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Nielsen BASES Gives Back through Skills-Based Volunteering

Through Nielsen Cares, our global employee volunteer program, Nielsen associates are encouraged to deploy their business skills and insights through skills-based volunteering for non-profit organizations. Recently, the social commitment of two Nielsen associates grew into a businesswide movement across the BASES North American offices called BASES Gives Back. The Nielsen BASES Innovation Practice works with clients to develop and achieve more sustainable and substantial growth by using predictive analytics to measure and maximize clients’ new product launch potential. Growing from the passion of those two volunteers, BASES Gives Back implemented 28 projects in 2018 across nine locations and engaged 230 volunteers for 900 volunteer hours.

Christina Loop, Associate Manager of Client Development and Acquisition, and Sean Dalesandro, Vice President of Client Development and Acquisition, planned a skills-based volunteering case study project in 2017 for Feeding America through their Employee Resource Groups (N-GEN, PRIDE, and WIN) in Chicago. Jenny Frazier, Senior Vice President and Global Commercial Leader for the BASES Innovation practice, was inspired by the project’s outcomes and wanted to implement this type of volunteering within the BASES teams in North America. This businesswide movement could enable teams to give back their skills for social causes, but it would also create leadership opportunities, enable new cross-collaboration among associates, and promote skill sharing.

“Sean and Christina’s skills-based volunteering work really inspired me, and I was thrilled to support the growth of BASES Gives Back to make the biggest impact possible,” said Jenny. “I saw the opportunity to enable our North America team to not only give back to the community, but also develop greater collaboration and teamwork across BASES colleagues.”

With Jenny’s leadership support, Sean and Christina launched BASES Gives Back in the first quarter of 2018 across all regions in North America, using BASES team leaders in each region to nominate associates to lead projects. Each region was led by both senior- and junior-level associates, to encourage participation across different levels of experience.

“As a business, I think it is equally as important as client work to show your employees the value of their skills as well as promote leadership and team-building opportunities,” said Christina. “Associates leading this initiative in their offices would be leading a team and managing associates—some maybe for the first time in their careers …[And] being able to use your skills in a different industry or with a different type of client only strengthens how you think about your everyday clients strategically.”

In total, BASES teams engaged directly with almost 20 organizations during 2018, including some for multiple volunteer events and collaborations. A few project examples include:

  • Helping a non-profit employer of chronically unemployed women, which manufacturers food products sold in brick-and-mortar grocery and e-commerce, to optimize their sales strategy
  • Presenting best practices to a non-profit about survey development, question creation, and data analysis
  • Working with multiple organizations to review and update their volunteer survey processes, to increase volunteer recruitment and improve their volunteer experience

“Thanks to our partnership with the Nielsen team, we have now created a streamlined post-event survey that allows us to capture data that is crucial to help us analyze our event and drive decisions moving forward. The survey was created in a more attractive format which drastically increased our number of participant responses,” said Julie Jacobson, Director – Donor Partnerships, Susan G. Komen Chicago. “Since our wrap-up meeting, we have used the data provided to guide budget discussions, inform board members, and we have referenced the data when making crucial decisions for our 2019 events!”

As BASES Gives Back continues its impact into 2019, with a hope to expand the initiative globally, Dalesandro continues to observe the benefits of pro bono work for both social and business outcomes.

“I think every time you work on a skills based volunteering project you grow so much. It helps build up confidence in your skills and inspires you to see just how transferable the skills are that we are developing,” said Sean. His advice to others thinking about how to get involved in pro bono work? “Just jump in and get started. The experiences you have been through and the problems you have solved in the past can uniquely equip you to be a really powerful member of a pro bono team.”

Photo above: Part of the BASES Gives Back Chicago team volunteering their surveying skills at a Susan G. Komen event. From left to right: Jim Tiedmann, Melanie Vossberg, Chloe Mark, Matt Arnold, Sean Dalesandro, Andrew Martin, Rebecca Gidley.