2011 Corporate Volunteer Awards: Four Programs That Are Making a Real Difference

Debra Wersonick, Coordinator of Employee Giving and Volunteer Programs in the Community Programs Office at Los Alamos National Laboratory, accepts her team’s award from VolunteerMatch’s Greg Price.

A few weeks ago we shared our excitement for our Client Summit, where we bring together leaders at the employee volunteer programs that have collectively become a source of more than 40% of the volunteer referrals at VolunteerMatch.

The Summit took place last week in Chicago, and as part of it VolunteerMatch honored Discovery Communications, Hagerty Insurance, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Union Bank with 2011 Corporate Volunteer Awards for outstanding corporate volunteer engagement. We thought we’d share the details of these excellent programs here at Engaging Volunteers, and introduce you to a few of the people and teams that are working so hard to engage today’s business leaders in the work of your nonprofit.

More Awards Than Ever

VolunteerMatch recognizes award winners from our growing list of corporate clients, which today includes more than 140 businesses in retail, manufacturing, technology, professional services, and other sectors. This was the fifth year we’ve given the awards, which are based on objective or subjective criteria against a variety of benchmarks across our family of corporate clients. This year the awards were expanded to include a new category, “Breakthrough Performance,” for recently launched programs.

While there’s no doubt that our 2011 winners are making a huge difference in local communities, it was harder than ever to single out just four companies this year. But even as we had to pass up so many deserving companies, we’re sure that these winners are true models of what it means to engage employees in volunteering.

So without further ado, our 2011 Corporate Volunteer Award winners are:

Employee Volunteer Program of the Year – Large Businesses:
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Employees in Los Alamos National Laboratory’s “Volunteers in Action” program have logged more than 550,000 hours since the company joined VolunteerMatch in 2006. In 2010, nearly 1,300 of LANL’s 10,000-plus employees logged 250,245 hours of volunteer service, a 29% increase from the previous year. In addition, more than $150,000 will be donated to 225 nonprofit organizations on behalf of employees and retirees for volunteer hours completed in 2010.

Employee Volunteer Program of the Year – Small-Medium Businesses:
Hagerty Insurance
For the second year in a row, Hagerty Insurance received the highest honor for outstanding performance for an Employee Volunteer Program with fewer than 10,000 participants. In 2010 the Traverse City, Mich.-based insurer of collectible cars and boats maintained an astonishing 92% participation rate, even as 50 new employees joined the 440-person company.

Champions of the Year:
Ryan Bjorkquist & Jan Woolsey, Union Bank

It was a year of firsts for Union Bank, which owes much of its success to leadership from administrators Jan Woolsey and Ryan Bjorkquist. In 2010, the California-based bank’s employees tripled their volunteer hours to more than 19,000 hours through smart mission-aligned programs like Union Bank’s Financial Literacy Month Campaign, as well as eight hours of paid work time annually for organizations and activities that qualify under the Community Reinvestment Act.

Breakout Performance:
Discovery Communications

Newly launched at VolunteerMatch, Discovery Communications had outstanding success engaging employees in a variety of service programs in 2010. As part of the Silver Spring, MD-based media company’s signature “Discover Your Impact Day” event, 3,000 employees on five continents took part in volunteerism activities, giving back to nonprofits supporting land, water and people. The company also launched a pro bono initiative, “Discovery Impact: Creating Change,” where more than 200 Discovery employees provided creative, marketing, communications, events and social media services to 40 nonprofit organizations during a 12-hour marathon event. Additionally, the program featured workshops for some 200 other regional nonprofits on topics like social media, events planning and public relations.

We hope you’ll join us in congratulating this year’s Corporate Volunteer Award winners! Together, we’re helping organizations like your develop more capacity to make change.

What about you? Does your organization engage corporate employees? What do you think of this trend? Share your insights here.