Last year it was in New Orleans, and it was a great time. From swag bags to days of service to inspirational local connections, the National Conference on Volunteering and Service (NCVS) put on a good show in 2011. We’re expecting this year’s event in Chicago June 18-20 to be even better.
Presented by Points of Light, NCVS is annually the world’s largest gathering of volunteer and service leaders from the nonprofit, corporate and government sectors. Anyone who is “ready to pave the way for a fresh approach to civic engagement” is invited, and as you can imagine this includes everyone from Americorps and Senior Corps members to Kevin Bacon.
The speaker list for the conference is impressive, and seeing these accomplished people talk in person about their work would be reason enough to go. Some highlights include former First Lady Barbara Bush, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Craig Newmark, founder of both craigslist and craigconnects.
So why do we think it’s especially important to go to the National Conference on Volunteering and Service this year? There are several critical issues impacting the nonprofit and volunteering sectors that could potentially come to a head in 2012, and being educated and connected about how we can play a part in the outcome could make all the difference. For example:
- 2012 is an election year, and not surprisingly, the economy is a key campaign issue. With each candidate feeling the pressure to cut spending, the budgets of national service agencies like the Corporation for National and Community Service will be in more danger. Additionally, funding for nonprofit programs at the federal, state and local levels will be revisited and reworked.
- Edelman just released its latest goodpurpose study, which reveals a dramatic increase in consumers’ expectations of companies to be active in social causes. This is leading to more companies investing more money and more employee time in community engagement, including volunteering.
- With over 75,000 active volunteer opportunities listed on the VolunteerMatch site, we’re seeing our highest number of listings in more than 5 years. Add to that the fact that we recently surpassed 6,000,000 volunteer referrals, and it’s clear that volunteers are becoming more and more key to nonprofit operations, and there are plenty of people out there willing to step up and help out when asked.
Can you think of other reasons why this year, especially, is important for volunteering and service? Leave your comments below and check out the National Conference on Volunteering and Service.