8 Essential Steps of Starting an Employee Volunteer Program

Employee volunteering programs are increasingly the “heartbeat” of where social innovation is happening to improve business and impact communities. At the Business4Business (B4B) Conference, executives from Alcoa, BJs Restaurants, and Edwards Life Sciences shared their knowledge on starting and delivering impactful employee volunteer programs, organized around 8 steps. The session was moderated by CEO of OneOC, Dan McQuaid.

After listening carefully to this lively 45 minute discussion, it is clear there is no single way to go about starting and managing an employee volunteer program. However, there are core steps executives can take. Here is eight as shared in the Business4Better session. Continue reading

11 Facts About Mid-Size Companies and CSR (Survey Results)

When we think of corporate social responsibility (CSR), so often we think of large companies with deep pockets that have dedicated staff to run employee and community engagement programs, or small start-ups that are birthed with the gene of sustainability in place.

Last month Business4Better took on the challenge of exploring just how immersed in community engagement efforts mid-size companies were.


The greatest potential for doing good is with the mid-market. “If the Middle Market were a country, its GDP would rank it as the fourth largest economy in the world,” states  Scott Vaughan in a previous B4B blog post.

So we surveyed 173 business professionals from mid-size companies (100-5000 employees) about CSR to gauge the status and plans for community involvement. Continue reading

Method’s Social Responsibility Drives Rapid Success

You’ve likely heard the story of the cleaning supply company Method:

Act 1Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan start a company of dish s

oap so beautiful it makes any kitchen sink look stylish.

Act 2 – Company gets shelf space at Target by making a very effective sales pitch.

Act 3
– Employees suit up for a trendy corporate ad, now available on YouTube.

Act 4 – Company reaches $100 million in revenue and Lowry and Ryan sell it to a bigger company, becoming very wealthy.

There is, however, also an alternative version of the Method story: Continue reading

Jane Cosmetics Touches Communities Through Friends of Jane

Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, initiatives work best when they’re tied to the very communities a company does business in.

Jane Cosmetics achieves this by working with different types of charities through its nonprofit partnership program, Friends of Jane.

Last fall, the company teamed with She’s the First as a Friend of Jane and launched a specially packaged lip gloss collection, of which 100 percent of net proceeds go to She’s the First, which also is mentioned on the  packaging.

Jane also sponsored She’s the First’s second annual Tie-Dyed Cupcake Bake-off in November, a social media-driven fundraising campaign. In the week-long event, students across the U.S. hold cupcake sales to raise money for girls’ education sponsorships in eight developing countries. The distinctive cupcakes inevitably stop students in their tracks and give volunteers the opportunity to not only fundraise but educate others about the need to support girls
getting into the classroom in other countries, said Tammy Tibbetts, founder and president of She’s the First.

Read more about how Jane Cosmetics and “She’s the First” are reaching out into the communities they serve in this new case study: Putting Your Best Face Forward: Jane Cosmetics partners with a young social media-savvy non-profit to reach teenagers and young women


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The Vitamin Shoppe and Vitamin Angels Partner for Social Good

Sometimes a corporate and nonprofit match is almost destiny. 

Vitamin Angels is a nonprofit charity dedicated to reducing child mortality in underdeveloped countries by providing nutrient supplementation – vitamin A especially – to at-risk populations.

At The Vitamin Shoppe, the company’s maxim is “Every Body Matters.” The retailer and marketer aims to improve the health and well-being of its customers through good nutrition from vitamins, minerals, dietary supplements, homeopathic remedies, and health and beauty aids.

Read about Vitamin Shoppe and Vitamin Angels successful partnership and get thinking on how you can:

  • Align your business strategy and brand with a societal cause
  • Identify and partner with a nonprofit that believes in your values
  • Involve customers in your cause programs to create deeper engagement

Learn about business-nonprofit partnerships and apply these strategies to define and align your business’ social purpose in our latest case-study.

If your business can benefit from thinking more strategically about corporate social responsibility, join us in Aneheim, CA, May 1-2 for the Business4Better Conference and Expo. We’re bringing great minds together.







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UBM Employees Pitch In at Habitat for Humanity and Discover New Depth to Teamwork

Take one chartered bus, 55 employees from across UBM, add in 3 metric tons of sunscreen, several dozen hardhats and hammers, countless bent nails, and what do you get?

Three houses with identifiable rooms and walls, a few bruised fingers, and a staggering amount of personal satisfaction.

I’ll admit I was a bit dubious as I joined my UBM colleagues for a day’s worth of volunteer service on a Habitat for Humanity worksite in the northwest Phoenix suburb of Glendale. We unloaded on an assuming cul-de-sac about 9:00 a.m. in early February; the H4H crew greeted us warmly with this concise orientation speech:

“Be safe! Have fun! The hammers are over there.” Continue reading

Beyond Cash: When Giving is Good Business

In these tough economic times, when companies are already pinching pennies, finding the funds for corporate giving can be difficult. But donations don’t have to come in the form of dollars, as one company has discovered.

Give Something Back (GSB), a commercial office products company based in Oakland, Calif., has a unique business model.

Like Staples and Office Depot, the company sells supplies such as paper, pens, and staplers, but unlike its competitors, GSB doesn’t distribute its earnings to owners or shareholders. Continue reading

Empowering Employees: IBM’s On Demand Community

IBM knows a few things about giving back. And the company is passing its knowledge on to others to help them do the same.

For 10 years now, IBM has been building what it calls its On Demand Community. This space on its website makes it easy for the company’s employees — and even retirees and non-IBM employees — to apply their professional talents to help schools, local government and not-for-profits of their choosing.
Continue reading

How Appirio is Tapping Its Silver Lining to Help The Community

For many companies, getting started can be the hardest part of any community partnership program.

Appirio started small at just the 100 employee mark,  picking a few key areas and working with employees to understand their ideas and get them involved. In the beginning it felt like a bunch of events strung together, not a program. As they grew, Appirio figured out how to more gracefully interweave business objectives with their CSR and community involvement. At the top of the list was leading with their strengths in tech talent and resources to make a difference and strong reliance on employee participation. This also helps to have impact on an ad hoc, dynamic budget. Continue reading

CSR Tale: Employees Volunteer at Canstruction Nonprofit Event

The Albuquerque-based employees of PR Newswire have much to be proud of, following their recent participation in a local food donation competition, called Canstruction.

“It’s not just another can drive,” says Josephina Montoya, a PRN senior inside sales representative. “Canstruction lets you be creative, competitive and collect a LOT of food.”

Jordana Gailard is all smiles, as she helps David Cartalla and Ryan Dodder (l to r).

This design/build event, organized locally by engineering firm CH2M Hill, tasks competing groups to use nonperishable food cans to build creative structures.  Collected food was then donated to the Roadrunner Food Bank, a nonprofit food distribution center that feeds hungry populations in New Mexico. Continue reading