Discovering the Common Thread That Connects Us All

VolunteerMatch at CloudforceLast week I had the opportunity to represent VolunteerMatch at Salesforce’s Cloudforce event as part of the Foundation Zone. Cloudforce is a traveling free event for current and prospective Salesforce customers, developers and industry experts to get together and talk about the future of cloud computing.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the philanthropic model at Salesforce, as a company they commit to donating 1% of their profit, time and product to nonprofits through the Salesforce Foundation. A long time customer of Salesforce through the Foundation, VolunteerMatch was invited to be part of the Foundation Zone.

The demographic mix at any Salesforce event tends to be diverse, ranging from Salesforce customers, to developers, to nonprofits, and I was excited to see how we would connect with the different attendees. Would we be able to relate to each demographic? Would we be able to give them take-aways to help them incorporate volunteering or volunteers into their lives after Cloudforce?

It was fascinating to see how VolunteerMatch, and volunteering in general, related to all of these audiences in different ways:

I spoke with business professionals who wanted to know how they could incorporate volunteering into their personal and professional lives. Some asked about getting involved in pro-bono work, using their work skills outside the job. A few attendees even asked me how they could build on their resume through volunteering (one of my favorite suggestions for unemployed professionals who are job hunting).

Developers asked me about our use of technology and how that has enabled us to serve our audiences better. Most were surprised to learn that we built our website and services from the ground up and continue to host and maintain everything on our own servers.

Nonprofit professionals who stopped by the booth were my favorite to talk with. Not only did they want to know how they could use VolunteerMatch to get the right volunteers for their organization, but they also wanted to know more about our relationship with the Salesforce Foundation and what it’s like to use Salesforce tools as a nonprofit.

I think my favorite parts of the day were the conversations that went beyond just talking about VolunteerMatch and into a more personal connection. I spoke with a woman who had a beautiful story about being in the Peace Corps back in the ‘80s.

A man who happened to have the same musical tastes as I do told me stories about meeting the Beach Boys and the Doobie Brothers. And the best part? These personal, amazing connections all started because of a mutual passion for giving back.

The day provided insight into how volunteering is important to everyone, whether they are volunteering themselves or using volunteers at their organizations. We even came away with a new volunteer to help out at VolunteerMatch!

Final thoughts? It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what you do or what you’re interests are…giving back to your community matters, and VolunteerMatch can help!

Lauren Wagner is a Business Development Manager at VolunteerMatch. Get in touch via email or by leaving your comments below!