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Case Study

Creating a Philanthropic Brand

The CME Group, the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, had a vision to be the leader in corporate philanthropy in Chicago. They wanted to create a corporate volunteer program to harness the energy of the members and staff of the exchange to have positive impact in the community.


We turned their idea into a movement that, in year 2 of the program, won a national award from the Points of Light Foundation.


How we did it:

The CME Group had a hierarchical culture in which the members of the exchange (those who owned seats) were deemed at a higher status then the staff.  Often, there were programs that were open to members but not to staff. Everyone was invited to participate in Amicus, CME's philanthropic effort, and it was an invitation to be part of a cool club that had fun projects that enabled volunteers to serve the Chicago community.  This put members and staff on equal ground. There was no us vs. them, there was a WE. 


Building a Movement:

  • In two years, grew the program from 1 project to 10 projects a month

  • Formed partnerships with specific non-profit organizations and had monthly projects.

  • Rewarded and acknowledged volunteers.

  • Trained and recognized volunteer leaders

  • Identified loyal volunteers and invited them to lead their own projects

  • Created one major event each year as a recruitment opportunity for new volunteers

  • Fostered collaboration by forming a committee to bring new ideas forward

    • Give it away

    • The program started with one person leading.

    • When the volunteers took ownership of the program as well, it grew and took on a life of it’s own.


Impact Beyond our Wildest Dreams:

  • National recognition from the Points of Light Foundation

  • Increase in press for the program and the CME Group

  • Speaking engagements to share the model with others

  • Collaboration with other Chicago companies to help them develop their programs.

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