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Virtual Volunteering: An Untapped Resource for Employee Engagement - May 2014 BPN

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Virtual volunteering, evolunteering, micro volunteering, digital volunteering - it goes by many names, but it all means the same: people volunteering remotely via a computer or handheld device, …

Virtual volunteering, evolunteering, micro volunteering, digital volunteering - it goes by many names, but it all means the same: people volunteering remotely via a computer or handheld device, including a smart phone. It's a practice that's been around for more than 30 years, and it presents terrific opportunities for employees to donate time and expertise as a part of an official company employee volunteering program. Yet, many companies aren’t utilizing this great opportunity to engage even more employees in their volunteering programs. Why is it worth encouraging at your company, what policies do you need in place, how can you support employees as online volunteers, and how can you track and celebrate their accomplishments?
Join VolunteerMatch in conversation with virtual volunteering expert, Jayne Cravens, and Kaye Morgan-Curtis of Newell Rubbermaid, to answer these questions and hear how companies are using this strategy to engage employees who might not have otherwise been able to participate in their programs.


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  • 1. Virtual Volunteering: An Untapped Resource for Employee Engagement Jayne Cravens Founder Coyote Communications Panelists: Facilitator: Lauren Wagner Sr. Manager, Engagement VolunteerMatch @Lauren_Lynn2 Kaye Morgan-Curtis Manager, Global Inclusion & Philanthropy Newell-Rubbermaid
  • 2. How To Ask Questions • Type questions into the box on the right side of the your screen • Submit via Twitter to @VM_Solutions using “#VMbpn” • We will pose questions at the end of the presentation • A copy of the slides will be circulated after the event 22
  • 3. 33 Poll: Q: How do you feel about virtual volunteering? A. Sounds Great! I want to start/expand it at my company! B. I’m not sure. C. I’m skeptical, maybe even scared, of this topic.
  • 4. Advanced Page 4 of 17 © Jayne Cravens coyotecommunications.com About Jayne Cravens Co-author: The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook On Twitter: @jcravens42 Also on Facebook & GooglePlus http://www.coyotecommunications.com
  • 5. Advanced Page 5 of 17 © Jayne Cravens coyotecommunications.com What is “Virtual Volunteering”? • A volunteer (unpaid person) who completes tasks, short or large or somewhere in between, in whole or in part, off- site from the organization being assisted, using the Internet and a home, school, telecenter or work computer or other Internet-connected device (such as a smart phone). • Also known as online volunteering, micro volunteering, crowdsourcing, digital volunteering, online mentoring, etc. • Tasks can take just a few minutes and a one-time commitment (micro volunteering or crowdsourcing) or can take many days and be an ongoing commitment. Volunteers can work alone or as part of a team.
  • 6. Advanced Page 6 of 17 © Jayne Cravens coyotecommunications.com Virtual Volunteering Tasks • translate documents • research subjects • create web pages • edit or write proposals, press releases, articles, etc. • develop curriculum • design a database • design graphics • provide legal, business, medical, agricultural or any other expertise • counsel people • tutor or mentor students • moderate online discussion groups • write songs • create a podcast • edit a video • monitor the news • answer questions • tag photos and files • offer opinion or feedback • manage other online volunteers
  • 7. Advanced Page 7 of 17 © Jayne Cravens coyotecommunications.com Range of volunteering assignments • Long-term (board membership, committee membership, web master, marketing manager, social media manager, etc.) • Groups of volunteers (helping at an event) • Short-term (evaluating your web site re: accessibility, creating a social media plan, researching Hispanic professional associations, editing a document, tagging photos with appropriate key words) • High-responsibility/high-skilled (editing a video, translating a publication, managing a team) • Online
  • 8. 88 • We are a global marketer of consumer and commercial products with a strong portfolio of leading brands known for delivering superior performance, design and innovation. • Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. • Approximately 19,000 employees worldwide • Sales in more than 100 countries • NYSE: NWL ABOUT NEWELL RUBBERMAID
  • 9. 9 OUR BRANDS
  • 10. 1010 OUR GLOBAL EMPLOYEES Factory Non-Union Professional/Sales Factory Union Clerical
  • 11. 11 EMPLOYEE GIVING Give Serve Grow is our global employee giving program that offers employees opportunities through volunteer service or donations, to support causes that touch their hearts and are important to enriching lives in their communities.
  • 12. 1212 SIGNATURE PROJECTS • Global Day of Service • Annual Week of Caring • Leadership Forum Service Project • “Hands On” or “Cares” Events • Team Service Projects CLIENT SINCE 2012 ENGAGEMENT
  • 13. 1313 Myth #1: Virtual Volunteering is a Very New Concept…
  • 14. Advanced Page 14 of 17 © Jayne Cravens coyotecommunications.com Myth 1: Virtual volunteering is a very new concept • It's actually more than 30 years old! It's as old as the Internet. There are thousands of organizations engaging online volunteers – and thousands and thousands (millions?) of online volunteers.
  • 15. 1515 Myth #2: Virtual Volunteering is Great for People who Otherwise Don’t Have Time to Volunteer…
  • 16. Advanced Page 16 of 17 © Jayne Cravens coyotecommunications.com Myth 2: Virtual volunteering is great for people who otherwise don’t have time to volunteer Volunteering, even virtual volunteering, even micro tasks, takes REAL time. It's not for when you might have some time to volunteer – it's for the time you have MADE to volunteer & understand that this is a REAL commitment (organizations are counting on you!).
  • 17. 1717 VIRTUAL VOLUNTEERING
  • 18. 1818 WHO USES VIRTUAL VOLUNTEERING Manufacturing/Warehousing Employees Ex-Pat Employees Call-Center Employees Executives
  • 19. 1919 Myth #3: People who Volunteer Online Don’t Volunteer Onsite, Face to Face…
  • 20. Advanced Page 20 of 17 © Jayne Cravens coyotecommunications.com Myth 3: People who volunteer online don’t volunteer onsite, face-to-face All research shows that most people that volunteer online ALSO volunteer onsite, usually at the same organization they support online (although, indeed, there are many people that support organizations geographically far from them).
  • 21. 2121 Myth #4: Online Volunteers Engage Primarily in Technology Related Tasks…
  • 22. Advanced Page 22 of 17 © Jayne Cravens coyotecommunications.com Myth 4: Online volunteers engage primarily in technology related tasks • Most tasks aren't tech-related. Most relate to offering expert advice (legal, graphic design, marketing) or relate to language translation. • Look at VolunteerMatch online volunteering tasks – note how many aren't tech related. • Most organizations don't say, “We need online volunteers.” They say “We need someone to research this topic” or “To write a marketing strategy” or “To help us create a social media policy.” They don't know these are online opportunities – but you can volunteer for such and then tell them how you will do it online.
  • 23. 2323 Types of Virtual Volunteering Home Work Help Translation Services Resume Writing/Review Fundraising Calls
  • 24. 2424 Myth #5: Companies That Allow Employees to Volunteer Online From Work End up With Lost Productivity…
  • 25. Advanced Page 25 of 17 © Jayne Cravens coyotecommunications.com Myth 5: Companies that allow employees to volunteer online from work end up with lost productivity • I can't find any stats that demonstrate this. In fact, most companies I talk to with policies allowing employees to take PAID time off to volunteer can't get employees to take the time.
  • 26. 2626 Wrap Up
  • 27. 2727 The Infancy Stage • Improve employee engagement and morale • Enhance learned or teach new skills • No cost and less time consuming than on-site projects • Limited or no interaction with beneficiaries • Less or no company oversight of projects • Limited options in types of projects offered TRIUMPHS CHALLENGES
  • 28. Advanced Page 28 of 17 © Jayne Cravens coyotecommunications.com Ideas about tracking time & accomplishments by employees engaged in virtual volunteering • The more employees see employee volunteering being recognized and celebrated, the more likely they are to report their hours. • Create a space or section on the employee Intranet for discussion/reporting about volunteering. It could be a place where people share photos of themselves volunteering, testimonials about their volunteering, etc., a place where senior staff thanks volunteers, and a place where volunteers or the HR department posts opportunities for volunteers. • Encourage picture sharing of volunteers-in-action (people taking selfies at their desk or wherever they engage in virtual volunteering); they can share this on the intranet or with HR or whomever is in charge of the employee volunteering program
  • 29. Advanced Page 29 of 17 © Jayne Cravens coyotecommunications.com Cont. • Regular reminders in employee newsletters and company-wide communications about volunteering (where to find such, upcoming opportunities, photos of employees-in-action, testimonials from employees that have recently volunteered, thank you’s to volunteers) • Reminders at company-wide meetings (photos, thank you’s, upcoming opportunities, testimonials) • Recognition of departments that have the most number of employees that volunteered in a month or a quarter; that would require they report their volunteering in some way • create a volunteer reporting form, the simpler the better, to encourage employees to share volunteering information. Have it online (and use all of the above means to encourage employees to fill it out), but have paper versions as well, and drop by department meetings and hand them out and encourage employees to fill out such before the meeting.
  • 30. Advanced Page 30 of 17 © Jayne Cravens coyotecommunications.com What to do now? • Write an article about virtual volunteering in your company newsletter • Introduce some of the ideas offered about tracking time and accomplishments by employees engaged in virtual volunteering, and regularly remind employees of these activities • Have a panel discussion at lunch time of people you've discovered volunteer virtually at your company, and invite employees to come ask them questions about their experience; at the end, include info about how to find virtual volunteering • Do NOT segregate online volunteers from onsite volunteers in overall data; remember, they are ALL volunteers.
  • 31. Advanced Page 31 of 17 © Jayne Cravens coyotecommunications.com More re: virtual volunteering By Jayne Cravens (me) and Susan Ellis. Available from Energize, Inc. http://www.energizeinc.com Also, we have a free wiki that tracks research and tools (& welcomes your contributions) at http://virtualvolunteering.wikispace s.com & it links to our discussion group on LinkedIn
  • 32. 3232 Poll: Q: I feel inspired & excited to start promoting virtual volunteering to my employees. A. Yes! Can’t wait! B. I’m not sure. C. Definitely not, I’m still skeptical.
  • 33. Q&A 33 • Type questions into the box on the right side of the your screen • Submit via Twitter to @VM_Solutions using “#VMbpn” 33
  • 34. Stay Informed Blog: www.VolunteeringIsCSR.org Twitter: @VM_Solutions Newsletter: Monthly ‘Good Companies’ newsletter - Sign up on the blog! 3434
  • 35. Save the Date – June 26th 35 Lessons From the Field: Unique and Innovative Strategies to Increase Engagement in your Employee Volunteering Program Thursday, June 26th, 2014 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. PT (1-2 p.m. ET) Register here: http://bit.ly/1p53QS0 Featuring: Doretha Easler NV Energy 35 Lauren Keeler Apollo Education Group Samantha Lucas Allina Health