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W.W. Grainger, Inc. Donates $3 million to American Red Cross for New Online Volunteer Management System

American Red Cross is launching a next-generation volunteer management system that will help better recruit, manage and deploy volunteers, thanks to the support of a $3 million grant from facilities maintenance supplier, W.W. Grainger, Inc.

The online system, called Volunteer Connection, will allow new volunteers to match their skills and areas of interest to needs across the Red Cross. It also will enable the Red Cross to better recruit and screen volunteers, which will ultimately allow the organization to have more volunteers trained and ready to serve communities more quickly in times of need.

“This modern volunteer management system will be good for the Red Cross, good for our volunteers and, most importantly, good for the communities we serve,” said Gail J. McGovern, president and CEO of the Red Cross. “Volunteer Connection will help mobilize the power of Red Cross volunteers, moving their compassion into action more quickly, and we are grateful for Grainger’s support and commitment to the Red Cross.”

Both the American Red Cross and Grainger are in the business of meeting urgent needs. Grainger has thousands of products that help businesses and communities throughout all phases of the planning and execution of readiness plans. Grainger also is the national founding sponsor of the Ready When the Time Comes program, which recruits and trains the employees of local businesses and organizations as disaster responders. The program has trained more than 14,000 volunteers from 460 companies in 52 communities since 2006. Grainger and the Red Cross were recognized last year with the 2011 Corporate Citizenship Award for Best Partnership by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center.

“Grainger is committed to helping the American Red Cross build a strong network to recruit, train and mobilize more volunteers, said James T. Ryan, Grainger’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The Volunteer Connection is an exciting evolution of volunteer management and we look forward to the new opportunities it presents for engaging volunteers and Ready When the Time Comes business partners.”

The Red Cross now is piloting the new system in 19 communities—16 chapters and three Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) stations—and will eventually expand it to chapters across the country.
Becoming a Red Cross volunteer through this online system is quick and easy. Volunteers will be able to sign up online rather than by phone or in person and once they are vetted and trained, they will be able to search online for volunteer opportunities in communities where they are most needed.

The interests and talents of new volunteers are quickly matched to training and opportunities that leverage their skills to help people struck by disasters, to conduct preparedness education or assist in health and safety training. Importantly, Volunteer Connection protects those who help and the public that is served by the Red Cross by providing a uniform background check. 

By automating and centralizing many of the activities necessary to bring new volunteers into the organization, the new system will reduce the back-office burden on local Red Cross chapters and allow volunteer managers to focus on delivering high-quality programs and services.

About Grainger
W. W. Grainger, Inc., with 2011 sales of $8.1 billion, is North America’s leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products, with expanding global operations..For more information, visit www.grainger.com/pressroom..