200 Team Volunteer Projects
NETSCOUT employees have achieved an amazing milestone: We completed 200 team volunteer projects!
Through NETSCOUT’s Heart of Giving, our charitable giving programs, any employee who sees an opportunity to address an issue in their community can step up and organize a team to work on it. When five or more employees volunteer for at least three hours, NETSCOUT provides a volunteer grant of $2,500 to the organization. Our 200th team volunteer project since the program’s inception was at the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva, Illinois, where 12 members of NETSCOUT’s regional sales team spent an afternoon unloading, sorting, and packaging 5,480 pounds of food, which provided meals for 4,567 families in the Chicagoland area.
Craig Krupke, NETSCOUT regional director for the North Central region, was the team captain and spearheaded the effort.
"I didn’t realize we had done so many team projects,” he says. “ It’s pretty cool to step back and take that in. And it’s all done organically, driven by employees— individuals see a need in the community and organize company support. We’ve volunteered at the Northern Illinois Food Bank for the last eight or nine years, usually around the holidays. I always walk away impressed by the work they do and the sheer scale of their operations to address hunger relief. It really puts things in perspective."
By volunteering as a team, he continues, “You get to know someone more personally, on a different level. With our day-to-day work, we’re in the field always focused on our customers and prospects. This is a chance to build bridges with each other, which helps collaboration. There’s a great sense of camaraderie, and we have fun while helping our community. I feel fortunate to be part of NETSCOUT’s culture of giving back and appreciate the support of our leadership team.”
From the Beginning
Our Heart of Giving program launched in 2011 with matching gifts and individual volunteer matches (dollars for doers) and corporate-sponsored volunteer projects, such as working with our local Habitat for Humanity affiliate (which is still active!). As we discussed how we might grow the program, we talked about doing something big to get people’s attention and encourage participation. After brainstorming and a few rounds of proposals and reviews, in 2013, we rolled out the “team volunteer” program, where any employee, from any location, at any time of year, can propose and lead a team volunteer project and earn a grant of $2,500 to the organization. The catch? You have to get more than six employees to volunteer for more than three hours—no small challenge given everyone’s schedules.
The very first project was installing and demonstrating a wireless weather station at an elementary school in San Jose, California. From there, employees got the hang of it and haven’t slowed down since.
Authentic, Employee-led Volunteering
This program is all about empowering employees—backed by company resources, including cash—to drive social impact in our local communities. Everything is in the hands of employees—from recognizing the community need and deciding to do something about it to working with the organization to plan the volunteer work, submitting a proposal to our corporate social responsibility (CSR) team, recruiting volunteers, and organizing and leading the effort.
It’s fun to see the variety of causes and creative projects employees plan. We’ve done everything from hands-on projects to skills-based projects, cleaning, mentoring, and trail work: You name it, and we’ve probably done it. We’ve volunteered evenings, weekends, and during the workday. It’s authentic—something we’re passionate about, not something “corporate” decided employees should do. This is a fundamental part of our culture.
Volunteering During COVID-19
While volunteering at many companies ground to a halt, NETSCOUT employees safely completed 18 team volunteer projects in 2020, 12 in person and in accordance with the organization’s and/or government protocols, and 6 held virtually. For 2020, our CEO increased the team volunteer grants to $10,000, recognizing the acute needs facing nonprofit organizations and the dedication and desire of our employees to support their communities. We’re proud to have served our communities during that crucial time.
Connected for Good
One key part of the program is getting out of the office. Volunteer opportunities are a meaningful way to better understand how local nonprofits support vulnerable people in our community. Imagine spending your morning at an amenity-filled, high-tech office, and your afternoon preparing meals at a soup kitchen or doing yard work at a homeless shelter. For many employees, it’s a powerful, eye-opening experience. It also can provide an occasion for employees to share their own personal experiences or background and why a cause or a particular organization is important to them.
One of the more rewarding outcomes is the lasting relationships employees build with the nonprofits and with each other. The program has evolved to include a mix of favorites that run each year along with new projects—for new organizations or locations or led by new team captains. This mix makes the Heart of Giving program dynamic and flexible for employees and their communities. As Krupke notes, it builds camaraderie and can be the basis for new connections and relationships.
Thank You to Our Volunteers
Sometimes when activities are so engrained in what you do, and the volunteering is continuous and ongoing, you forget to stop and take a look at what you’ve accomplished. Let’s take a minute to celebrate the following:
- 200 team volunteer projects
- More than 100 organizations supported in 10 countries
- $635,000 donated through the team grant program
Congratulations to the North Central team, thank you to Northern Illinois Food Bank for the millions of meals you provide each year and thank you to our Guardians, who bring our social impact programs to life.
Being able to work alongside colleagues to better our local communities is a privilege. To have NETSCOUT’s support for these efforts is an honor and makes us proud to be Guardians of the Connected World.
Learn more about the Heart of Giving.