2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards: A Look at Finalist JetBlue

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?

JetBlue’s program is called ‘Community Connection.’ It was created to align corporate giving with JetBlue crewmembers’ passions.

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

Crewmembers from Hartford cleaned up their local park for JetBlue's 7th Annual One Thing That's Green to celebrate Earth Month.

Crewmembers from Hartford cleaned up their local park for JetBlue’s 7th Annual One Thing That’s Green to celebrate Earth Month.

In 2013 JetBlue nearly doubled the hours volunteered by its crewmembers!

According to Kate Wetzel, JetBlue’s Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility, this was in part due to the how the VolunteerMatch tool makes it as easy as possible for crewmembers to sign up, and also because the CSR Liaisons at the company have started including Community Connection in the onboarding process for new crewmembers. It also did not hurt that the JetBlue reservations team logged more than half of all hours logged!

How do you get employees excited and involved in volunteering?

260 Presidential Volunteer Service Awards were distributed to JetBlue Crewmembers this May in Salt Lake City, UT.

260 Presidential Volunteer Service Awards were distributed to JetBlue Crewmembers this May in Salt Lake City, UT.

JetBlue places a large emphasis on crewmember volunteer rewards. The company uses the VolunteerMatch Solutions “Volunteer Rewards” feature in a unique way: crewmembers log the hours they volunteer with nonprofits and for every 25 hours, JetBlue donates a travel certificate for the charity of their choice.

Additionally, crewmembers who are particularly dedicated to service earn Presidential Volunteer Service Awards and receive it at an annual recognition dinner where they are presented with awards from senior leadership.

Kudos to JetBlue 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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2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards: A Look at Finalist Philips

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?

Heart Walk Boston 2013

Heart Walk Boston 2013

Philips is a technology company that cares about people and addresses some of the world’s biggest challenges to help make the world a better place. Philips Cares is North America’s community outreach program that supports the company’s drive to do good by providing employees with ways to work together to create healthy, sustainable communities that contribute to the success and well-being of people today, and for a better tomorrow.

This can take many forms: from helping a child to excel in math, to making a corporate donation to a nonprofit in need, to taking part in the Heart Walk to raise awareness about heart health. Our actions through community outreach help Philips to improve the quality of individual lives not only through our technical innovations, but through our people and our shared belief that each of us can touch the lives of those around us.

Through Philips Cares, employees participate in meaningful volunteer opportunities that suit their needs, schedules, and passions. In addition, the company and employees alike can make financial donations to the charities that contribute to the health and well-being of others. Through these contributions, Philips is able to improve the quality of life in its communities today and for tomorrow.

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

Philips employees help the fight against heart disease and stroke through their involvement with the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk. 2,500+ employees participate in 25+ Heart Walks across the country on an annual basis (raising $350,000+). This event has become a tradition at Philips in North America and some markets have been participating for 14+ years!

Rebuilding Together rebuild project 2013

Rebuilding Together rebuild project 2013

Philips and Rebuilding Together have teamed up to provide much needed health, safety, and/or energy efficient home improvements to the elderly, disabled, veterans and victims of natural disasters. These improvements help families to live in their homes longer and improve the quality of life for families and surrounding communities. Improvements are funded by Philips, and employees work together to complete hands on projects. In 2013, Rebuilding Together and Philips renovated over 20 homes through the help of over 350 Philips volunteers serving over 1,300 homeowners and community members. The combined effort provided over $725k in market value to eight communities across the country.

As a technology company focused on improving lives through innovation, Philips supports National 4-H Council’s science education programs that aim to get kids excited about science. Through their support of 4-H’s National Youth Science Day in 2013, Philips and its employees engaged 1,250 kids in science related activities in five cities in the USA.

March of Dimes "Power of Touch" event 2013

March of Dimes “Power of Touch” event 2013

As part of a commitment to improve the lives of even the smallest members of our community, Philips and the March of Dimes worked together in 2013 to support families with babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) through volunteer events in 5 cities across the country. The events were part of a larger sponsorship by Philips Mother & Child Care and the Philips Cares community outreach program to benefit the March of Dimes’ NICU Family Support efforts. About 125 employees teamed up to package “power of touch” care kits for new families with a baby in the NICU.

How do you get employees excited and involved in volunteering?

The first strategy is to understand what employees are interested in, and tap into those areas. To determine this Philips periodically surveys employees. It’s also important to make the overall program focused enough to make an impact in its key focus areas, but also flexible enough so that there is something for everyone.

Next, Philips makes sure to provide turn-key, low or no cost volunteer options to program champions at locations across the country. This makes it easy for company locations and employees to get involved.

Offering rewards, incentives and recognition to employee volunteers and program champions is another great way Philips keeps participants engaged.

Finally, getting executives in the company actively involved and supporting the program goes a long way towards getting everyone else excited.

Kudos to Philips 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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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