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 Conference Program


Time Monday, August 31 
8:00-9:30 AM Welcome Drinks & Registration
9:30-11:00 AM Opening Plenary
11:00-11:30 AM Coffee Break
11:30-1:00 PM Forums Session #1
1:00-2:00 PM Lunch
2:00-3:30 PM Forums Session #2
3:30-4:00 PM Coffee Break
4:00-5:30 PM Forums Session #3
5:30-6:00 PM Wrap Up
6:00-6:30 PM Free time
6:30-7:30 PM Aperitif (Reception)
7:30 PM Dinner & Entertainment
Time  Tuesday, September 1
7:30-8:30AM Welcome Drinks
8:30-10:00 AM Plenary
10:00-10:30 AM Coffee Break
10:30 AM-12 Noon Forums Session #4
12:15-1:30 PM Forums Session #5
1:30-2:30 PM Lunch
2:30-3:30 PM Closing Plenary
3:30-4:30 PM Complimentary Refreshments

The Plenaries

Monday, August 31

The Sustainable Future of Corporate Volunteering: Building the Business Case by Demonstrating Impact in the Community and in the Company

Senior corporate executive speakers to be announced.

Tuesday, September 1

Focusing Our Volunteer Efforts on the World’s Most Pressing Problems: The Sustainable Development Goals

Richard Dictus, Executive Coordinator of United Nations Volunteers, will offer the challenge – for companies to contribute in a major way, through their volunteer efforts, to achieving the soon to be announced UN Sustainable Development Goals. A panel of corporate executives will respond, focusing on the opportunities, the obstacles, the risks and the rewards of taking on that challenge, especially with the world watching.

The Forums

The conference Forums are designed to:

  • bring great thinking to specific issues identified by companies as high priorities;
  • offer participants the opportunity to showcase their own efforts, innovations and challenges; and,
  • stimulate a lively discussion to expand our thinking and improve our practice.

Topics for the forum were chosen based on input received from 30+ companies either headquartered or with major operations in Europe.

Skills-based volunteering. It is what’s “hot.” But how do we recognize and put to work the skills of all of our employees, not only high-level professionals and “fast trackers”? What is an appropriate balance between skills-based and ‘traditional” employee volunteering? What are the limits in bringing it “to scale”? Join the discussion with companies that have world class skills-based volunteer programs.

Doing more with less staff and money. As staffing and budgets grow tighter as expectations for growth and impact of our efforts increase, how do we cope? Join peers who are finding new ways to address this ongoing challenge and share best practices and innovations.

Measuring impact. There is no more often discussed topic than how to measure the impact of our volunteer efforts. But there often is more talk than investment. Evaluation experts and companies debate the pros and cons of what can and should be done…or not.

Pro bono programs. Are pro bono programs volunteering? Does it matter? What are the best practices that inform its development and implementation by a company? How do we build effective partnerships with NGOs to ensure maximum impact? There and many more issues will be discussed by companies with successful programs and by the NGOs that help them do it.

Corporate volunteering as a strategic asset to support corporate goals for employee engagement and development. There is broad agreement that volunteering helps build employee commitment & morale, develop leadership, strengthen teams, enhance business-related skills and recruit new employees. Leaders in the field explore how to maximize that benefit by building strong internal partnerships with human resources units.

Disaster-related corporate volunteering. More natural and man-made disasters; greater expectations from our employees for meaningful response; the need to act before and after the “CNN moment” to build community resilience through preparation and prevention and to remain engaged through reconstruction. Companies that are leading the way share their experiences as prelude to discussion of the realities of engagement.

Understanding and managing cultural differences about volunteering from country to country. Volunteering can be found everywhere but there are vast differences in the cultural values that shape it, what is and is not “acceptable volunteering,” and the willingness of people to volunteer through their employers. Join your peers in discussing these differences and how to manage them.

Implementing a global volunteer program across multiple European markets. Headquarters identifies the strategic priorities, creates a “signature” volunteer program, distributes it through the system to…you. Now, how do you make it happen throughout Europe? Talk with companies that have faced that challenge and hear what they have learned.

Building support & overcoming resistance of middle managers. Strategies, programs, policies are fine. But what happens when the managers closest to the work are resistant to encouraging and enabling their direct reports to get involved/ Explore how companies are successfully addressing this challenge.


Addressing youth unemployment through corporate volunteering & other actions. This session explores how corporate volunteers can contribute to the impact of sustained high unemployment among young people – whether through mentoring or skills building or support for entrepreneurship, or by helping youth become volunteers as a way of building their workplace skills and creating a record of successful workplace experience.

Developing internal “champions” to lead your volunteer effort. One way to address a shortfall in staffing resources is to build networks of internal champions and leadership teams that will take operational responsibility for the company’s volunteer program. Learn what works from companies that are doing it.

Overcoming barriers to effectively engaging employee volunteers in NGOs: examples of what is working. Once thought of as “nice but not necessary,” partnerships with NGOs are now seen as critical to the success of employee volunteer efforts. But not all partnerships are created equal. Learn what works and what doesn’t – and see how you are doing as a partner.

Responding to emerging societal needs and demands: examples of innovations. Reductions in public sector provided services, high unemployment, an aging population, growing numbers of immigrants seeking safe havens, climate change, domestic terrorism. A focused discussion on how companies are and might respond to these rapidly emerging, critically important challenges and the potential roles for employee volunteers.

Corporate volunteering in the digital age: the opportunities and challenges presented by social media and online volunteering. From connecting employees with volunteer opportunities and tracking their involvement to online volunteer opportunities to micro-volunteering to social media to energize and mobilize – there is a digital revolution underway in the volunteer community. Find out here to be part of it through innovation and adaptation.

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