With so many truly fantastic employee volunteering programs out there, we couldn’t possibly narrow it down to a measly top 5, but these are a few that stood out to us over the course of the year. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or comment below and tell us what program you’d put on this list.

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1. Intuit: We Care and Give Back Program

From Corey Diamond

Intuit‘s We Care and Give Back Program includes Dollars for Doers, donation matching, and team grants. The motivation behind this program was to better engage their staff. The thing is, most companies set a Dollars for Doers amount of about $15-20 per hour starting at 10 hours, sometimes starting as high as 50 hours! Intuit did two things to blow this model out of the water:

  1. They got rid of the 10-hour threshold. They said, “Every hour you volunteer deserves a match.”
  2. They raised that $15-20 per hour to a massive $100 per hour! Now, for every hour an employee volunteers with an approved nonprofit they may request a $100 grant for that organization (up to annual employee and program limits).

Intuit is raising the bar for giving and matching programs across the board. At Realized Worth, we think this is exciting because effective volunteering and giving programs will put employee engagement first. By getting rid of the 10-hour threshold and raising the match, Intuit will see two results almost immediately:

  1. They’ll rally a huge number of employees to get involved in their program. They can then channel that initial engagement into longterm, strategic programming.
  2. They’ll attract top recruits to join the Intuit team. 77% of respondents in a recent study indicated “a company’s commitment to social issues is important when I decide where to work.”

As an Intuit employee, you can get involved in a local community project for a few hours, or you can join a team in a developing country for a longterm project through their partnership with Team4Tech.

We’re proud of our work with Intuit and encourage other companies to consider following their example. Create an easy entry into your program by giving your philanthropic dollars away through employees and watch your program’s participation exponentially increase. Take Microsoft, for example: they lowered their threshold and doubled their participation in one year.

2. Ball Corporation: Do What You Can

From Angela Parker

In early November, the members of the Ball Community Ambassadors Council were given stacks of tickets to the upcoming Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanches basketball games. Their task was to give the tickets away to Ball Employees for a reason of their choosing. It could be a conversation starter about the giving and volunteering program; it could be a reward for community work; it could be to encourage them to bring cans of food to the upcoming games. Why cans? Well, I’m glad you asked.

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50 Ball employees had volunteered for the Do What You Can Food Drive. Their job was to show up early to the games and collect cans of food and money for the Denver Rescue Mission. Ball volunteers (plus a guest!) received a free ticket to the game. The proceeds from the drive benefitted the Denver Rescue Mission in its work to provide food and shelter to those who need it. The Ball Foundation also made a donation to Denver Rescue Mission.

Now, just doing a canned food drive at a basketball game does not automatically make a great volunteering experience. Here are the reasons we believe this particular event will have ongoing impact:

  1. It’s a great “first stage” space. First time volunteers need a great experience that requires no commitment, includes their families, and promises a lot of fun. Free tickets, a game, and media publicity for the volunteers promised all of those things.
  2. A great first stage space also provides a “brief” prior to the event. A brief is when a volunteer leader takes the group of volunteers aside to explain the logistics of the activity and more importantly, why it matters: why we are here, for whom we are doing this, and why it is important to us as individuals. Because it was difficult to do a brief at the event, Ball did this during the day before the game when volunteers picked up their t-shirts.
  3. New volunteers were provided an easy entry point. Most of the 50 volunteers were not the regulars with whom the Ball Community Ambassadors Council were already familiar. The council can now reach out to those people and see if they’re interested in getting more involved.
  4. It’s connected to Ball’s core business. Ball Corporate makes cans! Collecting and donating canned food is an easy connection to the day-to-day work of its employees.

There are more elements that add to the impact of a first stage volunteering event, but we love what Ball did with Do What You Can.

3. Edelman: The Little Give

Every year, Edelman takes on a program that is a consistent favorite for Realized Worth. Here’s how it works:

To ensure cross-practice and cross-level interaction, the entire office is divided into teams. Each participant donates 48 hours of their time to help 10 local charities and nonprofit organizations with the PR-related challenges they are currently facing. At the end of the 48 hours, the teams gather in celebration to present the results of their time spent volunteering while a panel of judges determines who “wins”.

Edelman employees benefit from The Little Give as they build teams and gain new skills; the community benefits from problems solved and money donated; and Edelman as a whole benefits as their employees become better, more educated people while their reputation increases in the community. The Little Give is wildly popular and eagerly anticipated by employees.

Why does it work so well? Check out this article that outlines the elements that make The Little Give such a great example of an effective employee volunteer program.

4. TutorMate

From Chris Jarvis

Another program that Ball Corporation (among other Realized Worth clients) has seen great success with is TutorMate. Innovations for Learning, a national nonprofit, has been working for more than 20 years to help primary grade teachers be more effective in their pivotal task of teaching students to read. With TutorMate, volunteers can teach a child to read without ever leaving the office. All they need is a computer, a phone, and 30 minutes a week.

How it works:

  • The school district puts about 40 classrooms up for adoption.
  • 10 employee volunteers are requested per classroom (TutorMate prefers that each company adopt at least three classrooms which requires 30 employee volunteers).
  • Typically, one company fills three classrooms. Other companies adopt the remaining classrooms.
  • If one company can’t fill three classrooms (or wants to fill more than three), that’s great! TutorMate can work with any number of volunteers.

Because it requires training, an ongoing commitment, and it is focused on a specific cause (children and education), TutorMate is a great program for second or third stage volunteers. A major factor that makes this the kind of program that can be transformative for volunteers is its proximity to the beneficiary. Listen to Chris talk about the Proximity Factor and why it works here.

Helpful Links about TutorMate:

5. Humana

From Sabrina Viva

Humana is not a Realized Worth client, but we love their overall approach to corporate volunteer programs. With a strong focus on their core business of healthcare, Humana pays attention to the fact that not all volunteers are the same. From playground builds to skills-based fellowships, Humana provides meaningful opportunities for everyone.

Here are two great examples:

  1. Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The foundation and Humana’s IT department developed HEALThESchools.org in 2010. HEALThE stands for Healthy Environment & Active Lifestyles Through Education. The website measures the percentage of students who meet six goals each day: eating breakfast; consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables; avoiding sugary drinks and foods; being moderately to vigorously active for an hour each day; having less than two hours of sedentary screen time; and getting nine hours of sleep each night. Over time, Humana will not only be able to measure the increased healthy activities of kids, but they will also be able to measure the levels of education and awareness of these issues in their local schools and surrounding communities.
  2. Humana Volunteer Fellowship. The Humana Volunteer Fellowship is a four-week, full-time, skills-based volunteer initiative. The program is designed to help a designated nonprofit build capacity to make a transformational impact on the organization and the community, while also tapping into the professional expertise and personal passion of a team of Humana associates.

In 2013, the foundation took the program to Green Bay, WI. For one month, five Green Bay Humana associates worked with the Volunteer Center of Brown County to formalize its Neighborhood Volunteer Connection Program into a year-round offering. The Neighborhood Volunteer Connection sends volunteers to provide social interaction and help senior citizens and people with disabilities with routine home upkeep. The team of Humana Fellows created a guidelines and procedure handbook, developed a marketing and outreach plan, established a database to track volunteers, and set up an evaluation plan to measure success.

When all the volunteering work is done, Humana doesn’t stop there. Two major awards are given out every year:

  1. The Spirit of Philanthropy Award is a distinction given to a group or department of Humana associates who display exceptional commitment to the community through volunteerism. Awardees are recognized and given the opportunity to select a nonprofit organization for a $25,000 grant from the Humana Foundation.
  2. Each year, the Humana Foundation honors one Humana associate who demonstrates an ongoing dedication to his or her community. The selected associate will receive the opportunity to designate a $10,000 grant to the nonprofit where he or she volunteers and be named the Volunteer of the Year!


From Christine Johnston

The GSK PULSE Program is ahead of the curve when it comes to global pro bono and skills-based volunteering. Through PULSE, employee volunteers are matched to a nonprofit organization for three or six months (full-time), during which time they contribute their skills in the healthcare field to solve challenges the nonprofit is facing. When the employee volunteers return from their placement, GSK has identified them as catalysts of change and innovation in the company.

Two specific elements we love about PULSE:

  1. Strategic alignment. Similarly to Humana’s program, GSK’s PULSE has a direct link to the core business of the company – healthcare.
  2. Dynamic communication. The PULSE Team excels at communicating the stories and experiences of their volunteers with the rest of the company and the public. With a new post every day, there is constant interaction between GSK volunteers and the public.

These are just a few of our favorite programs from 2014. We look forward to a new year of innovation, impact, and transformation.

Happy Holidays!

Realized Worth is a global consulting firm with a niche focus on engaging employees in corporate volunteering and giving programs, including designing and fully implementing program strategies. Fundamentally, our goal is to equip companies to develop their employees into leaders – leaders whose decision-making is influenced by their exposure to social issues and societal needs. Call us to talk about developing these kinds of leaders in your company! Be sure to connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


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The RW Team



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