People Make the Difference: Fueling the Rise of Corporate Volunteering

Whirlpool employees spend some time building houses with Habitat for Humanity during the company's 2012 Volunteer Week.

Whirlpool employees spend some time building houses with Habitat for Humanity during the company’s 2012 Volunteer Week.

Social good in our world – and this includes the VolunteerMatch network – is powered by people who want to make a difference. People who work at nonprofits, people who care about their communities, and people who participate in employee volunteer programs at their workplaces, just like your employees.

We recently, and very proudly, released the 2013 Annual VolunteerMatch Impact Report, showcasing the difference that can be made when people give their time, passion and skills over the course of a year. One of the most interesting sections of this report each year is always the “Workplace Impact” section.

People WANT to Do Good at Work

In 2013, 38% of the activity in the VolunteerMatch network happened via workplace volunteering programs. This means more than a third of folks signing up to volunteer on VolunteerMatch did so through their jobs! Cool!

Clearly, employees WANT to be able to volunteer through their employers. In fact, according to the 2014 Millennial Impact Report, more than 50% of Millennials are influenced to accept a job based on that company’s involvement with causes. And since by 2020, Millennials will make up roughly 50% of the U.S. workforce, smart companies are taking notice of this. And smart companies are building strong, engaging employee volunteer programs.

Workplace Impact in the VolunteerMatch network during 2013.

People are Taking Things to the Next Level

But there’s more. You’ll notice that employees in the VolunteerMatch network volunteered an average of 36 hours in 2013. Yet, according to the 2012 VolunteerMatch EVP Client Insights Survey, companies provide full-time employees an average of about 8 hours paid time off. So where are the other 24 hours coming from??

Employees are so motivated and empowered by their company’s engagement programs, they are taking the opportunity provided and running with it. Even when volunteering on their own time, their workplace programs inspire them to give back, and often to get their friends and families involved, too.

We hope seeing the Workplace Impact of the VolunteerMatch network inspires you to take a look at the impact of your own company, and consider how you can do even better during the second half of 2014 and beyond. And if you need any help coming up with ideas, well, we’re always here for you.

How do you measure and report the impact of your employee volunteer program? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Meet Gavin Cepelak, 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.

Gavin CepelakName: Gavin Cepelak

Title: Director, International Corporate Volunteerism

Organization: PYXERA Global

About the Session:

In the past five years, nearly 40 multinational companies sent a combined 8,000 employees to donate their professional expertise overseas for NGOs, government agencies and social enterprises. Join Gavin Cepelak, Director of International Corporate Volunteerism at PYXERA Global, in a conversation with leaders from two major multinational companies with active global pro bono programs to find out how they launched their programs and why. You will walk away from this session with strategies to operate your own global pro bono program. You will learn how to:

  • Design a global pro bono program to meet the needs of your company’s HR, CSR, and business development strategies.
  • Increase buy-in and support for your program.
  • Take advantage of new and upcoming models of global pro bono, including virtual.
  • Ensure your employees stay safe in new, unfamiliar environments.
  • Partner with organizations that align with your organization’s goals and resources.

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

I just finalized the implementation of PYXERA Global’s new performance management system to bring transparency and clear processes to staff that will enable our organization to have a solid base for future growth.

About Gavin Cepelak:

Gavin Cepelak is the Director of International Corporate Volunteerism (ICV) at PYXERA Global where he leads teams in developing the proper implementation of multiple ICV programs throughout the world. Gavin has experience in team leadership, client management, and implementing corporate leadership, CSR, and business development programs in Asia, Sub-Saharan and North Africa. He has worked at PYXERA Global since 2009 on program design, management, business development, and plays a lead role in building the International Corporate Volunteerism practice.

Gavin also manages and facilitates the ICV Leadership Council, which is a global community of 21+ corporations that are implementing ICV programs, also known as Global Pro Bono. The goal of the council is to promote the expanding field of ICV and highlight its impact on participants, corporations, and global challenges.

Connect with Gavin Cepelak and PYXERA Global  on Twitter, and check out their blog at New Global Citizen.

Learn more about Gavin Cepelak 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 Old National 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?

Old National associates serve lunch to the volunteers during the Children's Farm Festival at Peden Farms in Bloomington, Ind.

Old National associates serve lunch to the volunteers during the Children’s Farm Festival at Peden Farms in Bloomington, Ind.

Old National Bank’s program is called ONe Community (capital ON stands for Old National). The volunteer program is structured to balance the needs of the company’s communities and the engagement and development of its associates, with its core competency of financial literacy.

Old National Bank has a strong commitment to financial literacy, not only because it a natural fit for the industry, but because they know the positive impact it can make. It allows the company to leverage skills-based and pro-bono volunteering while helping individuals make small (and sometimes large) changes that have helped them create a better future.

Just as each of communities in which Old National Bank serves has specific needs, so do each of the participants in its financial literacy programs. For that reason, the company created the Real Life Finance program, which is a set of curricula that can be tailored to the needs of each individual or group. They also have a Financial Empowerment Officer who is there to help volunteers choose the best curriculum, in addition to leading many programs himself. He makes adjustments to curricula based on the feedback from volunteers and the program participants to ensure the program remains effective.

This tailored approach allows Old National Bank to create both large and small partnerships and engage associates in the causes that interest them. It also allows them to work closely with the organizations that receive grants or sponsorship funding from the company.

Old National associates in Bateville, Ind. with the coats they collected during a 2013 community coat drive.

Old National associates in Bateville, Ind. with the coats they collected during a 2013 community coat drive.

Financial literacy is a great fit for many of Old National Bank’s associates, but it is not for everyone. To encourage engagement across the board, they provide two hours of volunteer flex time per month that associates may use for the volunteer service of their choice.

This level of flexibility also allows additional associates to use their work skills outside of the financial literacy area. Examples: One IT associate recently served several hours to review proposals for a website redesign and tested the various applications involved for an agency that provides counseling for children and families. HR staff members often conduct mock interviews and review resumes for clients of nonprofits and students. The marketing staff has developed logos and campaigns for partner agencies.

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

Old National associates who are also cancer survivors gather for a photo with their family members at ONB’s first corporate Relay for Life.

Old National associates who are also cancer survivors gather for a photo with their family members at ONB’s first corporate Relay for Life.

In 2013, Old National’s ’100 Men Who Cook’ fundraising event in Terre Haute, Ind. marked an impressive milestone. With the $125,000 raised, they surpassed the $1 million mark in total funds generated by these events. Last year, associates dedicated over 1,700 volunteer hours to the success of the events.

Also in 2013, Old National held its first corporate Relay for Life event in Evansville. Associates served over 400 hours in preparation! There were 22 teams and over 300 associates registered for the event, and teams hosted a variety of fundraising activities leading up to Relay day. Everyone’s tremendous support paid off as associates raised $40,000 for this important cause that affects so many lives.

How do you get employees excited and involved in volunteering?

To promote leadership and team building, Old National provides Community Team grants that encourage associates to pull together their fellow associates for a project, and the company provides a contribution to the nonprofit based on the number of associates serving. They also provide quarterly and annual Community Team awards to highlight the service of specific teams.

Old National has quarterly awards where associates can be recognized for their individual contributions, and an annual Volunteer of the Year award recognizing an associate who shows leadership, dedication, and a continued commitment to volunteer service.

Kudos to Old National 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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4 Easy and Creative Ideas for Engaging Employees in Skilled Volunteering

Our recent announcement of a new partnership to automatically post all skilled volunteer listings from the VolunteerMatch network to LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace has shed a serious spotlight on the importance and potential of skilled volunteering. Check out this special series of posts exploring skilled volunteering as a category, a strategy, an industry and, of course, an inspiration for greater impact.

Easy and creative ideas for engaging employees in skilled volunteering.

A Making Music Matters volunteer and student prepare for a talent show. What skills do your employees have to give?

Now that connecting with skilled volunteering opportunities just became even easier for you and your employees, and now that there are tools out there, like those from VolunteerMatch Solutions, to help you manage and track skilled volunteer activities within your company, you may only have one more question:

How do you get your employees excited about skilled volunteering?

 

 

First step is to think like them – what sorts of opportunities are they really looking for? Here are some ideas for skilled volunteering projects that will be sure to jazz up large chunks of your employee population – no matter what strange and unusual skills they may have developed.

Pro Bono Programs

There is always the option to build or improve on a formal pro bono program at your company. Even within a program like this, there are ways to make things more exciting. For example, take a cue from Discovery Communications and their annual Discovery Impact: Creating Change pro bono marathon.

And with tools like YourMatch and MobileMatch to help you organize and track large-scale events like marathons, hackathons and days/weeks/months of service, it will be easy to aggregate and showcase the impact of these programs both internally and externally.

Focus on Other Skills

Just because your engineers spend their days coding doesn’t mean they don’t have other useful skills. For example, they might actually be great writers, or excellent project managers. At VolunteerMatch, several of our staff members volunteer at the San Francisco Public Library each month teaching a free workshop about using LinkedIn for job searching and career development.

Combine Skilled Volunteering with “Relaxing Time”

Volunteering doesn’t have to be all work and no play, and skilled volunteering doesn’t have to be all professional skills, either. Form a knitting club during breaks and lunch to knit sweaters for shelters or animals. Connect employees with groups like 826 or Girls on the Run so they can donate non-professional, “fun” skills (and be sure to suggest they use their Volunteer Time Off!)

Ask Your Employees!

With tools like VolunteerMatch’s Opportunity Builder, employees can suggest their own volunteer projects for your approval. So spread the word that you’re looking for skilled volunteering ideas. I bet the suggestions will come pouring in, which will only make your job easier and more fun…

What are some fun, creative ways you’ve engaged employees in skilled volunteering? Share in the comments below!

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Upcoming Special Webinar: Challenging the Status Quo – Rethinking the Value of Volunteers

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 rethinking the value of volunteers.

What if the way nonprofits and companies are currently engaging volunteers is all wrong? How can we make sure we’re strategically involving the core value of volunteers to provide maximum impact?

Research shows that organizations that strategically leverage volunteers outperform peer organizations on all measures of organizational capacity, AND have greater impact. However, less than 15% of nonprofits currently operate this way, and this obstacle stands in the way of success for the causes that so many nonprofits, companies and individuals care about.

Challenging the Status Quo: Rethinking the Value of Volunteers

Register for this free event.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
10am – 11am PT (1-2pm ET)

Follow the conversation on Twitter @VM_Solutions#VMbpn.

Join Bobbi Silten, Gap Inc.; Amy Smith, Points of Light; & Karen Baker, California Volunteers for a lively conversation about strategic volunteer engagement. Whether you’re a nonprofit professional, a company program coordinator or a dedicated volunteer yourself, you’ll learn more about the research, the implications and the opportunities of strategic volunteer engagement for maximizing impact.

About Our Speakers:

Bobbi Silten is the President, Gap Foundation and Senior Vice President, Global Responsibility for Gap Inc.Bobbi Silten is the President, Gap Foundation and Senior Vice President, Global Responsibility for Gap Inc., a leading global retailer. Since 2005, she has led Gap Foundation, overseeing its global community investments in women’s advancement and youth first jobs, and volunteer programs for 136,000 employees worldwide. Ms. Silten is a founding member of Reimagining Service, a national initiative focused on increasing the impact of volunteerism, and currently serves as the chair of the Reimagining Service Council. Ms. Silten also serves on the Leadership Council for Opportunity Nation and is a founding board member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. She is also a volunteer mentor to alumni of Summer Search, a national youth leadership program.

Karen Baker currently serves as California's Chief Service Officer for Governor Jerry Brown.

Karen Baker currently serves as California’s Chief Service Officer for Governor Jerry Brown. She leads CaliforniaVolunteers, the State Service Commission charged with administering the nation’s largest state AmeriCorps portfolio. In addition, CaliforniaVolunteers serves as the lead agency for disaster volunteering and donations management, and promotes volunteering and service across California. Initially appointed in February 2006, Karen has forged vibrant public-private partnerships resulting in the creation of successful innovations, including the California Disaster Corps, Business Partners Program and the CaliforniaVolunteers Service Enterprise Initiative.  She serves on a number of national service boards and coalitions including Voices for National Service, The Presidio Institute, and Reimagining Service.

Amy Smith is the Chief Strategy Officer and President of Action Networks for Points of Light.Amy Smith is the Chief Strategy Officer and President of Action Networks for Points of Light,the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. With a mission to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world, Points of Light connects and empowers people to make a meaningful difference by providing access to civic engagement tools, resources and volunteer opportunities. Amy leads the organization’s largest business enterprise and is responsible for the success of a network of more than 250 HandsOn Action Centers worldwide; 200 AmeriCorps Alums chapters, and a Corporate Institute that helps hundreds of Fortune 500 Companies engage their employees and customers in volunteer service. She is also responsible for scaling youth civic responsibility and social action efforts through generationOn, Points of Light’s youth service division, a  leader in a movement to ignite the power of all young people to make their mark on the world through service. Amy has recently added responsibilities for enterprise wide strategic direction including annual and strategic planning, program innovation and organizational capacity management.

Greg Baldwin is the President of VolunteerMatch, the largest volunteer engagement network on the Web.Greg Baldwin joined what is now VolunteerMatch in the spring of 1998 as its Chief Imagination Officer to finish hotwiring the Internet to help everybody find a great place to volunteer. Today, VolunteerMatch is a leader in the nonprofit world. Its popular web service is strengthening communities and organizations across the country by making it easier for good people and good causes to connect. Greg appreciates the power of a big idea. He began his career at the Leo Burnett advertising agency where many big ideas were born and later tested his own as a co-founder of 2d Interactive, Inc. – a Boston-based technology start-up. Greg completed his undergraduate studies at Brown University in 1990 with a degree in Public Policy. He is a life-long volunteer and regularly speaks at nonprofit events and conferences on the subjects of volunteering, communication, and the Internet.

Register for this free webinar now.

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Meet Annalisa Amicangelo, 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.

AnnalisaName: Annalisa Amicangelo

Title: Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility

Organization: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

About the Session: “Building Local Support for CSR Through Employee Champions”

We will explore the development and success of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s employee engagement program through the Community Investment Council initiative, a global grassroots initiative that empowers employees across all business units/seniority levels in all major Houghton Mifflin Harcourt offices to make a difference in their local communities.

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

I became aware of the intrinsic relationship between my mental/physical well being and my performance at work (and in life). Now, I make a conscious effort to let each one inform, challenge and improve the other.

About Annalisa Amicangelo:

Annalisa Amicangelo is Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, one of the world’s largest providers of pre-K–12 education solutions. Annalisa contributes to the strategic development and expansion of HMH’s CSR and shared value initiatives, including public-facing partnerships with the Boston Celtics and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools, as well as employee engagement programs like Community Investment Councils and HMH Volunteer Week.

During Annalisa’s tenure, HMH’s CSR program has been awarded and recognized by the Boston Business Journal, PR News, the Corporate Volunteer Council, the Center for Green Schools and Junior Achievement of Northern New England and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.

In addition to her work in the private sector, Annalisa serves as Vice President of Jumpstart for Young Children’s Northeast Region Young Professionals Board, where she drives fundraising, awareness and networking activities to support the national nonprofit’s key programs. Annalisa is also a member of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education’s Emerging Leaders Advisory Council and a graduate of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Leadership Program.

Annalisa received her Bachelor of Arts in History cum laude from Boston University and completed programs of study at St. Anne’s College, Oxford; and l’Università degli Studi di Padova.

Connect with Annalisa on Twitter, and follow Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on Twitter, Facebook, and explore their website.

Learn more about Annalisa Amicangelo 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 Marsh & McLennan Companies

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 Marsh & McLennan Companies’ employee  based in Portland, Oregon who regularly volunteers at his local fire house and is involved in disaster preparedness education.

A Marsh & McLennan Companies’ employee based in Portland, Oregon who regularly volunteers at his local fire house and is involved in disaster preparedness education.

Marsh & McLennan Companies’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department focuses on helping people and communities at risk through education and disaster preparedness and recovery; by supporting select nonprofit partners, strategic fundraising campaigns, and employee volunteer initiatives.

The CSR team supports the Company’s global community, including offices in more than 130 countries and over 55,000 employees around the world. With the CSR team being relatively small, they have to be thoughtful, creative, and strategic when launching CSR programs. The department has streamlined its initiatives by creating programs, policies, and platforms that make it easier for employees to give back to their community.

Marsh & McLennan Companies' employees  in Hong Kong, China utilizing the Company's Paid Day off to Volunteer Policy.

Marsh & McLennan Companies’ employees in Hong Kong, China utilizing the Company’s Paid Day off to Volunteer Policy.

Regarding the Company’s employee volunteer initiatives, last year employees around the world entered over 4,000 volunteer hours utilizing the ‘Global Paid Day Off to Volunteer’ Policy. This policy is a great example of engaging employees and supporting them with one paid day off a year to volunteer with a local charity.

This often provides opportunities for employees to engage in team-building or skills-based volunteering. What better way to get to know your co-workers than sharing the experience of a day of giving back? The Company also has successful volunteer programs, like the Global Volunteer Recognition Program, Dollars for Doers-Volunteer Grants, and its Walks/Runs for a Charitable Cause Program.

The Company says VolunteerMatch has played an instrumental role in making it easier for employees to search and recruit for volunteer activities. The VolunteerMatch Solutions tools also enable the Company to track and report on volunteer engagement and community impact.

Marsh & McLennan Companies' employees  in Singapore renewing a local school.

Marsh & McLennan Companies’ employees in Singapore renewing a local school.

Tracking volunteer engagement has allowed the CSR team to establish volunteer metrics and internal benchmarking. Establishing volunteer goals and creating targeted communications to increase awareness can help spur the element of healthy competition to drive engagement. Another component of reporting that has been great for the Company’s programs is the ability to identify cause areas, types of volunteering, and programs that motivate the Company’s employees.

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

In 2013, Marsh & McLennan Companies increased engagement significantly, with a two-fold rise in volunteer hours and employee participation. This was a result of volunteer programs like Dollars for Doers-Volunteer Grants, and the Global Volunteer Recognition Program, that rewarded more than 2,000 employees in its first year of launching. Internationally, the Company created country-specific CSR committees and distributed seed funding to engage and support international volunteer efforts, as well as to grow local programs in scope and impact.

How do you get employees excited and involved in volunteering?

Marsh & McLennan Companies' employees  in  Cape Town, Africa repainting a pre-school in honor of Mandela Day.

Marsh & McLennan Companies’ employees in Cape Town, Africa repainting a pre-school in honor of Mandela Day.

It’s important to recognize employees who are taking the time to give back their community. The Company has created fun and creative ways to recognize and reward exceptional volunteers for tracking their community involvement on VolunteerMatch.

For example, this year the Company will provide the top Walk/Run for a Charitable Cause Leaders an opportunity to win a Fitness Fitbit-Activity tracker for recruiting the most employee volunteers. This is a fun way to encourage employees to organize walks/runs that support their local nonprofit organizations, and include their colleagues.

The CSR team has also found that posting volunteer stories and blogs on the Company intranet drives engagement. This is an easy way to recognize colleagues and empower them to share their volunteer stories and inspire others. Taking a holistic approach to reporting and storytelling has proven to be key to expanding the program’s impact and scope.

Kudos to Marsh & McLennan Companies 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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