Why GM and Apollo Education Group Say Volunteering is Transformational

Photo of Sabin Blake

Sabin Blake, General Motors

VolunteerMatch caught up with some of the speakers, sponsors and presenters from the 2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit and asked them what they thought about the event and about corporate volunteerism. We heard from General Motors, MGM Resorts International, and ConAgra Foods, to name a few.

Sabin Blake of General Motors said, “Volunteerism has been absolutely transformational for our organization… I think it’s really helpful to hear from other companies their perspective of the challenges they’ve gone through to create a program, to sustain a program.”

 

Picture of Lauren Keeler

Lauren Keeler, Apollo Education Group

Lauren Keeler of Apollo Education Group said, “Volunteering has been transformational for our company because it really gives our employees the chance to get to know another facet of our organization. They get to understand more about our community impact and our values. It provides them an opportunity to get to know each other on a different level when they’re not in the office.”

Find out what everyone else had to say. Watch the interviews.

 

Hey, Over Here! The Best Place to Discuss Volunteering & CSR

We might be biased. But we LOVE our blog. Volunteering is CSR is a challenge to companies to include volunteerism as a prominent part of their corporate social responsibility – because it pays off in so many ways.

But you know what Screenshot of Volunteering & Corporate Social Responsibility LinkedIn Groupelse we love? Lively conversation about best practices, news, and events around volunteering and CSR. Join the LinkedIn group exclusively for CSR professionals like you – people interested in the role volunteerism plays in a robust CSR program.

Don’t miss out! Dive into the discussion with fellow CSR professionals and thought leaders today. See you there – we can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

(While you’re at it, follow VM Solutions’ LinkedIn page for event announcements, CSR stories, white papers, and more.)

CSR Food For Thought: How an Employee Volunteer Program Saves You Money

Image of wheat growing in the sun.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.

The Business Case for Employee Volunteer & Skills Giving Programs
In this post from Charities@Work, Sarah Ford dives deep into how employee volunteer programs (EVPs) can boost employee retention. She touches on the top 10 reasons people leave their jobs and explains how employee volunteerism can help with each one. But she doesn’t stop there – she’s got the numbers to back it up. This post is well researched, and well worth the read.

What is the REAL Employee Engagement Definition? [Video]
Entrepreneur and author Kevin Kruse wants to make sure “everyone is on the same page” when it comes to an employee engagement definition. He starts by explaining what employee engagement is NOT – it’s not just satisfaction and it’s not just happiness. Well then, what is it? Find out in this short video.

CEOs Sign OIWC Pledge to Advance Women’s Leadership in the Outdoor Industry
Change often starts at the top, according to this article from SocialEarth. That’s why the CEO of REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.), along with 13 other CEOs of outdoor companies, signed a pledge to promote women’s leadership. The REI Foundation went a step further by granting $1.5 million to OIWC (Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition) for mentorship and entrepreneurship programs.

How Can Brands Build a Culture of Responsibility?
This CSRwire post advocates for a shared CSR vision between employees, shareholders, and customers. It suggests that companies shift their values from consumerism to citizenship, and perhaps shift their focus from corporate social responsibility (CSR) to creating shared value (CSV). Don’t let the acronyms intimidate you – this post includes some interesting perspectives on what it means to be a company in our changing world.

3 Ways to Honor Martin Luther King’s Legacy of Service and Social Justice

Guest post by Ann Saylor

Photo of Martin Luther King, Jr.Once in a while, a seemingly ordinary person rises up to be a hero, changing culture forever. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of those men, and we now recognize him as a renowned American civil rights leader. He was hugely influential on American culture through his campaigns to end racial segregation and promote racial equality. To honor his legacy, the third Monday of January has been named a federal holiday. This year, it falls on January 19th.

Though many people have the day off from work or school, national service organizations have adopted the slogan A Day On, Not a Day Off to challenge Americans to rally together in service. Here are three ways your company can continue Dr. King’s legacy on Martin Luther King Day or throughout the year:

  1. Serve together. King said:

    “Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve… You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

    Where can you and your employees share a little love in your community?  If you don’t already have a nonprofit partner in your corporate social responsibility plan, then find a daycare center, an animal shelter, a nursing home, or a community center (to name a few). Ask them how your employees can help, and make plans to serve.

  2. Work together to empower your community. Dr. King wisely believed:

    “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

    Study a community issue that is a fit with your company, such as homelessness, illiteracy, or hunger. Identify one of the root causes and develop a targeted action plan that will inspire change and strengthen impoverished areas of your community.

  3. Seek justice through advocacy. Rally your employees to speak up about community issues and challenge others to take action. Ponder Dr. King’s words in this quote:

    “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”

    Identify a cause and a message that is important to your employees. Craft a plan for how you will spread your message and start speaking up – even if it’s uncomfortable.

Want more information on the strategies above? Get a free copy of the Seasons of Service Curriculum complete with three half-day experiences for leading an MLK Day event. It also has 12 highly interactive lessons plans to explore ways to use your individual gifts and talents to change the world. Finally, it outlines 11 half-day engaging and empowering service-learning experiences to introduce youth to meaningful service.  Request your copy by emailing cad@TheAssetEdge.net.

Ann Saylor is a nationally recognized trainer in positive youth development, service-learning, and play with purpose. She is also the co-author of 7 books including her latest, Groups, Troops, Clubs & Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth, (published in September 2014 by Search Institute Press). Learn more through her website and her blog, or reach her at cad@TheAssetEdge.net or on Twitter @TheAssetEdge.

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.

2014 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Insights:  What is Your EVP Data Saying?

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: REanalyze: What is Your EVP Data Saying?

“How are we doing?”

Picture of Jake Sanches

Jake Sanches, internal metrics and analytics guru at Palantir Technologies

This is the most common question our client services team hears from our corporate and nonprofit partners. And it should be. Employee volunteer programs, like any other business expenditure, need to demonstrate impact and value to multiple audiences. Data is critical to the success and continued support of EVPs, especially since these programs are relatively new in the corporate world and don’t yet have an established set of benchmarks.

So, how can your organization answer that oh-so-common question: How are we doing?

There are some existing guideposts, such as the number of hours employees contribute, the social value generated (a calculation based on numbers from the Independent Sector), the percent of employees engaged, and so on. However, because of the lack of public benchmarks, small sample sizes for specific company types and sizes, and the fact that companies have different cultures, priorities, and history when it comes volunteering, it’s very hard to make valid comparisons. At VolunteerMatch, we often suggest that each company, with some guidance, take it upon themselves to identify outcomes that reflect their priorities and keep an eye on these outcomes over time.

The most important thing is, if not to fall in love, then at least fall in like with data! VolunteerMatch wants to lead this charge. This summer and fall, we worked with Jake Sanches, a volunteer from Palantir Technologies. We designed and sent a survey to our clients asking what metrics are important to them, how they use data, and how VolunteerMatch can improve its reporting dashboard and quarterly reports.

During his presentation at the Client Summit, Jake discussed the survey’s findings. He demonstrated how big data has made its way into the public consciousness through sites like Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com, and how data can be a significant driver in the development of your EVP. Jake then covered how to choose the right metrics for your program and brought up commonly overlooked metrics. These included: Finding volunteers based on tenure to make sure new employees are getting into the program quickly, discovering your rock star volunteers so they can help spread the word, determining the time of year most popular for volunteering, and much more. He concluded with a list of best practices for communicating data to different audiences.

In summary, if you really want your EVP to soar, data is critical. You can start small, with just a few easy metrics, and as your program evolves, you can expand. You might even find some hidden gems that reflect something unique to your company. Incorporating a metrics-centered approach will not only give you a better idea of what’s going on with your program right now, but will help you plan for the future, help you to make the case for expansion and budget increases, and will generate great storytelling material.

For more details on this topic, view the slides from Jake’s presentation. You can also watch the video from his encore Webinar.

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.