2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Insights: Build Support for Your Program with Employee Champions

Guest post by: Daniella Lippert

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: REorganize: Building Support Through Champions.

Photo of Wendy Hershey, Daniella Lippert, and Annalisa Amicangelo

Presenters from left to right:
Wendy Hershey – Principal, Mercer Investment Consulting, Inc.
Daniella Lippert – Program Manager, Volunteering & Engagement, CSR, Marsh & McLennan Companies
Annalisa Amicangelo – Manager, CSR, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a company’s consciousness; it brings awareness to the inner connectivity of people, communities and companies. It’s great that VolunteerMatch clients have an opportunity to share insights and best practices. The things we learn from each other help us better leverage our business resources, assets, and procedures. They also help us continue to influence the companies we work for and to increase our positive impact in the community.

During my breakout session, I covered the topic of engaging volunteer champions within a large global organization. At Marsh & McLennan Companies, our CSR department has a twofold approach. We start with a top-down effect from corporate. Then, each operating company has a grassroots approach – they can “flex their muscles and creativity” to engage colleagues in a way that’s tailored to their individual company’s brand. The main points I focused on in the session were:

  1. Establishing a clear mission, a clear strategy, and clear goals.
  2. Creating programs, policies, and platforms that can be used across the company.
  3. Implementing incentives to volunteer.
  4. Using VolunteerMatch’s reporting function for quarterly reporting, goal setting, and evaluating.

Our CSR team supports our company’s global community, which includes offices in more than 130 countries with over 55,000 employees worldwide. Because our CSR team is relatively small, we have to be thoughtful, creative, and strategic when engaging colleagues from different backgrounds and cultures.

Our company focuses on helping communities through education and disaster preparedness/ recovery. We select nonprofit partners, and then conduct strategic fundraising campaigns and employee volunteer initiatives. Our mission provides a clear direction on what the CSR department supports, as well as what we don’t support.

By focusing our energy we can see: Better alignment with our company’s brand, increased colleague engagement, and greater social impact.

It’s important to recognize employees who are taking the time to give back their community. Our company has created fun ways to recognize and reward exceptional volunteers for tracking their community involvement on VolunteerMatch. For example, this year, our company will give the top “Walk/Run for a Charitable Cause” leaders an opportunity to win a Fitness Fitbit-Activity tracker. This is a great way to encourage employees to organize walks/runs that support their local nonprofit organizations, and to include their colleagues.

In 2013, Marsh & McLennan Companies increased engagement significantly, doubling both our volunteer hours and employee participation rate. Tracking volunteer engagement has allowed our CSR team to establish metrics and internal benchmarking. Establishing volunteer goals and creating targeted communications to increase awareness can spur healthy competition that drives engagement. Another advantage of reporting is the ability to identify cause areas, types of volunteering, and programs that motivate our employees.

For more information on building support through champions, view the slides from this session.

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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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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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CSR Food For Thought: A Tall Glass of Gratitude from Jack Daniel’s

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.

 

 

Jack Daniel’s Continues to Help Service Members Get Home for the Holidays
It’s that time of year. Many of us travel across the country (and the world!) to be with family and friends for the holiday season. And as Jeff Arnett of Jack Daniel’s puts it, “No one understands more deeply than a service member what it means to be home for the holidays.” Read this press release on 3BL Media to learn about Jack Daniel’s partnership with the Armed Services YMCA on “Operation Ride Home”.

Giving Programs that Lead to Deeper Engagement
Yes, the holidays are the biggest time of the year for donations of both time and money. But how do you keep your employees from feeling like your giving program is just one more out of the hundreds they’re pitched? In this post, Realized Worth suggests a strategy for creating volunteering and monetary giving programs that truly engage your employees, using the amazing nonprofit Kiva as an example.

Many Top Fortune 500 Companies Receive Perfect Score on LGBT Equality
The Human Rights Campaign released its 2015 Corporate Equality Index, which evaluates companies based on their policies surrounding LGBT employees. 150 Fortune 500 companies, including JPMorgan Chase, General Motors, and UnitedHealth Group, received a perfect score of 100%. The study looked at factors such as the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in non-discrimination policies, inclusive health benefits, and a public commitment to equality.

Volunteerism 2.0: Local and Global Citizenship through Employee Engagement
At the 2014 Net Impact Conference, Laura Asiala of PYXERA Global gave an inspiring talk on the relationship between volunteerism and employee engagement. New Global Citizens has posted the text of this talk. Hear examples of how companies have used volunteering as a strategic (and successful) tool – and how your company can do the same.

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CSR Food For Thought: It’s All About the Employees

CSR-Food-For-Thought_Newspaper-Stack12-200x149The CSR Food for Thought series is a weekly roundup of relevant news from around the Web, presented to you in one bite-sized blog post. Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.

 

 

The Crucial – and Underappreciated –  Role of HR in Sustainability
At VolunteerMatch, we’ve been saying this for a while: CSR should be built into the very core of a company. An important part of achieving this is to include CSR in your employee recruitment and onboarding processes. This post from MIT Sloan Management Review challenges companies to do better at incorporating CSR into their HR practices. They advocate for a quadruple bottom line – people, planet, profit, and community impact. We couldn’t agree more!

Cisco Employee Volunteers Help a Texas Family Rebuild
Cisco has partnered with Habitat for Humanity for decades. But for Cisco Project Manager Beth Kolman, this time was different. In this post, she conveys how she was moved by the experience of attending a groundbreaking ceremony with fellow employees and hearing directly from the family they were helping. At VolunteerMatch, we love hearing stories like this. Offering fulfilling volunteer opportunities is a great way to keep your employees happy.

Supercharge Your CSR Commitments through Employee Engagement
As this Triple Pundit article puts it, “Happy employees usually equal profitable companies”. It gives numerous examples (summarized from the Conference Board of Canada’s recent CSR Summit) of companies supercharging their CSR by following this advice: Start at the top, get employee buy-in and participation, tell awesome stories, and assemble a great team.

13 Disturbing Facts about Employee Engagement [Infographic]
Don’t let this scary-sounding infographic from The Huffington Post’s blog get you down. Yes, it shows that employee engagement, overall, is low. But it also shows how much room there is for improvement, how much we have to gain from investing in employee engagement, and how much potential exists to make your company stand out from the crowd.

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CSR Food For Thought: Spread the Love

CSR-Food-For-Thought_Newspaper-Stack12-200x149The 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.

 

 

Is Love in the Workplace the New Norm?
Gratitude, accountability, truthfulness, and yes – love – are becoming more and more prevalent in the workplace. And we think that’s great! At VolunteerMatch, we believe corporate responsibility includes taking care of your employees and encouraging them to take care of themselves and others. Find out why you shouldn’t be afraid to spread the love in your company in this post from Justmeans.

Engage and Excel: How Corporate Responsibility Improves the Bottom Line
Think your company’s top performers don’t have time to volunteer? Think again. In this Triple Pundit article, PwC takes an in-depth look at the connection between CSR involvement and employee performance in their company. Not only is participation in CSR activities an indicator of overall job performance, it also means the employee is more likely to stick around longer. PwC also explains why CSR needs to expand out of an HR function and permeate the systems of an entire company.

5 Things Good Leaders Do
This is not your typical list of leadership traits. VolunteerMatch President Greg Baldwin looks critically at the qualities that embody two outstanding leaders: Premal Shah of Kiva and Charles Best of DonorsChoose.org. While what he found may or not surprise you, it will certainly inspire you.

Employee Giving Campaign: Millennial Employees Help Keep Traditions Alive
Each year, Microsoft takes the entire month of October to give back to their local and global communities. A 5K walk/run, fundraiser, concert, cooking, online auction… the sheer amount of programs and ways to get involved is astounding! In this blog post, they share the highlights from their month, and explain how they were able to give more than ever this year with the help of their younger workforce.

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The Potential Profit in Serving Nonprofits

Guest post by Kari Travis, The Super Service Challenge

The Super Service Challenge helped an Arizona real estate firm enrich its work culture by motivating the company to step up for a worthy cause.

Read about how The Super Service Challenge helped an Arizona real estate firm enrich its work culture by motivating the company to step up for a worthy cause.

Dub Dellis thought the Super Service Challenge sounded too good to be true. As Chief Operating Officer of Walt Danley Realty in Paradise, Arizona, Dellis heard about The Challenge’s drawing out of a $1 million giveaway for nonprofits, and felt a healthy skepticism. But when a trusted acquaintance recommended The Challenge as an opportunity to make a difference, Dellis took the next step.

The results amazed him, and today Dellis calls The Challenge a dream come true – a dream that allows companies across the nation to improve their performance while also making a positive impact in their communities.

How service transformed Walt Danley Realty by turning a giving company into a company of givers.

The Super Service Challenge lit a fire for the team at Walt Danley Realty, according to Dellis. The company was already a close-knit community, with employees devoted to serving throughout the community. But what the firm needed was a platform on which it could encourage its entire team to serve a local cause.

The 2013 Super Service Challenge felt like the perfect opportunity, Dellis says.

The entire office participated by volunteering at St. Mary’s Food Bank on the Monday before Thanksgiving. Team members created videos about their service projects which they then entered into The Challenge’s prize drawing. The group had a lot of fun – so much, in fact, that they served at St. Mary’s several times again following The Super Service Challenge project.

When the prizes were announced, Walt Danley Realty won $25,000 for St. Mary’s Food Bank, enough to provide 175,000 meals for those in need. It was an exhilarating day for Dellis and rest of the Walt Danley team – and for everyone at St. Mary’s.

“It lifted us up as a company,” Dellis remembers. “We got way more out of it than even St. Mary’s Food Bank. Positive feelings and positive emotions translate to a better workplace.”

Team morale soared, and Dellis remembers the office was excited for an entire month following the announcement. It was an unforgettable experience, and one that gave him and his coworkers a sense of real accomplishment. This year, the team is participating in The Challenge again, motivated once again by the opportunity to make a lasting impact through service.

“These kinds of things make you stop and value what you have,” Dellis says. “It takes just 10 minutes to make a video – and to do something about it.”

The Super Service Challenge is a nationwide movement to transform business through service.

Getting involved is simple. Here’s how it works:

First, grab a few co-workers and go serve your favorite nonprofit(s). Next, create a short video on your phone that answers two questions: how did you serve, and how did serving impact your team? Finally, enter your video online for a chance to win part of the $1 million giveaway. All prize funding is donated in support of the nonprofits served by the winning teams.

The Super Service Challenge runs until November 30, 2014. For more information on how your business can participate, contact Anna Weaver at aweaver@superservicechallenge.com, or visit the website at www.superservicechallenge.com.

How has volunteering helped bring your team closer together? Tell us about it below!

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