The Value of Giving Back: 1st Source Bank

It’s Pro Bono Week 2014! Join us in celebrating the amazing volunteers who donate their professional skills to great causes. This week’s final featured company: 1st Source Bank.1st Source Bank Volunteers at Super Saturday

As many a cheesy song or cliché politician has reminded us, the children are our future. As it turns out, kids are pretty smart already. The nonprofit Junior Achievement knows this, which is why they teach entrepreneurial and financial skills to children.

Also, as it turns out, professional bankers know quite a bit about finance. This is why 1st Source Bank partnered with Junior Achievement to put their pro bono thoughts into actions. 31 bank employees recently spent a day at an elementary school introducing children to financial literacy. Bank employees called the experience valuable for them – not just the kids!

1st Source Bank also participates in other pro bono activities, such as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Super Saturday (pictured above), where they partner with the United Way to offer tax preparation and filing for free. Giving back to their community is one of 1st Source Bank’s core values, which is evident in the fact that over 45% of their employees are active volunteers. Last year, employees volunteered 27,000 hours, equal to about $600,000. Talk about giving back!

Thank you to 1st Source Bank and the other companies that engage in pro bono work. You truly are role models. Pro Bono Week 2014 may be coming to an end, but we don’t want the momentum to stop! VolunteerMatch makes it easy to set up your own employee volunteer program and encourage pro bono work. Find out how.

The Important Thing We Can Learn From MUFG Union Bank

It’s Pro Bono Week 2014! Join us in celebrating the amazing volunteers who donate their professional skills to great causes. Today’s featured company: MUFG Union Bank.MUFG Union Bank Volunteers at JA Finance Park 2014

The employees at MUFG Union Bank, or MUB, recognize something important. A concept so important that it’s the driving force behind Pro Bono Week. They recognize that volunteering their specialized professional skills is one of the most impactful contributions they can make to society. That’s why they created their annual Financial Literacy Campaign. During this three-month campaign, employees go out into their communities to teach financial education. They make presentations and facilitate workshops that equip their neighbors with skills to manage their own finances. In 2014’s campaign, MUB employees volunteered over 4,200 hours to this awesome pro bono endeavor.

But it doesn’t stop there. These amazing folks do pro bono work year-round with nonprofit partners in their communities. While the focus is financial education, employees offer their skills in all kinds of areas. All in all, MUB employees have tracked 42,000 volunteer hours this year alone.

Looking for an easy way to track your company’s pro bono impact? Visit VolunteerMatch Solutions today to get started.

Challenge Your Employees to Go Pro Bono: A Lesson from Morgan Stanley

It’s Pro Bono Week 2014! Join us in celebrating the amazing volunteers who donate their professional skills to great causes. Today’s featured company: Morgan Stanley.Volunteers from the Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge

Morgan Stanley doesn’t just encourage its employees to volunteer. It challenges them. The Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge pairs some of the company’s best workers with 12 nonprofits for eight weeks. During this time, the groups work together to assess and improve the nonprofits’ business and financial strategies. The final result is a plan complete with tangible next steps and tools for future success. The results are invaluable, but if you had to put a price on it, it would be… $6.8 million. This five-year total is equivalent to 45,000 hours of pro bono work.

But it’s not just the nonprofits that benefit. Morgan Stanley employee David Kosh, who participated in the program in 2013, claims the experience was “eye-opening, educational and inspirational”. He learned about the nonprofit sector, gained professional connections, and improved his own skills. Pro bono work, along with other types of volunteering, is truly a win-win arrangement.

Want to be the next Morgan Stanley in terms of pro bono excellence? Visit VolunteerMatch Solutions to learn how to get your company’s employees volunteering.

Raising the Pro Bono Bar: The U.S. Bank Law Division

It’s Pro Bono Week 2014! Join us in celebrating the amazing volunteers who donate their professional skills to great causes. Today’s featured company: The U.S. Bank Law Division.Volunteers from US Bank Law Division

Pro bono work was made famous by the law profession, and the crew at the U.S. Bank Law Division is living up to this precedent.

The U.S. Bank Law Division works all across the U.S. at places such as a Vet Law Clinic, Housing Court, Immigrant Law Center, and Children’s Law Center. In the Twin Cities region alone, they’ve donated their time and skills to eight clinics.

In 2013, 70% of their lawyers engaged in pro bono activities. Even their non-lawyers got involved at a rate of 52%. The U.S. Bank Law Division is rightfully proud of their staff. Talk about impressive! They cite pro bono work as a priority for both their employees and their company as a whole.

Pictured above are some of the U.S. Bank’s pro bono volunteers. From left to right: Melissa Vermeersch, Sarah Stroebel (Chair), Jeannie Mccarver, Shannon Mahoney (Coordinator), Kyle Bakken, and Nick Richtman.

Encourage your own employees to get involved with pro bono and other volunteering opportunities with VolunteerMatch Solutions.

Top 3 Things I Learned About Pro Bono from the First Twitter Talk Tuesday

This post also appears on Engaging Volunteers.

Tweet, Twitter, Bird, Blue, Twig, Branch, Green, HillsOn Tuesday, November 19, my team and I rounded up with coffee in our hands and entered the Twittersphere to begin our first Twitter Talk Tuesday. As an intern at VolunteerMatch I was able to be an integral part of the project. Our first topic was pro bono and skilled volunteering.

To be honest, I am not an expert in this field and I was a little intimidated to be a participating member of Twitter Talk Tuesday. Here are some of the things I learned throughout the hour-long chat:

Setting the foundation of a pro bono project

We started the chat off talking about how the initial conversation between a nonprofit and a company can be complicated concerning pro bono projects. Many of the responses we received said that both parties need to be clear on what the goal is, how to efficiently reach that goal and provide guidelines for how they will work together. Some even provided links with resources to additional help.

Mutually beneficial pro bono relationships

Later in the Twitter chat we discussed who benefits from a pro bono project more: a nonprofit, volunteers, or the corporation. When I was first thinking about this subject I had immediately come to the conclusion that it was a win-win-win situation. However, some of our participants shed light on a few problems involved. I learned that yes, ideally pro bono projects should benefit all parties, but sometimes the needs of the company can overpower the needs of the organization.

On the other hand, those that successfully create a pro bono project allow for nonprofits to get what they need without having to pay for it, employees get to utilize and even sharpen their skills, and corporations increase their impact for good.

Planning a pro bono project

We also discussed how organizations can plan for pro bono projects. An important realization is that there isn’t one right process; each project is unique to the particular needs of the nonprofit and company involved. The planning team must be flexible and be willing to put in the hard work that goes into pro bono projects. In addition to this, it is equally important to know what kind of skills the community and the corporate employees have to offer.

There are a lot of different aspects that go into these projects, but the outcome is definitely worth it. A running theme throughout our Twitter chat was that these projects are unique and must be treated as such. There must be plenty of flexibility, research, communication and cooperation in order to have a successful outcome.

Overall, the first Twitter Talk Tuesday was incredibly helpful and gave me some insight as to how nonprofits and corporations come together for a pro bono project to help out those in need.

Be on the look out for our next Twitter Talk Tuesday! Keep the conversation going about pro bono volunteering using the hashtag #vmtalk. Tweet you soon!

Jump into the Melting Pot That is VolunteerMatch on Twitter to Answer Your Burning Volunteering Questions

Twitter is a great platform for those in and out of the VolunteerMatch network to connect, ask questions, and talk about issues that face nonprofits and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programs. On November 19th at 10:00AM PST, we will be launching a brand new twitter chat called Twitter Talk Tuesday. Companies will be able to exchange information with the VolunteerMatch network on how their involvement with nonprofits and employee volunteers have benefited them in a low pressure environment.

We will be discussing issues such as how nonprofits and causes can become aligned with corporate missions, fundraising, and acting local and thinking global. Of course, the issues we will be discussing will most likely not be solved in a 1-hour Twitter chat. But this gives you an opportunity to talk about them and gain knowledge about what has worked for others and why.

You will be able to join in this hour-long Twitter chat  using the hashtag “#VMTalk” and following us @VolunteerMatch.

Our First Twitter Talk Tuesday

On November 19th, VolunteerMatch will host the very first Twitter Talk Tuesday about pro bono and skilled volunteering. Through employee volunteer programs many corporations and nonprofits have come together to mutually benefit from employee’s unique skills and abilities to contribute to the greater good.

This Twitter chat will serve as a space for both nonprofits and companies to discuss issues such as measuring success, who benefits from pro bono projects, and more. People from all different backgrounds, experience levels, corporations, nonprofits and organizations are encouraged to become engaged with the VolunteerMatch online network in our Twitter Talk Tuesday. We hope to see you (virtually) at the first Twitter Talk Tuesday on November 19th!

What topics do you want to discuss with the VolunteerMatch network in a Twitter Talk Tuesday? Share your suggestions in the comments!

When It Comes To Volunteering I Rarely Think: Why Am I Doing This?

Hello VounteerMatch community! My name is Rana Ayed and I will be a Communications and Social Media intern at VolunteerMatch for the coming few months. I am a Palestinian woman from Jerusalem. I was raised a humanist and social activist. My family, education and professional work experience provided the seeds for my evolving work ethic, sense of local and global civic responsibility and the limitlessness of my potential.

I moved to San Francisco Spring 2011 and completed my Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications at Golden Gate University in May 2013. I aspire to harness my skills as a bilingual Social Marketer to explore new online communities for VolunteerMatch.

When I think about volunteering, I rarely think: why am I doing this? More often I think: why are other people not doing this? As a Social Marketer I am invested in the well-being of the communities I am part of and others I have yet to meet. For me, volunteering is about social equity and self-determination, more than committing a number of hours. It is more about being an example of the good cause I believe in.

From involving more than 150 Palestinian and International organizations to prioritize local products within their procurement policy, to introducing the first olive tapenade brand made by women cooperatives in villages, I am passionate about returning economic agency to local stakeholders.

I am especially interested in two areas, women’s health equity and youth physical activity. As a youth I was part of an Italian initiative in Palestinian refugee camps that established a women’s basketball team as a growth opportunity and social skills development for young women at the camp.

I am currently volunteering as a digital marketer for the Nurse-Midwives Department at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH). Focusing on the empowerment that emerges from the values and practice of midwifery we aim to increase awareness of the benefits of midwifery care at SFGH during pregnancy and birth as a vehicle for increasing the number of women cared for by Nurse-Midwives.

It is the nuanced interactions with a mother who presses olive oil or the satisfaction of addressing the social media marketing needs of nonprofit organizations through this internship with VolunteerMatch that compels me to cultivate reciprocal, transnational relationships through digital marketing.

I am excited to learn from the diverse team of experts at VolunteerMatch and the online community of volunteers, nonprofits, and companies who are invested in the collective well-being of the society, that allows us to fulfill our dreams in a global and cross-cultural setting.