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2/9/2016 12:00 AM

U-Haul’s charity includes support for basic needs, as well as veterans’ services and disaster relief efforts.

OVERVIEW

Founded in 1945, U-Haul is the nation’s leading truck and trailer rental company, serving do-it-yourself movers with a network of more than 20,000 locations across all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. The company boasts a fleet of some 135,000 trucks, 107,000 trailers and 38,000 towing devices. Additionally, U-Haul offers more than 491,000 rooms and more than 44 million square feet of self-storage space at owned and managed facilities throughout North America. And it is the largest installer of permanent trailer hitches in the automotive aftermarket industry, thanks largely to the need for customers to install them prior to renting trailers. U-Haul is owned by AMERCO, a holding company that also operates several real estate and insurance firms.

GIVING

U-Haul’s philanthropy has traditionally been focused on groups and programs that directly serve the most basic of human needs—food, clothing and shelter—in the communities around the country where it does business. The company seeks charitable partners on the local and regional level, and much of this giving is handled by individual franchisees.

Nationally, the company’s charity is largely directed at military and veteran organizations, to which it provides a mix of cash and in-kind donations of equipment, self-storage and merchandise.

U-Haul has a long-standing partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project that encompasses fundraising and in-kind support. Most notably, the company sponsors WWP’s Soldier Ride, a unique four-day cycling opportunity for wounded service members and veterans to use cycling and the bonds of service to overcome physical, mental or emotional wounds.

U-Haul also supports the Memorial Day Foundation, particularly in its annual placement of bouquets on Memorial Day, and has sponsored a series of public service announcements and other resources targeted to veterans.

U-Haul also encourages communities across the country to become actively involved in preserving their past through the company’s Commemorative SuperGraphics campaign. The company’s extensive fleet of vehicles are adorned with large graphics depicting distinctive icons of every U.S. state and Canadian province, paying tribute to significant events, anniversaries and preserved historical sites and raising public awareness of these cultural gems. The campaign also has special graphics that honor historically significant men and women in the various armed forces who have served their country with distinction.

In addition, the company helps those impacted by natural disasters by offering 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box moving and self-storage containers at participating U-Haul self-storage facilities on an as-available basis.

Additional information is available on the company’s website.

2/3/2016 12:00 AM

New research shows that companies are increasingly focusing on volunteerism as a central component of broader employee engagement strategies

New research shows that companies are increasingly focusing on volunteerism as a central component of broader employee engagement strategies, leading to a range of benefits for all key stakeholders—including customers, workers, companies and the nonprofits they partner with.

The research, conducted by America’s Charities, shows a major shift in employee giving programs from just two years ago, when the organization issued the first of its Snapshot reports. In Snapshot 2013, companies indicated their employee giving models focused on corporate-branded campaigns matched with a time-limited fall campaign, with heavy reliance on technology to drive workplace giving.

Snapshot 2015, however, shows a much greater emphasis on employee volunteerism, and in particular:

  • Year-round volunteering opportunities.
  • Giving and volunteering as central components of employee engagement programs.
  • Connecting employees to causes they care about, in addition to corporate-supported causes.

Volunteerism “is now the core around which companies are building employee engagement strategies and programs,” the group found. Not only does it serve as a catalyzing force within companies, but it is also what the group called an “on-ramp to full employee engagement” and deepening partnerships with nonprofit organizations.

A well-developed volunteer program is also seen as key to employee recruitment and retention, the report said. Specifically, prospective employees expect companies to provide opportunities to connect with causes they care about; allow them to volunteer during company time; and conduct an effective volunteer and giving program that is engaging and empowering.

Per the report, the most common elements of employee volunteer strategies include:

  • Company-sponsored volunteer projects and projects that encourage employees to team with their peers.
  • Dollars-for-doers-type programs. Today nearly 27 percent of companies offer financial grants in recognition of individual volunteer service, and an additional 30 percent of companies plan to offer these within the next two years.
  • Skills-based opportunities. Nearly 50 percent of companies offer pro bono and skills-based opportunities, and nearly 30 percent plan to offer these over the next two years.
  • Mentoring. A growing number of companies plan to introduce mentor programs that team employees with the beneficiary of a nonprofit organization.
  • Paid volunteer time. Nearly 60 percent of companies offer paid time off for employees to volunteer, and an additional 21 percent plan to offer release time in the next two years.
  • Professional development. About 25 percent of companies tie skills-based volunteering to an employee’s professional development plan, but 21 percent say they plan to make this tie-in in the future.

Employees are also looking for an expanded universe of volunteer opportunities. While company-supported events remain popular—cited by 82 percent of employees—some 70 percent want the ability to organize their own volunteer events, and 60 percent want to be able to recruit peers to support their giving and volunteer efforts, the report said.

However, support from leadership throughout the organization appears to be key to effective employee engagement, the report said. Employees are “keenly aware” if leadership at all levels is authentically involved or not. It’s not enough to just say that giving of time, money and skills is important. Leadership must be involved in each of these areas, the group said, and the importance of community engagement to the company and its stakeholders should be explained and well-understood throughout the company.

The growing emphasis on employee volunteerism can present challenges for nonprofit partners, however. As noted in the report, nonprofits have struggled in the past to make effective use of volunteer labor—especially skills-based and pro bono service, which is often highly specialized. There is a need on both sides to think creatively in developing ways in which employee volunteerism can be used effectively to the benefit of companies and nonprofits alike.

Based on Snapshot 2015’s findings, America’s Charities made the following recommendations:

  • Ensure that company leadership is authentic and senior officers are actively involved in community engagement.
  • Align employee engagement strategies and nonprofit partnerships with business values and mission, reinforcing the business benefits of these programs.
  • Engage in a dialogue with key nonprofit partners to ensure engagement is strategic and mutually beneficial.
  • Involve and empower employees to support corporate signature programs in addition to the causes they care about.
  • Identify opportunities to recruit and retain the best talent by connecting employee engagement to professional development and recruitment strategies.

For more information, or to access the report in full, go to www.charities.org.

1/23/2016 12:00 AM

Crocs focuses its philanthropy on efforts to improve the quality of life in communities where it does business.

OVERVIEW

Crocs is a leading manufacturer of casual footwear for men, women and children. Known for its proprietary resin-molded slip-ons, Crocs offers a portfolio of some 300 individual footwear products for year-round comfort, thanks to the soft, lightweight material and a variety of inserts and accessories that add warmth and style. Crocs are sold through several major retailers, including Dillard’s, Nordstrom and Dick’s Sporting Goods, as well as through about 250 of its own stores and kiosks in more than 90 countries. In 2014, the company reported sales of around $1.2 billion and employed nearly 5,000 workers.

GIVING

Crocs’ charitable giving is directed at efforts to enhance the well-being of the communities where it operates through support for nonprofit organizations on a local and global level. The company has partnerships with several organizations around the world, including:

  • There with Care. In 2014, Crocs partnered with There with Care, an organization that provides support and services to low-income families with children facing critical illness. Crocs donated shoes to every family member in the There with Care program and sponsored fundraisers, including a diaper and formula drive.
  • The Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia. Crocs Malaysia provided financial support to the BCWA and its efforts to raise awareness about breast cancer. Crocs also donated pink Crocs footwear to support the cause.
  • The Two Ten Foundation. Two Ten is a charitable foundation that offers financial assistance, counseling, community resources and scholarships to workers of the footwear industry. Crocs, along with other peer footwear companies, supports the foundation through financial contributions.

Crocs’ employees support the company’s charitable pursuits through volunteerism, fundraising and personal financial commitments to worthy causes in their communities. In 2014, Crocs employees at its headquarters participated in the Tour de Cure Colorado event, a bicycle ride that helps raise awareness for the American Diabetes Association. Not only did Crocs employees ride in the event, but the company donated $55,000 to the ADA, bringing the total raised for the organization to $61,000.

A group of employees also partook in a Polar Plunge event to raise money for the Special Olympics and supported the Movember Foundation to raise awareness about prostate cancer.

And several Crocs employees work with master’s students at the University of Denver on various projects, including collaboration on a marketing study and a production model initiative.

For more information, visit the company’s website.

News Briefs
2/7/2016 12:00 AM

Contributions to the Combined Federal Campaign are declining, according to an informal survey conducted by The Washington Post.

Contributions to the Combined Federal Campaign are declining, according to an informal survey conducted by The Washington Post, with many federal employees opting to give their time instead of money in recent years. According to the Post, CFC contributions have been dropping steadily in recent years, with 2014’s tally of $193.2 million nearly a third lower than 2009’s total. Per capita contributions have also fallen by nearly a third, and the participation rate among federal workers is off about 14 percent in that time as well. One cause the Post points to is financial pressure resulting from the perennial threat of a government shutdown in the era of divided government—and the instability that brings, financially, for government workers. Another issue is low morale, the Post said, with many workers feeling put off by politicians who are vocally critical of the federal workforce as a proxy for government itself.

News Briefs
2/2/2016 12:00 AM

Engineering firm Bechtel has launched a special campaign among its 58,000 employees to help the millions of Syrian families that have fled their homeland.

Engineering firm Bechtel has launched a special campaign among its 58,000 employees to help the millions of Syrian families that have fled their homeland. The company’s grantmaking arm, the Bechtel Group Foundation, began the campaign with a $50,000 grant to the International Rescue Committee, a nonprofit with more than seven decades of success in helping refugees survive and regain control of their lives. In addition, the foundation is offering a dollar-for-dollar match of employee contributions to any charity worldwide that is responding to the refugee crisis. The matching funds will go to the IRC, the foundation said.

News Briefs
1/28/2016 12:00 AM

To help nonprofits increase donations, Facebook is testing improvements to its Donate button and making it available on member pages and posts.

To help nonprofits increase donations, Facebook is testing improvements to its Donate button and making it available on member pages and posts. According to the company, adding a Donate button to a page will give nonprofits a consistent place to collect donations via the social network, even as they update their page’s content. Meanwhile, including a Donate button on individual posts will give members an easy way to donate directly from their News Feeds. With the new changes, Facebook users will be able to donate in just a few clicks and share their donations with friends. And when those posts are shared, they will also include a Donate button, making it easy for anyone who sees it to donate as well, the company said. Facebook is currently testing these new tools with 37 partner organizations, including Mercy Corps, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the World Wildlife Fund. Once the kinks are worked out, the company will be making them available to other U.S.-based nonprofits.

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  • Meet the Editor

    Nicholas King
    Editor

    Nicholas King has served as editor of Corporate Philanthropy Report since 2007, and he continues to be impressed with the philanthropic efforts of the nation’s business sector.

    Drawing on an educational background in English and environmental policy, Nicholas began his journalism career in 2000 when he was brought on as editor of Environmental Laboratory Washington Report, a niche-market subscription-based newsletter serving the environmental testing industry. After seven years of honing his craft, Nicholas expanded his writing/editing portfolio to an entirely new field of interest - corporate philanthropy. As editor of Corporate Philanthropy Report, he stays abreast of the latest developments affecting corporate giving—and the charitable/nonprofit sector more broadly—providing his readers the “need to know” information vital for making the best use of their limited charitable dollars.

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