CSR Food for Thought: ROI-Proving Research

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.

Do socially responsible business practices influence the value of your company? Research says yes.

And so does Katherine Smith, Executive Director of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. In this succinct blog post, she summarizes a growing collection of research that shows a clear link between corporate financial performance and social performance. CSR shows a correlation with everything from access to capital, to investment returns, to reputation and brand value.

Cold Winter, Warm Story

Read about (and see inspiring pictures of) Amway’s annual volunteer program in Guatemala, when teams from the US, Central America, South America and the Caribbean descend on Guatemala to build homes alongside families who need them. This Habitat for Humanity project goes back nearly a decade, and is responsible for funding and building entire neighborhoods of homes in remote areas of the country. Most volunteers come back year after year, falling in love with the people, the land, and the experience.

What Will Influence Business and Purpose Globally in 2014?

Carol Cone, Global Practice Chair of Edelman Business & Social Purpose and a former VolunteerMatch Client Summit keynote speaker, takes a look a growing trends and shifting relationships between corporate, government, and charity sector strategies during 2014. In this particular post she focuses on what she predicts for four key regions: the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Tracking the Data: What Not to Do in the RFP Process

As part of a special Tech series curated by Charities@Work on CSRWire Talkback, our own Director of VolunteerMatch Solutions Seth Thompson describes the pitfalls and challenges faced by so many companies when looking for tools to help manage employee volunteering and giving. Take a look at Seth’s tips for success – after all, he truly is the expert!

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CSR Tip of the Month: We Can Help You Keep Your Resolutions

Each month our rock star team of Client Relations Managers shares one tip related to employee engagement, using VolunteerMatch Solutions tools, and running a great volunteer program. Apply these tips today to improve your program! (You can also learn more about how VolunteerMatch can help your company’s CSR activities.)

Laura Ellis, Client Relations Manager at VolunteerMatch, shares ideas for incentivizing employee volunteer participation.This month’s tip comes from Laura Ellis, Client Relations Manager.

We’ve talked about the Personal Hours Tracking Gauge before, but did you know it can help you and your employees keep your New Year’s resolutions?

Now is that special time of year when New Year’s resolutions start to fade into obscurity, replaced by all the reasons we come up with why they are no longer as important as we thought. Don’t let this happen to your resolutions for volunteering and community impact!

The Personal Hours Tracking Gauge allows you and your employees to track hours for the year, month, quarter, and/or other time interval (speak with your Client Relations Manager or take a demo if you want to learn more about all of the flexible options.) And, if you have a personal or company goal for volunteer hours set, we can remind you to check your Gauge to keep yourself accountable.

Making a difference in the world is one New Year’s resolution that you and your employees shouldn’t let go – and the Personal Hours Tracking Gauge makes it easy to see your progress and keep it top of mind. My advice: Keep your New Year’s resolution with a VolunteerMatch Solution!

Click here to learn more about how the Personal Hours Tracking Gauge and VolunteerMatch Employee Solutions can help you and your employees reach your volunteering goals.

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Meet MobileMatch™, and Engage Your Employees Anytime, Anywhere

Meet MobileMatch, the new tool from VolunteerMatch Solutions to give you the ability to engage your employee volunteers anytime, anywhere.Add one more item to the list of things your smartphone can do: Now you can engage employees from the palm of your hand.

VolunteerMatch is thrilled to announce the launch of MobileMatch™, a new mobile extension for our award-winning corporate volunteer engagement platform. It’s the most robust tool of its kind, making it easier for employees and other corporate volunteers to participate in volunteer initiatives that strengthen and transform local communities.

MobileMatch™ has an an intuitive mobile interface that provides your corporate volunteers with “anywhere, anytime” access to volunteer opportunities and program-related news – enabling you to engage more volunteers and enhance your company’s community involvement and social good.

Here are some of MobileMatch’s features, which are unique among corporate community involvement software solutions:

  • Support for all major employee volunteering actions, including Opportunity Search, Sign Up, Hours Tracking, and employee volunteer history through the Your Activities tab.
  • Mobile access to volunteer opportunities at VolunteerMatch’s network of more than 96,000 participating nonprofit organizations.
  • An easy-to-use graphical interface and user experience based on mobile standards with clearly organized content and map-based directions.
  • Full support for corporate branding needs.
  • An implementation process that leverages your company’s existing security configuration to make authentication and program setup a breeze.
  • Additional training and support on mobile engagement strategies for corporate social responsibility executives, program managers and volunteer champions.

Our client and partner UnitedHealth Group, a diversified health and well-being company based in Minnetonka, Minn., supported the development of MobileMatch™. (Last year, the company released a report – Doing Good is Good for You – that found that volunteering is linked to better physical, mental and emotional health. The report is available online at www.unitedhealthgroup.com/SR.)

If you’re already a client of VolunteerMatch, talk to your Client Relations Manager about how MobileMatch™ can make your employee volunteer program even better!

If you’re not yet a client of VolunteerMatch, this is a great time to check us out – click here to register for a quick, free demo!

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VolunteerMatch Clients Shine Brightly in The Civic 50

Civic 50

For the second year in a row, Bloomberg has published The Civic 50, which identifies the most community-minded companies in the country. In partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship and Points of Light, these are companies that use their time, talent and resources to make a real lasting difference in their communities.

Once again, a large group VolunteerMatch partners and clients appear on The Civic 50 list. These businesses are being recognized for the hard work and community commitment that we see from them every day.

Below are the VolunteerMatch corporate partners who were named to this year’s Civic 50:

  • Morgan Stanley
  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • UnitedHealth Group
  • Viacom
  • Apollo Education Group
  • Dr. Pepple Snapple Group
  • Raytheon Company
  • AT&T
  • Gap Inc.
  • Microsoft Corporation

“I am so proud to be able to come to work every day and help support such great companies!” says Maura Koehler-Hanlon, Director of Client Services at VolunteerMatch. “Your work is making the world a better place!”

At VolunteerMatch we feel honored to work with these leaders in community impact. We can’t wait to see what they and the rest of our clients accomplish over the next year.

Congratulations to all the companies on The Civic 50 list, and keep up the great work!

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Meet the Team: Abby Wetzler, Senior Associate of Business Development

They have facilitated millions of employee volunteer hours. All they have to do is pick up the phone, and corporate executives invest in volunteering. Some claim that they came up with the term “CSR.” They are: The Most Interesting Client Relations Managers in the World.

Meet Abby Wetzler, Senior Associate of Business Development at VolunteerMatch1. Give us your elevator speech — what do you do at VolunteerMatch?

As Senior Associate of Business Development, I am focused on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), business development, lead generation and communications. My responsibilities include: giving demos of YourMatch, building and scheduling meetings with companies to learn more about their CSR objectives, developing outbound campaigns for our corporate audiences and facilitating our Salesforce CRM solution.

2. What brought you to VolunteerMatch? How long have you been here?

My passion for CSR emerged shortly after college, when I had the opportunity to work at an amazing company called Gap Inc., currently a long-term partner of VolunteerMatch. I was truly inspired by all the great work the company was doing in their local communities and bringing campaigns together to donate clothes to folks who were in need.

I joined VolunteerMatch with the goal to help companies, universities and national nonprofits develop and manage effective volunteer programs for their employees, students, customers and community members. I’ve been at VolunteerMatch for a little over 2 years now, and I can’t see myself doing anything else. I feel so fortunate that I get to work with amazing companies and watch their CSR programs unfold and blossom into something special!

3. What is the most inspiring part of your job? What’s your favorite part?

The most inspiring part of my job: working with my awesome co-workers. The culture here at VolunteerMatch is unparalleled to anything I’ve experienced before in my career. Everyone cares deeply about CSR and making a difference in their community – folks here are “go-getters,” smart, innovative, and always looking towards the next best thing to manage an effective employee volunteer program. I am constantly being challenged to think outside the box!

4. If you were to start a foundation or a nonprofit, what would its mission be?

I am currently working with my fiance to draft up ideas to start a nonprofit organization that would facilitate camping trips into the local wilderness for at risk youth. When I am not working at VolunteerMatch, you can find us rock climbing and hiking in the woods. Since we are both outdoor enthusiasts, we thought: what better way to share our beloved hobbies than with local schools and kids! Our mission would aim to enrich their lives by instilling a sense of community, character and self-reliance.

5. Where will the CSR industry be in 5 years?

In 5 years, I would love to see every company, small and large, incorporate an employee volunteer program. At VolunteerMatch, we have a policy that allows us to give back one day a month. No two CSR programs are alike, every company’s mission is different, but at the end of the day, it’s important that the employee has the option and resources to go out in his/her community and give back.

6. Tell us a story (or two) about something that happened in your work that you consider to be a success, something that you’re proud of, and explain why.

Last Thanksgiving I was tasked with implementing a “live” demo of our new product, YourMatch. The project started small with hopes to share our web-based tools in a more visual way and make companies aware of the great resources and programs that are available to them.

YourMatch is the new homepage for volunteer programs through VolunteerMatch Solutions – our product and engineering teams carefully updated the user experience to include more actionable buttons, increase program engagement and show more localized content to the employees of a company. I now do these webinars every week!

Want to learn more about how Abby and VolunteerMatch help companies engage employees in volunteering? Get in touch!

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CSR Tip of the Month: Auto-Add Hours Makes Tracking Your Impact a Snap

Each month our rock star team of Client Relations Managers shares one tip related to employee engagement, using VolunteerMatch Solutions tools, and running a great volunteer program. Apply these tips today to improve your program! (You can also learn more about how VolunteerMatch can help your company’s CSR activities.)

VolunteerMatch Client Relations Manager Jeff Bautista shares a tip for how to track your employee volunteers' impact.This month’s tip comes from Jeff Bautista, Client Relations Manager.

We know your company is really committed to making a difference – and your employees prove this by giving their time to causes they care about and for volunteer events that you organize for them.

Sometimes, though, it can be tough to get your employees to track their volunteer hours after a big event – or at all. VolunteerMatch provides a tool to avoid this problem, so your company can always showcase your full impact.

Auto-Add Hours is a standard feature of our VolunteerMatch Employee Solution technology tool. It allows administrators (you) to set up volunteer projects and events to automatically track hours for all participants. After the volunteer activity has ended, volunteers are notified that hours have been added to their account.

Once the option has been turned on for a project, the process is fully automated by the VolunteerMatch site, so you don’t have to manually input any hours at all.

Why is this feature useful? First of all, it saves a lot of time and frustration for you! No longer will you have to nag your employees to track hours, or spend your valuable time inputting thousands of hours manually.

Second, since your employees won’t have to worry about tracking their hours, they can be free to focus on what’s really important – being engaged with the volunteer project. And looking forward to the next one.

Finally, Auto-Add Hours ensures that your company’s impact is up-to-date and accurate – so you can present a real, impressive picture of your work and why it’s so great for your employees, your company and your community.

Try out Auto-Add Hours today, and let us know how it goes!

Click here to learn more about how Auto-Add Hours and other VolunteerMatch tools can help your employee engagement efforts.

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CSR Tip of the Month: Opportunity Builder Saves You Time and Engages Your Employees

Each month our rock star team of Client Relations Managers shares one tip related to employee engagement, using VolunteerMatch Solutions tools, and running a great volunteer program. Apply these tips today to improve your program! (You can also learn more about how VolunteerMatch can help your company’s CSR activities.)

Jeff Bautista, Client Relations Manager at VolunteerMatch, shares a tip for running a great CSR and volunteer engagement program.This month’s tip comes from Jeff Bautista, Client Relations Manager.

Opportunity Builder is a standard feature of our VolunteerMatch Employee Solution technology tool. It allows volunteers (your employees, students, consumers, etc.) to suggest volunteer projects for your VolunteerMatch website.

Once the project is approved by a program administrator, you can make the “suggester” the Project Leader, and other employees can sign up to participate in the suggested activity.

Why is this feature useful? First of all, it saves a lot of time! By having your employees suggest projects, you don’t have to enter them yourself.

Second, and perhaps even more importantly, Opportunity Builder provides a way for your employees to become active participants in the planning of their volunteer activities. This will increase their engagement and “ownership” of the projects, improving participation and excitement across the board.

Try out Opportunity Builder today, and let us know how it goes!

Click here to learn more about how Opportunity Builder and other VolunteerMatch tools can help your employee engagement efforts.

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