How to Have a Fun-Filled, Fullfilling #15NTC with VolunteerMatch

Gummi bears on fingers of hand.In less than one week, thousands of nonprofit nerds will be descending on Austin, Texas to learn, network and have fun at the 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference. Hooray!

Whether you’re an NTC veteran or this will be your first time, VolunteerMatch has one thing that will guarantee to make your time in Austin stand out: candy.

Okay, that might have been a joke (not the candy part – we will have that), but finding VolunteerMatch at the conference is a great way to make sure you’re hitting the highlights.

For example, as you explore the wonders of the Science Fair,  stop by booth #726 for some sweet treats – and to learn all about how VolunteerMatch can help you inspire, educate and mobilize your volunteer supporters. For free.

Day of Service at #14NTC conference. Crowd of people standing holding coffee.And if you’re inspired yourself to make a difference, be sure to sign up for the Days of Service. This year it’s even easier to turn your time at the conference into real-life impact (there are even ways to help your favorite causes from the comfort of your hotel room!)

Learn more here and sign up now with a few clicks!

This is truly one of our favorite conferences of the year, so we hope to see you there. Look out for Adam Alley, Marlene Feil and Tessa Srebro.

Come by, meet the team, eat some candy and tell us your favorite volunteer-related story. We know you’ve got ‘em!

Top photo by Betsy Weber on Flickr.

Think Fun, Think Big and Think GOOD at This Year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference

Arbor Day Foundation Volunteers outside by a tree.

Arbor Day Foundation volunteers having some fun.

Close your eyes, and imagine this:

You’re outside, and you’re not cold. No snow. No biting wind. No humidity, even. Instead, the sun is warm on your face as you laugh with the person next to you. Your common interests and experiences made you fast friends, even though you only met about 30 minutes ago. And as you chat, you’re filled with a deep sense of satisfaction as you weed and plant together in the garden of the nonprofit organization Urban Roots in Austin, TX.

That’s right, you’re volunteering. And this isn’t just any volunteer gig, either – it’s part of the Days of Service program of the 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference (15NTC).

Throughout the conference, there will be volunteer opportunities for you to share your skills with Austin, TX area nonprofits. This includes virtual volunteering opportunities, too, so you can give back before the conference, and even from your hotel room!

Think fun: You’ll be meeting new people, you have the opportunity to be outside or interact with the locals at the Food Bank, and make a difference in a whole new place. The Days of Service is an opportunity for you to feel good about your time in Austin…by doing good.

Once you’re registered for 15NTC, sign up for an account on the Days of Service site and start exploring your opportunities!

But wait! Are you an Austin-area nonprofit organization? Your organization could be one of the places these dedicated, passionate, talented 15NTC volunteers spend their time during the conference!

These are people who understand you and your needs. They have the skills and experience to really get stuff done.

Think big: what sort of help does your nonprofit need, whether on-site or virtual? Perhaps some marketing and communications strategy advice. Or help with fundraising planning. Or board development. Or IT and tech infrastructure. Or training for programs like Excel and Photoshop…

You get the idea. The possibilities are limitless, but unfortunately time is not. So hurry up and follow these easy steps to get your nonprofit’s volunteer project up on the #15NTC Days of Service site:

  • Create an account – be sure to register as a nonprofit looking for volunteers.
  • Suggest an opportunity – use the ‘Add a Project’ form to share your organization’s volunteer opportunity with the NTC Community.

And spread the word to other Austin-area nonprofits – there are more than enough awesome 15NTC attendees to go around.

We hope to see you in Austin! (Maybe at your organization, volunteering our time…)

Make New Friends and Give Back in Austin, TX

If you haven’t heard of the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) hosted by NTEN, then you should check it out and register. A couple thousand nonprofit professionals coming together to discuss how to make the most of technology? Yes, please!

Join VolunteerMatch at the 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference Day of Service.

VolunteerMatch is proud to be sponsoring the Day of Service at this year’s NTC. Throughout the conference, there will be volunteer opportunities for you to share your skills with Austin, TX area nonprofits. And this year, we’ve expanded the Days of Service program at the 15NTC to include virtual volunteering opportunities, so you can give back before the conference, too!

A Call for Projects

Are you an Austin-based organization that could use some help either in person between March 3-6, 2015, or virtually in advance of the conference? We would love to hear from you! Please add your organization’s volunteer opportunity to our “Days of Service” project. All you need to do is the following:

  • Create an account – be sure to register as a nonprofit looking for volunteers.
  • Suggest an opportunity – use the ‘Add a Project’ form to share your organization’s volunteer opportunity with the NTC Community.

Please note that you can post multiple opportunities from the same organization. Kindly include a link with the project suggestion and include contact information for the person leading the volunteer opportunity. That will help us and attendees better connect with you.

In order to make these opportunities as rewarding as possible for both the organization and the 15NTC attendees, we ask that projects consider the following guidelines:

  • The volunteer time commitment between March 3-6 needs to be limited to no more than 2 hours per day and must be suitable for groups of 2 or more.
  • In-person volunteer opportunities must be easily accessible from the Austin Conference Center on foot, public transit, or using a transport mode that the organization can provide to/from the Convention Center.
  • Virtual opportunities are also welcome, with specifics on how volunteers will connect with the organization (e.g., Skype, Google Hangout, listserv).
  • Virtual opportunities can begin ahead of the conference.

So spread the word to any Austin-based nonprofits you know! And if you’re a 15NTC attendee looking to volunteer while in Austin, you can sign up for an opportunity here.

We hope to see you (volunteering!) at the 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference!

Big Hopes for Volunteer Engagement Folks at the Conference on Volunteering and Service

This year's Conference on Volunteering and Service promises to be more valuable than ever before for people who engage volunteers.I’ve been attending the Conference on Volunteering and Service with VolunteerMatch since I started in 2007. (In fact my 3rd week on the job was at the conference in Philadelphia!) And while the conferences have been fun, and great for meeting new people, they haven’t had consistently great content for those of us who work to engage volunteers in meaningful work.

This year promises to be different! After years of creating a separate pre- or post-conference event specifically for volunteer program managers, this year there is a conference track dedicated to volunteer engagement.

The track sessions and the workshops have been developed and selected by a team from Points of Light with additional leaders from the field, and I think we’ve done a good job of creating opportunities to connect with others as well as providing real opportunities for learning around this year’s theme of “Breaking Boundaries and Building Bridges.”

Here are some of the things I’m most looking forward to:

I’ll be doing my own workshop on the importance of including impact when sharing the story of volunteer engagement. If you’ve attended a webinar, or seen me speak in person you know I talk a lot about how important it is to answer the question: why? I’ll be discussing this in detail, we’ll have a group discussion, and I’ll leave you with some resources. I’ll also be leading a “dine about town” on Tuesday evening.

I’m really hopeful that this year’s conference, with its focus on volunteer engagement, is an opportunity for those of us who work with volunteers to connect, engage, and feel inspired in the work we do – as well as have a few laughs and a few cocktails! (And, if registration numbers are any indication – you all are looking forward to it, too! If you haven’t selected your sessions yet, you might want to do so soon, before everything fills up.)

I hope to see you at conference! (You can find me on Twitter @JenBennettCVA if you can’t find me at the conference.)

Nonprofit Boot Camp, Reinvented

Nonprofit Boot Camp, ReinventedThis year’s Nonprofit Boot Camp conference is going to be different from what we’re used to – and that’s a good thing. As a long-time partner of the conference’s organizer, Social Media for Nonprofits, we appreciate how important (and difficult) it can be to honestly evaluate a project and make necessary changes. But we think the changes made to Boot Camp this year are all awesome.

In general, the focus will shift away from organization-specific content, to provide programming for individuals in the organization. Top speakers will share insights and tools that help social change leaders rediscover balance, gain a new perspective, and think differently about their work.

Boot Camp takes place in Silicon Valley on June 10th, and San Francisco on October 2nd. But by following the hashtag #npbc14, anyone can learn from the great discussions that will happen, no matter where you’re located. Social Media for Nonprofits and Nonprofit Boot Camp return to Silicon Valley and San Francisco in 2014.

Conference Highlights

Ask the Experts: One-On-One Coaching Presented by VolunteerMatch

We are thrilled to be organizing this year’s Ask the Experts mentoring sessions. After all, it’s our business to connect folks with great volunteer opportunities, and the experts this year are itching to give their time and knowledge to help other nonprofit leaders. Get one-on-one coaching from practitioners and consultants on your specific problems in fundraising, marketing and communications and strategy. There are limited spots available, so sign up now to secure your spot!

Massage Presented by National Holistic Institute

Take the edge off with a 20-minute chair massage by therapists from National Holistic Institute.

Mindfulness, Balance and Clarity!

There will be time and space in the programming to talk about balance, mindfulness, and gaining clarity. It has significant benefits for your health, efficacy in your work and your ability to truly meet your mission. Megan Keane, Membership Director of NTEN and an avid Yogi, will lead us all into thinking about embracing failure, collaboration, creativity and more.

Professional Headshots

Are your LinkedIn and website photos from your high school graduation? Or maybe you’re part of the selfie craze? Have our professional photographer take a portrait and give your professional presence on various social platforms a makeover! First come first served.

Don’t Forget: Social Media for Nonprofits!

Whether you attend Nonprofit Boot Camp or not (although we hope you do!), Social Media for Nonprofits will be happening one day later. This is the premier event dedicated to social media for social good. Attend Social Media for Nonprofits, and it will surely be the best one-day investment you make this year. (Plus, our very own Shari Ilsen – that’s me – will be speaking!)

Silicon Valley folks, we hope to see you at Nonprofit Boot Camp and Social Media for Nonprofits! For the rest of you, click here to let us know you’d like to be notified of upcoming events in your area.