2012 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Insights: Keynote Panel Recap

At the 2012 VolunteerMatch Client Summit Keynote Panel, “Breaking Down Barriers to Active Engagement,” five experts talked about how companies can better engage employees in CSR programs.

Vicky Hush, Vice President, Client Services & Strategic Partnerships at VolunteerMatch
Stacie Kronthal, Vice President of Partnerships, Network for Good
Ingrid Embree, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Global Giving
Sheetal Singh, Director of Development, TechSoup Global
Karen Baker, Secretary of Service and Volunteering for the State of California (moderator)


Here are four take-homes from the keynote panel:

1. Frame the call to action.

Put your call to action into context. Make the potential employee volunteer a character in the greater story of your cause marketing campaign. People want to know that they’re part of a collective whole that’s doing good. Make sure that your story comes from a genuine place that truly wants to give. Potential volunteers and donors will know when you’re being fake.

2. Go narrow and deep.

Focus all your efforts on one issue and one goal ― make sure that your cause relates to your brand. When your efforts become obsolete and/or ineffective, you don’t have to change your goal, you just have to change how you go about it, or add another dimension. Focus on partnering with one or several nonprofits that share your cause.


Going narrow and deep focuses your strategy and also makes your storytelling job easier. Instead of trying to tell one story involving many causes ― which leaves a jumbled narrative that won’t win over any donors or volunteers ― you have many dimensions to one cause that you can turn into a compelling story.

3. Have a plan in case of an emergency or natural disaster.

The 7 days after a disaster occurs is a critical time to collect donations and take action. If your company has a plan in place, you don’t have to waste time strategizing and you can jump right in. Take a look at this 2007 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies for some case studies of several corporations’ successful emergency cause campaigns.

4. Look at how technology has shaped giving and volunteering.

With the Internet, donating money has become easier than ever. Nonprofits like GlobalGiving or Razoo have programs where you can give out gift cards you can redeem towards any cause or organization you want on the website ― giving employees more choice in supporting the causes they care about. Network for Good also partners with corporations to help fundraise for various causes.

Cause marketing has also gone beyond giving money. TechSoup is a technology donation program and focuses on tech capacity building for NGOs. Companies like Microsoft have donated software through TechSoup to help NGOs serve their communities more effectively.

With emerging technologies and different ways to give, companies now have countless tools and strategies they can use towards employee engagement. What are some CSR strategies that have worked for your company?

Further Reading:
Global Giving Blog
CSR Storytelling the Millennial Way (Network for Good)
3 Ways Companies Win By Using CSR to Solve Global Problems (Network for Good)
10 Cause Marketers You Should Follow on Twitter (Selfish Giving)

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