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How Volunteer Champions Enable Corporate Philanthropy

How Volunteer Champions Enable Corporate Philanthropy

Champions are important to philanthropy and volunteerism because the number-one reason people give and volunteer is that someone asked them.

You can’t discuss social good — endeavors that include philanthropy, fundraising, and volunteering — without also mentioning community. Within any community are passions, interests, and challenges that drive individuals to take action. They become leaders. They start nonprofits. They donate. They volunteer and join boards. They crowdfund or start foundations. These are the people who lead the way in supporting and championing the social causes most dear to them. The impact they have on the world is immeasurable, but their success comes down to one simple act: Asking.

The number-one reason people give back is because someone asked them to.

Those who ask are champions, and they tend to lead by example. When champions work with nonprofits in their communities to manage and recruit volunteers … When they share with colleagues their desire to donate or volunteer with others from their companies … When they host events or join boards … When they do all of these things, they inspire others in their community and workplace to give back as well. Champions are essential for starting movements that produce real change in the world.

Companies have recognized this. They build robust internal “employee champion” programs to empower employees to start social impact movements within their companies. These individuals create volunteer opportunities for their departments, invite coworkers to join fundraising efforts for local organizations, and even help organizations in the community recruit colleagues as pro-bono volunteers or board members. Yet despite the prevalence of this “employee champion” model and its potential as a catalyst for spurring engagement within companies, some barriers stand in the way of businesses assisting their champions.

First, companies don’t always have data to identify champions. Second, even if they do have data, they don’t necessarily have an easy way for admins to help individuals in their roles as champions. Finally, once champions are identified, there is no easy way for them to engage others.

Champions might, for example, share emails to volunteer opportunities on an external platform. They will often manage volunteer sign-ups by monitoring responses in long email chains and updating spreadsheets. Using this process, they might find it difficult to monitor capacity. Once the opportunity is over, they might struggle to find an easy way to share the experience, no matter how inspiring, with others. If their employee social impact program is successful, they face the problem of scaling too fast. It is possible that more of their coworkers might want to join more opportunities than a champion can manage. But even managing one opportunity, let alone multiple, becomes immensely challenging with different dates, sign-ups, attendees, and so forth. In addition, their volunteering activity may exist in an entirely different system than their giving platform, further complicating occasions when an employee would prefer to donate funds over volunteering time. While a nice problem to have, managing a robust volunteer program without the right tools can threaten a burgeoning employee social impact program and burn out even the most impassioned of champions.

With the release of the Champion role in Philanthropy Cloud, we remove many of these obstacles, so champions can create movements — and spur change — with fewer obstacles. With Philanthropy Cloud, companies and their partners at United Way can easily view data on volunteer behavior within their platform. This simplifies the process of identifying champions. Once champions have been identified, the company can easily assign the Champion role to that user at their company.

The Champion role is, in essence, a simplified admin role. Once assigned this role, a champion can create campaigns and volunteer opportunities directly within the platform. They can do this without compromising trust or security, as they don’t gain access to advanced reporting or other functionality. They can access only the tools they need to engage others in the company’s employee social impact program.

Champions can …

  • Create volunteering opportunities, stories, and campaigns with a dollar and/or volunteer hours goal that lets coworkers give back in whatever way that works for them.
  • Add collaborators from the same workplace, or their contact at a nonprofit, through the simple addition of their email address, thus granting organizers visibility into sign-ups.
  • Share content from within the platform with their coworkers.
  • Monitor opportunities and results, including sign-ups, donations, and progress, against a goal in one place while also getting sign-up and cancellation email notifications. They can also export the attendee list to help them manage and communicate with volunteers.

With the Champion role, gone are complex processes for managing volunteers. Gone are multiple steps to creating and sharing content with coworkers. Gone are siloed and confusing processes for collaborating with nonprofit partners or seeing cancelations and remaining sign-ups. And this is just the beginning. Champions create movements. They are trailblazers that can change the world. With this role, Philanthropy Cloud gives champions the tools to drive change in ways that are easier than ever before.

Download the Champion Role Solution Brief to learn more.


Brandolon Barnett More by Brandolon Barnett

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