Get to Know Allina Health, Finalist for 2016 Employee Volunteer Program of the Year

Sep 28, 2016 9:40 AM ET

Get to Know Allina Health, Finalist for 2016 Employee Volunteer Program of the …

In this Q&A series, get to know the finalists for VolunteerMatch’s 2016 Employee Volunteer Program of the Year Award. Winners will be revealed on October 25, 2016 at VM Summit 16Get your VM Summit 16 ticket today. Today’s featured volunteer program: Allina Health.

Tell me about Allina Health.

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families, and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through a family of hospitals, clinics, and other specialty health care services.

Health care is more than just treating people when they are sick. As such, Allina Health is committed to improving the health of the communities we serve by investing in community health promotion efforts as well as its employees to support people on their path to better health.

What makes your volunteer program so successful?

Mission Matters, the Allina Health employee volunteerism program, is successful first and foremost because of the passion and commitment of our employees. Allina Health employees play a critical role in the lives of the patients and family members when they are in our care. This dedication continues outside the walls of Allina Health through volunteer work and giving back to the community in ways that have personal meaning to them.

Recognition is a large part of our program as well. Part of Mission Matters is a Dollars for Doers program, which recognizes employees for every 20 hours of volunteer service with a $100 contribution to the nonprofit organization of their choice, up to three per calendar year. In addition, every employee who volunteers 20 hours in a calendar year will receive an electronic thank you from the Mission Matters team, copying their manager. When an employee reaches 100 volunteer hours in a calendar year, they receive a handwritten thank you card at their home from their business unit president or the Allina Health CEO.

What is the most unique aspect of your volunteer program?

Allina Health values active living as a core component to healthy living. As such, Walks, Runs, & Rides, a program of Mission Matters, rewards Allina Health employees’ participation in charitable walks, runs, and rides events that benefit nonprofit organizations. Allina Health makes a charitable contribution to eligible nonprofit organizations based on the number of employees who participate in the charitable event. Any employee can suggest a charitable walk, run or ride event on Allina Health’s volunteering site, which is powered by VolunteerMatch.

What recent accomplishments make you proud?

As a health care system, we recognize good health habits start early. That’s why we partner with Free Bikes 4 Kidz (FB4K), a nonprofit geared toward helping all kids ride into a healthier, happier childhood by providing bikes to those most in need.

Allina Health hosts a one-day bike collection event in October at 46 Allina Health locations simultaneously. With the help of 800 employee volunteers and their family and friends, more than 5,000 bikes were collected in 2015 (25,000 total for the past five years) from employees and community members. These bikes are then refurbished and given back to kids in need through local nonprofit partners. Check out this video that highlights the partnership.

What advice do you have for others managing an employee volunteer program?

A key to a successful program is not only leader support but boots on the ground. Allina Health has a network of trained Volunteer Champions whose assist new employees with getting their accounts activated, logging volunteer hours, creating group volunteer activities, identifying community partner organizations, and more.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Here are a few quotes from Allina Health employees about the Mission Matters program:

“Service is core to my being. I am glad the organization I work for (where I spend a large amount of my time and energy) goes above and beyond to support my interest and our local community.”

“As a caring group of nurses and health care providers, we participate daily in the earnest care of our patients with great focus within the clinic and hospital setting. For most of us, our patients are also fellow community members. The opportunity to share time with them in health-driven fun events and settings opens the actual health care communication further. It reduces the clinician/patient barrier without lessening the degree of professionalism in which we approach their care.”

“The hours I volunteer are converted into money that goes toward my favorite nonprofit charity. I feel good not only volunteering, but contributing the money to an organization that I am proud to be a part of. Thank you Allina Health for this wonderful opportunity to raise awareness of the volunteer opportunities and for your financial contributions on my behalf!”

Will Allina Health win VolunteerMatch’s Employee Volunteer Program of the Year Award? Find out at VM Summit 16 – get your ticket today.