CSR Food For Thought: Which CSR Awards Really Matter?

VolunteerMatch's CSR Food for Thought SeriesThe CSR Food for Thought series is a roundup of relevant news from around the web that you may have missed last week, presented to you in one bite-sized post.

Breaking into the World of Corporate Citizenship Ratings and Rankings
The world of CSR awards, ratings and rankings is vast. And because of its multi-dimensional nature, it’s also pretty complex. Unsure where your company should focus its energy when it comes to these ratings? This post from Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship has the answer. It also explores the most important considerations when breaking into this vast world.

Morgan Stanley Employees Contribute Over 8,000 Hours to Strategy Development for Nine Nonprofit Organizations
Morgan Stanley doesn’t just encourage their employees to volunteer. They challenge them. Their U.S. Strategy Challenge pairs some of the company’s best workers with nonprofits in need of strategic business advice. This year, they logged over 8,000 hours, with some impressive results. Check out this release from CSRwire to get the details on this shining example of pro bono done right.

Five Tips On Becoming a Successful Social Entrepreneur
What do successful socially-minded businesses have in common? In this post from Entrepreneur, get tips from 550 entrepreneurs on how they reached their success. My favorite piece of advice? “Aim to have impact in each layer of business activity.”

Webinar: Changing Corporate Perspectives in Workplace Giving Programs
Why are we surprised when our nonprofit partnerships are going well? Shouldn’t this be the norm? This Thursday June 11th, Angela Parker and Chris Jarvis of Realized Worth will talk about how the norm is changing. Join this free webinar to learn how your company can embrace these changes and create strong, impactful nonprofit partnerships.

Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.

CSR Food For Thought: From Transactional to Transformative

VolunteerMatch's CSR Food for Thought SeriesThe CSR Food for Thought series is a roundup of relevant news from around the web that you may have missed last week, presented to you in one bite-sized post.

Time to Rethink Your Approach to Employee Giving
Transactional employee volunteering is nice. Transformative employee volunteering is, well, transformational. This post from America’s Charities explains how to take your employee volunteering to a new level of engagement, complete with video from corporate volunteering expert Chris Jarvis of Realized Worth. (Oh, and if you want to hear more from Chris Jarvis, sign up for our upcoming free webinar.)

Walmart Adopts Groundbreaking Animal Welfare Policy
When their customers spoke, Walmart listened. After a campaign against Walmart’s practices of obtaining its meat from less-than-reputable sources, Walmart responded with a comprehensive new policy that affects every stage of its supply chain. Get the details of this “groundbreaking” policy in this Triple Pundit article. And join me in applauding Walmart for this big step forward.

Excerpt From Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World
In this post, New Global Citizen offers an excerpt from our favorite new book on the future of volunteerism. What’s this excerpt about? The current state of pro bono volunteerism, with a look at how IBM saw incredible benefits from engaging employees in this form of volunteerism.

How Volunteering Will Lift Your Firm’s Performance
We all know how corporate volunteerism increases employee retention, employee engagement, and company image. But what about the soft skills? This post from Chartered Management Institute (written by FedEx Express’ UK Human Resources Manager)  looks at the often-overlooked benefits of employee volunteerism.

Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.

Six Dollars for Doers Programs Doing Corporate Giving Right

Guest post by Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation

Dollars for DoersAtypical children choose to mow the lawn before dad offers payment. As with any person with a job, kids want their hard work to amount to more than inherent byproducts, such as a green field with a proverbial buzz cut.

Thankfully, most nonprofit volunteers truly want to help, but a corporate incentive to volunteer regularly can enhance the value an individual can bring to his or her community.

The following list of companies with volunteer grant programs showcases businesses that place a high value on volunteerism and offer volunteer grant programs that do a great job of incentivizing and rewarding community involvement by employees.

Chevron
We all know that gas is expensive, but this oil and gas giant has more incentive to donate through its dollars for doers program than not knowing what else to do with an excess of money. Chevron and other companies offer volunteer grant programs to give back to communities and to increase employee engagement.

Chevron Humankind supports nonprofits that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognizes as 501(c)(3) organizations or that the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) views as public charities.

Chevron’s Grants for Good Volunteers program rewards volunteerism by both employees and retirees through generous monetary gifts to the nonprofits where employees give their time:

  • 20 volunteer hours = $500 grant
  • 40 volunteer hours = $1,000 grant

While Chevron’s grants equate to $25 per hour, the money is only awarded once employees reach the above time benchmarks, and the 40 hour grant is the maximum. This ensures that grants are awarded to consistent, dedicated volunteers, and that there are enough funds to go around to all employees as well as to a plethora of organizations.

Microsoft
Including volunteer grants, Microsoft employees have donated over $1 billion to nonprofits over the past 30 years. Think about how many lawns you’d have to mow to make that much money.

The company started its dollars for doers program in 2005 in order to expand upon its already popular and productive matching gift program. Since then, employees have volunteered for over 2 million hours.

Employees must volunteer for a minimum of 4 hours to receive a grant. Microsoft pays $25 per hour, which easily puts it on Double the Donation’s list of leading providers of volunteer grants. This encourages employees to spend as much time volunteering as possible, as every hour can help to build towards grants worth thousands of dollars.

Verizon
Since 2000, Verizon employees have volunteered for 6.8 million hours to raise money for over 54,000 nonprofits.

Employees who volunteer with an organization for a minimum of 50 hours can earn a grant worth $750 for the organization.

The maximum number of nonprofits that an employee can submit grant requests for is two. If an employee volunteers for 50 hours with two separate organizations then he or she can allocate two $750 grants.

Verizon also offers team volunteer grants for groups of ten or more employees who participate in charitable walks, runs, bike rides, and similar events. The company will match money raised by teams up to $1,000 per person and $10,000 per team. This is a great way to encourage team-building that fosters employee loyalty while, of course, helping communities.

Allstate
Allstate is famous for the slogan, “You’re in good hands,” but you want to pay attention to what type of Allstate employees volunteer for you, as some nonprofits may receive better hands than others.

Allstate employees can earn $500 for volunteering for nonprofits, but volunteer benefits can go twice as far for agency owners, who receive $1,000 grants. Allstate awards its grants after employees have volunteered for 25 or more hours with a nonprofit in a calendar year.

Starbucks
Great coffee and great employee benefits. Starbucks encourages its employees to volunteer by offering various tiers of volunteer grants:

  • 25 – 49 volunteer hours = $250 grant
  • 50 – 74 volunteer hours = $500 grant
  • 75 – 100 volunteer hours = $750 grant
  • 100+ volunteer hours = $1,000 grant

A program with such tiers requires employees to dedicate significant amounts of time in order to earn increased amounts. This is Starbucks’ way of ensuring that employees truly care about volunteering while making sure that there is enough money to go around to all company volunteers.

Best Buy
Akin to how people seek unique clothes, some dollars for doers programs stand out by simply being different.

Best Buy does not offer individual volunteer grants. Instead the company offers team grants which makes Best Buy’s program a little different and encourages team-building among its employees.

There are a number of rules surrounding this dollars for doers program:

  • There is no minimum number of volunteer hours, but grants can only be earned when employees volunteer as a team.
  • Teams must consist of no less than 5 employees.
  • A maximum of $500 can be earned at an event, even if multiple teams volunteer.
  • Team members must volunteer for a minimum of one hour each.
  • A single nonprofit can earn up to $10,000 per year from Best Buy donations.

Best Buy’s program may require more reading than most to understand, but they encourage their employees to work in groups to better their communities. The detailed rules allow for the spacing out of gifts to ensure that Best Buy is helping out year round and aiding multiple groups and people while supporting varying causes and events.

Companies with dollars for doers programs understand that more employees will volunteer when they’re promised greater rewards, and nonprofits have a real incentive to get more people to volunteer. Of course, doing good for the world is at the heart of volunteerism, but people do more good for the world when they are able to donate money on top of lending a helping hand.

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gift and volunteer grant tools for nonprofits. You can connect with Adam on LinkedIn or via email.

CSR Food For Thought: A Look Back on National Volunteer Week

Image of wheat growing in the sun.The CSR Food for Thought series is a roundup of relevant news from around the web that you may have missed last week, presented to you in one bite-sized post.

In case you missed it, last week was National Volunteer Week. I was blown away by the amount of companies that celebrated by giving back to their communities and recognizing their employee volunteers. Here is just a sample:

Celebrating National Volunteer Week by Contributing to a Better Future
This heartfelt post from AT&T employee Monique Weber illustrates how volunteering changes lives on both an individual and a global scale. AT&T has allowed her to pursue her personal volunteer passion of empowering women leaders. As Monique puts it, “I’m thankful to work for a company that promotes such important, impactful programs.”

4 Benefits of Volunteering as a Company
In this LinkedIn post, Alison Grenkie of Intelex Technologies explains why National Volunteer Week isn’t just for nonprofit organizations to recognize their volunteers. From employee happiness to enhanced company reputation, it’s easy to see why companies should get involved. After all, “The company that volunteers together stays together.”

Volunteers – A Critical Contribution to Our Communities
Microsoft used National Volunteer Week as an opportunity to thank its motivated employee volunteers, who recently spearheaded the creation of the Tech Talent for Good program with their question, “How can we do more?” This post is full of appreciation – just the way we like it!

5 Reasons Why Green Volunteering is Red Hot
Picking up trash doesn’t sound very glamourous. But when it’s done with coworkers? The benefits can be astounding. In this post, Verizon employee Abigail Ashley explains the benefits she sees from volunteering with her coworkers, both personally and professionally.

Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.

CSR Food For Thought: Is Taking a Political Stand CSR?

Image of wheat growing in the sun.The CSR Food for Thought series is a roundup of relevant news from around the web that you may have missed last week, presented to you in one bite-sized post.

SalesForce.com Takes a Stand Against Bigotry in Indiana
CSR comes in many shapes and sizes. How taking a public stance on an issue your employees and customers care deeply about? This is exactly what SalesForce.com did when they announced their intentions to reduce investments in Indiana after the signing of a bill many believe “legalizes discrimination.” Get the full scoop in this Triple Pundit article, and let us know: Is this a form of CSR?

Loop Them In: Help Your Remote Employees Feel Like Local Volunteers
In this LinkedIn post, Laura Ellis shows us that remote or field-based employees don’t have to be out of the employee volunteering loop. Check out these strategies on how to counter difficulties faced by varying employee shifts, time zones, and locations.

How to Build an Effective CSR Strategy: Insight from Center Members
How do you prevent your CSR strategy from becoming “frozen?” BCCCC turned to their 400 member companies to answer this question. Surprisingly (or maybe not surprisingly?) the answers were consistent: Understand your stakeholders, and integrate CSR with your company’s vision. Read this post on 3BL Media to find out what else they had to say.

Airbnb Campaign Brings Attention to NYC Homeless
A company that is criticized for contributing to apartment scarcity runs a campaign to raise money and bring awareness to the homeless population of New York City. Is this a CSR match made in heaven, an attempt to counter negative press – or maybe both? What do you think about this creative CSR campaign from Airbnb? Get the details in this article from Triple Pundit.

Follow us on Twitter for CSR news and trends throughout the week: @VM_Solutions.

Employee Volunteerism: Why Not All Companies?

Guest post by Emily Rothberg

This post originally appeared on Emily’s Blog.

Office Workers in Front of a WindowIt seems easy. Why doesn’t every company offer employee volunteer programs?

More and more companies are offering paid volunteer time off (VTO), with the CECP 2014 Giving in Numbers Report showing 59% in 2013, an 8% increase from 2010. And, the business case for employee volunteerism is beyond well-documented.

So, why aren’t employee volunteer programs standard practice? Two business challenges can undermine the best of intentions: Determining what counts, and determining the end game.

What Counts?
If a company’s employees volunteer, does that a program make?

How a company decides to track and report time, or recognize and reward employee volunteer efforts, matters. If my manager allows me to leave work an hour early to prepare a meal for a homeless shelter, and I make up that hour by coming in early the next day, is that a program? If I plant trees at my daughter’s school and input those hours in the company’s volunteerism platform, should the company get credit for the activity? And, if the answer to these scenarios is yes, does any company not have a volunteer program?

On the other end of the spectrum, if what counts are only activities aligned with a company’s strategy, or managed by the corporate citizenship/ CSR staff, such as a company day of community service with a pre-approved menu of activities, and my supervisor is strongly encouraging my participation, have I been “volun-told?” Have we messed with the entire spirit of volunteerism?

What’s the End Game?
If a company hasn’t outlined its employee volunteer program goals and defined how to measure success, does that company have a strategy?

Take the practices of rewarding and recognizing volunteers with paid time off and/ or funding (“dollars for doers”). Yes, employees and their nonprofit partners are grateful, and the whole notion feels democratic, as everybody’s effort counts, and no single activity is deemed more worthy than the next. But, while $250 matching gifts surely help smaller nonprofits operate day-to-day, donations of this size don’t add up in the societal impact equation. Can a company looking to make a significant impact, or even distinguish itself with stakeholders, accomplish those goals with a basic “follow-your-passion” strategy?

For those who take on the employee volunteerism challenge, does every company deserve bragging rights? How about two criteria for assessing success:

Core Business Practice
While the cliché “it’s part of our DNA” has become ubiquitous, volunteering at top companies is truly a year-round, CEO-to-intern component of a company’s business. Beyond enthusiastic tweets on annual days of service, executives serve on nonprofit boards and lead pro bono initiatives. Employees such as line workers, who don’t typically have an easy time leaving their work place, have options for meaningful volunteerism. When HR recruits on campuses, and managers speak with customers, giving back through volunteer time is framed as a core business value.

In sum, the company’s volunteerism rules of the road for what counts and how it’s counted are spelled out clearly. The company adopts and communicates consistent standards of conduct and appropriate risk mitigation measures.

Integrated Strategy
In leading companies, the CSR department doesn’t own employee volunteerism – volunteering is everybody’s business. Rather than passive recipients of a top-down corporate strategy, employees play an active role in developing and executing employee volunteerism guidelines and programs.

In these companies, employee volunteerism is a component of a larger corporate citizenship strategy, and options range from episodic, hands-on volunteering to deep, skilled volunteerism. Companies view their employees as their greatest asset and actualize that mindset by developing their next generation of leaders through nonprofit board service or pro bono engagements. These human-capital volunteer activities also address the nonprofit sector’s most mission-critical needs and long-term viability challenges.

The reality is this: Companies face tough choices in designing and operating effective employee volunteerism programs. Best practice programs engage employees’ heads, hands, and hearts to drive business value and maximize social impact. The end goal isn’t easy to achieve, but it’s a vision worth working toward, and surely one within our grasp.

Emily Rothberg & Company helps companies thrive by donating their time, talent and treasure. It also helps nonprofits grow corporate support for greater impact. In her blog, Emily shares insights from her years inside corporate America, intertwined with thoughts from her clients, as well as long-time colleagues.

Upcoming Webinar: Volunteer Recognition Programs Your Employees Will Love

Business Woman Shouting I Won In Front of her LapTopEmployee volunteers who go above and beyond deserve recognition. Rewards and awards programs offer your employees incentive to get involved, fun competition with their coworkers, and a feeling of being appreciated.

But we think these volunteer champions deserve something more than a free t-shirt or a small grant to the nonprofit of their choice (to name a few typical rewards). In this month’s Best Practice Network (BPN) Webinar, we’ll hear from Nationwide and AT&T – companies that have or are working on creative employee recognition programs. They’ll inspire you to start your own unique reward practices for your stand-out employee volunteers.

Oh, and we’ll also be doing things a little differently this month in our BPN Webinar Series. We know you’re all busy professionals out there doing good in your communities… and who has time to sit through an hour-long webinar? That’s why we’re excited to announce what we’re calling “Bite-Sized BPNs”: The same great information packed into half the time. Pairs well with coffee, lunch, or snack breaks. Enjoy!

Reserve your complimentary spot today.
Thursday March 26, 2015
12pm – 12:30pm PT (3pm – 3:30pm ET)