Pledge 1%: A Bold Commitment to the Community

What do companies such as Salesforce, Optimizely, and Yelp have in common? Not only are these companies cutting-edge in the technology sector, they also are cutting-edge in the way they conduct business. These three companies took the 1-1-1 pledge.

Pledge 1% is a call to action in corporate philanthropy to centralize focus on the community. Pledgees are encouraged to donate 1% of equity, employee time, and product for their community. Participating companies choose which nonprofits and causes to support based upon their philanthropic goals.

What are the different actions 1% pledgees take?

Component One of Pledge 1%: Equity

Pledgees can allot equity in a number of different ways: publicly commit to pledging equity, immediately grant equity, or pledge equity prior to an exit. Companies utilize Pledge 1% partner EFCO to successfully set aside equity, and they may choose the amount of shares and the nonprofit recipients.

The sooner you pledge, the better! If you build philanthropy into your business from the beginning, every corporate decision will be made with the community in mind.

Component Two of Pledge 1%: Employee Time

Companies can pledge 1% of their employees’ time to volunteer. Pledgees can offer a wide
variety of employee volunteer programs (EVPs) to meet this goal including: team volunteering, individual volunteering, pro-bono service at home and abroad, board service, and paid time off volunteer programs.

With this commitment in mind, no longer will companies have to guess at what success looks like in an EVP. Utilize a workplace giving platform, such as Good Done Great, to track your progress toward achieving your 1% goal.

Component Three of Pledge 1%: Product

An easy way to contribute to Pledge 1% is to provide product at little or no cost to non-profits. Keep in mind that the donated product must contribute to the nonprofit’s mission and/or contribute to social problems. Consider requiring a budget and application form.

Examples of in-kind donations include: a software company donating accounting or donor-management software, an office supply company donating school supplies, or a pharmaceutical company donating medical supplies.

Pledge 1% Good Done Great

Pledge 1% reflects the change in corporate ideology from solely profit-motivated to community and impact-motivated. No matter the stage of growth of your company, Pledge 1% is a great way to inspire your employees around a movement of giving.

Is your company in need of a culture overhaul? Utilize the tools on the Pledge 1% website to develop a compelling presentation to your board to participate in Pledge 1%. Not only will your participation boost your recruitment efforts but also your entire company will share in the success of a successful exit which positively impacts the community.


Data-Driven Storytelling: Is your Company Collecting the Right Data to tell its CSR Story?

Recently, we welcomed two thought-leaders in the CSR space Christina Bowen (VP at Good Done Great) and Cynthia Figge (COO/Cofounder of CSRHub and Cofounder of EKOS International) as co-hosts for a webinar discussing data-driven storytelling.

We had an overwhelming number of engaged attendees from across the country! If you weren’t able to attend, don’t fret! This post will provide you with the highlights from this informative discussion on how to collect the correct CSR data, analyze it, and share it with both external and internal stakeholders.

Prior to the presentation, we reported findings from two questions asked of our webinar registrants:

1) How do you collect your CSR data?

  • Spreadsheets 54%
  • CSR Software 31%
  • Access Database 5%
  • Don’t collect data 4%
  • Paper 3%

The majority of our audience realized the importance of data, and 31% even utilize a CSR software to manage and track this data!

2) How do you communicate your CSR story to your stakeholders?

  • CSR Report 23%
  • Email 4%
  • Website 4%
  • Social Media 3%
  • E-Newsletters 1%
  • All of the above 64%

Our first presenter, Christina, is a huge proponent of sharing your CSR story with internal and external stakeholders. It was great to see that the majority of our registrants communicate their story using both traditional and new media.

I. The Importance of Data

Christina began the webinar discussing the importance of data to tell your CSR story. She discussed how data points are the proof points that demonstrate how your company shows up in the communities where you do business. Data points provide meaningful and powerful information to your CSR statements. With data, CSR statements are believable. With quantitative data, a CSR story becomes more substantive. She provided the following examples:

  • Number of people impacted through your CSR programs
    • Meals served
    • Houses built
    • Immunizations provided
    • Coats or toys collected
    • Computers donated
  • Total dollars contributed
  • Total volunteer hours logged
  • Total dollars matched by your company

With robust, data-driven statements, your CSR content is more likely to be picked up by media. Additionally, it delivers proof to your stakeholders, including current and potential employees, that your company is a socially responsible business.

Christina also discussed the importance of identifying the story you want to tell. Is there a social injustice you’re trying to correct? Is it important to reduce your environmental footprint? Are you trying to create a more vibrant economy in your community?

She went on to say that after you identify the story you want to tell, you must leverage it appropriately. Review data on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis and evaluate how it will support your programs and initiatives. After you strategically collect your data and analyze it, you are ready to share it with the world via traditional and social media.

II. Benchmarking and More

After Christina’s dynamic conversation, Cynthia provided information on benchmarking and ratings.  In today’s world, business managers are under pressure to report CSR performance. Even if you don’t provide data to the media, your company is still rated and covered!

Companies receive data requests from a variety of sources including ESG research firms, supply chain systems and industry organizations, and activists and NGOs. With all these requests, it’s important to ensure accurate data.

Along with the influx of requests to receive CSR data, the need to know CSR performance is increasing. From business managers to consumers and investors, CSR data provides vital information on activism, research, and social impact.

CSR Performance

In addition to the six markets featured above, it’s important not to overlook your employees and customers.

The CSRHub platform maps, aggregates, and normalizes data from stakeholders. The platform collects 5,000 data types and 73 million data points from 402 sources. CSRHub maps this data to four categories: Community, Employees, Environment, and Governance.

CSRHub and Good Done Great

Cynthia noted that CSRHub has collected data since 2008. Since this year, the depth and breadth of data has changed to include human rights and climate change. Today, the data is much richer.

A question that CSRHub and Cynthia receives often from CSR professionals is: do we increase our risk by providing data? CSRHub believes in the full circle benefits of external reporting. CSRHub compared companies in their database reporting according to GRI guidelines to those who did not. A strong statistical improvement of perception exists if the company does report based upon GRI guidelines. [pullquote]A strong statistical improvement of perception exists if the company does report based upon GRI guidelines.[/pullquote]

Toward the end of the presentation, Christina noted how corporations are the intersection of human and financial resources. When we can successfully combine these two resource groups, business truly is the strongest driver of social change. Real and reliable data allows for a powerful story which legitimizes our efforts and motivates us to continue our work.

Thanks to Christina and Cynthia for such an informative discussion! If you would like to view the presentation, please click here.

Boost your CSR ROI with Pro Bono

This week, October 25-31 2015, is Pro Bono Week, a global celebration of harnessing professional services for good. Inspired by the American Bar Association’s National Celebration of Pro Bono work, Pro Bono Week occurs the last week of October each year. Events take place all over the world from discussions on corporate volunteering in Moscow to Pro Bono Challenge days in Osaka and Indianapolis.

Pro Bono Week

Pro Bono is derived from the Latin word pro bono publico, meaning “for the public good.” Pro bono is a term for professional services provided at a low or no cost to the benefitting organization. In the United States, pro bono initially started as a service to qualify lawyers, but now it encompasses services such as legal, marketing, strategic planning, IT, and human resources.

Considering that pro bono service is valued at $150/hour as opposed to $23.07/hour for traditional volunteering, nonprofits gain tremendous value from pro bono and skills-based volunteerism programs. A 2009 Deloitte study indicated that 62% of nonprofits reported a need for pro bono support. A follow-up study provided by FTI Consulting and The Taproot Foundation identified the top areas of pro bono need:

1. Marketing

2. Board Member or Executive Search

3. Organization Design or Coaching

4. Financial Advisory or Consulting

5. Information Technology

6. Human Resources

According to CECP’s Giving in Numbers: 2015 Edition, pro bono is the fastest-growing employee volunteer program with 40% of companies offering pro bono in 2012 to 51% offering pro bono in 2014. This is great news, as pro bono not only positively impacts the non-profit organizations but also the corporations and their employees.

Through pro bono programs, corporations invest more powerfully in their communities. Employees build leadership and professional skills while increasing their creative thinking abilities. True Impact, a management consulting firm focused on helping corporations measure the ROI of CSR programs, noted that employees who participate in pro bono are three times more likely to receive professional development than traditional volunteering.

It’s clear that pro bono programs are a win-win-win for nonprofits, corporations, and employees, but how do you develop a pro-bono program within your corporation? In addition to collaborating with your most passionate employee volunteers and nonprofits first, there are several resources available to you as volunteer coordinators:

1. A Billion + Change

A Billion + Change is a movement to encourage all businesses to offer pro bono programs. In less than twoA Billion Plus Change years, A Billion + Change inspired over 500 companies delivering over $2 billion in pro bono volunteerism. Join them in their mission to inspire 5,000 businesses to conduct pro bono programs.

Take the pledge to provide your employees with pro bono and skills-based volunteerism programs. Review their resources to learn how to develop a pro bono program.

2) PYXERA Global

PYXERA Global is a non-profit organization dedicated to facilitating partnerships between corporations, non-profit organizations, and public service organizations. PYXERA Global partners with corporations in designing global pro bono programs which boost the professional abilities of participants while creating shared value for communities.

Who is doing pro bono right?

Deloitte offers pro bono and skills-based volunteering to their employee base. Over the past four years, Deloitte employees completed over 1,000 pro bono projects. Furthermore, Deloitte’s Center for Leadership and Community gathers non-profit professionals to discuss areas of concern and develop skills which further their missions.

83% of their pro bono clients report more than a 20% improvement in productivity due to the project.

Pro Bono Deloitte City Year

Want to learn more?

  • Check out our #GDGShares episode on skills-based volunteerism.
  • Read our VP of Strategic Partnerships’ favorite way to volunteer.
  • Check out the Pro Bono Week website for the entire global event listing.

Pro bono programs provide immense value to non-profits, employees, and corporate groups. This week, consider how a pro bono program will elevate your volunteerism programs and expand your corporate citizenship efforts.

Happy #PBW15!


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!

What’s in a Name: CSR


There are several ways to define what exactly corporate social responsibility is and what it means to an individual business. Businesses may use terms such as corporate philanthropy or corporate citizenship to explain the ideas behind their business strategies when incorporating CSR into their objectives. The primary objective of CSR, or whatever you may call it, is to promote the welfare of customers, community, shareholders, stakeholders, employees, and the environment while at the same time promoting the raison d’etre of the corporation — maximizing shareholder value.


Despite the varying definitions of corporate social responsibility and how it should be applied to business, five components of CSR programs constantly remain the same: philanthropy, the environment, social engagement, ethics, and diversity and inclusion. These key areas of focus build the foundation for an impactful CSR business strategy.

Philanthropy: Volunteerism & Workplace Giving

The philanthropic aspect of CSR programs consists of charitable contributions of time and money. Many corporations have a charitable foundation, which contributes allocated money to deserving non-profits. Some businesses will also donate their facilities for non-profits to gather and fundraise. Corporations also engage their employees around philanthropy in a variety of ways, such as raising cash donations, matching gifts, volunteer grants and time volunteered by the company’s employees.


Environmental: Reducing Water Usage, Waste, & Carbon Reduction

Environmental sustainability can be incorporated via operations and product development. Within the operations of a company, CSR leaders can work to reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. Products can be designed with less packaging and with an environmentally sustainable impact. These actions are generally also very good for the bottom line, as reduction in usage of raw materials bring material savings. Furthermore, companies can tie environmental initiatives with employee engagement by rewarding employees for their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. Examples include using reusable water bottles, carpooling to work, and encouraging eating lunches brought from home in order to reduce waste.

Social: Engaging in Shared Value Initiatives

Social initiatives work to closely tie business objectives with social goals. These programs are designed to solve a societal issue through product development, human resource allocation, or market expansion, which would benefit not only the business but also society at large. For more information, read our blog post about creating economic prosperity through shared value.

Ethics: Human Right Standards

Working with suppliers and internal departments to create human rights standards helps to ensure fair working conditions abroad and at home. Corporations have an ethical duty to every person and place involved in the production of their products, and it is their job to promote the highest standards while doing so.

Diversity & Inclusion

It is important that a company strives to hire individuals with unique backgrounds (race, age, geographic, etc.) in order to promote corporate diversity. Today’s most troubling societal ills: clean water crisis, systemic poverty, and hunger, will only be resolved when individuals with diverse ways of thinking unite. Tackling difficult issues with individuals who think similarly will result in stagnant results, so utilizing diversity and inclusion to evaluate social initiatives will provide for broad-reaching solutions to challenging problems. For more information, read our blog post about diversity and inclusion.


Internationally, CSR’s meaning and philosophy is anything but homogenized. Each country has its own set of priorities, issues, and values that will shape how companies approach the adaptation of social responsibility.

Traditionally in the United States, CSR has been defined in terms of a philanthropic model. Companies make profits, unhindered except by fulfilling their duty to pay taxes. They donate a certain share of the profits to charitable causes to boost their image even though it is commonly seen as an act void of any kind of legitimate increased profit for the company.

The European model is focused on operating the core of a business in a socially responsible way, complemented by investment in communities for solid business reasons. Social responsibility becomes an important part of the wealth creation process, which enhances the competitiveness of business and maximizes profit.

India has recently passed a law that requires corporate groups to donate 2% of their profits to social causes. Could governmentally enforced philanthropy be the best approach to get business to adopt CSR? Of course there are a plethora of new issues that come with the implementation of required philanthropy such as dishonest data records, how to monitor each business, and how effectively the donated money will be used. But it is an interesting approach to consider and a much more proactive one than has ever been used before.

No matter what the definition is, no matter which country you’re in, CSR is ultimately a business strategy to create social and environmental impact upon the world. Properly implemented CSR tactics can bring competitive advantages for a business while simultaneously creating a positive social impact. Effective CSR strategies have increased sales and profits, cut operating costs, improved productivity and merchandise quality, enhanced customer loyalty and of course improved brand image and reputation!

Make a Difference in Under an Hour

Keep Charleston Beautiful, a local affiliate of the national organization Keep America Beautiful, has been working to decrease the litter in our beautiful city and surrounding marshlands as well as engage the community in the process. Since 1997 the organization has promoted the health of our local environment by supplying trash bags, gloves, trash pick up tools, and waste removal to small groups looking for a way to get involved in improving their community. Since 2015 alone, they have worked with 1,562 volunteers who have donated 2,918 hours of service to litter cleanups and prevention. Their volunteers have collected 1,151.5 bags of litter and 124 tires!


We love this organization so much that this was actually our third time partnering up with Keep Charleston Beautiful, you can read more about our other experiences with them in the past blog article here. However this time we decided to try something a little different by scheduling an appointment during our lunchtime to clean up the neighborhood surrounding our office to show the community how much we care about them and value their presence! Only three people were required to get the job done but an overwhelming ten employees volunteered their time to pick up trash! I am so proud that our company, full of wonderfully caring employees dedicated to changing the world would supply over three times the amount of volunteers needed! With all the extra help we were able to collect 6 full bags of litter weighing in at about 120 pounds. Our team saved the city of Charleston $205 through volunteering.


We were fortunate enough to be lead and directed by Keep Charleston Beautiful representative Jen Scales. Jen started off working for KCB as an intern while she finished earning her masters in environmental studies. Since 2009 Jen has been working for KCB full time and she loves that every day is different and she gets to help make the city she loves a more beautiful place. Jen came prepared with water to keep our team hydrated during the summer heat and made a fun game out of the trash collection with prizes and awards for things like “most interesting item found.”

Organizing a volunteer event for your office doesn’t have to be stressful. It can be as easy as picking up trash around your local community and can take less than an hour to do! For more information about Keep Charleston Beautiful or to set up an clean up day for your office, visit their website here.

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!