NobleBridge is an initiative, kickstarted by TreeTop Commons, LLC, designed to bring together businesses and community partners. The goal of the NobleBridge is to create and foster a strong culture of volunteerism in Portland and the surrounding area, to make it easier for people to find volunteer opportunities. That’s the intention behind NobleHour, TreeTop’s volunteer opportunity sharing, and tracking tool — and it’s how the B-Corp will take corporate volunteerism to the next level with NobleBridge.
NobleHour launched in 2007 and has continually addressed the needs of both volunteers and nonprofits when it comes to finding and sharing volunteer opportunities. But, as TreeTop’s Director of Sales and New Business Development Mike Calvo explained: “When we first started the company in 2007, our goal really was to connect volunteers with opportunities. But we found it was difficult to find volunteer opportunities.” And, while Portland is highly civic-minded, it’s also clear that finding volunteer opportunities that don’t interfere with work is one of the biggest hurdles for people looking to give back to their community.
In addition, a new trend has emerged over the past few years: businesses have begun to show interest in corporate volunteerism. Volunteer time off (VTO) has risen in popularity over the last few years and, according to a 2018 employee benefits report, it’s becoming a big attractor for top talent. To remain competitive, as well as give back to the community, businesses in Portland are actively seeking opportunities to connect with nonprofits and charities… but they don’t have the systems in place to do so. “We see more and more businesses wanting to implement volunteer programs into their employee benefits, but are having a hard time getting started,” shared Senior Director of Marketing, Allison Hale. Sammi Campbell of Garrison Hullinger Interior Design summed it up perfectly: ”Though volunteering remains important to us, the more complicated it is to facilitate, the less likely it is to happen.”
Nonprofits, in addition to struggling to find volunteers, aim for more visibility, more donations, and more engagement overall. The more people know about the work a nonprofit does, the more traction their efforts get. “What we do is so far-reaching,” shared Camille Daniels of Volunteers of America Oregon. “Getting our message out… that affects the sort of volunteers and donors we attract.”
Clearly, the desire for nonprofits, volunteers, and corporations to give back to the community is there, but a disconnect exists. Efforts to partner up or focus on a specific cause have been disjointed thanks to a lack of education and industry “best practices” that could be used to create these partnerships.
To help bridge this gap and to help foster stronger relationships that benefit everyone in Oregon, TreeTop Commons created and launched NobleBridge in 2018.
“We really benefit from partnering with businesses because it’s an untapped resource,”
How NobleBridge works
By focusing on partnering corporations and nonprofits in the Portland area, NobleBridge aims to provide connections as well as standards for an effective corporate-nonprofit partnership. However, it’s not just about pairing up a business and a nonprofit. It’s about showing both parties how to nurture these relationships for the long-term. The result is a highly engaged community, where both for-profit and not-for-profit businesses can come together to effect real change.
To get involved in the NobleBridge initiative, community partners and corporations can simply sign up for the program. Once signed up, businesses and nonprofits will have access to opportunities to learn more about:
- Engaging employees and teams
- Engaging and recruiting motivated volunteers
- Turning volunteers into donors and advocates to expand reach and mission
- How to work with NobleBridge partners to reach new heights
- What’s important to people, volunteers, and teams, and what motivates them to get out and engage!
The NobleBridge initiative also includes:
- Regular networking and happy hour events hosted by NobleHour
- Exposure to new causes, businesses, and partners
- The opportunity to pilot new NobleHour features and capabilities
- Robust reporting and advanced insight into a partnership’s impact
Using NobleHour’s tracking tool, a business can highlight and share the impact they’ve had, whether through hours volunteered, cumulative impact in dollars, opportunities attended, community partners supported, and more. This means more internal support for corporate volunteer policies, as well as a stronger approach to how corporations engage with their community. “This [tool] lets us look at ROI from a financial perspective, but it also gives us data to pull from to see what our employees are connecting to within our mission — not just the base dollar value,” said Katie Chaney of Gridworks IC.
Nonprofits, on the other hand, get reliable access to skilled and passionate volunteers for their numerous events and volunteer opportunities. “We really benefit from partnering with businesses because it’s an untapped resource,” added Daniels. Best of all, volunteers get to make a difference in their home communities without worrying about how they’ll find the time to give back. “It’s really about taking care of our employees’ general wellbeing and exploring the idea of why we go to work,” said Chaney. “What is work to us other than money?”
NobleBridge wants to help answer that question.
The overarching goals of NobleBridge
The NobleBridge initiative aims to partner 50 businesses and 50 nonprofits throughout the northwest, as well as support a full year of engagement. Over the course of 2019, NobleBridge partners will learn how to effectively partner with one another, how to engage in volunteer opportunities, and how to establish a corporate volunteer policy that is beneficial for all parties.
The overarching goal of the NobleBridge initiative is to make Portland the #1 corporate volunteer city in the United States. “We want to help businesses create and foster a culture of volunteerism with their employees. [By] providing strong community engagement support and our NobleHour platform, we are accomplishing that through NobleBridge,” added Calvo.
Since 2007, NobleHour has proven to be the volunteer management solution for organizations across the nation. With its robust online platform, NobleHour enhances community engagement with a variety of innovative and transformative tools for finding, tracking, and measuring volunteer, service‐learning, and community service initiatives. With offices in Lakeland, FL, and Portland, OR, the NobleHour team is dedicated to empowering good in communities across the country.
By NobleHour Special Contributor:
Latasha Doyle is a writer and long term care volunteer living outside of Denver, Colorado. When she’s not writing or volunteering, she enjoys crocheting, Netflix marathons, and planning her next trip.