Chris Jarvis's blog

13 Conferences for 2013 – Plus 17 More!

By REALIZED WORTH

Having trouble deciding which conferences to attend this year? Following you’ll find a list of our top 13 conferences for 2013 – plus 17 more! These conferences are focused on CSR, Sustainability, Corporate Volunteering and/or Philanthropy. Let us know where you’re going to be – hopefully we’ll see you there!

Note: Even with 30 conferences listed, there are likely to be some that we missed. Please help us make our list more accurate. You can comment at the end of this article or contact us directly at ...

Employee Giving & Volunteering - What Matters Most

For me, the question is never, “How much did you do?”

The question is, “Why does what you do matter?”

 
This perspective colors every headline I see and article I read, which is why one title particularly piqued my interest. “The Best and Worst of Corporate Giving in 2010” by Caroline Preston. Immediately, I wanted to know the criteria for measuring the “best” and “worst” when it comes to
...

Measuring the Strength of Your Volunteer Program

At Realized Worth, we talk to companies every week about employee volunteer programs. It doesn’t seem to matter if the company is a local business or a multi-national Fortune 500 corporation - invariably, the conversation begins with this question: "How can I get more employees to participate as volunteers?" After that, the conversations goes to how the volunteering program fits within the company and what the outcomes have been so far. Finally, we talk about metrics. What is the data saying? Usually, this brings us right back to the beginning of the...

Charitable Giving: Apple forfeits to Android

We’re big fans of Beth Kanter and her work helping non-profits utilize social media to “power change.” Recently on Twitter, Beth announced her intention to switch from the iPhone to a phone that usesGoogle’s Android operating system. This is a big announcement given the growing competition between Android and iPhone - not to mention the fact that Beth has more than...

When Companies Steal The Social Capital Of Their Employees

Recently, I spoke with the manager of a large telecommunications company in the US. The company publicly boasts a healthy and active employee volunteering program, claiming a 200% growth in participation over the past 4 years. Needless to say, I wanted to learn more about it.

During the call, I discovered several things:

1. The company offers NO paid time for volunteering.

2. Employees who volunteer have to rack up over 50 hours of service to qualify for the...

Social Media & Conferences: 11 Great Ideas That Work

At the conferences I attend or present at each year (incidentally, you can see my upcoming gigs here:speaking schedule), its fascinating to see the efforts to integrate social media into nearly every aspect of the event. Some do it very well - and others.....well, others don't even offer complimentary wifi.

Every once in awhile, the social media savvy of an event is impressive. In...

IKEA - Going Cheap On Community Investment

Connecting companies to communities through social media and corporate volunteering.

Yeah, I’m not sure this is such a great idea....

IKEA announced the launch of their latest marketing campaign - The Life Improvement Project. As part of the campaign, IKEA will award someone $100,000 to walk away from work for a year and just ‘improve the life of others’.

“...

Collaborating for Sustainable Change: New Approaches to Accelerate Innovation

While public opinion surrounding the virtues (or lack thereof according to the Wall Street Journal) of corporate social responsibility are wide and varied, the power of business in society is indisputable. Its a power that has at times carried a bad reputation - especially lately, when we've seen it used shamelessly to rake bags of cash into the arms of a few executives.

Some companies and their...

Better Employees, Finances and Image: Why and How to Create A Corporate Volunteer Program

Listen to the interview here.

With a poke in the chest, Chris Jarvis was asked a question on a street corner that stripped away what he knew and put him on a path to give people the opportunity to realize their full worth. Chris is responsible for helping companies attract and retain the best people. But he’s not a recruiter. He creates and implements employee volunteer programs (EVPs) for companies and nonprofits.

When Olivia Khalili asked Chris what a...

Measuring the Strength of Your Volunteer Program

I talk to companies every week about employee volunteer programs. It doesn’t seem to matter if the company is local business or a multi-national Fortune 500 corporation. Invariably the conversation begins with the question of how to get more employees to participate as volunteers. Next, we explore how the volunteering program fits within the company and what the outcomes have been so far. Finally, we talk about metrics. What is the data telling you? Usually, this brings us right back to the beginning of the conversation: participation rates and how to increase that number.

It makes...

The Washington Post Equates CSR with Charity: #FAIL

CSR? Don't quit you're day job!
 
I was flabbergasted. I had to read the article three times just to be sure I wasn’t missing some essential qualifier. Here was the Washington Post equating Corporate Social Responsibility with charity and philanthropy.

“But the gulf oil spill and the financial crisis have taught us, rather brutally, that the heart of the relationship between business and society doesn't lie with the charitable deeds that companies do in their off-hours but whether they are doing their day jobs in ways that help -- or hurt -- the rest of us.”

Chrystia Freeland, global editor at large for Thomson Reuters, wrote the article “What’s BP’s social responsibility?” (Sunday, July 18, 2010). Google reader brought it to my attention and halfway through the first paragraph I was hooked - particularly at the point where Chrystia suggests, “I would like to suggest a third, inanimate culprit: the cult of corporate social responsibility.”

Corporate Volunteering: Top 7 Requests & the Bad, Better and Best Responses (3 of 7)

Companies want to engage their communities through employee volunteering programs. For most, this means calling a non-profit and scheduling an activity. But how should non-profits respond? Is there a “best” answer for everyone? (Part 3 of 7)

If men are from Mars, and women are from Venus, then non-profits and businesses must be from opposite corners of the universe. Their shoes, memos and boardrooms may look the same, but let me tell you - they do not speak the same language. 

Take, for example, the following: When a business says, “We want to help out for a day” the non-profits hears, “We want to give you a migraine.” Conversely, when a non-profit says, “We’d like a long-term relationship” the business hears, “We’d like to drain your wallets dry.”

Unfortunately, this debilitating language barrier exists between two groups who have the potential to significantly benefit one another. All that’s needed is a little translating....

Corporate Volunteering: Top 7 Requests & the Bad, Better and Best Responses (2 of 7) 



“We want an activity that can be done together as a team”

Companies want to engage their communities through employee volunteering programs. For most, this means calling a non-profit and scheduling an activity. But how should non-profits respond? Is there a “best” answer for everyone? (Part 2 of 7)

Non-profits tend to hear the same general requests for volunteer opportunities from companies again and again. Particularly lately, with the increased interest in volunteering, non-profits are beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed. There are basically 3 types of responses to the requests of companies: Bad, Better, and Best. With this blog series, we plan to guide you smoothly to the “best” response.

One thing to remember: Always start with “why.” Its essential to know what companies want, but first you must know why they want it. Assessing “why” will guide you to a solution that’s better for you, your community, and their company.

The 7 Requests:

The Ideal Volunteer Experience....

  1. ...can be undertaken in a day
  2. ...can be done together as a team
  3. ...has intrinsic value
  4. ...does not clash with other objectives
  5. ...enhances the skills of their employees
  6. ...coincides with the company’s chosen cause
  7. ...coincides with what their employees want to do

Corporate Volunteering: Top 7 Requests & the Bad, Better and Best Responses (1 of 7)

“We want a volunteer experience that can be done in no more than a day, and no less than a half-day.”

Companies want to engage their communities through employee volunteering programs. For most, this means calling a non-profit and scheduling an activity. But how should non-profits respond? Is there a “best” answer for everyone?

Everybody wants to volunteer. And those who don’t....well, they’re bound to feel a little left out of conversation at the next cocktail party....

Want Good Volunteers? Dump The Altruistic, Find The Self-Interested (Part 2 of 2)

Selflessness and altruism make for bad volunteers. Without self-interest, volunteers easily opt out of commitments and objectify those they are trying to help.

Good: just not good enough

When people show up to volunteer for the first time there are multiple reasons behind that decision. Almost certainly, those reasons are extrinsic. A motivation is extrinsic when it exists outside of the person - like an athlete who feels compelled to run harder when he hears the crowd cheer him on. On the other hand, intrinsic motivation exists within us - like when that athlete runs harder because of the pleasure the sport brings. (For more on extrinsic versus intrinsic motivation read Part 1 of this series). When it comes to volunteering, it’s not that extrinsic motivation isn’t good - it’s just not good enough.

Extrinsic motivations aren’t good enough because they don’t last. On the other hand, when our motivation is intrinsic, personal, and tied to our identity, it becomes a priority. If we want people to volunteer with us over the long haul, then we must leave behind the glorified altruistic, for genuine self-interest.

But wait, isn’t volunteering is about giving back? Isn’t it about appreciating how much we have, and helping someone who doesn’t have so much? Volunteering is selfless, isn’t it? Doing good, solving problems, making the world a better place?

It’s Us. Helping Them.

Right?

Well, that’s certainly where we all start. But there comes a point when our good intentions toward others threaten to transform them from people into objects.

My true value

Want Good Volunteers? Forget The Altruistic, Find The Self-Interested(Part 1 of 2)

Many argue that volunteer rates are falling. They complain that people today (usually young people) won’t make commitments to a cause. The problem, people tell me, is that volunteers want to know what’s in it for them. Yep, it’s true. But self-interest isn’t the problem. It’s the solution.

Why we do what we do

People volunteer for every imaginable reason.

“I have so much, I just want to give back.” or, “We wanted to be part of the solution.” or, “There are people out there who need our help.” Or so on. And so forth.

Some are prompted by an advertisement on the subway. Others are invited to volunteer by friends or family. It may be that they were urged to get more active in the community by our religious leaders. Or possibly, someone took President Obama’s message of activism to heart.

All good reasons. Just not good enough.

The best reason for volunteering is always self-interest.

I know, I know. You think I am drunk-blogging. Hold on, I’ll explain.

“Self-interested volunteering” seems generally at odds with everything we’ve come to believe about volunteering. Right? “Self-interested volunteers.” Isn’t that an oxy-moron? What about altruism and the greater good?

In Realized Worth training sessions we raise this controversial point and discuss two reasons why self-interest is an essential aspect of an outstanding volunteer experience. Both reasons have to do with motivation.

Realizing Your Worth: MBA Program Trashed on Harvard Business Podcast

What does it take to create an outstanding leader? Apparently, not a Harvard MBA. Based on a study by Henry Mintzberg of 19 Harvard trained CEOs identified as superstars in 1990, ten were outright failures and another four are mediocre at best. Only five of the 19 seemed to be doing all right. This year alone, another 150,000 MBA's step into leadership positions in corporate America. How do MBA's become leaders we can trust?

I couldn’t believe my ears.

“Fundamental weaknesses in graduate management education are a significant cause of the current economic crisis.”

“You don’t become a manager in a classroom, and you certainly don’t become a leader in the classroom.”

“The (business) schools will claim, as many of them do, that you’re being trained not only for business, but government and for the social sector, and that’s just dead wrong.”

I like listening to the Harvard Business Ideacast (podcast). Some of the interviews are a little boring, but more often than not, I get a lot out of them. Henry Mintzberg, the professor of Management Studies at McGill University was recently featured (episode 138). He was being interviewed about his article in the Globe and Mail this past March entitled ‘America's monumental failure of management’.

He had a lot to say about Business Schools, and it wasn’t good.

The 3 Basic Steps To Create Trust Through Corporate Social Responsibility

Trust: Why Business Lost It, And How To Win It Back (Part 3 of 3)

If business wants to regain the public’s trust, they’re going to have to be trustworthy, and employees are the key. Here are three basic steps to engage your employees, build social capital, and win stakeholder trust.

There's a lot here, so take your time with it, read it in pieces, and as always, share your thoughts and insights.

Trust: "Can I get a loan?"

Many companies are turning to Corporate Social Responsibility as a strategy to win back the trust of their stakeholders and customers. But there is an irony here. For this strategy to work, it requires the very ingredient it seeks to generate - trust. Let’s consider exactly what a company is proclaiming when they use the phrase “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR).

CSR is a form of corporate self-regulation. Businesses promise to obey the law and maintain ethical standards in their activities. They are promising to promote the common good of the communities in which they operate, and proactively curtail any and all functions that may cause harm, whether specifically illegal or not. The popular maxim of People, Planet and Profit is the triple bottom line. Essentially, the company is taking responsibility for their actions and how they impact: a) the environment, b) consumers, c) employees, d) communities, e) various stakeholders, and f) the entire public sphere. It is a pretty significant commitment.

So, why in the world would I trust you with any of this ‘self-imposed’ regulation and prioritization if I don’t trust you in the first place? You cannot prove you are trustworthy by asking people to trust you even more.

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