No More Waiting; Start Finding Volunteers Right Away

waiting-410328_1920Since VolunteerMatch started back in 1998, we’ve been inviting eligible organizations seeking volunteers to post volunteer opportunities for free.

Fast forward 17 years, and over 100,000 organizations have used our site to find the volunteers they need. AND we’ve recently facilitated 10 million connections between these nonprofits and potential volunteers.

In other words, we’ve grown to be the organization we are today because of our network of nonprofits. And we’re always working behind the scenes to improve the VolunteerMatch experience for these organizations.

The most recent improvements? We’ve rolled out updates to our registration process to make it easier than ever for new eligible organizations to come on board, join the VolunteerMatch network, and start finding volunteers quickly.

1st Registration ScreenHow? We’ve automated the approval process for 501(c)3 nonprofits registered with the IRS. These organizations can skip the wait and immediately start posting volunteer opportunities and linking to their donation pages.

Registration Screen 2

We’ve also completely changed the look and feel to make the registration process smoother and more intuitive. And not to mention a lot prettier – see the screenshot to the right!

A new search algorithm lets you easily see if someone you never met that worked for your organization 12 years ago had already set up a VolunteerMatch account, saving you from registering your organization all over again.

Finally, we’ve consolidated steps, such as adding a photo and your social media URLs right when you sign up.

Basically, if your organization isn’t registered on VolunteerMatch yet, it’s the perfect time! Sign up today.

When People Say “I Want to Help!” 10 Million Times

For the past few weeks, everyone here at the VolunteerMatch office has been paying close attention to our live connection map. This map lets us see, in real time, every time someone clicks the “I want to help!” button on a VolunteerMatch listing.

So, why have we been watching this map so closely?

We’ve been counting down to a huge milestone: 10 million connections created between nonprofits and potential volunteers. And at around 7 a.m. on Monday October 5, 2015, the 10,000,000th prospective volunteer clicked “I want to help!”

You may be saying, “So what?” Well, we all celebrated with cake, so that was something to look forward to:

VolunteerMatch celebrate 10,000,000 connections with cake!

But besides that, it actually says a lot about the world of volunteering.

When a volunteer clicks, “I want to help!”, that’s just the beginning. The initial click is a good intention. It’s an opportunity for nonprofits to reach out and build a relationship with a new prospective volunteer. It’s a mutual hope to take action and make the world a better place.

What happens next? Well, according to our research, only about half of “I want to help!” clicks turn into actual volunteers. Why? Maybe the nonprofit never responded to the volunteer’s offer. Maybe it turned out it wasn’t a good fit once the volunteer and the nonprofit learned more about each other’s skills, schedule, and wants. Maybe the volunteer simply changed their mind.

So, out of 10 million online connections, about 5 million actually volunteered. 5 million. That’s not an inconsequential number. That’s 5 million opportunities for nonprofits to grow their capacity. That’s 5 million ways for volunteers give back, become a part of something, and/ or build their skills. 5 million chances to make our communities, and the world, just a little bit better.

Let’s break it down even more. On average, a volunteer will stay with an organization for 2.5 years. During those 2.5 years, they will volunteer 28 days at an average of 3 hours per day. Add all that together, and you have 150 hours per volunteer. What does that equal when multiplied by 5 million?

750,000,000 volunteer hours.

Let’s just step back and think about all that can be, and has been, accomplished with 750 million hours. To put it in perspective, that’s 1,205 entire lifetimes. Here are just a few examples of some of the volunteers and nonprofits making a big difference with their time. Oh, and a few more.

It’s amazing to think about everything that’s already been done, and what we all can accomplish, together, in the next 750,000,000 hours.

Meet Sandra, Volunteer ESL Tutor

Sandra, Mariana and Ernesto

Sandra teaching English to Mariana and Ernesto at Hamilton Family Center.

Meet Sandra.

Sandra always thought about volunteering. But she also thought she didn’t have the time.

After she found Hamilton Family Center through a search on VolunteerMatch, she realized just how easy it could be.

Now, she looks forward to her weekly tutoring sessions, in which she teaches kids ESL (English as a second language). “When I started, I was like, okay I have to drive more and I’m tired from work,” says Sandra. “But now, frankly I look forward to it, and sometimes, if I can come another day, I’ll make time to come, because I think when you give, you receive more.”

In particular, Sandra works with Mariana and Ernesto, two children from Guatemala. “Even though I’m just helping them a few hours,” says Sandra, “I feel like they’re going to have better lives because of Hamilton. And that makes me feel part of something important.”

In the short video below, get to know the amazing work Sandra and Hamilton Family Center are doing together.

To find your own perfect volunteer match, visit

October Food for Thought: What Are the Experts Saying?

At VolunteerMatch we learn so much from other experts in the fields of volunteer engagement and nonprofit management, and we want to help you stay up to date on the latest news and trends. Here’s some food for thought to get your October going.

Food for ThoughtHow Nonprofits Can Increase Engagement Through Gamification
From Huffington Post:
No, you don’t have to take your serious issue and turn it into fun and games. But you can use these tactics to make volunteers more engaged with your organization and mission.

Three Essentials for Getting the Buy-In You Want From Your Coworkers
From Twenty Hats:
Lack of internal support. It’s a problem many of us know all too well. But you’re not powerless if you equip yourself with these three things.

A Pro Bono Service Toolkit for Nonprofits, Business Professionals and Companies
From Taproot Foundation and #GivingTuesday:
As we recently wrote about, #GivingTuesday isn’t just about giving money, it’s also about giving time. Use this toolkit to integrate pro bono volunteering into your nonprofit’s #GivingTuesday plan.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures
From Susan J. Ellis
With all the powerful ways in this article to use candid pictures and video to improve your volunteer program, Susan should have thrown a few more “pictures” onto the end of this article’s title. From recruitment to recognition and everything in between, your phone’s camera needs to become active ASAP.

And finally a dose humor from Volunteer Management Snark.
When someone says their “volunteer database” is an Excel spreadsheet:Volunteer Management Snark

*No offense if you ARE using Excel spreadsheets, but you might be interested our recent post 4 Steps to Finding Your Volunteer Software Match.*

And for more tips from experts, check out the VolunteerMatch book that brings together 35 experts.

Volunteering in the Connected Age with Greg Baldwin, President of VolunteerMatch

UB_VM_300“We see that communities are struggling to stay connected. One of the symptoms of that is that volunteering is at an 10-year low. The common narrative is that people don’t care enough anymore. We think the exact opposite is true.

“We think people really care more than ever, but are struggling to find opportunities that are resonating with them to get involved in their community around causes that they really care about.”

– Greg Baldwin, President, VolunteerMatch

So what’s the solution to this? In the below video, VolunteerMatch President Greg Baldwin talks about what he calls the “engagement gap” in volunteering. There are barriers that keep good people, good causes, and good companies from connecting. Let’s eliminate these barriers together.

In the San Francisco Bay Area? Come hear even more on this topic. Greg will be speaking as part of Umpqua Bank’s ongoing Catalyst Series at their downtown San Francisco store on Thursday, October 15, 2015. He’ll lead a conversation about the future of volunteerism and corporate citizenship. Learn more and reserve your spot.