2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards: A Look at Finalist Humana

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?

Humana volunteers and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer take a quick break from playground landscaping at the Keystone Learning Academy.

Humana volunteers and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer take a quick break from playground landscaping at the Keystone Learning Academy.

Humana encourages employee volunteerism connected to promoting health and well-being in communities where Humana has a presence, however, all cause areas of interest to associates are recognized. Associates at Humana enjoy volunteering on their own, as well as with each other – in work teams, departments or company-wide initiatives.

Humana places a large emphasis on Days of Service, including Make a Difference Day and National Volunteer Week. Humana also regularly recognizes associate volunteerism through several grants, including Dollars 4 Doers, Volunteer of the Year, and awards the “Spirit of Philanthropy,” a distinction given to a group or department of associates who display exceptional commitment to the community through volunteerism.

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

In 2013 Humana implemented the Humana’s Volunteer Fellowship, a unique program that sent a team of five Humana associates to work at a nonprofit full-time for four weeks on a special project designed to create transformational change for the organization and the community.

The Humana Fellows assisted the Volunteer Center of Brown County in Green Bay, by formalizing their Neighbors Helping Neighbors program to a year-round initiative. Neighbors Helping Neighbors sends volunteers to help seniors and people with disabilities with routine home upkeep. The Humana team created a guidelines and procedures handbook, developed a marketing and outreach plan, established a database to track volunteers, and set up an evaluation plan to measure success.

The number of hours volunteered by Humana associates increased from 131,137 hours in 2012 to 164,434 hours in 2013; the number of volunteers increased from 4,521 in 2012 to 4,917 in 2013.

How do you get employees excited and involved in volunteering?

Humana volunteers unite for their 'before' picture this spring before helping Louisville's Keystone Learning Academy beautify its facility.

Humana volunteers unite for their ‘before’ picture this spring before helping Louisville’s Keystone Learning Academy beautify its facility.

One benefit offered to Humana associates is the WOW! Working on Well-being® Account, which recognizes associates’ efforts in enhancing their overall health and well-being. The WOW! Account rewards participation in activities and engagement with resources that support associates’ sense of purpose, belonging and security.

By taking part in certain activities associates can earn up to $150 to spend on items and services that broadly support associates and their family’s well-being. One of the activities for which associates earn WOW! dollars is logging volunteer hours on the Humana Volunteer Network website. Associates can earn $5/month for logging an individual volunteer event and up to twice each year, associates may earn $10/month for engaging in a group volunteer event.

Kudos to Humana 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 Alex Price, 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.

Alex Price from ADT will be speaking at the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client SummitName: Alex Price

Title: Community Relations Manager

Organization: The ADT Corporation

The Session: “Lessons from the Field: Launching a Company-Wide EVP”

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

I’m always in pursuit of cause areas to focus on that match a personal passion. In my (very limited) time outside of work, I’ve recently poured myself into a focus area: my home state of Florida. This summer I’m assuming a new role on the board of Connect Florida, an organization that educates, engages and inspires my state’s top emerging leaders to make Florida a better place. I’ll be spending the next few years working on things like Everglades restoration, public school improvement, veterans issues, and other areas of need in the Sunshine State.

About Alex Price:

Alex leads Community Relations & Corporate Responsibility for ADT Corporation. Over the past 2 years, Alex has helped build the corporate citizenship function at ADT and recently launched ADT Always Cares, their nation-wide community service program promoting volunteerism for their 16,000 employees. Prior to his current role, Alex managed media relations for ADT’s commercial business unit.

Alex began his career in New York City at BBDO, one of the world’s most prestigious ad agencies. Alex then transitioned into a role in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, and for three years served as Manager of Communications for the NYC Department of Education, focused on promoting education reform.

In 2006, Alex launched a nonprofit organization nycTIES (a 501(c)3) to engage young professionals in critical local causes and promote life-long volunteerism and board service. It’s now one of the city’s strongest service organizations. He served as President for its first 4 years and now advises the organization as a director on its board.

Connect with Alex Price on Twitter.

Learn more about Alex Price 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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Announcing the Year’s Best in Corporate Volunteer Engagement!

Announcing the top ten finalists of the 2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer AwardsIt’s that special time of year, when the VolunteerMatch team has the privilege of recognizing the best of the best in corporate employee volunteer engagement. Today we announced the top ten finalists in the 2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards, identified from our community of 150 corporate clients.

The winners of the Awards will be announced during the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit on September 19, 2014 in Detroit, Mich. From banking and finance, to airlines, real estate and energy, these finalists truly represent the cream of the crop in committed action in corporate community involvement.

In the coming weeks we’ll be profiling all ten finalists right here on Volunteering is CSR. This is a golden opportunity to get an insider view of employee volunteer programs who do it right, consistently, over the long haul.

For now, though, here are this year’s ten finalists for the 2014 VolunteerMatch Corporate Volunteer Awards:

Employee Volunteer Program of the Year (Large Size Business)

Awarded to a client with outstanding performance in corporate volunteer engagement, determined by performance against four benchmark measures in 2013. The 2014 nominees for this award are:

Marsh & McLennan Companies
Morgan Stanley

Employee Volunteer Program of the Year (Small-Medium Size Business)

Awarded to a client with a program for less than 10,000 employees who had outstanding performance in corporate volunteer engagement, determined by performance against four benchmarks in 2013. The 2014 nominees for this award are:

1st Source Bank
NV Energy
Old National Bank
The Standard

We’ll also be presenting awards for ‘Breakout Performance’ and ‘Champion of the Year,’ so stay tuned!

Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists – you and your employees are an inspiration for the rest of us!

Generous supporters of the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit include General Motors, MGM Resorts International, Delta Air Lines, The United Way of Southeastern Michigan and Newell Rubbermaid.

Learn more about the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit by clicking here.

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Recipe for Success: 3 Secrets to Creating the Best Volunteer Marketplace

Recipe for Success: 3 Secrets to Creating the Best Volunteer MarketplaceLast week, Atlanta hosted the Conference on Volunteering and Service. A small cadre of folks from VolunteerMatch were there, and I participated in a panel on volunteer marketplaces, along with Liz Linzer from LinkedIn for Good, and Allison LeBreton from Points of Light Digital. Both LinkedIn for Good and Points of Light are doing awesome things in the space.

Liz talked about LinkedIn for Good’s new Volunteer Marketplace, which allows nonprofits to use LinkedIn’s recruitment tools to find skilled volunteers on LinkedIn’s massive international network. (For more about this, check out our latest partnership announcement!) Allison introduced the audience to Points of Light’s new All for Good Facebook app, which syndicates nonprofits’ All for Good listings to their Facebook pages.

I focused my talk on what it’s taken for VolunteerMatch to be so successful at connecting good people and good causes over the last 16 years, building the largest volunteer engagement network on the Web. I boiled everything down to 3 simple, key elements:

The first is credibility and scale.

We monitor the health of the VolunteerMatch network by looking at active volunteer listings and connections between nonprofits and volunteers.To us, these things feed each other. There are a few numbers that we watch very carefully: the number of volunteer listings active on our network, and the number of connections we make between nonprofits and volunteers. These are the “vital signs” of our network, telling us that we’re listening and responding to the needs of our members.

And we take these numbers, and the health of our network, very seriously: we dedicate nearly a quarter of our staff to user support, we continuously evolve and improve our tools to meet the diverse needs of nonprofits and volunteers, and we have loads of free trainings and resources to help our users maximize what we offer.

In return, we’ve been able to achieve an incredible critical mass, which ensures that we’ll be the top Google hit for searches related to “volunteering.” It also means we are able to offer something for every volunteer interest. The relationship here between credibility and scale is central to us.

The next thing is really close to my heart, and that is ease of use.

Last year we released a major site redesign, focused on making VolunteerMatch feel personalized and local to our visitors. If you’re reading this, you know that VolunteerMatch has a massive network, but volunteers using our site often want to make an impact in their neighborhoods, so we knew we needed it to feel much less massive than it actually is. We launched a volunteer profile feature with personalized recommendations, as well as a completely overhauled look and feel.

The results exceeded our greatest expectations. We’ve seen a 50% year-over-year increase in volunteer connections! We’re currently phasing in responsively-designed pages that make our site easy to use from a mobile device. The bottom line is you have to have a great product that’s easy to use.

The final idea I talked about was the importance of external integrations.

We realize that a big part of our future takes place outside the walls of VolunteerMatch, and our ability to work with other systems has been very important to our growth. Two great examples are the work that we’re doing with Red Cross, and with LinkedIn.

Our integration with Red Cross enables their chapters to post opportunities with us and get volunteer information entirely using their own internal volunteer management tool. As part of LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace, VolunteerMatch now sends approximately 7,000 skilled volunteer listings to LinkedIn every day.

It’s hard to imagine what the Web will be like in another 16 years. But by focusing on our network scale, ease of use, and partner integrations, VolunteerMatch will still be at the head of the pack, making sure everyone – whether a person, cause, or company – has the chance to make a difference.

Curious about how VolunteerMatch makes it easy to connect good people at companies around the world to causes they care about? Check us out now.

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Finding the Golden Circle of Your Employee Volunteer Program

Finding the Golden Circle of Your Employee Volunteer ProgramCommunication is an important yet often overlooked part of your employee volunteer program. Both internally, for getting employees engaged and excited about the program, and externally, to let the world know that your company and your employees care about their communities.

And even when we do dedicate time and resources to communicate about it, too often we focus our communications around the “What” of our programs – telling our employees only what they can do or telling our external stakeholders specifics like number of hours volunteered or number of dollars donated.

Don’t get me wrong, these things are important. But they’re not particularly inspirational, and they don’t tie people to your program emotionally. So how DO you evoke this emotion for people when it comes to your employee volunteer program?

In Simon Sinek’s TEDTalk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” his message is clear and simple – “It’s not what you do, but why you do it” that gets others engaged and inspired to take action. He goes on to talk through how great brands like Apple have created movements and found success by first communicating the “Why” of their brands and beliefs before diving into the “How” and “What.” And also how others have failed from doing the opposite. This talk got me thinking – does this way of thinking and communicating relate to employee volunteering? How?


In short, the answer is yes! Focusing on the “why” can be beneficial for any part of your employee volunteer program messaging strategy, both internally and externally. By starting your message with a hook that evokes emotion and communicates value, the audience will be invested in what you’re saying right from the start.

Here are some ways that you can incorporate the “Why” of your employee volunteering program both internally and externally:

Give your employees the opportunity to experience the “Why” first hand.

Chris Jarvis of Realized Worth recently joined VolunteerMatch for a special Best Practice Network webinar on this very topic. The idea of Transformative Value hinges specifically on giving your employees the opportunity to internalize the values and beliefs of your company through experiencing them first hand – by volunteering! Make sure that your employees always have access to these opportunities to get involved (perhaps using tools like VolunteerMatch Solutions), because once they experience the “Why” themselves, they become your program’s biggest ambassadors to get others involved.

Get employees’ attention from the start with “Why”-focused project titles.

Instead of titling a volunteer opportunity for your employees “Clean up a playground this weekend,” make the title something that is inspiring and explains why cleaning up a playground is important. Who will it help? Why does it matter? Try something like “Give local youth a safe and clean place to play.”

Brand your employee volunteering program with a “WHY?”

What is the purpose of your program? What are the causes that your company cares about? For example, if the answer is to build community – try using that word in the program name and invoke the purpose or your employee volunteer program at first glance.

Apply it to your external communications strategy, as well.

Take Sinek’s Golden Circle approach. Instead of just telling your external stakeholders what your employees did (i.e. they volunteered a certain number of hours,) tell them, “We believe our employees are committed to making a difference in their communities. Because of this we offer them the opportunity to get involved and make an impact through our employees volunteer program. They volunteered ‘X’ hours and created ‘Y’ impact.”

These are just a few simple ideas, but what should you do next? Take a minute after reading this article to watch Sinek’s TEDTalk, and then take a look at your current communications strategies. What are your key messages? Write them down and ask where they fit into the Golden Circle. Is each one a “What”, “How”, or “Why” message, and how do they all fit together?

Keep the Golden Circle in mind while crafting your new messages and your audience will understand what you already know: your program is inspiring!

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21 Ideas for Re-Purposing All Those Volunteer Event T-Shirts

Make a dress out of volunteer event t-shirts Is there any symbol of the volunteer experience more iconic and recognizable than the t-shirt? This cultural mainstay of American volunteerism represents unity, pride and purpose to everyone bonded by its bright colors and advertised program, organization or mission.

When it comes to showcasing our passions and involvements, our t-shirt collections define us. Indeed: we are what we wear.

For those with years of service under their belts, you’ve probably got a drawer full of t-shirts that rarely see the light of day. Too sentimental and hard-earned to give away, too starchy or unisex to make it into your everyday wardrobe – what is to be the fate of these wearable certificates of community involvement?

Luckily, creative minds have put their energies toward inspiring re-use options for this personal, yet impractical collection. Here is just a sampling of the fun and funky ways to give your volunteer wardrobe a second life, whether you are an animal lover, fashionista, home decorator, or deal-seeker looking for do-it-yourself gift ideas. Enjoy!

For the At-Home Artisan:

Make a rug out of volunteer event t-shirtsMake your colorful collection brighten up a room with a cozy rag rug or a braided basket.

Want to keep your t-shirts more intact and be reminded daily of all you’ve been a part of? This t-shirt quilt is a total favorite! Get those memories and feel-good vibes out of the drawer and onto your bed – it’s safe to say, this quilt will help you sleep at night!

Easy coasters and fabric bowls are perfect touches for beginner crafters to start with.

For the Do-It-Yourself Trendsetter

Make a scarf out of volunteer event t-shirts.Pinterest is bursting with intriguing ways to “upcycle” your t-shirts into more artistic wearable designs. Check out making a fringe scarf, a halter top, or even jewelry out of your old tees, and enjoy the comfort and softness of cotton while making a much more upscale fashion statement.

Your t-shirt is a blank slate, a palette, and with ideas like these, you can play trendy designer and show everyone how fashionable it is to help others. Ooh, community service looks good on you!

For the Homemade Gift Enthusiast

Have a friend who loves a particular cause? Make a no-sew tote bag out of a t-shirt with a compelling quote, striking image or the name and date of an event she loved, and she’ll be able to showcase her pride daily, without having to re-wear the same t-shirt day after day.

For the cook in the family, a fun t-shirt you just don’t wear anymore can become a go-to apron – might be the perfect solution for one that already had a stain or paint splatter.

A braided rug can make a lovely housewarming gift for the entryway, and this darling, soft headband is a perfect pick-me-up for a sister.

For the Pet Lover

Make a dog toy out of volunteer event t-shirts.Make a braided doggie chew toy! This is a fun one to do with your kids – no sewing necessary, and they’ll have a blast making a gift for the family dog. Once you’ve got it down, keep up the do-gooder spirit that got you the tees in the first place, and make a batch to bring to your local pet shelter. The animals rarely get new toys, so it’ll send the pups and the caretakers over the moon. This is an awesome activity for a birthday party, camp service project, or rainy afternoon playdate.

For older kids ready to take it to the next level, here’s a crocheted t-shirt kitty cave for your feline friends – washable, durable and cozy.

For the Mom-to-Be

Make a quilt out of volunteer event t-shirtsNo one wants to overspend on clothes for little ones that will no longer fit in 6 months, so why not make pajamas, dresses, even blankets out of your soft, well- worn t’s? Here’s to passing on the spirit of volunteerism to the next generation!

Looking for an adorable gift for a baby shower? These little lamb toys will add a soft touch to any nursery, and this knotted baby hat is sure to warm heads and hearts alike.

Thanks, volunteering, for the starting materials for all of these cute, crafty and useful designs! Just more proof that doing good in the community always ends up making the volunteer feel awesome, too.

Happy crafting! Need more t-shirts to complete these? We know where you can sign up to volunteer again…

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Upcoming Best Practice Network Webinar: Lessons From the Field – Unique & Innovative Strategies for Increasing Engagement

Join VolunteerMatch for this upcoming webinar about unique & innovative strategies for increasing employee engagementYour employee volunteer program is up and running, but now what? How do you get your employees involved and out in the community volunteering? Or maybe your engagement levels have plateaued and you can’t seem to figure out how to inspire employees who haven’t been involved in the past. Don’t worry – we’ve got answers for you!

Lessons From the Field: Unique & Innovative Strategies for Increasing Engagement

We will be joined by expert employee volunteer program practitioners from Allina Health System, Apollo Education Group and NV Energy who will share with you the unique and innovative ways that they have increased engagement in their programs.

Join us for this special Best Practice Network webinar and walk away with tangible ideas to capture the attention of your employees and inspire them to get involved in your programs.

Register for this free event.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
10am – 11am PT (1-2pm ET)

Follow along with the conversation on Twitter: @VM_Solutions and #VMbpn.

Our Speakers:

Doretha Graham-Easler
NV Energy

Lauren Keeler
Apollo Education Group

Samantha Lucas
Allina Health

Register for this free webinar now.

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