Last Chance to Shape the 16NTC Agenda!

NTENIn today’s world, volunteer engagement and technology go hand in hand. In our recently-published book Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World, we dedicated an entire section to technology shifts and their impact on the volunteer engagement space.

So wouldn’t it be great to see volunteer engagement heavily represented at the conference for leveraging technology for social good?

Yes, I’m talking about NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (16NTC), coming up this March in San Jose, CA. This conference puts its content in the hands of its community, by allowing upvoting and downvoting on session proposals before the agenda is finalized.

But here’s the thing. Voting ends on July 31st. If you haven’t already had your say, make sure to cast your votes now. Help us get volunteerism into the conversation. There’s are least 7 proposals all about volunteerism, including Leveraging Expert or Technical Volunteers, Convert Volunteers into Donors (& Vice Versa) and Here, There, and Everywhere: Distance Volunteer Training.

Remember, you don’t have to go to 16NTC to help shape the nonprofit technology conversation. Cast your votes today.

P.S. We also proposed a session on how we took full advantage of our Google AdWords Grant and were able to increase traffic to our site, decrease bounce rates, and increase conversions. Help us out by giving us an upvote on that session, too.

Bring VolunteerMatch (and Volunteering) to the NTC Agenda

I don’t mean to brag, but VolunteerMatch’s Engagement Manager Stephanie Hong ROCKS at Google AdWords.

Stephanie Hong, VolunteerMatch's Engagement Manager

Stephanie also rocks at puppy-cuddling.

In just a few months, she’s taken VolunteerMatch’s previously under-used Google AdWords Grant and ran with it. In June 2015, she:

  • Increased traffic from Google AdWords by 12%.
  • Increased new users by 9.4%.
  • Increased Nonprofit Registration by 64%!
  • Decreased bounce rate by 20%.

Do you have a Google AdWords Grant but don’t know where to start? Or have you been allocating some dollars to AdWords but haven’t seen any results? Stephanie can help.

How? She’s proposed a session at NTEN’s 2016 Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) called Google AdWords Boot Camp. You’ll hear exactly what she did to boost VolunteerMatch’s Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and how you can scale this to your organization’s needs.

Help us get Google AdWords Boot Camp on the NTC agenda by up-voting Stephanie’s session proposal. If you’re not already a registered NTEN user, it only takes a few minutes to sign up (and it’s free).

While you’re there, browse and up-vote other sessions you’d like to see at the conference. With 439 proposals, you may wonder, “Where do I start?”

Well, there’s at least 7 proposals all about volunteerism, including Leveraging Expert or Technical Volunteers, Convert Volunteers into Donors (& Vice Versa) and Here, There, and Everywhere: Distance Volunteer Training.

Remember, you don’t have to go to NTC to help shape the nonprofit technology conversation. Cast your vote today.

Session Recap: Tech Platforms for Volunteering

“How many of you work for nonprofits?”

Joel Bashevkin, Executive Director of Taproot Foundation, posed this question to a packed room in downtown San Francisco last week. As might be expected at an event for the group San Francisco Tech4Good, a majority of the audience raised their hands.

“How many are tech workers?” Joel went on to ask. While less than before, a substantial amount of hands went in the air.

“How many are nonprofit tech workers?”

As a few lonely hands proudly went up (mine included), the audience let out an embarrassed chuckle.

Why aren’t there more organizations that merge technology with the social sector? As an employee of VolunteerMatch, I’m fortunate to see technology put to work every day for social good, and I know the large-scale effect it can have. (Last year alone, VolunteerMatch generated $1.34 BILLION in social value).

This quandry, along with many others, was discussed at last week’s Technology Platforms for Good. The event rounded up pioneers in the tech-volunteering space. Our own Greg Baldwin joined the panel along with Joel Bashevin and Meg Garliginhouse, Head of Social Impact at LinkedIn.

The ultimate conclusion? With so many ways (and free ways at that!) to find, manage, and engage volunteers online- if you’re not using technology, you’re missing out.

I’ve chosen a few of my favorite live tweets from the session, some of which include actionable advice for engaging volunteers via technology (see below). Want even more? Watch the video recording of the event.

3 Ways to Celebrate Older Americans Month at Your Nonprofit

Guest post by Amanda Marr, VP of Communications, LeadingAge.

Older Americans "Get Into the Act" By Volunteering for Older Americans MonthSeniors engage with their communities in many important and meaningful ways, including volunteerism. Did you know that more than 20 million senior volunteers give nearly 3 billion hours of service annually, at a value of $67 billion?

This May, we’re taking time to celebrate Older Americans Month (OAM) by recognizing older Americans for their contributions to the nation. Want to join us?

This year’s OAM theme is “Get into the Act.” It aims to bring attention to how older adults are taking charge of their health, getting engaged in their communities, and having a positive impact on the lives of others.

Here are some ideas on how your nonprofit can celebrate OAM:

Get more seniors involved.
Seniors are capable of more than we often give them credit for! Have volunteer opportunities at your organization that can be filled by seniors? Consider coordinating transportation to and from a volunteer event with nursing homes or residences to increase participation. Vary the activities from month to month to keep them engaged and involved.

Get to know your senior volunteers.
Senior volunteers have a lot to offer and often, a lot of experiences to share. Ask them to share their stories of why they volunteer, and the path that brought them to where they are. Bonus: Telling these stories might help you bring more volunteers to your organization!

Show your appreciation.
Already engage older volunteers? Show them how important they are! Give them a shout out in your newsletter, on social media, at your staff meetings, or during a volunteer activity. A little recognition can go a long way for keeping volunteers engaged and happy.

Want to do more?

Help spread the word about OAM. Join LeadingAge in celebrating by printing out one of our “Get into the Act” signs and posting pictures or videos of you holding the sign at your volunteer event with the hashtag #OAM15.

Together, we can make the high senior volunteer rates even higher, and help senior volunteers feel like the special people they are.

LeadingAge is an association of not-for-profit aging service providers committed to expanding the world of possibilities for aging through education, advocacy, and applied research. Follow their Facebook page to see how others are joining in and appreciating older Americans for all that they do!

For VolunteerMatch, #15NTC Was About Appreciation

Tessa Srebro, Adam Alley, and Marlene Feil of VolunteerMatch post for a picture at #15NTC.

VolunteerMatch staff Tessa, Adam & Marlene hanging out at #15NTC.

At the 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference (#15NTC) held last week in Austin, TX, VolunteerMatch was lucky enough to have a booth in the Science Fair.

Yes, the Exhibition Hall was called the Science Fair. #15NTC attendees know how to embrace their inner nerd-ness.

And we had a blast talking to all the nonprofit nerds who stopped by our booth. Before letting anyone walk away, however, we asked them to contribute to our Volunteer #AppreciationTree, a post-it fueled tree we were growing at our booth. We asked,

#AppreciationTree Supplies

#AppreciationTree Supplies

“If you could describe how you feel about volunteers/ volunteerism in just a few words, what would those words be?”

(I realize this is a difficult question to be tasked with on the spot, especially since volunteers are such a diverse group of people. So thanks for putting up with us!)

We got some great responses, such as “Big Hearts”, “Invaluable”, “Rockstars”, and my personal favorite, “Awesome Sauce.”

We added these responses as leaves to our #AppreciationTree. The names of stand-out volunteers became the bark. And we were fortunate enough to watch the #AppreciationTree grow:

Appreciation Tree Animation

So, how would you describe volunteerism? Tweet your thoughts to @VolunteerMatch with #AppreciationTree.