The Minnesota Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) recently awarded two 2001 Bronze Quill Awards of Excellence to Carlson Companies for the Carlson Volunteer Connection, a unique computer application that connects Carlson Companies` employees with community volunteer opportunities.
Carlson Companies` entries in the categories of Public Affairs / Community Relations and Electronic Communication/Intranet or Extranet Sites, were just two of more than 100 submitted for the third annual awards. Only 21 submissions received Awards of Excellence. Communicators from IABC chapters in Chicago, Ill.; Charlotte, N.C.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Topeka, Kan. judged the entries.
More about the Carlson Volunteer Connection
The Carlson Shared Services in-house Web Solutions team developed the Carlson Volunteer Connection. The application, which runs on Carlson Companies` intranet site for employees, was created as an effective and high-tech community relations tool to fulfill the many requests Carlson Companies receives from community organizations, as well as internal employees, looking for volunteers and hoping to tap into the thousands of Carlson Companies` employees based in the Twin Cities
Prior to the Carlson Volunteer Connection, there was no centralized way to provide various volunteer opportunities to Carlson employees. The new application not only lists various volunteer opportunities, but it also automatically matches employees with community opportunities that interest them. If there are no current matches for an employee, the system generates an e-mail to that person, informing him or her when an opportunity is available. The Carlson Volunteer Connection also tracks data and tells employees how many volunteers have already been registered for each event and how many more are needed, allows employees to click directly onto a listed organization`s website to learn more about it, and enables employees to fill an open weekend or day by searching for opportunities by date and time.
Local nonprofit organizations submit their volunteer opportunities for the Carlson Volunteer Connection via the corporate Internet site (www.carlson.com/volunteerconnection/index.htm). The Carlson Volunteer Connection staff reviews and approves the opportunities, entering them into a database run through the company`s intranet site. A customized, weekly e-mail is sent to registered employees detailing newly posted opportunities matching individual profiles. The system is easy for colleagues and non-profit agencies to use, helps track requests, and addresses one of the company`s key strategic objectives: Creating a great place for great people to do great work.
No other businesses in the Twin Cities area offer a volunteer database program such as this. In fact, many businesses have inquired to view the innovative program, which Carlson Companies is offering at no cost to companies whose intranets operate on the same technology underpinnings.
Since the launch of the Carlson Volunteer Connection in April, more than 500 Carlson Companies employees have signed up to link with volunteer opportunities throughout the Twin Cities. Currently there are nearly 400 volunteer opportunities listed by almost 100 different organizations.