8 Actions You Can Take to Continue the Energy of National Volunteer Week

Happy National Volunteer Week! Throughout the week, we’ve been celebrating the amazing people who volunteer and make volunteerism possible by sharing easy ways to listen, learn, inspire, and act!

Up today: Act. As #NVW2016 comes to a close, we want to leave you with a variety of actions you can take to carry the energy of National Volunteer Week with you into the future. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Surprise Your Volunteers With Unexpected Recognition

Imagine you’re a volunteer, walking into your nonprofit’s office for a normal shift, on a random day. Greeting you is this:

VolunteerMatch's Volunteer Thank You Banner

My guess is you’d feel pretty special, right? Surprising your volunteers in unexpected ways can create excitement and foster a culture of appreciation.

Do you engage virtual volunteers? Send them a picture instead!

  1. Add Skills to Your VolunteerMatch Opportunities

Add Skills to Your VolunteerMatch listingsWhat types of skills do you seek for volunteers at your organization? Tag your VolunteerMatch opportunities with skills, and they’ll automatically get pushed to LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace for added visibility.

  1. Text to Volunteer

Did you know potential volunteers can now find your volunteer opportunities via text? Give it a try yourself and find new opportunities near you. Simply text your ZIP code to (314) 282-8630 – it’s free!

  1. Treat Yourself

For International Volunteer Managers Day, we put together a list of ways to treat yourself. You don’t have to save this all for one day … make yourself feel special throughout the year!

  1. Give the Gift of Knowledge

Do you have friends, family, or coworkers who are also interested in volunteering? Share your passion with them by gifting them a copy of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World. The book contains chapters from 35 industry experts, who highlight the latest trends in volunteerism and volunteer engagement, including shifts in strategy, technology, relationships, and more.

  1. Assess Your Program

With support from ConAgra Foods Foundation, VolunteerMatch has created a tool to help volunteer managers assess and improve their volunteer engagement programs. Unfortunately, it’s only available for hunger-fighting organizations right now, but if that’s you, you can evaluate your program today!

  1. Sign up for a Google AdWords Grant

If your nonprofit is not taking advantage of its Google AdWords Grant, it’s not too late to start! If optimized correctly, Google AdWords can be an effective, free tool for leveraging visibility for your volunteer program. Learn more.

  1. Do It Now: Say Thanks!

You can never say “Thank You” enough. To close out National Volunteer Week, do this right now: Find a pen and paper, click “compose message”, or pick up the phone, and tell a volunteer just how much their work matters.

Thanks for following along with us this National Volunteer Week. Together, let’s carry the energy of this week into the future.

Inspire Your Volunteers With These 18 Famous Quotes

We hope you’re enjoying National Volunteer Week! Here at VolunteerMatch, we’re eager to continue celebrating #NVW2016 by honoring the volunteers and people who make volunteering possible — you! Throughout the week, we’re providing fodder for your celebrations by sharing simple ways to listen, learn, inspire, and act.

Quotes to Inspire Your VolunteersIn today’s post, we’re highlighting ways to inspire your volunteers — through bite-sized, inspirational quotes you can share with your networks to encourage them to get out and volunteer. Here are some of our favorites.

(Quotes with a tweetable number of characters have a link – simply click the quote to share inspiration with your Twitter followers!)

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” — Muhammad Ali

Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” — Elizabeth Andrew

“If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.” — Kofi Annan

What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.” — Aristotle

We have to do what we can to help wherever and whenever it is possible for us to help.” — Jackie Chan

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

If compassion was the motivating factor behind all of our decisions, would our world not be a completely different place?” — Sheryl Crow

Only a life lived for others is worth living.” — Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi

“Whatever community organization, whether it’s a women’s organization, or fighting for racial justice … you will get satisfaction out of doing something to give back to the community that you never get in any other way.” — Ruth Bader Ginsburg

If every American donated five hours a week, it would equal the labor of twenty million full-time volunteers.” — Whoopi Goldberg

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” — Audrey Hepburn

Quotes to Inspire Your VolunteersI believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.” — Thomas Jefferson

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.” — Helen Keller

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Our generation has the ability and the responsibility to make our ever-more connected world a more hopeful, stable and peaceful place.” — Natalie Portman

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — William Shakespeare

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” — Unknown

Have a favorite quote about volunteering? Share it with us in the comments section below or tweeting to us @VolunteerMatch!

Lending a Hand the Robin Hood Way

Happy National Volunteer Week! Let’s celebrate the amazing people who volunteer and make volunteerism possible. Throughout the week, we’ll give fodder for your celebration by sharing easy ways to listen, learn, inspire and act!

Up today: Listen. Pam Koner of Family-to-Family shared this incredible story with us via our website. Enjoy!

Have your own nonprofit story? We’d love to hear it!

Pam Koner of Family-to-Family

Pam Koner, Family-to-Family Executive Director

In fall 2002, The New York Times ran a series of articles highlighting poverty in the U.S. One article described the town of Pembroke, Illinois as a community so poor that “some still live in crumbling shacks with caked­-dirt floors and no running water.” Pam Koner — a mom and entrepreneur from Westchester, New York — read that article and immediately felt compelled to help.

Pam contacted an outreach worker in Pembroke with the simple idea of linking families she knew who had enough food and other basic life necessities with families who were struggling to get by. The outreach worker supplied Pam with the names of 17 of the neediest families in Pembroke. Pam then convinced 17 of her friends and neighbors to join her cause. Each family agreed, and shortly thereafter, began sending monthly boxes of food donations and letters to each of the Pembroke families.

17 families soon grew to 60, and after a flurry of media exposure, 60 families grew to over 900. Thus, Family­-to-­Family was born — a national hunger and poverty relief organization dedicated to connecting families who have enough to share with impoverished American families who have profoundly less.

Read the rest of Family-to-Family’s story on VolunteerMatch.org.

Happy National Volunteer Week from Your Favorite Volunteer Network (We Hope!)

Celebrate National Volunteer Week with VolunteerMatch!Happy National Volunteer Week! Here at VolunteerMatch, we’re celebrating  #NVW2016 by honoring volunteers and the people who make volunteering possible — you!

We know you’re always finding creative ways to thank volunteers. Now, we want to do the same for you! We’re committed to providing the resources needed to run successful volunteer engagement programs, and inspire people to give back to their communities by connecting them with the causes they’re passionate about.

Our gift to you: one month of our Premium nonprofit tools free* — for your organization or an organization you care about. Simply share and use the code: NVW2016.

And, there’s more.

Each day this week, you can find ways to listen, learn, inspire and act on this blog. Here’s what we have in store:

  • Unveiling a new animated PSA encouraging volunteers to get more involved with causes they care about
  • A remarkable story of a women who founded and grew a small nonprofit to national standing with the help of volunteers.
  • Quotes about volunteering and service to inspire you and your volunteers
  • A Twitter Chat to weigh-in on why volunteer rates are declining and what we can do about it.

Thank you for all that you do to strengthen your community — your work is truly extraordinary! Share how you’re celebrating #NVW2016 by commenting on our Facebook page or tweeting to us @VolunteerMatch!

*Available only to organizations that do not already have a VolunteerMatch Premium subscription

Let the Countdown Begin! The Top 15 Engaging Volunteers Posts of ’15

Happy New Year from VolunteerMatch!In just a few short hours, many of us will be welcoming 2016 and celebrating a brand new year and a fresh start. Cheers to that!

Before the countdown to midnight begins, however, here’s another countdown. Stroll down memory lane with me as I look back on the 15 most popular Engaging Volunteers posts of 2015. So many of them are lists of their own!

May you find something useful to take with you into the new year:

15. The Future of Volunteer Engagement in 8 Quotes

14. 8 Creative Ways to Show Volunteer Appreciation

13. 4 Ways to Improve Volunteer Retention

12. How to Turn Away Volunteers and Still Have an OK Day

11. What Does Volunteerism Look Like Around the World?

10. 5 Tips to Build Volunteer Loyalty

9. 4 Ways to Fail Your Volunteers

8. 4 Ways to Build an Ineffective, Disengaged Nonprofit Board

7. 3 Reasons to Give Your Time this #GivingTuesday

6. 9 Quotes to Inspire Your Volunteers (And Yourself!)

5. 5 Ways to Attract Young People to Your Nonprofit

4. 3 Ways to Recognize Volunteers That Will Appeal to (Virtually) Everyone

3. 5 Ways to Motivate Your Nonprofit’s Volunteers

2. The Real Reason 75% of Americans Don’t Volunteer

And the number one most popular post of 2015?

1. 5 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Lose Volunteers

Happy New Year from your friends at VolunteerMatch!