CSR Food For Thought: #MakeTodayMatter for a Better Tomorrow

Stack of NewspapersThe 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.

 

 

Bank Pays for Customers’ Volunteer Projects to Inspire More Good Deeds
We’ve all heard about companies aiding and encouraging their employees’ volunteer efforts. But what about their customers’? This Huffington Post article highlights TD Bank’s creative way to give back – by funding the community projects of selected customers. The stipulation? They had to complete their projects in 24 hours to #MakeTodayMatter.

Corporate-Giving Effort Aims to Expand Giving Tuesday
If your company participated in #GivingTuesday this year – that’s wonderful! Many great nonprofits are truly thankful for the support they receive on this new(ish) holiday. There are some companies, however, that are pledging to take #GivingTuesday even further, according to this feature in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. By 2015, will 500 companies make the pledge to donate 1-1-1? That’s 1% of their equity, 1% of their employees’ time, and 1% of their products. What do you think?

November Corporate Citizenship Highlights
Happy December! While we look ahead to the holidays, let’s also look back on the CSR accomplishments from last month. From Google’s matching donations for fighting Ebola to companies staying closed on Thanksgiving to give employees time with their families, November was certainly an eventful month in the world of CSR. In this post, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship discusses some of the accomplishments. What would you add to the list of November corporate good deeds?

CVS Celebrates #GivingTuesday and Colleague Volunteerism by Awarding $100,000 to 50 Nonprofits Nationwide
The employees at CVS Health volunteer for some great community organizations. So, when #GivingTuesday rolled around, it was a perfect fit to donate to the organizations company employees hold dear to them. Employees were invited to nominate an organization they volunteer for to win one of 50 grants from the CVS Health Foundation. Read their press release on 3BL Media for more information and the full list of grantees.

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2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Insights: A Swedish REflection

At the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit, we learned from experts in CSR, volunteer engagement, technology and program administration. In this series of blog posts, we’ll share with you the valuable insights offered at each session. Up today: A Swedish REflection.

Guest post by Anna Snell, Volontärbyrån

Anna Snell chats with Vicky Hush, VolunteerMatch staffer and emcee of the VolunteerMatch Client Summit.

Anna Snell (left) chats with Vicky Hush, VolunteerMatch staffer and emcee of the VolunteerMatch Client Summit.

Two months have passed since the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit, but Detroit stays with me. What an inspiration it was to be bused around the city, seeing what we are capable of achieving when we come together, devoting time and passion in the effort to create a better life for ourselves and each other.

Detroit’s journey back on track reminds me of the history of volunteering in Sweden, where I come from. It goes back to the 19th century, when Sweden was a very poor country. A third of the population emigrated (most of them to the United States), and the people that were left behind took it upon themselves to create a brighter, healthier and more equal society.

Initiatives like dental care, libraries, health care for children and home visits for the elderly came about around this time – things that volunteers and nonprofit organizations created. Responsibility for things have since been taken over by the state and are now largely tax-funded, but the appetite for organizing ourselves and volunteering has remained.

Volontärbyrån is VolunteerMatch’s Swedish cousin, and we have been exchanging insights from our respective countries for years. Volontärbyrån rests on the same firm foundation as VolunteerMatch, the drive to make it easy for people to volunteer and to support nonprofits in finding volunteers.

In Sweden, corporate volunteering isn’t as widespread as it is in the U.S. However, volunteering in general in Sweden is very popular, with every other Swede devoting on average 16 hours per month to volunteering. Companies are catching on to the fact that encouraging volunteering among their staff isn’t just a great way of involving staff in the company’s CSR activities and employer branding, it’s also beneficial to the well-being of each individual who participates.

I manage Volontärbyrån’s corporate partnerships, and came to the VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit in order to get inspired, take home some ideas and to network. And I wasn’t disappointed! I met some really great people, from the dedicated VolunteerMatch staff to passionate company coordinators as well as inspiring nonprofits. I took home lots of ideas and advice to our partners about what a successful internal infrastructure for a volunteer program looks like, how to create visibility around volunteering, and different ways to measure the success of a volunteer program.

Thank you, VolunteerMatch, for enabling all of us to network and exchange insights and ideas like this, in our joint efforts to connect people with great causes!

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On #GivingTuesday, Take Your Volunteer Impact to the Next Level

Today is #GivingTuesday. Step up your volunteer impact by donating to VolunteerMatch.Today is #GivingTuesday, a day dedicated to giving back. Today, millions come together to focus on one thing: giving money, time, skills and passion to help make the world a better place.

At VolunteerMatch, though, we know that many of you focus on this type of thing all year round. Whether it’s through your company’s volunteer programs, or volunteering you do on your own time and with family, you know what it means to make a difference for what you care about most.

So today, on #GivingTuesday, we want to show you how to take things to the next level. This year, we’re reaching out to our network and asking you to donate to VolunteerMatch.

Donate to VolunteerMatch and help create more superheroes.Why? Great question! Because VolunteerMatch is a nonprofit, just like where you volunteer your time. Each donation we get helps millions more people find ways to make a difference. (In fact, our unique work with companies helps close to 100,000 organizations connect with skilled volunteers.)

We’re participating in the CrowdRise Giving Tower Holiday Challenge this year to build a tower of donations that reaches higher than any existing building in the world!

So please click here to donate to VolunteerMatch, and then you can click here to download the app and view the Tower being built in real time.

With your help, we can create a network of volunteer superheroes that will make anything possible – even a tower to the moon!

Click here to donate to VolunteerMatch.

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2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Insights: Refreshingly Awesome Employee Volunteer Programs

At the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit, we learned from experts in CSR, volunteer engagement, technology and program administration. In this series of blog posts, we’ll share with you the valuable insights offered at each session. Up today: REfreshingly Awesome Programs.

Lauren Keeler of Apollo Education Group and Tyler Butler of GoDaddy make awesome look easy. At VolunteerMatch’s Client Summit, they shared some creative projects they developed for their employee volunteer programs. They’re not afraid to step out of the box, and you shouldn’t be either!

Picture of Lauren Keeler

Lauren Keeler, Director, Community Engagement, Apollo Education Group

Picture of Tyler Butler

Tyler Butler, Director, Community Outreach, GoDaddy

Lauren started a 10-person pilot volunteer program that has grown so big employees are on a waiting list to participate! How did it become so successful? Lauren changed things up. Apollo previously participated in a one-on-one reading program on location at an area school. Realizing people’s busy schedules, transport time, and also taking into consideration Apollo’s culture, Lauren implemented a virtual tutoring model. This new flexibility attracted many more volunteers and increased excitement about the program.

One of the programs Tyler manages is the Hope for Soap drive. Employees are encouraged to donate toiletry items to families across the country. In 2014 alone, employees donated over 5,000 items. But it’s not just the families that benefit. GoDaddy incorporates prizes to boost involvement in the Hope for Soap drive, as well as other volunteering campaigns. For example, in certain annual giving challenges, employees can win tickets to exclusive events and one-on-one time with senior leadership in the form of bike rides and lunches. Tyler showed us how a little incentive and some healthy competition can go a long way.

Thanks again to Tyler and Lauren for sharing such inspiring insights. They reminded us that it’s okay to challenge the status quo when it comes to developing employee volunteer programs. For more on their awesome programs, check out the slides from their session.

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The Cloud’s Silver Lining

Picture of Appirio employee volunteers

Appirio employees volunteer with the East Bay Youth Consortium.

To use the company’s time, talents and technology for social good.

That’s the straightforward mission of Appirio Silver Lining, the corporate responsibility arm of the global cloud services provider Appirio. VolunteerMatch is thrilled to welcome Appirio as a partner; they are aiming for the sky, and they are reaching it: Since its launch in 2010, the Silver Lining program’s employee participants have donated over 15,000 hours, $350,000, and helped over 400 different nonprofits. How do they do this? Three things…


Read the rest of Appirio’s Volunteer Spotlight
 to learn the three things Appirio does to make this magic happen, and the amazing things they have in store for #GivingTuesday.

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2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Insights: How to Turn Transition into Opportunity for Your EVP

At the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit in Detroit, we learned from experts in CSR, volunteer engagement, technology and program administration. In this series of blog posts, we’ll share with you the valuable insights offered at each session. Up today: REalign: Managing Your EVP During Turning Points & Transitions.

Transitions and turning points in companies can be painful and scary, but they can also open up possibilities and create new efficiency. Alex Price of ADT Corporation and Bill Egan of United Airlines both offered advice on managing an employee volunteer program (EVP) through challenging times at this year’s VolunteerMatch Client Summit.

Picture of Alex Price

Alex Price, Community Relations & Corporate Responsibility, ADT Corporation

Alex explained how he led EVP initiatives during ADT’s spin-off from Tyco. They changed from a huge company headquartered far away to a sizable, but much smaller, organization headquartered at home. This created some serious cultural challenges as well as some excellent opportunities. For example, ADT had the chance to reinvent itself. Alex made sure the employee engagement programs were the center of this culture change. ADT has gone on to create an award-winning EVP that continues to grow and improve.

 

Picture of Bill Egan

Bill Egan, Manager, Corporate & Community Affairs, United Airlines

United Airlines faced a similar, yet opposite, situation. They were a large company that got much larger when they merged with Continental. The merger created the opportunity to create a program with the best of both worlds, but the transition had to be managed delicately. The atmosphere was tense as people navigated the transition in an uncertain and changing environment. Bill and his team were able to use their EVP as a way to inspire employees to a purpose, work together, and feel better about the new company.

Alex and Bill shared five key steps to create an EVP that not only survives change, but also helps smooth the bumps that are common with any transition.

 

1. Assess Your Situation

Take a look at your workplace structure, including the culture, programs, workforce and current partners. Whether you are starting from scratch like ADT, or merging like United Airlines, you must evaluate your current situation and pinpoint your own unique needs before moving forward.

2. Develop a Plan Based on Your Situation, Aimed at a New Definition of Success

While change can be unnerving, it allows you to redefine what success means for your newly changed company. Both Alex and Bill recommended plotting your course before acting, determining program focus & branding, making sure focus aligns with the company brand, and deciding which department will house the program.

3. Involve Company Leadership, Obtain Senior-Level Buy-in

Both Alex and Bill could not stress this point enough. They explained that the best way to be successful at this critical step is to get feedback from senior leaders. Learn what they want for the new iteration of the company and discuss their ideas on how the EVP can help get there. Executives should also become champions of key events and connect with the leaders at partner nonprofits.

4. Embed Your EVP into the DNA of the New Entity

Include employee volunteer information in recruiting and on-boarding new employees, weave volunteer engagement into your big moments, and leverage company assets and interdepartmental relationships for your EVP.

As an example, ADT’s corporate structure lent itself to encouraging locations to form their own geographical “Always Cares Committees”. The committees are selected by local executives through an application process. The positions are prestigious and receive leadership recognition.

5. Take Time to Evaluate and Measure

To create ongoing programs that thrive and help your company meet business goals, you must create meaningful measures and metrics that you can track over time. This includes quantifying the value of your program, getting baseline metrics, conducting follow-up studies, reporting on program output, monitoring PR and social media performance, and identifying areas for improvement.

Thank you to both ADT and United Airlines for showing how employee volunteering can use transition as an opportunity to grow and smooth out issues. In both cases, two much stronger companies and brands have emerged. Want to explore this topic further? View the slides from Alex and Bill’s session.

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Encourage Your Employees to Be Like Batman (or Woman)

Your employees can help us create more superheroes by donating to VolunteerMAtchVolunteers are like superheroes. They use their time, skills and passion to save the world. Shouldn’t EVERYONE have the chance to make a difference for what they care about most?

With that in mind, we’re doing something different this holiday season at VolunteerMatch. And we’re hoping you and your employees will want to be a part of it.

We’ve joined the CrowdRise Giving Tower Holiday Challenge, a friendly fundraising competition that is taking the power of donations to new heights – literally. During the holiday season this year, and especially on #GivingTuesday, we’ll be reaching out to our members to donate to VolunteerMatch.

What’s great about this Challenge is that there are multiple ways to get involved. After all, giving back is not a one-size-fits-all undertaking.

Volunteers are like superheroes - and your employees can donate to help us create more of them!In addition to donating, your employees can easily participate by becoming volunteer fundraisers. This is a great way for any employee, no matter their role or schedule, to get involved in the community.

It’s super easy – all they have to do is go here and click ‘Fundraise for This Campaign.’ In seconds, they can set up their own fundraising page to share with everyone they know.

If creating more superheroes sounds like a good fit for your company, then please spread the word to employees and encourage them to donate and become volunteer fundraisers.

With your help, we will build a network of volunteer superheroes that will make anything possible – even a tower to the moon!

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