Fantasy Football is More than Trash Talking: How to Utilize Gamification to Increase Giving

Cooler air, shorter days, and a new school year signal the arrival of the fall season. Along with the changing leaves, fall also indicates the return of football and the office tradition that is fantasy football. At Good Done Great, we participate in a league that spans two of our offices and multiple departments. (We even have a channel on our internal communication site solely dedicated to trash talking.)  

Fantasy football and March Madness are easy and fun ways to engage employees across departments while increasing collaboration, interaction, and team-building. There’s nothing like a little bit of competition to fire up your employees!

Gamification and Employee Engagement

Today, corporate groups including Target, Omnicare, and Ford Motor Group utilize games and game design to engage and motivate employees, drive positive behaviors, and positively impact business. In fact, 55% of Americans say they are interested in working for a company that uses gamification to increase productivity. Current gamification strategies impact everything from customer service to training and onboarding new employees.

Gamification strategies easily translate to workplace giving programs. Through utilizing reward and recognition programs, corporate philanthropy professionals can increase the amount and number of donations or participation in volunteer events. Millennials in particular expect positive reinforcement as their baby boomer parents were quick to praise them as children. Rewards may include tangible awards including plaques, increased match ratios, or volunteer grants. Intangible awards include recognition on a company and department level. But, beware! You must alter reward types in order to avoid employee boredom.

In addition to awards, 4 other examples of gamification strategies to increase giving include:

1) Badges for Giving and Volunteering

Utilizing your workplace giving technology platform (may we suggest Good Done Great), award your employees for giving and volunteering through virtual badges. Apply levels so that employees are motivated to go above and beyond their normal donation and volunteer amounts to achieve higher ranking badges.

Employee Recognition


2) Team-Based Volunteer and Giving Programs

Giving and volunteering is much more fun in teams!  Form teams based upon location, departments, and interests. Challenge other teams to volunteer, or give, or complete specific volunteer opportunities (ie build one house with Habitat for Humanity, tutor 30 students).

3) Peer-to-peer Fundraising

Allow your employees to create personal fundraising pages to raise funds on behalf of a cause. Fundraisers may work to achieve sponsorship for an upcoming race or personal event or challenge (such as Movember). This type of fundraising encourages goal-setting and collaboration with colleagues while promoting a worthy cause.

4) Nonprofit Challenges

In addition to donating, employees can provide significant value to non-profits by offering their unique skill sets. Offer your employees volunteer projects which solve a particular challenge that a nonprofit faces. Examples may include building a digital marketing strategy to attract Millennial donors or building a donor database which allows the non-profit to collate communication with repeat donors. Through providing a challenge or puzzle for your employees to solve, they will unite under a common goal and work diligently to provide a solution.


As you begin to strategize and plan for your end of the year giving campaigns take an example from fantasy football! Utilize gaming techniques to reinforce positive behavior and encourage your employees to give and volunteer!

Go Global Part Two: International Vetting and Compliance

Last week on our 411 on International Giving post, we covered how one goes about setting a strategy for a global CSR program. Today in part two, we will address the other major concern that the 2013 Giving Beyond Borders study raised as being of significant concern to those embarking on developing an international employee engagement program.


After mastering international employee engagement program design and implementation, the next step is to determine how to perform international vetting and disbursements. The following recommendations are for companies who are disbursing funds from the USA.

According to the study conducted by LBG Associates:

  • 43% of companies surveyed utilize both company resources and vendor resources to perform vetting.
  • 39% of companies utilize the vendor only to perform vetting.
  •  18% of companies rely solely upon themselves to perform vetting.

This statistic is not surprising, as vetting international organizations is expensive and time intensive. Imagine the difficulties in communicating in a foreign language with a small NGO in a remote area of the world. They may not have an Executive Director or contact listed on their website, or even a website for that matter! You can attempt to contact them via postal mail, but your multiple attempts may go unanswered.

International Corporate Giving

Several companies utilize workaround solutions in order to avoid the hassle and expense of international vetting by implementing lower standards for vetting volunteer or matching gift donations. Some companies only allow employees to donate to non-profits supported by the corporate grant program. Lastly, some companies will only work with US 501(c)(3)s that have an international program or affiliates.

Depending upon your corporate structure, you may only need to comply with certain laws. If your CSR department is a corporate foundation, you must complete equivalency determinations for each international non-profit you wish to support. This process determines the non-profit’s equivalent status in the United States and maintains the corporate foundation’s charitable status.            

If your CSR giving is solely corporate contributions, you must concern yourself with FCPA (Foreign Foreign Corrupt Practices ActCorrupt Practices Act). Compliance with FCPA ensures that the recipient organization is a NGO and prevents bribery or other illegal activities. And don’t forget Patriot Act compliance! This ensures that your corporate dollars do not support terrorist organizations.

You may need support in completing these processes, and a variety of partners exist to assist you in ensuring that you are abiding by these laws. TechSoup Global is a non-profit with an international network of NGOs that provides technology and other services to the social sector. TechSoup offers two services for vetting international NGOs including NGOSource and NGOk. NGOSource is a membership service and provides members with a database of Equivalency Determinations. NGOk is global validation service ensuring that an organization is recognized as an NGO in their country of origin.

GlobalGiving is yet another organization which provides vetting services. This non-profit organization has boots on the ground in the most remote areas of the world performing vetting at both the project level and organization level. With this type of service, you can ensure that the non-profit organization is fully compliant with national/international law and corporate goals.

Global Giving International Vetting

No one said going global would be easy, but with the proper support from partner organizations and your international staff, you can ensure that your programs will be a success from design to implementation. Imagine your global philanthropy impact!


Go Global: The 411 on International Corporate Giving

After mastering domestic employee and community engagement programs, the natural next step is to expand abroad. With a global CSR program, you can expand your company’s impact beyond your home state or national boundaries to include your international employees’ communities. Imagine the global philanthropic story you can tell by utilizing the skills of your entire employee population while addressing community challenges around the world!

Expanding internationally does provide a plethora of challenges including vetting of international NGOs, disbursements of funds, and compliance with national laws. Furthermore, managing a global CSR program with tens, or hundreds of thousands of employees is challenging especially if you are unfamiliar with the languages and cultures.

According to the 2013 Giving Beyond Borders study conducted by the Lilly School of Philanthropy,

  • 46% of corporations indicated a need for a global employee engagement strategy
  • 50% of corporations indicated a need for vetting services

In this two part series, Good Done Great will highlight each of these challenges and offer suggestions and insights into how to master them.


Prior to implementing any formal employee or community engagement program, you must evaluate the country’s cultural opinions on volunteering and service. Traditionally, Americans are naturally philanthropic either donating, volunteering, or performing random acts of kindness. However, in other countries, this is not always the common practice or the attitudes about doing these things in the workplace are different.

A study conducted by LBG Associates collected data from 36 multinational companies surrounding their experiences in launching global employee engagement programs. This study indicated that matching gifts, workplace giving, and volunteerism are viewed as benefits similar to vacation time or insurance. This stance indicates that corporate philanthropy is not a priority, or at the core of the business.

Consider these various viewpoints of volunteerism:

  • Employee A: “It’s not the company’s business if I volunteer. Volunteerism is personal and shouldn’t be associated with corporate programs.”
  • Employee B: “Volunteering should only be associated with church-related initiatives.”
  • Employee C: “The government should take care of its citizens.” (Brazilians often view volunteerism as such; however, they are apt to volunteer in instances where the government fails to intercede.)
  • Employee C: “If I volunteer on company time, my manager may look down upon me, and it may hurt job performance.”

Surveying and understanding employee viewpoints on volunteerism will impact program design and even whether a program is viable. Consult with employees, customers, and other stakeholders to determine social values prior to program launch.

Global CSR Solution Good Done Great

In addition to understanding employee opinions on giving back, managing a global program is challenging and will require collaboration. Consider implementing a volunteer council to lessen your workload. Their position in-country will provide invaluable insights into program design, implementation, and success. Host regular online meetings and plan to meet in person at least once a year for a brainstorming session.

Don’t allow differing viewpoints on philanthropy to prevent you from going global! As long as you take into account cultural differences prior to program launch, you will succeed in launching a global CSR program which will provide a holistic view of your company’s philanthropic story.

How to Set up a Volunteer Opportunity in a Month: The Finale!

We did it! Our volunteer event with the Carolina Youth Development Center was a huge success! Although we weren’t able to play bubble soccer (an event which has been postponed for a later date), our afternoon was filled with dancing, food, and kickball!

To kick off our fun-filled afternoon, we fired up the grill with hotdogs and hamburgers to satisfy the hungry appetites of the kids. Before our meal, two of the older youth offered a prayer, and Good Done Great’s co-founder, Earl Bridges, spoke briefly on Good Done Great’s mission and work as a technology company.

Earl Talking

In between bites of mac n’ cheese, Good Done Great employees chatted with the children and shared with them insights about our roles at GDG, our taste in music (Katy Perry vs. Iggy Azalea), and our unique talents including break-dancing and singing.

A poorly-timed hotdog eating contest immediately preceded a game of kickball. Although the kids outnumbered the GDG team, GDG pulled off a great win despite a popped ball and hot weather. We’re not proud that we beat a bunch of kids, but we felt it was beneath their dignity for us to just let them win.

After a quick break to catch our breath, the afternoon continued with a Charleston RiverDogs baseball game in downtown Charleston. The kids and their chaperones hopped on the CYDC bus to the stadium where we enjoyed the game complete with dance breaks, balloon animals, and face painting. Some of the kids even participated in an activity on the field in the middle of the third inning!


We had an incredible time volunteering with CYDC. Our employees spent time with an amazing organization and peaked one young man’s interest to code! Like any one-day volunteer event, it is important to extend the work with the non-profit. Good Done Great looks to support CYDC in future volunteer and giving campaigns.

We hope this three part series inspired you to plan your next volunteer day of service! Not only does volunteering boost employee engagement and team bonding, it also provides tremendous benefit to the non-profit which lasts way beyond the short time spent serving them!

Happy Volunteering!

Check out our other posts in this series:

How to Set up a Volunteer Opportunity in a Month: Part Two

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

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.

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.


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!


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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


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.


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.


Both domestic and international companies may submit an application.


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


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


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


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.


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.


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


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.

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.


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+)

“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!