Save the Date: The Best Conference for Your Spring Schedule

While we prepare our annual list of CSR and corporate volunteering conferences, we’d like to give you a heads up about one of our favorites taking place in New York this spring. From March 28-30, the Charities@Work Annual Summit will tackle the topic of employee engagement in corporate citizenship. Emceed by Realized Worth co-founder Chris Jarvis, the conference will welcome sought-after speakers like Michael Norton of Harvard Business School and Jeffrey Vargas, the Chief Learning Officer for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Register here and then let us know you’ll be there – we’d love to see you!

While you’re registering, take a moment to nominate a deserving employee or company for the 2016 Corporate Impact Awards. Submissions wrap up on February 8, 2016, so don’t miss your chance!

The awards are given out under the categories of Corporate Excellence and Individual Partner of the Year.

The Corporate Excellence Award

Honors one corporation for overall excellence in philanthropic giving, employee engagement, or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Nominations are open to any company with an employee giving and volunteer program.

The Individual Partner of the Year Award

Given to an employee of a major company who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make a difference in her or his community. This award also recognizes the individual who works to advance engagement (giving, volunteerism and education) within their company and who has served as an exceptional partner to nonprofit partners. Individual Partner award candidates must come from a company that has a giving or broader employee engagement program.

The Corporate Impact Award

An important part of C@W’s Annual Best Practices Summit on Employee Engagement in Corporate Citizenship. Have an employee or company you want to nominate? Download the nomination packages on the C@W website.

Realized Worth designs and implements corporate volunteer programs. Call us to discuss opportunities for your company, or email us via You can also reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter.

Kelly Lynch
Consultant, Project Manager
Realized Worth

Realized Worth has partnered with Charities@Work for the past several years to present their Annual Best Practices Summit.

Charities@Work is an alliance of four nonprofit federations that serves as the cooperative voice for more than 2,000 international, national, and local charities. Their purpose is to provide employers with an efficient way to enhance their employee engagement programs and initiatives and to respond to growing employee interest in a wider range of giving options.

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La Primera Consultoria Colaborativa de Latina America

¿Le gustaría tener un programa de #VoluntariadoCorporativo como las compañias Fortune 500?

¿Desea el beneficio de utilizar una consultoría externa como Realized Worth y Voluntariado y Estrategia pero su presupuesto no lo permite?

La Consultoría Colaborativa proporciona, en el marco de una Consultoría virtual en grupo seleccionados de 5 a 8 empresas, a cada participante, un acompañamiento personalizado para diseñar un programa de voluntariado corporativo estratégico, el acceso a estrategias efectivas y probadas, junto con la experiencia de sus consultores y en un entorno de apoyo mutuo entre empresas con los mismos retos.

Participar a una consultoría colaborativa permite a las empresas recibir un apoyo real por parte de expertos internacionales a precio muy contenidos y de compartir experiencia, aprendizajes y buenas prácticas con otras empresas.

Las consultorías se desarrollarán a lo largo de 5 meses, entre marzo y julio 2016.

Podrás encontrar toda la información, el registro, precios, y formulario de participación aca y en este vlog.

Te invitamos a participar en el webinar de presentación del programa que tendrá lugar el 9 de febrero de a las 8:30am CST / 9:30am EST.

Apuntase hoy!

Sabrina Viva, Realized Worth
416 895-3744 /

Benedetta Falletti di Villafalletto
(+34) 676 663642 |

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Corporate Volunteering in the Middle East

The following is a guest post below from the co-founders of an organization taking on the world of volunteering in the Middle East. C3 is a social enterprise located in Dubai that enables emerging entrepreneurs in Middle East to become active agents of positive social change leveraging business professionals volunteering their skills.

Corporate Volunteering looks different around the world. For example, in Slovakia’s post-communist culture, you may find the term “service learning” more effective than the word “volunteering.” In China, nonprofits are not nonprofits as we understand them in North America. Every culture has its nuances and if there’s one in particular that has piqued our fascination, it’s the Middle East.

Did you know?

  • Helping others is one of the Five Pillars of Islam: traditionally, it has always been accomplished by way of Zakat, a payment made annually by each individual for charitable and religious purposes.
  • While volunteering is gaining interest among young professionals in the Middle East, the problem for many of these would-be volunteers is finding organizations that can harness their skills. There is one organization providing such opportunities to youth while leveraging their goodwill to support social entrepreneurs in the MENA region.

Ready to learn more?

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By Medea Nocentini and Anna-Liisa Goggs

With global employee engagement levels hovering around 13%, the ongoing need for meaningful and sustained HR strategies is a critical management imperative to maintain productivity and retention. The issue is even more critical in the Middle East, where 35% of employees are actively disengaged. Countries, industries, and companies vary across the region, of course, but the number gives some context to the challenges an HR or CSR manager faces when tackling employee engagement issues.

Reasons for the disengagement are numerous, but the unique factors at play make this market very different from North America and Europe. For any firm seeking to engage in corporate volunteering, two challenges are worth highlighting:

  1. The transient nature of the expatriate workforce (at least in GCC countries) has resulted in a low interest in employee engagement whether it is training, career development, team building, or internal communications.
  2. Most of the volunteering opportunities that traditional charities offer don’t leverage the skills and experience of young Arab professionals, leading to limited impact on their community or direct benefits on their career development.

The Social Enterprise Solution

At C3 (Consult and Coach for a Cause) we see a tremendous interest from individual professionals willing to donate their skills and time to budding social entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, there is little interest (with a few noteworthy examples) from corporate organizations to use programs like ours to maximize the impact of their CSR initiative while providing effective career development opportunities to their employees.

Why? Corporate organizations in the region have yet to appreciate social enterprises’ impact on the community, while their HR departments have yet to experience the benefits of skills-based volunteering programs, such as training budget savings, increased employee engagement and retention, and more effective potential leaders.

Why Take an Interest Now?

Social enterprises are on the rise and need support from the business community. While the Schwab Foundation counts only 35 top social entrepreneurs in the Middle East, we know from our work that emerging entrepreneurs are becoming more socially minded: business plan competitions throughout the region count a surprising 20-30 percent of social enterprises. Additionally, some of the estimated 19-23 million (formal and informal) MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises) in MENA, comprising 80-90 percent of total businesses in most MENA countries may be social businesses, but not promoting themselves as such. This may be due to the fact that existing regulatory framework in the Middle East does not have a specific form or license for social enterprise, so most register with for-profit licenses while there is still an overall misunderstanding of the sector.

Next Steps

To get skills-based volunteering to the critical mass we see in the United States, local management needs to recognize the importance of actively engaged employees and help develop skills based volunteering programs. Professionals need to be reassured that they have the skills to help solve social and environmental issues. And we need to create a healthy pipeline of social entrepreneurs, to be able to run large-scale programs that can be meaningful for corporate organizations with sizable workforces. Once this happens, C3 can use its established programs to help for-profit companies directly impact the social enterprise sector for the better.

Insights or Experience?

Have you worked in the social sector in the Middle East? Do you have insights, experience, or resources that may assist C3 as they work to advance the field? We’d love for you to share! Contact Realized Worth or C3 directly or share on the RW or C3 Facebook pages.

Realized Worth will be co-hosting an Impact 2030 Leadership Forum in Dubai in mid-March. For more information or if you’re interested in attending, please reach out to

Realized Worth designs and implements corporate volunteer programs for Fortune 500 companies around the world. Ready to talk about advancing your program? Reach out to us at or (855) 926-4678. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

About the authors (click for more info):

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Emergent Trends in Corporate Volunteering

In addition to these trends and challenges that are still going strong, 2015 brought with it a wave of new ideas. We’re not going to say they’re all good ones, but without a doubt, corporate volunteering is on a trajectory of positive growth and change. Check out these three trends that emerged in 2015 and what we expect to see in 2016 – let us know if you agree. Here’s to a peaceful and productive new year!

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1. Smarter Programs

If you remember corporate volunteering programs about 10 years ago, you may agree that it was all sort of … cute. About 20% of one staff member’s time was allocated to organizing an event or two per year with some companies going so far as to help interested employees find organizations to volunteer with. Beyond that, there was not a lot of motivation to put additional resources behind an employee benefit that may or may not produce business results.

We’re happy to report that times have changed – for the better! Three encouraging indicators:

  1. Volunteering produces engagement and engagement produces dollars. Big dollars. It turns out the business benefits of these programs are multiple – and measuring the direct ROI has become a priority.
  2. One staff person cannot and should not manage thousands of individual volunteers on his or her own. HR never thought the numbers of employee volunteers would be so high, but now that they are, CSR teams are growing and CSR managers are being invited to contribute to strategic business planning.
  3. Engagement is not produced by micromanaging or spoon-feeding. Employees who volunteer do so because they want to – and many of them are asking to be recognized by leading elements of the program. Companies are better than ever at empowering employees to lead. Most now set up and manage a structure of employee volunteer leaders. There are improvements to these structures coming, but this shift in how programs are managed is a major step in the right direction.

With these changes, we’re pleased to say 2015 was a year of smarter programs. As the measurement of ROI improves, CSR managers gain more experience, and as program structures are tried and tested, 2016 will likely prove to be our cleverest year yet.

2. Renewed Focus on Pro Bono and Skills-based Volunteering

For better or for worse, the trend of measuring the ROI of corporate volunteering is accompanied by a measure of fear and trepidation. Practitioners have a difficult time proving the value of what is referred to as general or traditional volunteering. When a group of employees paints a wall at the Boys and Girls Club, what benefit does that bring to the business? Team building? Camaraderie? Improved employee morale? Even if those results are produced, they’re frankly not good enough. And so, rather than digging to the root of the problem, companies are throwing out traditional volunteering in favor of skills-based volunteering.

I’ll explain in a moment why this is a disappointing trend (even though an increase in skilled volunteering is in itself very encouraging), but for now, let me just provide a few facts.

According to the 2015 CECP Giving in Numbers report:

  • 51% of companies provided pro bono service programs in 2014, up from 40% in 2012.
  • From 2012-2014, offerings of pro bono and board service had higher growth rates than any other volunteer programs, demonstrating an instinct to infuse societal engagement with employees’ skills.
  • In 2014, 29% of companies offered pro bono service opportunities, but not a traditional company-wide day of service.

Note: pro bono service is a type of employee engagement that falls within skills-based service. However, unlike any other type pro bono service is recorded in the Giving in Numbers survey as a non-cash or in-kind contribution.

In addition to the numbers that prove the trend, RW has experienced a major shift in the types of assistance and information requested of our team. Rather than asking for volunteer policies and broad engagement strategies, companies are asking for benchmarking against companies with skills-based programs, how to find and engage high potential volunteers, and whether to narrow the focus of their programs. These are all good questions and we’re honored to be part of the conversation. At the same time, we hope to broaden the horizon and encourage an evolved perspective on the inclusion of traditional volunteering. Keep reading to learn more about what we mean by that.

3. Lack of Patience for Traditional Activities

While the increase in skills-based volunteering is an encouraging trend, the lack of patience for traditional activities is a bit concerning. Because practitioners are under pressure to prove the value of their programs, it’s easier to move away from painting walls and serving at homeless shelters – activities that are at best pretty fun, and at worst waste of time – in favor of mentoring, STEM education, and tech-related volunteering. We tend to breathe a sigh of relief when our employee volunteers are tutoring students instead of planting gardens. Why? Perceived value. No one questions the value of employees using their skills to increase the skills of a student in need. And that’s the root of the problem: how do we increase the actual value (and as a result the perceived value) of traditional volunteering?

Two reasons 2016 will be a year of increasing the value of traditional volunteering:

    1. Do you ever wonder why the same people show up over and over to your volunteering events? Statistically, only 25% of employees at your company have ever volunteered. (This number is even lower in Canada and the UK, higher in Australia, much lower in Eastern Europe and the BLOC countries.) The ones who show up are those who were intrinsically motivated to do so, most likely meaning they had a prior experience with volunteering outside of the company’s program. 50% of employees who volunteer for the first time in 2016 will do so through their place of work – and this is the group companies are challenged to attract and to keep. Skilled activities are great, but they tend to be a more appropriate fit for experienced volunteers. Companies that want high participation numbers need to provide a gateway for first time volunteers through low commitment, engaging, traditional activities.
    2. But here’s the thing: traditional activities should never (ever!) fail to benefit the business in the same way skill based activities do. In this sense, RW is just as impatient with old school volunteering as our clients are. We are not interested in seeing a group of employees paint a wall and walk away unaffected. Traditional activities should always incorporate a specific set of fundamental elements that create space for employees to be deeply affected. A percentage of these employees will transition into program leadership and become some of the program’s strongest recruiters. Additionally, traditional activities should always offer strong opportunities for experienced volunteers to employ and sharpen hard skills such as project management, organizing teams, and public speaking. Traditional volunteering in its current form is not good enough. 2016 will be the year of volunteerism evolving into activities that are transformative to the employee, beneficial to the business, and impactful to the community.

These are three of the emergent trends RW experienced in 2015. Plan to hear them discussed in depth at conferences and among practitioners throughout 2016. Other trends such as global collaboration, skepticism and scrutiny of the current international volunteering model, smarter practitioners, impact measurement, and a focus on growth and scale will continue to weave into the conversation. We look forward to joining you in the discussion! See any major trends we missed? Please reach out at or (855) 926-4678.

Realized Worth designs and implements corporate volunteer programs for companies around the world. Want to discuss your program with us? We’ll be happy to hear from you! Find us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Angela Parker
Co-founder/Partner, Realized Worth
Follow Angela on Twitter
Connect with Angela on LinkedIn

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