Meet Lauren Keeler, 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.

Lauren KeelerName: Lauren Keeler

Title: Director of Community Engagement

Organization: Apollo Education Group

About the Session: “Refreshingly Awesome Programs!”

We’ll be sharing some of the creative new projects we’re developing for volunteers at Apollo Education Group and GoDaddy that helped breathe life into our programs.

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

Traveling! I’ve made it a priority and it’s made such an impact on my life.

About Lauren Keeler:

Lauren works in Corporate Social Responsibility for Apollo Education Group as the Director of Community Engagement. In this role she works developing strategy, identifying and maintaining partnerships and creating service opportunities for employees nationwide while working with nonprofit partners, companies and community leaders to develop company reputation as a leader in service-minded business.

In her six years working in CSR, Lauren has driven an increase in engagement from 5,000 hours logged annually to over 80,000 each year. She is a Points of Light Leadership Faculty and has been a panelist four years in a row at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. Lauren is also the President Elect for the Central Arizona Corporate Volunteer Council.

Connect with Lauren on Twitter.

Learn more about Lauren Keeler 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.

Continue reading

CSR Food for Thought: Wimpy or Warren Buffet?

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.

Accounting for the future – will you be Wimpy or Warren Buffet?

These days, much is being written about the need for investors to take a longer view – instead of picking up and dropping financial investments quickly, think about the longer term benefits that could be created. In her recent post, BCCCC Executive Director Katherine V. Smith urges corporate citizenship leaders to take note, and think about the psychology and economics necessary to convince investors that CSR plans are a good investment – for the long term.

5 Ways Volunteering with Your Coworkers Will Make You Happier (and Help Your Career)

In this Fast Co.Exist article, Pamela Hawley of UniversalGiving takes 5 key reasons businesses benefit from employee volunteering, and demonstrates a similar benefit for the individual employee directly. With arguments like these, there’s no reason for anyone – employer or employee – to say no to employee volunteering.

Intel Uses Volunteers to Achieve Its Vision: Extend Computing Technology to Every Person on Earth

Intel’s innovative global pro bono employee volunteer program has a unique, business-driven model that allows the company to harness the generosity, passion and skills of its employees to pursue its corporate vision. And it has more than doubled the reach of its CSR program in five years. Read the fascinating profile by Intel’s Luke Filose on New Global Citizen for more details.

5 Steps to Selecting a Cause Marketing Partner

As active participants in the CSR community, you probably know that cause marketing can no longer be viewed as a peripheral “extra” strategy. And choosing the right partner for your cause marketing initiative is a key element for success. Expert Bruce Burtsch provides five steps to make sure you choose the perfect cause marketing partner to create the benefits you want.

Continue reading

2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards: A Look at Finalist The Standard

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?

Employees of The Standard repaired and refurbished bikes at an annual company-sponsored Day of Caring at the Community Cycling Center, which broadens access to bicycling and its benefits.

Employees of The Standard repaired and refurbished bikes at an annual company-sponsored Day of Caring at the Community Cycling Center, which broadens access to bicycling and its benefits.

Standard Insurance Company (“The Standard”), a financial services company headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is built on a promise to be there for its customers when they need it the most. Their CSR and employee volunteer program follows a “blueprint” for building stronger communities that helps the company and its employees find many ways to give back and get involved.

One element of the Blueprint is company-sponsored Days of Caring to support community partners such as schools, Meals-on-Wheels and literacy programs. In 2013, employees logged an impressive 15,000 volunteer hours.

The Standard also connects employees with nonprofits which seek their expertise, guidance and leadership support on their boards of directors. The company’s 65 officers are expected to serve on at least one civic or nonprofit board, and The Standard offers annual nonprofit board training for all employees. In 2013, the effort helped them connect with dozens of new charitable, civic and business organizations making a real difference in their communities.

Members of The Standard's management committee volunteered for the annual National Free Cone Day, a chance for people in the community to enjoy free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and give back by donating to the nonprofit New Avenues for Youth. The fourth annual Scoop-A-Thon event raised more than $60,000 in a single day.

Members of The Standard’s management committee volunteered for the annual National Free Cone Day, a chance for people in the community to enjoy free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and give back by donating to the nonprofit New Avenues for Youth. The fourth annual Scoop-A-Thon event raised more than $60,000 in a single day.

Each September, The Standard hosts Oregon’s largest Volunteer Expo in Portland, and last year the Cincinnati office held its third annual expo. These expos connect employees and the public with the local volunteer opportunities that match their interests and expertise. In 2013, more than 150 nonprofit organizations participated, and the Expos were attended by thousands.

During a seven-month period, 379 employees of The Standard volunteered nearly 3,000 hours to build three new homes, completed in December 2013, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.

During a seven-month period, 379 employees of The Standard volunteered nearly 3,000 hours to build three new homes, completed in December 2013, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.

In 2013, The Standard and its employees used an actual blueprint and real tools on a special project. Beginning in April, hundreds of employees of The Standard in Portland, Ore., traded a day at the office for a day at the construction site, putting their building skills to the test and helping to make the dream of home ownership a reality for families facing economic barriers. A nine-month partnership with Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East combined the help of volunteers and financial support from The Standard to build three new homes, completed in December 2013. To support the project, employees received extra paid time off so they could volunteer for “build days.”

How do you get employees excited and involved in volunteering?

The Standard’s Dollars for Doers program encourages employees to request funding support from the company for the organizations where they volunteer. In 2013, ten nonprofit organizations each received contributions through this program.

The Leo Award program honors Leo Samuel, who founded the company that would become The Standard in 1906. The program recognizes employee volunteers who exemplify the community spirit of Leo Samuel and provides an annual Founder’s Award which allows the winner to direct funding to their charity of choice.

Kudos to The Standard 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.

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading