Interview with Madden Manion, Chief Development Officer, Points of Light
Madden Manion is the Chief Development Officer for Points of Light. Madden has been with the organization for over 10 years and helped it launch its Corporate Partnerships Team. She has a track record of fundraising success at Points of Light that spans more than a decade. Madden and her team build partnerships that engage the public in volunteer service while also increasing corporate employee engagement in community problem-solving.
Madden: Points of Light is the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteering and service. Our mission is to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world. Each year, more than four million volunteers contribute their time to the causes that matter most to them through Points of Light. We provide a continuum of volunteer opportunities, inspiration, recognition and impact solutions that enable people to tap their passions to make a difference in local communities.
Points of Light was founded 25 years ago by the White House and has a strong bipartisan history. President George H. W. Bush believed that “points of light“ are the soul of America. “They are ordinary people who reach beyond themselves to touch the lives of those in need, bringing hope and opportunity, care and friendship. By giving so generously of themselves, these remarkable individuals show us not only what is best in our heritage but what all of us are called to become.“
Points of Light offers a diverse set of programs – but all are catalyzing a vision and a belief that every person on earth possess the power to bring positive change – to our lives, to the lives of others and to our communities. We aspire to provide opportunities for “more and better“ volunteering across the globe.
When Points of Light was founded, 38 million people were volunteering in the U.S. Today, it is more than 62 million and close to a billion globally. We imagine the possibilities when 100 million people are volunteering in America and billions more across the globe. It is a powerful and rewarding vision, and also sometimes a little daunting.
Madden: Today, Points of Light is in its third year of working with Mondelēz on its Global Volunteer Month. HandsOn Network affiliates, an enterprise of Points of Light, helps mobilized Mondelēz International employees in service throughout their annual service initiative, Global Volunteer Month. In 2015, over 12,000 volunteers participated in projects in 70 countries, contributing more than 40,000 hours of service. We are proud to partner with Mondelēz, a company that truly recognizes the many positive outcomes associated with a strategic volunteerism program, and applaud their authentic commitment to giving back to the communities where employees live and work.
Madden: Today, employee volunteer programs are considered strategic business tools that create impact within communities worldwide and within a company’s culture. Volunteerism truly provides triple bottom line benefits to companies – good for the company, good for the employee, good for the community. We know that engaged employees have higher rate of retention and are often high performers, improving employee morale and reducing corporate costs. Corporate volunteer programs help employees build new skills, reinforce teamwork, and even increase the health and wellness of employees by reducing stress. And, organizations with engaged employees have been shown to be 22% more profitable than those with disengaged workers. Millennials are seeking jobs that provide them with a sense of purpose, and companies, like Mondelēz, with a strong culture of service and commitment to volunteers are winning the talent wars.
Today's business environment demands a heightened sense of ethics, accountability, and social responsibility. Companies also have to do more with less. But, to maintain a competitive advantage, businesses cannot afford to be disconnected from their communities, customers, clients, or employees. More and more individuals are increasing their expectations of companies to do more than just make a profit, and many are willing to hold businesses accountable for not doing so. Volunteerism programs help businesses build external brand awareness, affinity and positive reputation, and strengthens customer trust and loyalty in the brand.
On the community level, employee volunteerism programs raise awareness of critical community needs that may often be overlooked or dismissed, and provide employees with an outlet to take action, become problem solvers and get engaged. Nonprofit organizations that successfully engage volunteers are better run, more efficient and produce great impact.
Madden: Companies large and small are beginning to realize the return on investment employee engagement and volunteerism programs generate. For me, it is so inspiring to see the increase in corporate volunteerism – from large-multinational organizations to small “mom and pop” businesses and the variety of ways that businesses are aligning business objectives with social investments and volunteerism.
There is a tremendous increase in the interest in skills-based volunteering. Points of Light is home to the A Billion + Change Campaign (Mondelēz is a partnering organization). It is inspiring 5,000 companies, large and small to make a commitment to increasing skills-based and pro-bono service to nonprofit organizations.
The globalization of the workforce – Increasingly companies are investing in volunteerism efforts both in the US and abroad. Points of Light has recently launched Points of Light Asia in Singapore to support the tremendous growth and interest in volunteerism in Asia. Mondelēz has been a leader in engaging its global employees in service activities.
Interest in impact measurements – Companies want to really understand the impact of their volunteerism efforts and how their employee time and corporate investment is making a real difference in communities.
Increased innovation and new kinds of social change organizations – The nonprofit sector is also changing dramatically with new social entrepreneurs, B-Corps, new technologies and a blurring of for profit and nonprofit players in the social space. Employee volunteerism is critical to nonprofit capacity building and success and new business structures provide mentoring opportunities and new ways of engaging around social issues.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – The business world is increasingly focused on the UN’s SDG’s – that focus on ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all. Points of Light believes that there is a real role for companies in connecting their employee engagement efforts to meeting these goals by 2030.
At Points of Light, we are tremendously optimistic that corporate volunteerism and the continued evolution of strategic nonprofit partnerships will play a critical role in helping to address and solve many of the world’s most intractable problems.