Responsibility LinkedIn Groupelse we love? Lively conversation about best practices, news, and events around volunteering and CSR. Join the LinkedIn group exclusively for CSR professionals like you – people interested in the role volunteerism plays in a robust CSR program.

Don’t miss out! Dive into the discussion with fellow CSR professionals and thought leaders today. See you there – we can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

(While you’re at it, follow VM Solutions’ LinkedIn page for event announcements, CSR stories, white papers, and more.)

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CSR Food For Thought: How an Employee Volunteer Program Saves You Money

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.

The Business Case for Employee Volunteer & Skills Giving Programs
In this post from Charities@Work, Sarah Ford dives deep into how employee volunteer programs (EVPs) can boost employee retention. She touches on the top 10 reasons people leave their jobs and explains how employee volunteerism can help with each one. But she doesn’t stop there – she’s got the numbers to back it up. This post is well researched, and well worth the read.

What is the REAL Employee Engagement Definition? [Video]
Entrepreneur and author Kevin Kruse wants to make sure “everyone is on the same page” when it comes to an employee engagement definition. He starts by explaining what employee engagement is NOT – it’s not just satisfaction and it’s not just happiness. Well then, what is it? Find out in this short video.

CEOs Sign OIWC Pledge to Advance Women’s Leadership in the Outdoor Industry
Change often starts at the top, according to this article from SocialEarth. That’s why the CEO of REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.), along with 13 other CEOs of outdoor companies, signed a pledge to promote women’s leadership. The REI Foundation went a step further by granting $1.5 million to OIWC (Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition) for mentorship and entrepreneurship programs.

How Can Brands Build a Culture of Responsibility?
This CSRwire post advocates for a shared CSR vision between employees, shareholders, and customers. It suggests that companies shift their values from consumerism to citizenship, and perhaps shift their focus from corporate social responsibility (CSR) to creating shared value (CSV). Don’t let the acronyms intimidate you – this post includes some interesting perspectives on what it means to be a company in our changing world.

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How VolunteerMatch Employees Volunteer: Laura Ellis, Client Relations Manager

We’ve talked and talked (and talked and talked) about the benefits of employee volunteer programs, including volunteer time off (VTO). Now we want to show you. In this series of blog posts, we’ll interview some of our own employees to find out how they spend their volunteer hours, and why they love VTO.

Meet Laura Ellis, Client Relations Manager at VolunteerMatchSo – who are you?
My name is Laura Ellis, and I’ve been at VolunteerMatch for three years. I’m a Client Relations Manager, which means that I consult our corporations on how to best engage their employee volunteers!

Where do you volunteer?
I volunteer for the Golden Gate National Park Service (GGNPS) as a wildlife photographer. Since photographers and graphic designers can be expensive, GGNPS asks us to capture different activities at the parks for brochures, promotional material, etc. It can be anything from a trail maintenance event to an awards banquet. Even weddings!

What drew you to that particular organization and/ or type of volunteering?
I spend a lot of time hiking around the San Francisco Bay Area and wanted to find an opportunity that allowed me to explore more of the area while also giving back to a place that had given me so much. I had also recently taken up photography and was looking for a way to develop those skills.

Flowers in Jars at Golden Gate National Park

One of Laura’s Photos

What’s the most fun part of your volunteering? What’s the most valuable?
The most fun part is getting to explore new trails and meeting people from all over the world. The most valuable part is knowing that I’m playing a part in promoting the parks that I love so much!

Can you share a story from your time volunteering with GGNPS?
I remember the first time GGNPS posted one of my photos on their social media accounts. It was a picture of a secret path I had found on a popular trail. A woman commented that this picture inspired her to get off the couch and go find that secluded spot. It is now her favorite trail! This made me realize how something so small can inspire adventure in others.

Would you be able to volunteer if VolunteerMatch didn’t offer VTO?
Most of the wildlife photographers can only work weekends, so there are usually a lot of open spots for weekday activities. VolunteerMatch VTO allows me to pick up those shifts and make sure the parks get the shots they need!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
VTO is one of those things that some people might say is less important than a gym membership, free lunch or some of the other fancy stuff some tech startups offer. And yes, it is less glamorous. But I would take VTO over all of those perks because it’s good for my soul. It allows me to give back and make connections with people and organizations that I care about.

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14 CSR Insights from the ’14 VolunteerMatch Client Summit

On September 18-19, 2014, VolunteerMatch welcomed 120 participants representing 60 companies to Detroit, MI, for the annual VolunteerMatch Client Summit. We hope you followed along as we summarized each summit session in this series of blog posts. From hearing inspiring keynotes, to participating in group discussions, to seeing firsthand the progress of the Detroit community – it was truly an event to remember.

However, if you’re just tuning in now, don’t worry! You can get all of the key insights from the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit in one convenient PDF. Topics include employee well-being, engaging millennials, creative CSR strategies, and much, much more.

Download the PDF today:VolunteerMatch Insights - The 2014 Client Summit

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CSR Food For Thought: Is CSR Fading?

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.

CSR Isn’t Dead – But it May Be Fading
In response to the recent 2degrees article CSR is Dead. So, What Comes Next?, this GreenBiz article thoughtfully reflects on the shifting role of CSR for various types of company employees. Author Ellen Weinreb asks the question: If CSR becomes fully integrated into a company’s core, will it still exist as an independent concept?

30 CSR Pros to Follow in 2015
Who doesn’t love a good best-of list? This one from Triple Pundit rounds up the best of the best CSR tweeters on Twitter. Stay connected to the CSR conversation and the get latest sustainability news by following these 30 professionals.

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a Celebration of Symantec Service
This Monday, countless volunteers ventured out for A Day On, Not a Day Off in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s commitment to service. Many companies got involved, too, by organizing volunteer events for employees. Symantec spreads the spirit of this American holiday across the globe and throughout the year with volunteer efforts in South Africa, Sweden, India and more.

Five Things Sustainable Companies Do
In their new report Guide to Corporate Sustainability: Shaping a Sustainable Future, The UN Global Compact implores companies everywhere to do five things. As the largest corporate sustainability initiative – they have 8,000 company participants – I’d guess they know a thing or two (or five). How many of these does your company practice?


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