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Board Service: Matching Employees to Non-profit Boards August 2008

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Board Service: Matching Employees to Non-profit Boards August 2008. About Entrepreneurs Foundation. Our Mission To engage high growth companies in corporate citizenship and philanthropic efforts so that new and leveraged resources are generated for community benefit. Our Work

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about entrepreneurs foundation
About Entrepreneurs Foundation

Our Mission

To engage high growth companies in corporate citizenship and

philanthropic efforts so that new and leveraged resources are

generated for community benefit.

Our Work

Entrepreneurs Foundation (EF) works with companies to create, manage and implement corporate foundations and community benefit programs.

Our Vision

Silicon Valley will be considered a leading community, not

just for our innovations but also for our corporate

commitment to the broader community.

To further our work and our mission, based on our record of experience and research, EF provides this summary of trends and practices in Board Service: Matching employees to non-profit boards.


aligned interests of volunteers non profits companies
Aligned Interests of Volunteers, Non-profits & Companies
  • Volunteers are:
    • Seeking ways to contribute meaningful social impact
    • Seeking ways to develop new skills
    • Seeking ways to utilize their talents & skills
    • Seeking ways to leverage social good for business benefit
  • Non-profits are:
    • Seeking ways to attract and sustain volunteers
    • Seeking ways to deepen relationships with corporations
    • Seeking creative solutions to agency needs
  • Corporations are:
    • Seeking ways to enrich partnerships with non-profits
    • Seeking ways to improve employee engagement (within the business & social investment programs)
    • Seeking ways to offer professional development to high potential employees
    • Seeking ways to engage executives in social investment that returns business and community benefit
are driving new trends in skilled volunteerism
Are Driving New Trends in Skilled Volunteerism
  • A form of pro-bono service, skilled volunteerism is:
    • “activities that involve the transfer of intellectual capital and workplace skills from an employee to a non-profit” (LBG Associates, 2008)
    • “Professional services made accessible to organizations serving the public good.” (Pro-bono Action Tank, 2008)
  • More than just products and services, corporations are utilizing employee talents for social benefit
  • Non-profit Board Service is increasingly becoming a form of skilled volunteerism.
building a case for non profit board service studies
Building a Case for Non-profit Board Service - Studies
  • The State of Corporate Philanthropy: A McKinsey Global Survey (2008) reports that:
    • 84% of corporate execs globally believe society now expects businesses to take a much more active role in social, environmental and political issues than it did 5 years ago.
  • Deloitte, 2008 Volunteer IMPACT Survey states that:
    • 91% of HR managers said that volunteering knowledge and expertise to a non-profit can be an effective way to cultivate business and leadership skills
    • 78% of employees surveyed indicated that volunteering served as a vehicle to develop business skills such as decision-making, problem solving and negotiating.
  • LBG Associates (Trends and Best Practices in Corporate Community Involvement, 2007) indicates:
    • 93% of study participants encourage executives to serve on boards of directors for non-profits
    • 10% of study participants require service of their executives; and,
      • 9% of study participants maintain a formal loaned executive program or corporate service fellowships
    • Board service is on the rise; 87% in ‘04 to 93% in ‘07
building a case for non profit board service outcomes
Building a Case for Non-profit Board Service - Outcomes
  • Non-profit board service creates outcomes for employees, communities and the companies:
    • Expands corporate brand in the community
    • Exposes executives to a broader set of community issues, organizational practices, and team building skills
    • Enriches the partnership between the company and its non-profit partners
    • Demonstrates the company’s commitment to employee development
    • Sustains a culture of community involvement
    • Utilizes strong leadership talent to improve organizational effectiveness
    • Drives improved social investment
considerations in program development
Considerations in Program Development
  • What are the primary business drivers (goals) for launching a program?
    • Elements of a program focused on building employee engagement may vary widely from elements intended to build or improve corporate brand in the community.
    • How will program success be measured?
    • How diverse is the non-profit selection (inside/outside giving areas)?
  • What resources are committed to the program?
    • Staff and financial resources are necessary to provide board service training – a must do for an effective program.
    • Staff or third party must commit time to facilitate matching
    • Are all parties willing to make the long term commitments necessary in board service (most board seats require 2 years)?
    • What gifts are made to the non-profit; practice varies but can be as high as $10K per board placement.
    • Executives must be willing to commit the personal time, and often resources, to be an effective board member.
    • Other business leaders must buy-in to the notion that their reports may participate.
    • If the program ties to development, are the resources offered.
considerations in program development1
Considerations in Program Development
  • Explore scalability and scope of the program.
    • Who will be eligible to participate (executives, all employees)?
    • Will there be any negative impact if the program is offered to a limited audience?
    • In what geographies will the program be offered?
    • Effective programs are very “high touch.” To what extent are on-line tools or self-service products necessary to reach a broader audience?
  • Evaluate fit - matching existing and developmental skills.
    • Is the employee passionate about the cause of the non-profit<
    • What skills is the non-profit seeking and can the employee truly offer that talent?
    • If the employee desires development of a particular skill, can it be gained from the service?
    • Is the non-profit willing to serve in that training capacity?
  • Manage expectations.
    • How effective/efficient is the non-profit board?
    • What is the exit strategy should the “fit” be wrong?
    • Who is responsible for managing the performance of the volunteer if he or she is representing your company?
program design
Program Design
  • Upon review of considerations, formalize the program
  • “Best in Class Programs” will:
    • Explore employee interests and expectations before formally launching a program
      • Conduct a cross section of interviews to gain maximum insight
    • In addition to interviews, use a standard form or application to gather employee data
      • Employees willing to take the time for this process will be committed to a successful board match
    • Include a structured corporate communication plan that includes: Eligibility, Selection criteria, Employee expectations, Measures for success – for all parties
    • Interview agencies for qualification
      • Meet with executive director, board chair, board members and conduct a site visit
      • Have candid discussions regarding all expectations of board placement
    • Utilize third parties with core competencies in matching employees with non-profit boards
    • Reflect on program outcomes, celebrate & reward successes, and make any program enhancements for sustainability
programmatic landscape relative to focus
Programmatic Landscape Relative to Focus

Focus: Community Partnerships

On-going training / learning model

Board service training

Unrestricted non-profit partners

No participation restrictions


Regular feedback loop

Relate service to development plans

Focus: Employee Engagement

& Development

Formal program structure

Additional non-profit support


Matching Executives (only) on Boards

Self-service resources with no financial support

Non-profits limited to giving focus areas



resources partners
Resources & Partners
  • Resources & partners can help build a sustainable effort:
    • BoardnetUSA: on-line database of board vacancies
    • The Volunteer Center: offers training on non-profit board service in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties; offers customized board matching services for executives and key employees; produces literature on board service
    • BoardSource: offers training on non-profit board service; consults with non-profits on board governance and effectiveness; produces literature on board service
    • CompassPoint: consults with non-profits and companies to improve non-profit effectiveness
    • Taproot Foundation: matches skilled employees with volunteer projects
    • Pro-bono Action Tank: collaborating with a variety of partners to define and establish the pro bono movement
    • A Cadre of Consultants: practitioners nationwide with expertise in service programs
ef tools resources
EF Tools & Resources
  • EF can offer a variety of tools and resources to create or enrich programs, such as:
    • Collaborating with staff to design a Program Document
    • Interviewing employees
    • Interviewing board candidates
    • Interviewing non-profit partners
    • Publishing candidate applications
    • Gathering additional practices from identified parties
    • Join EF’s social network to share ideas and practices regarding board service.
    • Request a proposal for board match services that align with your corporate and community goals.
  • Using a structured questionnaire, EF conducted interviews with select companies respected for the commitment to community investment and headquartered in Silicon Valley. Companies included:
    • Adobe, Applied Materials, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Foundation and more.
  • Community relations representatives offered insights on overall program design, employee eligibility/selection, agency matching and measurement.
  • General outcomes of those interviews were, and supplemental research was used to create this report.

Contact EF for additional support in creating a “Board Match” program for your organization. Thank you.

Jeff Rangel

Director, Community Program