Starting From Scratch: A Look at ECMC's Impressive New Employee Volunteer Program
Two years ago, ECMC Group didn't have an employee-sponsored volunteer program. Now, they not only have a robust volunteer program, but offer extensive giving opportunities as well. Check out this spread of the volunteer and giving-related programming ECMC has in place:
- Up to 16 hours of paid time off to volunteer (VTO) at ECMC-sponsored events each year
- A charitable gift matching program
- A dollars for doers program
- Company-organized days of service
- The ECMC Foundation GO! Program through which employees can nominate and vote for nonprofits to receive grant funding totaling $1 million per year for programs related to education.
To top it all off, ECMC has seen higher-than-average employee participation rates since the launch of their program.
What causes an organization to go from having no volunteer/giving program to creating an engaging and thorough one in such a short amount of time?
To find out, I connected with Sabrina Berg, ECMC's Community Relations Administrator.
As it turns out, ECMC's giving program started in the most beautifully simple way: Employees asked for it.
"ECMC employees asked for a community outreach program and ECMC listened!", recalls Sabrina.
Since then, the program has really taken off. "ECMC offers a robust volunteer program, allowing employees the opportunity to make an impact in their community through a variety of ways and supporting a variety of causes," explains Sabrina.
How were they able to scale their program so quickly?
One tool they employ is YourMatch™ by VolunteerMatch. "VolunteerMatch provides an easy and engaging way for our employees to research, sign up for, and track their volunteer efforts," says Sabrina. "It also provides robust reporting metrics which, as an administrator, makes my job a lot easier to track results!"
One aspect of a volunteer program that does take time investment is building relationships with nonprofit partners. But ECMC is already on their way there.
"With time, ECMC is starting to develop relationships with nonprofits and is starting to see the long-term benefits of those partnerships," says Sabrina.
An example is investments in two local middle schools. ECMC employees volunteered at the schools by chaperoning field trips, mentoring, helping with school projects, and more. ECMC also supported the schools through monetary donations.
"These partnerships have benefited both the staff, the students, their families, and ECMC employees," says Sabrina. "ECMC employees are having fun working together to better the communities they live in."
In addition to these long-term partnerships, ECMC organizes service days for their employees.
Most recently, ECMC employees cleaned up Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota. "Around 40 employees spent the morning collecting flags for proper disposal, gathering faded flowers and mementos, and picking up debris as a way to commemorate veterans and the 15th anniversary of 9/11," recalls Sabrina. "The story made the local news!"
Thanks, Sabrina and ECMC Group for letting us share your story! Interested in having a success story of your own? Find out how VolunteerMatch can help scale your own employee volunteer program.
About ECMC Group: ECMC Group is a Twin Cities-based nonprofit corporation with a mission to help students succeed through programs promoting financial literacy, college access, and college completion.