Tag Archives: Best Practices

Employee Volunteer Programs a recent question posed on the LinkedIn Hand on Discussion Group…

10 Apr

Question posed

Is there a resource available that lists specific models being used by companies nationally for employee volunteer programs? I’m interested in learning about how different companies approach their employee volunteerism, and getting case studies of how employee volunteering helps a company’s bottom line would be especially helpful.

Bruce’s response

Hmmm… Employee Volunteer Programs Resources?

Great question @Nicolette Winner

Bruce Summers

Summers “Engagement” Consulting

Solving Volunteer Algorithms since 1981


Collaboration for Development

10 Apr

Working with about forty  World Bank Group Task Teams and departments to design and implement external social collaboration groups/communities to enhance knowledge discovery and knowledge exchange on a wide array of international develoment topics. Collaboration for Development (C4D) can be accessed by anyone, though most C4D Groups are for members only.  Typical members are colleagues from partner organizations, international development practitioners, researchers, government officials and students interested in discovering more about spefic topic areas or domains.

C4D Groups often connect unique groups of international development colleagues and specialists, example the Learning from Mega Disasters group shares known knowledge – Knowledge notes capturing lessons and expertise from the Great Japan Earthquake and Tsumami with disaster response practitioners around the world, who then interact, discus, share and develop new knowledge that can help colleagues world wide develop better disaster preparedness and response systems, practices and procedures.

Many of the C4D Groups utilize best practices gleaned from Community of Practice (CoP) research to design and develop their groups combined with good emerging practices in social collaboration.

A few good resources…

Corporate Social Responsibility – How to select a nonprofit partner?

10 Feb

CSR – how do companies make informed decisions on NGOs? Bruce’s response to Suzy Goodwin’s Discussion on Corporate Social Responsibility Group on Linked In.
A few thoughts…
1) Alignment and fit – example Corporation (Corps.) and Nonprofit (NPOs) are both in the Disaster Space
2) Knowledge and Trust built over time – example the Connect America Program hosted by the Points of Light Foundation – brought together Corps., NPOs, and Government representatives regularly several times a year, overtime we built trust relationships and learned more about what each organization brought to the table, thought about small and large ways to work together… Roll forward 2 – 3 years later, Hurricane Katrina disaster response and recovery efforts brought together about 70% of these Connect America Partners working in mutually beneficial partnerships. Roll forward 2 more years these partnerships and personal relationships continued to mature, grow and expand.
3) Challenge 1 – finding neutral “conveners” to bring together Corps., NPO, and Govt. sector reps.
4) Challenge 2 – finding individuals who can “translate” between Corps., NPOs and Govt. entities and package win-win partnerships
5) Opportunity – mutually beneficial national demonstration projects to test new capacity building programs – example the Ready When the Time Comes – corporate volunteer engagement/partnership project matching the American Red Cross with W.W.Grainger, Inc.
For more information on Corporate Social Responsibility http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_social_responsibility

Volunteer Risk Management – Is it on the Radar

9 Feb

What is your biggest challenge with regards to risk management? Lori Gotlieb – Volunteer Management Best Practices network – Bruce Summers’ response

Sometimes just getting Volunteer Risk Management or Risk Management on the Radar Screen. Lots of Directors and Chairs of Volunteers think about the “R’s”


I always added the other two “R’s”
-Risk Management and
-Relationship Building

Executive Directors and Volunteer Engagement Directors need focus on identifying and mitigating risk factors early on, then review and update relevant policies and procedures regularly.

Classic example: at the American Red Cross many 9/11 disaster responders were very proud that Red Cross volunteers arrived on the scene relatively rapidly, on the other hand as the building collapsed (and I think destroyed one Red Cross emergency response vehicle), senior disaster leadership reinforced that the Red Cross protocols were to wait to be called in by the first responders – Police and Firefighters, since the Red Cross in principal does not want to put its volunteers or employees serving as disaster responders in harm’s way. The organization constantly reviews lessons learned from disaster and works towards remedying and mitigating risk.

Recommend Reading/Viewing:
No Surprises Volunteer Risk Management Tutorial – by Nonprofit Risk Management Center

Volunteer Engagement Best Practices – Do unions like volunteers and volunteering?

7 Feb

Volunteer Engagement Best Practices – Do unions like volunteers and volunteering?

Yes, unions and union members are often great supporters of nonprofits and proactive volunteers. The gray area seems to be when it comes to collective bargaining agreements and whether unions or union workers are concerned that volunteer involvement will impact their job security. Worst case: the organization lays off 3/4 of its employees and tries to replace them with volunteers vs. Best case in which volunteer opportunities are created to enhance overall reach and revenue working in partnership with union and non-union employees and management.

This question was generated in response to my LinkedIn discussion thread – What’s new and next for Volunteer Engagement in 2012? Last year it was micro-volunteering and the emergence of Sparked.org…, what new for you? in the Volunteer Management Best Practices network Group.

Among the questions raised – are there successful volunteer engagement in unionized environments.

My three examples:
• A number of the American Red Cross Blood Service Regions had unions with employees working on the technical parts of blood collections. This union members worked in collaboration with hundreds of volunteers who helped to staff the blood drives or served as drivers transporting blood to and from blood drives or from the Red Cross facilities to customers such as hospitals.
• All nonprofits have volunteer boards of directors who work with executive leadership to review, negotiation and approve union contracts.
• Many union members have been very active as American Red Cross disaster response volunteers for both local and national disasters.

Volunteer Engagement is a proven, viable staffing option for most nonprofits providing complementary staffing solutions to full time employees, part time employees and temporary contractors. Most nonprofits start out with totally volunteer staff, gradually over time nonprofits are able to add part time then full time employees to cover functions that are hard to staff with volunteers alone.

A good example is a Fire Department, in a suburban area this may include a blend of volunteers and employees with equivalent training with the employees hired to cover busy times of the day when many volunteer firemen and women are committed to other full time jobs. Overtime collective bargaining agreements may be negotiated to ensure both coverage and security for unionized fire fighters; however in many companies volunteers still play key complementary and leadership roles.

See also Susan Ellis’ Hot Topic from 1997 in Energize, Inc. – Why is it Labor Unions vs. Volunteers?

I welcome other thoughts and comments.

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