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Volunteer Grant Programs

Businesses are constantly looking for ways to support their employees who volunteer. Corporations want to recognize and support those who devote their personal time to admirable non-profit causes. Volunteer grant programs are some of the more popular initiatives that have recently emerged in the business community to address this need. Volunteer grants are donations made by corporations to nonprofit organizations at which employees have volunteered a certain number of hours. They are a way of providing funds to nonprofits at which employees have provided time.

Grant programs are easy to establish and provide many benefits to the volunteer community. They are an excellent way for corporations to support many different organizations and many different causes. As each organization has the support of an employee, grant programs are an excellent way to target initiatives that employees care about. Employees are encouraged to pursue their passion knowing they have the support of their company. For nonprofits, volunteer grant programs offer a means of procuring funds without asking volunteers for money. This important development has given nonprofit organizations an additional way to raise money.

Many large companies have now set up some version of a volunteer grant program. For example, Aetna will give up to $300 to eligible organizations at which employees have volunteered for 20 or more hours in a calendar year. Intel likewise has a program that donates money to eligible nonprofits after 20 hours of employee service. Volunteer grant programs are also easy to establish in smaller firms looking to establish some corporate citizenship initiatives. Ultimately, volunteer grants are about supporting employees who are supporting others. Companies are able to recognize and support great people and great causes.

Scholarship Award Winner Essay Series: Shila Vardell - Experience With Past Volunteer Work

Giva Student Scholarship and Worldwide Ambassador Award winner, Shila Vardell, writes about her own past experience with volunteer work.

Experience with Past Volunteer Work

By Shila Vardell

Since I was a young child I have always enjoyed volunteering. I had my first volunteer experience when I was 10 years old. My uncle was a firefighter and he helped feed the homeless on the holidays. On Thanksgiving day he agreed to take me with him. I remember being so excited on the car ride to the homeless shelter. We walked into the kitchen and there was so much food and so many volunteers. I was shocked to see that so many people took the time out of their Thanksgiving to help the needy. A few minutes after we arrived, the kitchen doors opened and people flooded in. Hundreds of hungry people formed an assembly line and made their way down the food line. It was my job to put mashed potatoes on their plates. I gave each and every one of them the biggest serving of mashed potatoes that I could possibly get on my spoon. They were all so appreciative and at 10 years old it filled my heart to know that I was making a difference in their lives.

When I was in high school, I started volunteering for a local hospital. Volunteering at the hospital was such a fun experience. I volunteered every Saturday morning from 9am-11am. During that time I brought newspapers and breakfast to each patient. Some of the patients would ask me to read the paper to them or ask me to sit and talk with them. My main job was to deliver things to the patients but I would also socialize with them so they didn't feel alone. It brought me so much joy to see the patient's face light up when I brought them their morning paper.

During my college years I joined a group called CAVE, Community Action Volunteers in Education. They took weekend trips to different places to volunteer. We went to The Golden Gate National Park to help clean up litter and cut down trees. We also went to a Veterans home in Yountville to help care for veterans. I expected all of the people there to be elderly but to my surprise a lot of them were my age. They were living there because they had been wounded while fighting for our country. I talked to as many veterans as I could. I was so interested to hear their stories and they were so happy to be telling them. At the end of our trips I truly think they didn't want us to leave. It felt so good to be able to brighten their day.

While I was in college I started to notice that the number of homeless people in my community were multiplying. It broke my heart to watch them beg people for food and clothing. I was a college student at the time so I didn't have much but I wanted to help them in any way that I could. The first thing I did was go through my closet and gather every item of clothing that I didn't need. Then I went through my kitchen and gathered every item of food that I didn't need. I put all of my unneeded clothing and food into my car and started passing them out to every homeless person that I saw. My items weren't enough so I started asking friends and family for donations. Every time I received donations I would immediately give them to the homeless. It has been 6 years now and I continue to pass donations out to the homeless. It is a rewarding feeling and I don't think I will ever stop.

How to Recruit the Best Volunteers

With so many topics surrounding volunteer work, one has to wonder, "Who makes for the best type of volunteer?" It could be an overwhelming sense of selflessness, perhaps the will to change the world or even the thought of it being beneficial in the future. So we have to explore, what appears to be the necessary trait of a volunteer, selflessness or selfishness?

VolunteerMatch has a blog titled, "Volunteering is CSR" (Corporate Social Responsibility) that they created to provide information for business professionals. One of their posts is titled, "Touch Your Employee Volunteers' Hearts to Engage Their Bodies and Minds" by Maura Koehler-Hanlon. She writes that people usually all volunteer for the same reason: it is something they care about. She goes on to explain that one of the strongest forces is intrinsic motivation, and that when people actually care about a cause that they are connected to and truly believe in, they do much better work. This means that when you are talking to your employees about volunteering, the cause definitely has to align with your business goals, but employees will gain empowerment if the cause is also something they care about. The blog post has a strong position on appealing to people's more altruistic emotions. One of the ways that they suggest to pull in employees and inform them of the employee volunteer program of the company is to "tell the story of volunteering" and to pull on "heartstrings." They insist that people should not be afraid to bring up the emotional side of being a volunteer. There is a product spot of how the VolunteerMatch tools can improve a company's volunteer program but there was still useful information within the piece.

There is another volunteer focused company called Realized Worth. They are a global consulting company that helps with CSR but keep a focus on corporate volunteering. In their blog post, "Want Good Volunteers? Forget the Altruistic, Find the Self Interested" by Chris Jarvis, Jarvis explains who they as a company believe to be the best volunteers. Jarvis writes that people have been complaining that volunteers these days want to know what they will gain by volunteering and he believes that this is a perfect situation. He states that people will always be inspired to volunteer by random things or people, that people will want to give back or be part of the solution but that these reasons just aren't enough. He states that when people volunteer, they do so because they are motivated extrinsically, that extrinsic (external) motivation could be the will to "give back". This is of course a noble cause but they argue that a volunteer is valuable when they volunteer based on intrinsic (internal) motivation, and those internal motivators, where volunteering meets what the individual is personally invested in, that is when great things are accomplished. To back up his argument he mentions Green and Lepper. The two conducted a study in 1974 that dealt with motivation. When children were rewarded for using felt tip pens, they used fewer felt tip pens. This is because rewards are extrinsic and Jarvis argues that they will hurt volunteer projects in the long run.

The interesting thing about both arguments is that both argue in favor of intrinsic motivation, they just have different ideas of what feelings are actually intrinsic. VolunteerMatch claims that people who want to do good are thinking intrinsically and Realized Worth argues that it is actually selfishness that is the true powerful intrinsic motivator. While they are arguing different viewpoints, they can both agree on the fact that volunteering is most successful when people are doing it because they feel something pushing them to volunteer from inside of themselves.

World Changers: Giva Salutes "A Wider Circle"

At Giva we search for organizations, large and small, that are doing a great job of changing the world around them for the better; and we are pleased to salute them here.

A Wider Circle

Perhaps no image is as emblematic of poverty as the empty unfurnished house. It is difficult to achieve a stable and independent lifestyle when one is deprived of the comfort and necessities of a home. Mark Bergel founded A Wider Circle after observing the number of unfurnished homes in poorer areas of Washington D.C. He vowed to sleep on his own couch until every family in America had a bed to fall asleep on. It is this unwavering commitment that has led to his nomination as a 2014 CNN hero and propelled his organization to a level of national recognition. A Wider Circle now operates two warehouses that stock furniture freely available to families lacking basic supplies. It also runs a series of life skills workshops designed to empower people with knowledge. By providing families with this level of personal attention and support, A Wider Circle has helped thousands of people feel more at home.

The organization's signature program is its Neighbor-to-Neighbor initiative. The program provides furniture free of charge to families emerging from challenging circumstances. Beds, dressers, tables, chairs, and dishes are some of the items available to these families. Each year, A Wider Circle furnishes more than 4,000 family homes and refuses to turn any family down in need. Amongst the myriad of challenges present in the modern world, it is sometimes lost how empowering simple acts can be. Providing a desk to a young child can at times be just as influential as improving parts of the local public school. The work of A Wider Circle is evidence of this power.

Propelled by its early success A Wider Circle now offers additional programs in job preparedness, life-skills, and parental training. Recognizing that the only sustainable way to emerge from poverty is through a steady job, A Wider Circle offers classes in resume writing, interview skills, and job selection. It also offers a wide array of professional attire and accessories.

The organization also hosts a Well Mother, Well Baby program that aims to help teenage mothers succeed despite some challenging circumstances. The program ensures mothers have a healthy pregnancy, provides them with necessities like cribs and diapers, and matches each of them with a mentor who continues to support them through the early years of motherhood. These actions are one more way the organization works to ensure a comfortable home environment.

A Wider Circle provides thousands of people with the resources to construct a better home. It deserves immense credit for addressing complex challenges in effective ways. In the process of creating better homes it is truly creating better lives.

To learn more about A Wider Circle or to donate money visit: http://awidercircle.org/

Trends in Business Volunteer Programs

It is interesting to note trends in business approaches to volunteering. A research report conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a professional human resources membership association, suggests community volunteer programs and paid time-off for volunteering are becoming increasingly popular employee benefits. The Employee Benefits Study, conducted in February of 2013, asked a sample of HR professionals from SHRM’s membership database if they offered or planned to offer a list of 299 benefits. Of the 4000 SHRM members who received the survey 518 HR professionals elected to respond. Their answers serve as an important indicator of employee benefit trends.

The 2013 survey found that 20% of respondents offered some form of paid time-off for volunteering, while 1% planned to offer it in the next twelve months. This is a sizeable improvement from 2009 when only 15% of companies offered paid time-off for volunteering. The study also examined community volunteer programs. It found that 47% of firms had a community volunteer program compared to just 42% in 2009. Taken together, these findings indicate that companies are looking to expand their volunteer schemes.

There are a number of advantages to offering community volunteer programs and paid time-off for volunteering. The advantages of community volunteer programs have been well-documented on this blog and often generate shared-value for the community and the business. They have also been linked to increased employee retention. Paid time-off for volunteering is crucial for those looking to volunteer on top of personal and professional responsibilities. It is a simple way to allow employees to pursue important causes. Overall, this study offers some refreshing news about business approaches to volunteering. It appears an increasing number of companies are recognizing the benefits it offers to the workplace, the brand, and the community.

Giva Student Scholarship & Worldwide Community Ambassador Winner Essay Series: Shila Vardell

Giva is proud to showcase the essays of its Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award winners. Below is an essay from Shila Vardell, University of Phoenix. Giva's hope is to inspire others through these essays. The Essay question was, "How will you use your talents and education to make the world a better place for future generations? What are your career and personal goals and why?" We hope that sharing these essays will help others realize the joys and benefits of service. Congratulations to Shila Vardell!

Giva Scholarship Winning Essay

By Shila Vardell:

First let me take a moment to thank Giva for the scholarship that I was awarded.  Giva's scholarship program has the backing and full support of Ron Avignone, founder of Giva.  Mr. Avignone called me to congratulate me and we had a long and thoughtful conversation on why volunteer service has been so important to his personal development. The objective of writing about my service experiences is to influence others to realize the very tangible personal benefits of volunteerism. In Ron Avignone's words, he says, "You really can't give anything away", meaning that the benefits of volunteerism are that the work we do teaches us valuable life lessons and also benefits us in ways that are often multiplied many times over!!  I'm also grateful for working with a dedicated group of Altruism and Community outreach leaders at Giva who are committed to changing the world in impactful ways.

The following is my essay:

Have you ever taken the time to sit back and think about the future? I think about the future quite often. It is scary to think of what the world will be like in a decade or so. There is so much violence and hate going on all over the world. If people would just stop and think about how this violence and hate are going to affect our children they may consider changing. I am a twenty-five year old female and I know that I cannot change the world. However, I know that I can influence the youth in my community and making that little bit of difference is one step closer to making the world a better place.

Over the past six years I have made many life changes. Instead of going out with friends during my spare time, I started focusing on bettering the world and the environment. I did not have a lot of money but I had more motivation than anyone could ever imagine. The first thing I wanted to do was help the less fortunate in my community. I did not have any money so I had to come up with a way to get the people in my community to come together and help. Every day I would post ads on Facebook, Craigslist, and Instagram trying to influence people to donate food and clothing so we could give it to the less fortunate. I collected over 500,000 articles of clothing and over 600,000 canned goods within the past six years.

Once I figured out how to collect donations I wanted to find a way to involve the youth in my community. The majority of the children and teens in my community were involved in gangs. I knew that if someone did not do something, these children would end up on the wrong path in life. I started spreading the word about wanting to get the youth involved in helping me to help the less fortunate. At that time, I had a few family members who were in their teens. I knew that they could help me spread the word at their school. I made fliers for them to pass out at school. After two weeks of constant passing out flyers at schools and malls I actually had teenagers showing up at my door step wanting to help. Every Saturday morning we would make 100 lunches for homeless people and spend the day driving around and handing them out. I would keep my trunk full of clothing so I could supply people with the clothing that they needed in order to survive. This type of volunteer work was a full time job but every time I saw a hungry person get to eat or a cold person get to put on a warm jacket I remembered why I did it. Not only did I get to help the less fortunate, but I also got to keep the youth off the streets and motivated them to be better people.

Currently, I have over 60 teenage volunteers that help me every day. We continue to get donations and pass out food and clothing. It feels so good to be able to say that I am 25 years-old and I am making such a huge difference in my community. These teenagers are on a better path in life than they once were. Instead of being involved in gangs they are involved in helping make their community a better place. In the future, these teenagers will hopefully continue to help others. It is an honor to say that I am helping build a better environment for the future. Our community will no longer be filled with gang violence. It will be filled with motivated individuals who are willing to sacrifice their time to help people in need.

In the past six years I have recruited teenagers from three different cities to help us pass out food and clothing to the needy. It is my goal to expand my donation service to a larger region. We are receiving more donations as more people hear about what we are doing. It would be such a great feeling to be able to influence more teenagers to help us in our fight to make the world a better place.

My career goal is to someday open a non-profit organization where teenagers can come and help the community. I realize that there are many non-profit organizations for teenagers but I want mine to be different. I want teenagers to feel that they are helping the community and doing good for themselves and others. This will inspire them to continue on the right path in life. I enjoy helping others so this is a win win situation. I will help the teenagers get on the right path in life and at the same time we will be helping the less fortunate in our communities.

Giva Student Scholarship & Worldwide Community Ambassador Winner Essay Series: Joseph Lee

Giva is proud to showcase the essays of its Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award winners. Below is an essay from Joseph Lee, Rush Medical College. Giva's hope is to inspire others through these essays. The Essay question was, "How will you use your talents and education to make the world a better place for future generations? What are your career and personal goals and why?" We hope that sharing these essays will help others realize the joys and benefits of service.

Giva Scholarship Winning Essay

By Joseph Lee

I am honored to have been awarded a Giva Scholarship. There are many successful companies like Giva that offer scholarship programs. However, Giva has a commitment to this program which begins with the senior leadership. After I was notified that I won the scholarship, I was told that the Giva founder wanted to have a phone call. I was very surprised!  Ron Avignone, Giva founder, took a strong interest in my journey from teaching to medical school and my accomplishments in volunteer projects. He understood the difficulties my parents faced as immigrants as he recounted the difficulties that his grandparents experienced in coming to America. Mr. Avignone explained the importance that service and volunteering plays in his life and at Giva. Giva is a new breed of corporate citizen; the kind of company that has ideas, solutions and practical ways to make an impact on the world. Thanks and gratitude to Ron Avignone and the Community Volunteerism Team at Giva for having this vision and commitment.

Here is my winning essay:

“Are you coming back tomorrow?”

This was the question my 7th and 8th grade students at Parkside Academy asked me on my first day of teaching. Scarred by teachers who had quit midyear, my students expected the same from me; and as the day progressed, I overheard students hypothesizing how long I would last. Despite the emotional burdens of my 34 students, the heat of an unventilated classroom, and the gaffes of being a first year teacher, I felt an overwhelming sense of hope. This hope was rooted in the belief that through difficult circumstances and the disappointments of failure, there would be a better tomorrow.

President Barack Obama spoke of this hope when he stated, “That is why we fight -- in hopes of a day when we no longer need to.” And in Room 312 at Parkside, continue to fight we did. We fought the failures of a school system that provided insufficient materials. We fought the apathy of parents, victims to the brutal injustices of society. We also fought our own fears of the vulnerability that accompanies loving relationships. It is this love between teacher and student; however, that ultimately inspired us till the end. And while it was a grueling journey, the result was the change of every individual involved.

Unfortunately, the growth of both my students and I through two school years could not overcome the stifling feeling of being unable to impact the lives of my students outside of the classroom or even the teachers they would have in coming school years. I wanted to impact more students which shifted my focus from improving educational outcomes to improving the health outcomes through the field of medicine. And as I continue my training to become a pediatrician, I know that my decision to become a doctor will allow me to continue the work I started in Room 312.

The incredible journey began over 30 years ago, when my newlywed parents immigrated to the United States from South Korea with hopes that their children would experience the “American Dream.” With such idealism in mind, they were not prepared for the immense difficulties they would experience as foreigners without a community to embrace them, a language to empower them, or resources to sustain them. And yet, not only did they survive, they thrived. They thrived through sweat and tears and the kindness of a few guardian angels, who graciously supported my mother and father. And through such generosity, my parents came to the conclusion that helping others was the most important objective in life, a lesson they have tried to instill in my older brother and I our entire lives. Whether it be through allowing immigrant families to live in our home while they got settled in the United States, babysitting sick children whose parents were unable to get days off work, or volunteering to speak to teen moms in jail, my parents go above and beyond in giving of themselves to benefit others. And through their example, my brother and I have striven to do the same.

Initial interest in the medical profession was stirred in high school through a volunteer experience at Northside Learning Center, a school serving students with cognitive disabilities. Students partook in a strenuous schedule of occupational therapy and classroom responsibilities relying heavily on compassionate educators and health professionals. The importance of compassion in healthcare was further exemplified in a medical mission’s trip to Panama and a volunteer stint at the St. Louis Effort for Aids. Traveling through a remote village in Panama, our team was able to treat suffering patients. The gratitude of these villagers revealed the true healing power of medicine. While my eyes were opened to the difficulties of obtaining medical care in Panama, one does not have to cross oceans to behold such troubles. A car ride to St. Louis provided a similar experience of destitution and inadequate treatment of those affected by HIV/AIDS. As I volunteered and conversed with patients and community members, I noticed a similar absence of basic care and education and concluded that caring medical professionals could resolve such circumstances.

Transformed by my students and armed with a new fervor to fight inequality, I see myself at the beginning of a long path of serving the under-served. I strive to become more than just another pediatrician who works in a low income community. Instead, I intend to be a medical professional who understands and cares for the innumerable challenges that confront such communities every day. With that said, I continue to stay involved in the lives of my former students and the community they live in through a non for profit I founded called the Road Less Traveled Fund, which provides safe, reliable modes of transportation for students from low income homes that are investing their time and efforts to better the lives of others. Furthermore, being in medicine has opened more doors to bring about meaningful change, both physically and socially: allowing me to becoming a school council member of a local high school, work for a public health organization in Rwanda, travel with a relief team to Haiti and sit on a board with the CEO of my hospital to increase minority enrollment. By working with families as a health professional, I am now able to offer the assistance articulated in Matthew 25:36 and exemplified by my parents so well, “...I was sick, and you cared for me…” From the suffering villagers in Panama to the poverty-stricken students of Room 312, our communities are sick and left to fend for themselves. Yet, hope persists. Hope persists in the lives of those devoted to service and those that refuse to let life’s circumstances subjugate them to mediocre lives. My aspiration in becoming a pediatrician is to keep that hope alive.

World Changers: Giva Salutes VolunteerMatch

VolunteerMatch describes itself as an organization dedicated to connecting good people with good causes. As their Annual Impact Report shows they have been incredibly successful at accomplishing this challenging goal. In 2013 alone, VolunteerMatch helped create 915 million dollars in social value and attracted 900,000 new volunteers. For every 1 dollar invested in the organization, VolunteerMatch was able to produce 190 dollars in social value. Given the success of this phenomenal organization and its importance in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) industry, it surely merits a closer look.

One of the largest hindrances in the nonprofit industry is the information gap that exists between volunteers and nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits have difficulty communicating the skills and attributes they need in volunteers, and can occasionally struggle to communicate their message to a larger audience. Conversely, volunteers have trouble finding organizations that represent their concerns and interests. VolunteerMatch solves this problem by synthesizing a vast network of nonprofits with a vast network of volunteers. The entire process is personalized. Prospective volunteers begin by selecting an area of interest such as Animals, Education, or the Environment. They are then matched up with a local opportunity to contribute to this nonprofit sector. In essence, VolunteerMatch makes it easy to search, sign up and contribute to these wonderful causes.

The customization of this process helps explain the positive impact VolunteerMatch has had on a variety of workplaces. According to their Annual Report, 3.7 million employees had access to their services in 2013. In total, 38% of VolunteerMatch activity occurred via workplace programs with the average employee dedicating 36 hours to altruistic endeavors. By utilizing the skills and enthusiasm of their employees many companies were able to make significant contributions to their local communities. They were also able to track their efforts, including the hours logged by their employees, to determine the success of each program. This ability to track and quantify the value of volunteerism has provided valuable feedback to individuals and firms about the significance of their contributions.

By connecting volunteers with nonprofit organizations VolunteerMatch has helped thousands of causes across a wide range of communities. Their ability to personalize and organize the volunteering experience has been essential to the development of social responsibility. Their efforts are to be commended.

For more information on VolunteerMatch or to begin volunteering in your local community visit: http://www.volunteermatch.org

2013 Giva Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award Winners

Giva is pleased to congratulate Joseph Lee and Shila Vardell, 2013 recipients of Giva's Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award.

Joseph Lee is an MD candidate attending Rush Medical College. "I am truly honored to be chosen as the recipient of the 2013 Giva Scholarship! I believe that there is no better time to give back to the community and those in need than now. I hope that through this scholarship, I can gain inspiration from the commitment of others and serve as an example of the change one committed, passionate individual can make. Thank you again for the amazing opportunity!" said Mr. Lee on receiving the scholarship.

Shila Vardell currently attends the University of Phoenix working towards her Master of Business Administration (MBA), Accounting and Business/Management degree.  When asked about her reaction to the scholarship award Ms. Vardell responded, "Thank you so much for selecting me as the Giva scholarship recipient!  I am overwhelmed with appreciation and excitement. This scholarship is going to help me in so many ways and I cannot express enough how appreciative I am for Giva's generosityand support of this scholarship."

"Giva is excited and proud to engage with and support these students who truly exemplify the absolute best and brightest of this generation in not only their scholastic endeavors, but also in their personal vision and self-motivation to change the world around them. In short, they are the change they want to see in the world," said Ron Avignone, Founder of Giva, Inc.

Skills-Based Volunteer Programs

Companies are increasingly looking for ways to involve their employees in different communities by inspiring them to volunteer. One of the more effective approaches that has been implemented by some larger firms is the concept of skills-based volunteering. Skills-based volunteering takes advantage of the unique talents of employees by pairing them with nonprofit organizations that can use their expertise. To understand this concept in detail one can look at the efforts of Morgan Stanley and IBM. Both have implemented effective programs that demonstrate the value that can be produced from well-designed volunteer schemes.

Morgan Stanley’s Strategy Challenge provides nonprofits with pro bono strategic consulting advice. Teams of talented employees are formed and paired with a nonprofit organization seeking expert advice on how to increase their impact in different communities. Each team is comprised of four Morgan Stanley employees at the Associate or Vice President Level as well as a Managing Director and expert in nonprofit consulting. Relying on an analytic approach, teams assess the most appropriate measures their nonprofit can implement in order to accomplish a series of goals. The eight-week project culminates with a final presentation in front of a panel of experts. The presentation details the actions each team believes is best suited to improve the productivity and impact of their nonprofit. The 2013 winner of the Strategy Challenge is exemplary of the impact Morgan Stanley is trying to achieve. A team helped Bring Me A Book, an organization dedicated to improving literacy in underserved Californians, expand their book access program with the introduction of digital media. The project did an excellent job orienting the nonprofit towards the future.

In total, Morgan Stanley employees have helped 77 nonprofits by dedicating 45,000 hours to produce 6.8 million dollars in value. But, these statistics only detail half of the equation. Morgan Stanley employees often leave the initiative having developed critical business skills and further contacts within the company. Skills like client management and communication are honed throughout the process. Most importantly, employees leave with an appreciation of the nonprofit sector and the satisfaction that comes with contributing to its goals.

IBM’s Corporate Service Corps is likewise an initiative that has received much praise in recent years. The company routinely sends 10-15 person teams of top management prospects on four week projects to address economic concerns in emerging markets. The goal is to provide local groups and governments with superb consulting advice developed through years of experience working on similar projects around the world. Communities can be sure they are making smart development decisions while IBM can be sure they are gaining knowledge of and improving their reputation in growth markets. It is a win-win for both parties and has brought positive exposure to some underserved areas of the world.

Skills-based volunteering is an excellent way to provide professional services to worthy nonprofit and government organizations that would not otherwise be able to afford them. It is a different way of thinking about the nonprofit sector that inspires employees to give back. Many are thrilled to learn that the skills they have developed in their professional lives can be used to help nonprofit organizations. This enthusiasm is shared by the charitable organizations who receive specific and productive help. The result is a fruitful alliance that excites both parties and highlights the power of skills-based volunteering.

 

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