A Volunteer Refresh: 8 Ways to Reinvigorate Your Corporate Volunteer Program

Several new volunteer strategies are emerging as a means to more effectively utilize the talents of participants in volunteer programs and magnify the effects of their philanthropic efforts. In the spirit of this refreshing summer season, we offer you 8 ways to help bring new energy to your current corporate volunteer programs and examples of companies that are already finding immense success by incorporating them.

1. Team Volunteering

A great benefit to team volunteering is that it gives employees an opportunity to volunteer in a more social environment. As the millennial generation in particular gradually begins to permeate the business world, companies are being encouraged to find ways that support their desire to work collaboratively. Team volunteering provides exponentially increased value to non-profits because the more individuals involved, the more they are able to accomplish.

Verizon Wireless has begun implementing this collaborative style of volunteering by matching teams of 10 or more volunteers up to $10,000. Interested in learning more? Click here.

2. Skills-Based Volunteering (SBV)

By focusing on personal and professional skills of the individual volunteer, skills-based volunteering is able to provide more long-term value to the non-profit; up to 500% greater than traditional volunteering. Additionally, skills-based volunteerism expands the employee’s skill sets and provides for a greater sense of satisfaction by using their personal expertise. For instance, a technology firm might utilize SBV by cleaning up a non-profit’s donor database, or an accounting firm might do a non-profit’s taxes for free.

Deloitte offers 1,200 pro bono projects that specialize in their extensive knowledge about consulting, tax, and advisory service. Discover more about what Deloitte does here.

For more ideas, please watch our 6th episode of #GDGShares that provides additional information on the benefits in utilizing skills based volunteering here.

3. Virtual Volunteering

In this age of rapidly growing technological advances, what could be more convenient than volunteering that can be done via your computer? Virtual volunteering offers a solution to those who don’t have the time to actually work on site at a non-profit. By making volunteer opportunities accessible any time or any place, corporate volunteer programs are able to reach an entirely new population of volunteers that have yet to be utilized.

Hewlett Packard’s HP Life program virtually trains students, entrepreneurs, and small business owners from all over the world to help create stable jobs and prosperous companies. Find out more here.

4. Community-based Volunteering

This style of volunteerism is a fun way to get involved not only with your local community, but also with your family, friends, or your customer base. One of the largest benefits is that this will extend the company’s volunteer impact beyond its own employees to include the surrounding community.

Belk does a great job of focusing on assisting nonprofits local to their stores to help improve the surrounding community in a more immediate and impactful way. Hear more about how Good Done Great participated in one of Belk’s community based volunteer opportunities here.

5. International Volunteering

Many large companies offer employees the opportunity to volunteer abroad. By extending volunteering internationally, the corporation has the opportunity to gain insight about expanding into different global markets. Employees increase their leadership and management skills as well as develop their own professional abilities. Volunteering internationally allows the company to serve a more diverse population of recipients. It also generates global improvements more than any of the other volunteer strategies.

The Grameen Foundation offers a program called Bankers without Borders (that’s not just for bankers), which helps connect professionals with international volunteer opportunities.

PepsiCo has created many international volunteer projects for its employees. Past international volunteer opportunities have included groups of employees from around the world meeting in Ghana to help improve access to safe water and promote eco-tourism. Learn more here.

6. Day of Volunteering

A day of volunteering within a company is a wonderful way to boost employee engagement. Not only does volunteering build teamwork within departments, it also builds leadership and utilizes the professional skills of those involved. Most volunteer projects are long term and require months or even years of planning, but by creating a day of volunteering people can come together to make a big impact in less than 24 hours. Building a home with Habitat for Humanity, building a community garden, or picking up trash at a local park are all great quick days of volunteering.

Good Done Great’s employees spent a fun day outside by volunteering with Keep Charleston Beautiful. We were able to collect over 620 pounds of litter, 25 bags of trash, and five tires from the surrounding marshlands.

7. Disaster-Based Volunteering

Disaster-based volunteering extends the impact of a traditional matching gifts disaster relief program by supplying properly trained employees who can offer specialized disaster relief assistance. Ready When the Time Comes is a program sponsored by the American Red Cross that trains corporate employees to volunteer based upon their rigorous standards. Appropriate disaster-based volunteer training prevents the challenges of working with employees that might not be knowledgeable about how to apply their specific skill to disaster relief.

Volunteers from Tyson Foods were able to provide more than 17,000 meals to victims and relief workers that were affected by the destructive twin tornadoes in Pilger, Nebraska. 

8. Dollars for Doers Programs/ Volunteer Grant Programs

The Dollars for Doers programs incentivize volunteering by providing cash grants to non-profits. An employee will volunteer for an organization of their choice, and in return the employer will send a charitable gift to the non-profit they volunteered for based upon the number of hours the employee volunteered. This style of volunteering allows the employee to choose where they would like to volunteer based on what is important to them. Because this style of giving is personalized, the individual employee engagement is much higher.

Microsoft offers a dollar-for-dollar match to nearly any school or organization the employee wishes and limits each employee to a generous $15,000 matched donation per year. Read more here.

We hope this inspires you to revitalize your company’s corporate volunteer program. These strategies will create more effective volunteering programs, encourage employee participation, and increase philanthropic donations. So get outside, take advantage of the beautiful summer weather, and make the world a better place!

This post was authored by Juliette Cheatham, Good Done Great Marketing Intern.

Shared Value: Creating Economic Prosperity for All

We are all familiar with the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Philanthropy. Many companies leverage CSR to build brand loyalty and to attract and retain talent.  Advancements in the field focus on integrating CSR into core business strategy.

For an increasing number of companies, doing well by doing good is now becoming a cornerstone of their business strategy (as opposed to an add-on). The Shared Value philosophy offers a way to maximize overall returns to society while driving real business growth. Shared Value looks beyond short-term financial gains and into the future for long-term growth and community development.

Shared Value elevates the conversation beyond CSR or Corporate Philanthropy as a new way of thinking and approach to business that includes societal benefits at the center instead of the periphery. As opposed to looking narrowly at the business landscape, the Shared Value approach opens the horizon to the possibilities of new products and markets which create value for all parties involved.

Shared Value _2

Shared Value can be realized through the creation of new products, the entering of new markets, reevaluating the value chain, and cluster development (whereby businesses collaborate with existing educational institutions for talent supply, create partners including suppliers, and build infrastructure).

How can we create Shared Value? Let’s look at a few examples. First, environmentally friendly products create value for society by using less packaging and electricity thereby eliminating waste and conserving natural resources.

Second, products delivered to the market at the bottom-of-the-pyramid (BOP) provide critical assistance to individuals typically ignored in the marketplace. Low-cost cellphones and laptops offer access to mobile-banking which allows BOP individuals the opportunity to participate in the financial sector while laptops provide access to information for educational and communication purposes. Businesses prosper by accessing a new market and new revenue source while incurring cheaper production costs.

Michael Porter, the esteemed HBS professor, and Mark Kramer, the co-founder and Managing Director of FSG, offer a suggestion for the creation of a Shared Value strategy. They suggest analyzing the positive and negative effects of your products upon society, demonstrating opportunities of growth and/or areas of reevaluation of current business practices that create a net positive impact upon society.

Several corporations already execute on Shared Value initiatives:

1) Nestle

Nestle partners with low-income coffee growers to provide jobs while creating clusters of agricultural, technology, financial, and logistical firms to provide an ecosystem of support and economic progress.

2) Coca-Cola’s 5×20 Initiative

Coca-Cola’s 5×20 initiative aims to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by 2020 through business education and mentoring. These women will join Coca-Cola as producers, distributors, recyclers, suppliers, retailers, and artisans and continue to impact the communities in which they live.

3) Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart creates Shared Value through women’s and sustainable initiatives. Their Empowering Women Together program provides women entrepreneurs with access to Wal-Mart’s customer base through placement on the Wal-Mart website. Furthermore, Wal-Mart works closely with suppliers to measure sustainability through the product index as well as converts waste into recyclable goods.

4) Capital One

Capital One employees and community organizations worked to rebuild the community of Gentilly, a neighborhood in New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina. Their work included: a neighborhood center which offered a safe place for kids and employment opportunities, affordable housing, training for jobs in the educational field, business training for entrepreneurs, and financial literacy programs. Capital One’s multi-faced approach to disaster created hope and opportunity in light of despair and destruction. 

At Good Done Great, we strive to create Shared Value by strategically directing the flow of capital from individuals and corporate groups to deserving non-profits throughout the world. Our status as a B-Corporation reinforces business as a force for good and holds us to strict environmental and social standards which improve our communities and protect the environment. (Click here for more details on this growing movement).

Shared Value challenges the traditional business model to include societal needs at the center while promoting long-term growth. If corporate groups seek to disrupt the marketplace and increase economic and social value for all, the Shared Value approach offers a holistic way to accomplish this challenging task.

 

How to Set up a Volunteer Opportunity in Less than a Month: Part One

Planning a company-wide volunteer event is a challenge in and of itself. In less than a month? Almost unheard of. GDG is currently planning a company-wide volunteer day, and we want to walk you through the ups and downs of the planning process so you don’t make the same mistakes we do.

Why a volunteer event you may ask?

Well, as we sat down with our friends at Silicon Harbor Reality Show to plan the upcoming filming of the pilot, we thought what better way to showcase Good Done Great than through a volunteer opportunity! The kicker was this event needed to be planned in less than a month! Eek!

But, breaking down the to-do list into digestible pieces makes the planning process much easier.

PART ONE: THE IDEA

Our past volunteer events included trash pick-ups and gaming marathons, so we knew we wanted to create a volunteer opportunity which expanded our cause areas while providing a fun, engaging, and impactful event for all parties involved.

Earl Bridges, GDG’s President and idea man, has always wanted to play bubble soccer. This activity seemed to be the perfect opportunity to spend an afternoon with underprivileged youth while having a good laugh at our colleagues.

GDG Tip: Think big! If you shoot for the moon, your volunteer event will be a huge success!

PART TWO: THE NON-PROFIT PARTNER

Selecting a non-profit partner is the easiest part in planning your volunteer day as there are many great non-profit organizations. Our first thought was to contact Boys and Girls Clubs, but after performing a bit of research, we found out much to our surprise that Boys and Girls Clubs of Charleston closed in 2011.

A colleague of mine mentioned his previous work volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters. After speaking with their staff and meeting their sprawling campus, we determined they were the perfect fit.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Carolina Youth Development Center matches deserving children with adults for one-on-one mentoring which includes eating out, tutoring, exercising, and attending sporting events. After 18 months of mentoring, research shows that children that participate in the program are:

  • 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
  • 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
  • 52% less likely to skip school
  • 37% less likely to skip class
  • 33% less likely to hit someone

With their proven track record of improving the lives of 8,000 children in the Lowcountry, we knew they would be the perfect partner for our volunteer day.

GDG TIP: Survey your colleagues! Ask them which organizations they may have volunteered with in the past for a cause which hits close to home.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters

PART THREE: FIND A LOCATION

One of the more difficult aspects of planning a volunteer event is location. Not everyone has a huge green backyard to host a soccer tournament, so seeking out a local park or community soccer stadium is the only way to accommodate the event. Fortunately, Big Brothers Big Sisters has a beautiful, green campus with a shaded soccer field.

We are still considering other options including a local park close to GDG’s HQ and our local soccer team.

Bottom Line: We have our hopes on using a local soccer stadium, but we are still in the process of confirming a location.

GDG Tip: Options, options, and more options! You can’t depend upon one location to be available the day of your event especially during the busy summer months, so make sure you have at least three options available.

PART FOUR: GAIN SPONSORS

As a growing start-up, we can’t do it all quite yet, so we need support from the community. If you’re growing too, you may need support in the form of food, amenities, or just general sponsorships or donations.

We are reaching out to local businesses to receive support in the form of volunteers, food donations, and general donations. Not only is this a great way to communicate their brand but also offer a fun-filled afternoon for well-deserving youth.

This can prove to be a challenge as sponsorships are difficult to obtain- many companies do not offer community support or don’t see the value in donating.

GDG Tip: To prevent unresponsive or disinterested sponsors, clearly communicate the benefits of the sponsorship and how this will benefit your non-profit partner. If they can visualize how their support will benefit the nonprofit, they will be much more likely to donate.

We are only 27 days away from our big volunteer day, and there is still so much left to do! Keep following our story on the blog as we plan the best volunteer event ever!

Keep Your Eye on the Prize: The Top CSR Awards and Recognition Lists

You work hard to create engaging and impactful workplace giving and community investment programs, so why not earn some recognition? We’ve pulled together seven of the most prestigious CSR awards and recognition awards. Keep this list handy, and challenge yourself to achieve high levels of CSR success.

(1) Communitas

Background

Communitas is Latin for “people coming together for the good of a community,” and this definition clearly defines the purpose of the Communitas Awards. This recognition formed from the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals pro bono program. It focuses on people giving back for the good of the whole. Commuintas hopes to recognize the power of business in solving the world’s social ills through community service and corporate social responsibility.

Requirements

All nominees must complete a nomination form based upon a particular category. Categories are within three divisions including: Community Service, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Community Service and CSR. Each division contains designated categories including: Company Community Service, Organization Community Service, Skills-Based Community Service, Individual Community Service, Community Service, Ethical and Environmental Responsibility, and Corporate Social Responsibility. Self-nomination is permitted. Nominations cost $125 per entry.

Judging

All nominees are judged by a team of individuals with extensive experience in business and non-profits. Criteria includes effort, resources, performance, and impact.

Past Winners

Past winners of this prestigious award include: Baxter International, Belk, and Hilton Worldwide.

Background

The Civic 50 is an initiative between Points of Light and Bloomberg to recognize 50 of the most civic-minded organizations. Utilizing the findings of the Civic 50 survey, Points of Light benchmarks community engagement activities so that other companies can analyze their current programs and enhance and elevate them to achieve new programmatic goals.

Requirements

All companies with revenue surmounting $1B are invited to complete a survey which consists of multiple choice and quantitative questions.

Judging

Companies are judged based upon four areas including investment, integration, institutionalization, and impact. Each category allows them the opportunity to accrue up to 1,000 points.

Past Winners

Winners are grouped based upon industry. The top leaders of 2014 included Comcast, Caesars Entertainment, ConAgra Foods, Valero Energy Corporation, KeyBank, UnitedHealth Group, UPS, Sigma-Aldrich, Hewlett-Packard, and CenterPoint Energy.

Background

Ethical Corporation’s mission is to drive forward sustainable business through media and research which elevates the CSR conversation. The Responsible Business Awards aim to recognize those companies creating substantial impact in the communities in which they live, work, and play. This is the sixth year of the awards which represent the CSR sector internationally.

Requirements

Applicants must complete an entry form and write a 500-word piece discussing why they should win.

Judging

Award categories encompass four focus areas including: business strategy, communications excellence, value chain sustainability, and internal engagement. Judges have extensive experience within business, sustainability, and the academic sectors. After reviewing the submissions, judges determine 12 companies as finalists which then submit additional information.

Past Winners

Past winners of this prestigious international award include Mars Incorporated, The Maersk Group, and Santander.

CSR Awards

Background

Corporate Responsibility Magazine and the 100 Best Corporate Citizens List focus on the accountability and transparency of corporations. Global consumers demand more from corporations than ever before and providing accurate reports surrounding CR efforts leads to brand loyalty and trust.

Requirements

All members of the Russell 1000 are included as a prospect to become a member of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens List.

Judging

IW Financial based in Portland, ME collects and analyzes publicly available data to determine the top performers. Data is collected from the the company website, sustainability reports, 10-K reports, and other public sources.

Data is collected based upon seven categories including climate change, employee relations, environmental, financial, governance, HR, philanthropy and community support. Within these seven categories, 298 data elements are collected.

Past Winners

This year’s top winners include: Bristols-Myers Squibb Company, Johnson & Johnson, Gap, Microsoft, and Mattel.

Background

The Ethisphere Institute believes in the power of accuracy and transparency in corporations as a way to build brand engagement and loyalty. The awards highlights those companies that practice what they preach and turn their sustainability ideas and goals into reality.

Requirements

Both domestic and international companies may submit an application.

Judging

After completing the application, the metrics are compiled to create an Ethics Quotient (EQ). Data is collected upon ethics and compliance, corporate citizenship and responsibility, culture of ethics, governance, leadership, innovation, and reputation. Each of these categories are weighted differently.

Past Winners

Past companies receiving the highest honors include Cummins, Gap, US Bank, and Dell.

(6) US Chamber of Commerce: Corporate Citizenship Awards

Background

The Corporate Citizenship Awards sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce recognize businesses creating impact through social and environmental programs.

Requirements

All businesses that complete a nomination form must be a member of the US Chamber of Commerce.

Judging

The six programmatic awards include: Best Commitment to Education, Best Community Improvement Program, Best Disaster Response and Community Resilience Program, Best Economic Empowerment Program, Best Environmental Stewardship Program, and Best Health and Wellness Program. Two best Corporate Steward awards are also presented to one large corporation and one small/medium-sized business who represent the best of the best in corporate citizenship. An external review committee determines three finalists in each category which will be announced in August of this year. Finalists will then be selected from another review committee, and winners will be announced at the Citizens Awards gala on in Washington, DC.

Past Winners Abbott, Capital One, Google, IBM, KPMG, and UPS have all been recognized by the US Chamber of Commerce for their CSR efforts.

Background

The Peer Awards for CSR seek to highlight innovative companies in CSR and employee engagement. Through this collaborative awarding process, conversation abounds driving CSR and sustainable business practices.

Requirements

All applicants must submit a nomination form based upon a specific award and sub-category.

Judging

The awards feature companies who demonstrate excellence in community responsibility, customer engagement, people and performance. Three to six finalists are chosen per category. During the awards conference, the speakers represent the finalists. Individuals attending the session are the judges. A winner is selected for each category, industry sector, and criteria. An overall winner is also selected. Categories for this year’s awards include: Corporate Responsibility– Developing Potential, Educating the Community, Educating Young People; Customer Engagement; People and Performance– Employee Engagement, Nurturing Talent.

Past Winners

Past winners of The Peer Awards for CSR include Royal Bank of Scotland, British Airways, and SAP.

Diversity + Inclusion for More Powerful Philanthropy

“When the concepts of diversity and inclusion are added to basic due diligence, the result can create a philanthropy that is both responsive and efficient.”

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

In order to solve today’s most troubling societal ills: clean water crisis, systemic poverty, hunger, it takes a group of individuals with diverse ways of thinking. Tackling difficult issues with individuals who think similarly will produce stagnant results. Utilizing diversity and inclusion to evaluate philanthropic initiatives will provide for broad-reaching solutions to challenging problems.

The Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors define diversity and inclusion accordingly:

“Diversity is the practice of including a full range of perspectives, ideas and experience in philanthropic decision-making. Inclusion seeks the participation of individuals from diverse backgrounds in the process.”

By recognizing our differences and celebrating them, we can utilize them to develop comprehensive insights to solving these global challenges. By including individuals with varying backgrounds, they can apply their experiences and provide unique perspectives into how to tackle these issues.

So, why does diversity matter?

Professor Scott Page at the University of Michigan performed research on this topic with Lu Hong, an economist at Chicago’s Loyola University. They developed a model which determined that diverse groups of individuals outperformed the most talented individuals at solving problems. The reason? The diverse individuals didn’t get stuck as often as the talented individuals who thought similarly.

His example: New York City. It’s no coincidence that one of the most innovative and vibrant cities in the United States is also one of the most culturally diverse.

New York City

Professor Page advances the discussion asking questions such as, “How can we work more productively together?” versus, “Why can’t we get along?” This elevation in discussion lends itself to the new approach to diversity:

The Rockefeller Philanthropy Group provides findings from The Bureau of the Census which estimates that “minority” groups will take over as the majority in the United States by 2042. As the world changes, philanthropy must change to meet those needs.

Several community foundations already implement diversity and inclusion into their philanthropy programs by including diverse staff members, evaluating grant opportunities through a diverse lens, and including overlooked groups in funding opportunities.

From the corporate side, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation uniquely combines employee engagement, giving, and diversity. In 1991, the trustees of the foundation elected to allow Ben & Jerry’s employees to review grant requests. It only made sense to entrust funding decisions to the community members themselves.

Four steps to incorporate diversity and inclusion into your CSR programs

1) Incorporate diversity in your staff and grant programs.

Include individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences on your staff, board, and in consultative and advisory positions so as to drive forward innovative discussions and decisions.

Extend this diverse way of thinking into your individual grant programs by targeting groups that may be traditionally overlooked in grant funding.

2) Consult with stakeholders. 

In order to best serve your community, you must speak with community members and understand their needs as opposed to providing them with what you think they need.

3) Devise a plan. 

Develop a plan to incorporate diversity and inclusion into your CSR programs and evaluate this plan with key advisors before you implement.

4) Run a trial program. 

Test the the program for a designated period of time and bring in stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness.

Instilling diversity and inclusion into your funding provides for a more comprehensive approach to tackling social injustice. Just as investors must diversify to avoid risk in stock so too must philanthropists. Information and insight from multiple, diverse sources will lead to more qualified decisions and greater impact.

Volunteering for the whole family

At Good Done Great, we have the pleasure of seeing some of the world’s most recognizable brands do some really great philanthropy. I had been looking for an opportunity to introduce my 11 year old daughter, Lilly, to a good volunteer event. Luckily, we had been speaking to Belk corporation and heard about their cleanup and restoration day at the Cooper River Marina in Charleston.

belk

It was all set up to be a fun, fast-paced morning divided into three projects:

Pick up litter in the marsh and along the shoreline. Rubber gloves, litter pickers, and trash bags will be provided. Trash and recyclables will be separated and routed to the appropriate disposal sites.

Bag oyster shells for a reef to be built at the Cooper River marina. Heavy lifting is involved, so it didn’t seem like this was a good opportunity for Lilly and her friend. The purpose of the project was to provide substrate for the recruitment of juvenile oysters and to restore valuable oyster habitat in areas where the population is depleting or lacking. Through this community-based restoration program, habitats for other animals are enhanced, estuarine water quality is improved, and the general public is educated about the importance of oysters in the ecosystem.

Building an oyster reef at the Cooper River Marina. Heavy lifting was involved (about 300 bags at 25lbs each), and there was no way that Lilly was up for this. Pre-filled bags are transferred from person to person from the loading area down to the build site where the reef is to be constructed.

In the end, we decided that the litter pick-up was perfect for me, and my two 11-year old helpers!

What we loved about it:

– Great informational sessions from the Charleston County Parks & Rec (see video), and from the SC Department of Natural Resources (see video).

– Fun to see how corporations engage their brands and partnerships in order to make a difference in the world (see video).

What kind of Impact did we make:
Over 30 bags of trash
500 bags of oysters at 30 pounds each
15,000 pounds of oyster shells to create a new reef
200,000 oysters will spawn
500,000 gallons of water will get filtered per hour

How do we rate the overall volunteer experience?

(check out our video)

All in all, this was a great way to introduce the family to volunteering. We not only had a unique experience that we will remember for a very long time, but we made a difference that has lasting impact.

(Volunteer Value:  B+)

Taking Corporate Philanthropy Across the Pond

After mastering domestic workplace giving and volunteerism programs, our clients begin to imagine ways to extend their philanthropic reach. Naturally, one of the ways to expand their programs is internationally. However, our European counterparts take a slightly different approach to corporate citizenship.

In order to obtain a better understanding of the European viewpoint of corporate citizenship, I had a conversation with two UK-based consultants. The first of which uncovered a difference in terminology -Instead of philanthropy, the United Kingdom focuses on the terms community and social investment. Community investment teams at corporations focus on creating programs that meet a particular need at a non-profit organization as opposed to providing blanket donations.

Employee engagement also differs from traditional engagement programs here in the United States. European employers view all employees from a holistic standpoint and encourage social change at all levels. Skills-based volunteerism (SBV) is touted as one of the best ways to maximize social change and increase employee engagement. Domestically, CSR professionals understand the value of SBV but find it difficult to execute upon a formal plan.

However, despite a focus away from traditional methods of giving, official statistics provided from the United Kingdom Cabinet Office point to higher levels of giving and volunteerism:

The proportion of individuals participating in volunteerism at least once a year has increased from 65% in 2010-2011 to 71% in 2012. An uptick in giving was also recognized; 74% of individuals made donations in 2012, compared with 72% in 2010.

As CSR in the United States becomes more strategic, we will continue to look to our UK counterparts for insight into how to tailor our programs to ensure maximum impact in the United States and beyond.

Eliminating Friction and Maximizing Impact through Intuitive Technology

At Good Done Great, we talk about efficiency a lot- in particular the efficiencies gained through the utilization of cloud-based technology for corporate philanthropy programs.

In fact, GDG was one of the early proponents and implementors of Project Streamline, an initiative of the Grants Managers Network, aimed at eliminating friction for the grant-maker and grant-seeker.

When applying for funding, nonprofits spend an exorbitant amount of time searching for grant opportunities, completing the application, and reporting upon their funding. Occasionally this expenditure of time will lead to a net negative impact upon society if the number of resources expended on completing the grant outweigh the dollar amount of the grant.

Good Done Great’s co-founder, Earl Bridges, created a tool for nonprofits to measure this impact so that organizations can determine prior to applying whether or not this is a worthwhile opportunity. Grant-making entities can also utilize the tool to determine the actual impact their funding has upon society. (Some of the results we found were shocking!)

Utilizing the principles of Project Streamline, GDG developed an intuitive grants-management system. This tool responds based upon the answers of the potential grantees and either moves them through the application process or eliminates them so they do not spend time applying for a grant award which they will not receive.

Our experience extends to employee engagement professionals and workplace giving programs. In order to inspire giving, we must make giving easier. Think about the last time you filled out a timesheet or expense report. The task is time-consuming, boring, and feels like work. Is that how you want your giving to feel?

GDG is adamant that workplace giving should feel like giving and not feel like work. The way to get there is by removing friction from workplace giving programs and making them feel like a giving program should.

Throughout the implementation process with our clients, we ask ourselves questions such as:

  • How can we increase the workflow automation for their matching-gift program by 75%?
  • How can we increase reporting accuracy by 35%?
  • How can we increase non-profit online engagement by 50%

With giving made frictionless, your employees will be apt to give and therefore give more, continuing to contribute to the well-being of the communities in which your company lives, works, and plays.

“Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast:” How to Infuse a Flavor of Philanthropy into your Company Culture

With May flowers on the way to brighten our spirits, we’re busy dreaming of ways to put an extra spring into our company culture, and what better way to do this than through philanthropy!

First, let’s talk about why it’s important for you to focus your efforts on revitalizing culture, and then we’ll cover how a great CSR program can help. So, why focus on culture? The answer: bottom line growth.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” – Peter Drucker

Professor James Heskett of the Harvard Business School and John Kotter, chairman of Kotter International, provide substantial data to verify this hypothesis. They evaluated 207 large US companies in 22 different industries over an 11-year period and determined:

1. Companies that managed their cultures saw revenue increases of 682% versus increases of 166% of companies that did not manage their cultures.

2. Stock prices increased 901% in companies that managed their cultures versus only 74% for the companies that did not manage their cultures.

3. Companies that managed their cultures saw net income increases of 756% versus 1%.

The results are in, and they clearly indicate that a focus on culture can provide for an increase in overall profits.

If we want to enhance the current culture of our organization and take advantage of this profit potential, it is vital that we focus on the person. Each individual within our company comes from varying backgrounds and possesses a variety of skillsets; these individuals drive the organization as a whole. If all employees are driven, happy, effective, innovative, and creative, then profit goals will be met, and dare we say- exceeded.

Company Culture and Philanthropy

The esteemed CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman, reflects upon the importance of each individual, “In any company, you have to go back to what drives people. Brands with a purpose and that are values-led over time are going to be by definition more successful.”

Focusing on philanthropy and CSR provides for a more holistic culture that engages each employee while also impacting the bottom line.

If you’re hoping to incorporate a philanthropic component to your culture, here are three tips to build your give back culture.

1. Incorporate CSR with your Business Model

Think about your current business model (do you sell software, consumer goods, or high-end apparel?) Developing philanthropic programs which match your current business model and future goals will have a greater impact. If you are a soap manufacturer, consider partnering with a non-profit whose mission revolves around improving hygiene in third-world countries.

2. Work with other Departments to Develop Holistic Campaigns

The more integrated your philanthropic programs, the greater possibility for sustainable impact. Work with your colleagues in supply chain or diversity and inclusion to develop broad-reaching programs that extend across multiple departments.

3. And most importantly… involve employees in the process!

At the center of your company and culture lie your employees. Utilize surveys and internal social networking tools to determine your employees’ philanthropic passions. There’s nothing like knowing that your colleagues care just as much about animal rights or women’s issues as you do.

No matter if you are a Fortune 500 company or a growing SME, instilling a level of philanthropy will provide for a more holistic company culture in which employees will feel valued and empowered to share their philanthropic story. Now let’s get those good works going!

GDG in the Community

At Good Done Great, we not only talk the talk about the value of volunteerism, we also walk the walk. Over the course of our five-year history, we have participated in gaming marathons and environmental clean-ups throughout the surrounding Charleston area.

For our first clean-up with Keep Charleston Beautiful, a team of GDGers headed out to the area surrounding the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge which connects Charleston to Mount Pleasant. Much of the debris was wind-blown from surrounding schools and businesses. At the end of our afternoon-long clean-up, we collected over 620 pounds of litter, 25 bags of trash, and 5 tires from the marsh.

KellyJennifer Scales, Programs Manager of Keep Charleston Beautiful, reported that our volunteer hours saved the city $240 that would have contributed to hiring someone to perform the clean-up. After the success of our first clean-up, the GDG team was eager to perform a second clean sweep of the park surrounding our new location on Marina Drive.

In addition to our passion in keeping the Charleston area clean and green, our team of software implementers share a passion for gaming. This passion translated into the perfect volunteer opportunity with Extra Life, a non-profit organization which benefits Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Our implementation team transformed our Marina Drive office into a gaming haven where they played video games non-stop for 24 hours, raising money for MUSC Children’s Hospital. The initiative was spearheaded by Nic Patterson, a member of the product development team at GDG.

Our support prompted a tour of the hospital in which we spoke with doctors and hospital administrators who shared stories and information surrounding the impact of our donations including funding towards the expansion of the new hospital.

GDG is proud to support local nonprofits in the Charleston area and beyond! We are working to expand our CSR program to include a core non-profit partnership. Stay tuned!

PS Check out our Facebook page for pictures of our Keep Charleston Beautiful clean sweep!