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.

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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.

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Innovation is a Given with a Network Like This One: Announcing Groundbreaking New VolunteerMatch Tools

As we celebrate our 7,000,000th match, VolunteerMatch is once again changing how people discover great places to volunteer.Back in 2001, VolunteerMatch welcomed an important addition to our network: our first corporate partners. These companies completed the VolunteerMatch picture, creating a strong ecosystem of nonprofits, volunteers and businesses that, together, strengthens our communities and our world.

Twelve years later the VolunteerMatch network is stronger than ever, with 7 million nonprofit-volunteer connections made to date and more than $4.5 billion in comparative volunteering value generated with your support for the independent sector – made possible by 170 corporate partners.

As we celebrate these milestones, we’re excited to announce continued investment in the growth of the VolunteerMatch network with the release this month of a new recommendations engine and an upgraded website design that makes it easier for people to find the perfect volunteer opportunity. The new recommendations engine from VolunteerMatch is designed to make looking for volunteer opportunities easier and more compelling. The recommendations engine is designed to make looking for volunteer opportunities easier and more compelling. Users can now update their profiles with their interests and skills to display on their profile page the best possible matches from VolunteerMatch’s database of more than 70,000 active volunteer opportunities.

In addition, the VolunteerMatch home page has been completely redesigned around the experience of the individual volunteer. To catalyze people to action, localization services now show actionable opportunities based on what VolunteerMatch already knows is going on in your community. The new home page also prominently shows virtual volunteer opportunities that can be accomplished remotely from work or home. To catalyze people to action, localization services on the VolunteerMatch home page now show actionable opportunities based on what VolunteerMatch already knows is going on in your community. Working with companies, and the support they provide, enables VolunteerMatch to build tools like the recommendations engine that support more organizations and create a stronger community for your employees and consumer audiences.

New tools like the recommendations engine and the localization and personalization of the home page are also ways we can experiment with features that improve the connections between nonprofits and volunteers. This helps to inform the development of better tools for our corporate partners down the road – so stay tuned for that!

Learn more about the new recommendations engine and home page at What do you think of these changes?

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Mapping the DNA of Effective Employee Volunteer Programs

The 2012 VolunteerMatch EVP Client Insights Survey

At VolunteerMatch, we help our corporate partners manage, track and report on community engagement activities and program outputs. We live and breathe data tracking so our partners can benchmark program success over time. And in result, we’ve seen our partners outperform industry-wide benchmarks time and time again.

One thing we’ve never taken a data-driven approach to is the program inputs of these elite programs – such as budget, staffing and program attributes. In the fall of 2012, we set out to determine the inputs that make a successful employee volunteer program (EVP) by surveying our family of corporate partners. The results of the 2012 VolunteerMatch EVP Client Insights Survey provide a first-ever look at what strong programs look like, and offers best practices for all companies looking to build an effective program.

A few highlights from the survey include:

Large Program, Lean Staff

Large Program, Lean Staff: The survey found that for every 32,000 employees eligible to take part in an EVP, there is only 1 full-time-equivalent (FTE) program manager. That means there is one person trying to connect thousands of employees to volunteer opportunities, in addition to organizing events, driving engagement and reporting results. This highlights the importance of EVP partners that make it easier for this one manager to connect employees with active volunteer opportunities and tracking participation (like VolunteerMatch) or event vendors that ease the pressure of planning large days, weeks or months of service.

Volunteer Committees/Councils Popular

Volunteer Committees/Councils Popular: Along with evidence of lean program staffing, we found that most (71%) programs have build volunteer committees or councils to help support the program manager and localize volunteer activities. Many of these committees are self-selecting groups of employees who are highly engaged in the EVP, and looking for additional ways to play a leadership role. Allowing – and empowering – employees to take this advanced position is not only a way to help ease the pressure from the program manager, but also builds participation by having many “program champions” showcasing their enthusiasm and passion for service.

Skilled and Pro Bono are Untapped Opportunities

Skilled and Pro Bono are Untapped Opportunities: One surprise from the survey is the low rate of skilled (13%) and pro bono (4%) volunteering reported by participants. While this isn’t necessarily a negative finding, we do see these low rates as an untapped opportunity for companies to grow within their program over time. Particularly with initiatives such as the A Billion + Change pledge and the launch of the Taproot Foundation’s new service to help nonprofits define their pro bono needs – we predict the barriers for companies to participate in these types of service will lessen, and more will begin to take part.

For more findings from the 2012 VolunteerMatch EVP Client Insights Survey, download the full fact sheet, or watch a recording of our January webinar where Casey Brennan discusses the findings and shares tips for program success.

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Upcoming Best Practice Network Webinar: Corporate Giving (& Volunteering) in Numbers

Corporate social responsibility is ever growing and evolving. As we kick off 2013, now is the time to assess the current landscape of corporate giving and volunteering trends, and determine how our programs will respond to changing marketplace demands.

Corporate Giving (& Volunteering) in Numbers: A Look at Studies from CECP & VolunteerMatch

Join us for a deep-dive into two studies from the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) and VolunteerMatch, which will offer perspective and advice for your 2013 program planning.

Register for this FREE event
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
10-11 a.m. PT (1-2 p.m. ET)
Follow the conversation on Twitter @VM_Solutions, #VMbpn

This session will feature findings from the 2012 edition of CECP’s Giving in Numbers report, tracking trends in corporate philanthropy. The analysis looked at data from 214 companies, including 62 of the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500, presenting a profile of the state of corporate philanthropy, and pinpointing how corporate giving is evolving and becoming more focused.

VolunteerMatch will release the findings of it’s first-ever survey of highly effective employee volunteer programs (EVPs) in January 2013. The survey analyzed 44 EVPs among VolunteerMatch’s corporate partners, which are independently recognized as high performing programs. The results provide benchmark data for the inputs required to run an effective program at your company.

About Our Guest Speakers:

Margaret Coady, Director, CECP

Margaret Coady
Margaret also directs the Committee’s partnership initiatives including joint research and events such as the development of Principles of Social Investment with the United Nations Global Compact, the release of a dollar valuation for corporate pro bono service in collaboration with the Taproot Foundation, and the forward-looking research report “Shaping the Future: Solving Social Problems through Business Strategy” with McKinsey & Company.

Since joining the organization in early 2005, Margaret’s close work with member companies, oversight of the Committee’s proprietary Corporate Giving Standard online benchmarking system, and her authorship of four editions of the annual “Giving in Numbers” report have established her as a leading authority on emerging trends in the field of corporate giving.  She lectures for national and international audiences and has appeared on television and radio programs including BBC World Report, CNBC Morning Call, and CNBC Street Signs.

Prior to joining CECP, Margaret worked as a senior IT consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers and played a key technical role in several global custom software implementation projects for Fortune 500 clients.

A native of New York City, Margaret graduated with magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors from Williams College and was Valedictorian of her class at Columbia Business School.

Casey Brennan, Marketing & Insights Manager, VolunteerMatch

Casey Brennan
As Marketing & Insights Manager at VolunteerMatch, Casey focuses on communications, thought leadership and marketing strategy for the organization’s corporate audience. Her responsibilities include refining and managing the brand, producing the VolunteerMatch Solutions’ Best Practice Network webinar series, developing engagement campaigns for the VolunteerMatch network, identifying partnership opportunities with like-minded organizations, producing the annual VolunteerMatch Client Summit, monitoring key trends in CSR and developing original insights materials on behalf of the organization.

You can find Casey on Twitter @CaseyB.

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CSR Food for Thought: Empower Employees through Charitable Giving

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



Empower Employees through Charitable Giving
If you’re looking for an employee holiday gift with meaning, look no further than this list of creative ideas. Instead of a gift card, why not gift a charity gift card to support a cause each employee cares about? Replace a yankee swap with a toy drive for a local children’s organization. Can’t give a bonus? Offer an additional day off each year to volunteer instead!

Understanding ‘Engagement’ for Better Business: A Practical Approach
When talking about stakeholder engagement in CSR, we can’t overlook one critical component: Consent. This can be difficult to achieve, and requires a strong component of respect – but in the end, will help a company provide lasting, collaborative impact.

Twitter’s Manager For Social Innovation On How Social Is Shaping The Future Of Nonprofits
A great discussion of how social media is changing how we engage with causes, and how the power of giving time can sometimes be more powerful than giving money.

The Most Dynamic Social Innovation Initiatives of 2012
Susan McPherson outlines her list of the year’s most innovative social campaigns. Check them out, share your own, and get inspired to take 2013 by storm!

“Inspiring Our World” Engages MGM Resorts’ Employees in Culture, Diversity and Corporate Social Responsibility
Our partner MGM Resorts took a creative approach to communicating its ongoing dedication to diversity and CSR to its 62,000 employees – a pep-rally style event reinforcing its commitments. Showcasing the talents of 70 different employee performers, this is a perfect example of a company using its unique culture and talents as a platform for discussing CSR.

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2012 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Insights: Video Interview with Julia Love, Adobe

The 3BL Media video team was on location at the 2012 VolunteerMatch Client Summit to capture footage and insights from the annual event. This series of videos captures comments from thought leaders and practitioners about effective community involvement programs.

Here Adobe’s Julia Love (Sr. Program Manager, CSR) talks with 3BL Media about Adobe’s commitment to global employee engagement, the importance of providing its team with tools that are easy to use, and empowering employees around an initiative.

Watch Julia Love’s video here.

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