People Make the Difference: The Beauty of Efficient Impact

Efficiency is important for nonprofits - and can be so beautiful.Efficiency is important for nonprofits. No matter how big or small our budgets are, we never have a ton of extra cash lying around. It’s simply a reality of life in the nonprofit sector. In order to provide the best services possible for our causes given limited resources, we learn very quickly to find all sorts of ways to stretch dollars and make the ones we have really count.

At VolunteerMatch, we are proud to be a very efficient organization. As revealed in our recently released 2013 Annual Impact Report, for every $1 we spent during 2013, $190 of social value was created in our communities. That is an insanely efficient system, if we do say so ourselves!

For every dollar invested in the VolunteerMatch network in 2013, $190 of social value was created in our communities!

The Ripple Effect

All this awesome efficiency has a ripple effect – our efficiency here are VolunteerMatch creates the opportunity for your organizations to be even more efficient, too.

As the VolunteerMatch network grows, and as we become a more efficient and sustainable organization, we’re better able to provide you with services and tools to help you easily and quickly connect with the right volunteers. And with the right volunteers, you’re able to do your work better, with more support and more capacity. Here are some of the ways VolunteerMatch’s efficiency helps your nonprofit:

Huge network – With close to 100,000 active nonprofits and millions of volunteers using the website, it’s unlikely you WON’T find the right match. In other words, the sheer size of the network helps efficiently match the right people with your opportunities.

Get exactly what you need – With tools like our Listing Wizard, custom questions, and dozens of cause categories, it’s easy to build volunteer opportunities that speak to exactly the volunteers you really need, while not attracting a lot of extra folks who aren’t the right fit.

Partnerships create even more visibility – Our strong relationships with groups like LinkedIn and everydayhero mean that posting once to VolunteerMatch.org really means visibility all over the world on multiple networks. Not to mention our extensive corporate partner network, giving you access to hundreds of thousands of skilled, dedicated professionals.

Resources and education – The VolunteerMatch Learning Center contains free webinars and downloadable resources to help you gain the skills and knowledge you need to engage and manage amazing volunteers for your organization. Trust me, this is a site you want to explore!

And it’s all free – Can’t get much more efficient than that. Oh yeah, and it takes, like, five minutes to post a listing – go try it right now!

And as you engage more volunteers, hopefully your organization is able to harness the immense, inspiring power of these passionate people to create even more impact in the communities. And the beautiful cycle of efficiency continues.

How have volunteers helped create more efficiency for your organization? Tell us about it in the comments!

People Make the Difference: Our Economics are a Win-Win-Win for Social Good

The economics of the VolunteerMatch network prove how special our volunteers really are.There’s something special about VolunteerMatch – and yes, I’m biased. But it’s true, and I’ll prove it.

It’s not just that we’re a free service that helps everyone – volunteers, causes and businesses – find a way to make a difference. It’s not just that we create a unique ecosystem of people and organizations that support each other and make the world a better place. You see, it turns out that the volunteers in the VolunteerMatch network are special in their own rights. A cut above, you might say.

Here’s Proof that We’re Special

In the recently released 2013 Annual VolunteerMatch Impact Report, there’s a fun little section called “Economics of the VolunteerMatch Network.” I’m pretty geeky, and I like that this section features some fun stats about what goes on in the VolunteerMatch network on a regular basis, and the value that’s created by this activity. For example, how can you NOT get excited that 1.7 connections are made EVERY MINUTE between a nonprofit and a volunteer?

Check out the economics of the VolunteerMatch network.

But the two numbers I want to focus on right now are in the orange and red boxes: Volunteers in the network serve on average 12 hours per month, and have an estimated value to nonprofits of $3,209 per volunteer.

According to the latest Volunteering & Civic Life in America data, folks in the U.S. volunteer an average of 32.4 hours per year – which is about 2.7 hours per month. So people who use VolunteerMatch volunteer 10X as much as your average person!

All of this dedication pays off – literally. Based on the Independent Sector calculation of the value of a volunteer hour, as well as a bunch of our own data about average time spent volunteering and length of commitment, we have calculated the average “lifetime” value of a volunteer recruited by a nonprofit via VolunteerMatch. And remember, it’s free and really easy to post a volunteer listing.

Talk about a win-win-win: Nonprofits like yours post your listings for free and connect with great volunteers, and this helps dedicated people contribute to their passions in a fulfilling way, and it all makes the VolunteerMatch network an even richer place for everyone to make a difference.

What are you waiting for? Post and update your listings now.

How Writing a Volunteer Listing is Like Being in Grade School

When posting volunteer listings on VolunteerMatch, spelling and grammar matter!Don’t worry – this isn’t a long list. But there is one important similarity between creating volunteer listings in VolunteerMatch to connect with great volunteers, and grade school: Spelling and grammar matter.

Engaging volunteers in your work is all about cutting through the noise that busy, ambitious people see every day and getting them to read your listing, and click that “I want to help” button. By posting on VolunteerMatch you are beginning a new relationship with potential volunteers, and the volunteer listing is the first impression. We all know how important first impressions are.

100% of listings with no connections had spelling errors, and 80% had grammar mistakes.

To build a strong, healthy relationship with a new volunteer that can grow and last, (and really, to even get the volunteer to work with you to begin with,) you need to present your organization and yourself as dependable, authentic and organized. The volunteer needs to believe that the work they do with you will have the best possible impact for the cause they care about.

So it makes sense, then, that a listing with spelling and grammar mistakes will decrease the confidence potential volunteers have in your organization. In case you don’t believe me, here are some numbers:

A few years ago we reviewed 100 random listings with no volunteer connections. Of those 100 listings, 100% of them had spelling errors and 80% had grammar mistakes. That’s a pretty big coincidence…

So as you sit down to post your volunteer listings on VolunteerMatch, remember to spend the extra 10 seconds and use that “spell check” function. I guarantee it will make a difference and draw more volunteers to your organization – and then you can all make a bigger difference together.

Nonprofit Tip of the Month: Put Your Best Face Forward by Keeping Your Organization Profile Up-To-Date

Put Your Best Face Forward by Keeping Your VolunteerMatch Organization Profile Up-To-DateOne of the benefits of listing your organization and volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch is the search engine optimization. When people search for your organization on Google or another search engine, your VolunteerMatch account is likely to pop up close to the top of the search results.

That means that even if you don’t have any active volunteer opportunities listed, it’s likely that people will still see your VolunteerMatch profile and whatever information you (or a previous member of your organization) posted there. Your profile can also be found through our organization search page, and the opportunity search if you do have active listings. Thousands of volunteers visit our site each week, so people are looking!

This is free exposure for your organization and mission; take full advantage of it by keeping your information current and compelling. Spend just a few minutes reviewing your account to avoid looking outdated, or worse, out of business! A concise, informative, and grammatically correct profile can make all the difference in helping paint the picture of a legitimate, well-organized operation. Take a look at ours for inspiration!

Take a look at the VolunteerMatch organization profile.

Here are some elements to make sure you have in your profile:

  • Clear mission statement – If you don’t have one, use this space to share your goals, and what your organization or group aims to achieve.
  • Concise, informative description of your organization and the services or events you provide. What do you do? How do you do it?
  • Current contact person and contact information.
  • Link to your website, if you have one.
  • Interest areas/categories (e.g. Hunger, Education & Literacy, Animals).
  • A fun, engaging photo.
  • Reviews! You can ask any current or previous volunteers to write a review of their experiences volunteering for your organization. This really helps the profile stand out.

To edit your organization’s information, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your account at www.volunteermatch.org/post/login.jsp and access your organization dashboard.
  2. Under ‘Manage Organization’ in your side menu, click ‘Edit Organization Profile.’ This form allows you to edit your organization’s information including name, address, phone, fax, website URL, mission, description, contact title and name, and categories.
  3. Edit the desired information and click on ‘Continue’ at the bottom of the page – this will save your changes!

To add a photo to your organization profile, follow these steps:

  1. Under ‘Manage Organization’ in your side menu, click ‘Photo Manager’ – this is where you can upload up to 5 photos for your account to use on your profile and listings (or 20 photos if you’re a Community Leader!)
  2. On the bottom right of the next page, click ‘Select an organization photo’.
  3. Add a new photo from your computer, and enter a title and caption.
  4. Click ‘Save’!

Cleaning up this corner of your web presence can help you make a good impression on potential volunteers and supporters. It will only take you a few minutes, and a lot of people will see it! So get started right now!

Why and How VolunteerMatch Works with Sponsors

Keep your remote employees in the volunteering loop.Yes, VolunteerMatch works with sponsors. It’s a good thing that helps us do even more good in the world. Over the past couple of years we have tested out ways to help companies, brands and other nonprofit organizations get their special messages in front of our massive membership of dedicated do-gooders. In exchange, these sponsoring groups help support VolunteerMatch.

You might have seen this sponsored content on the side of VolunteerMatch.org while you update your nonprofit’s listings, sign up for a webinar, or search for a volunteer opportunity. You also could see a sponsored message in an email or newsletter, and in one of your Opportunity Alert emails we send to you.

Aren’t We Selling Out?

We really don’t think so. As any nonprofit knows, it takes money to do good – and VolunteerMatch is no exception. You might already know about how we help companies run successful employee volunteer programs. This work not only further fulfills our mission of connecting good people and good causes by exposing your organization’s opportunities to large populations of corporate volunteers, it also helps support the free services we provide for nonprofits and volunteers.

Sponsorship is one more way to do that – it gets important messages about social good and giving back in front of nonprofits and volunteers, and helps support the VolunteerMatch organization and network so we can continue to provide free services and better support.

Our Promise to You

It’s important to us that the sponsored content and ideas we present to you are well aligned with the mission and values of VolunteerMatch; we want them to be important to you, just like you are important to us. If you ever feel the messages we present to you from our sponsors are not in line with the VolunteerMatch spirit, let us know!

In the end, we’re all here to make a difference, and the sponsors we work with help us do that. If you have questions, please leave them in the comments!

Want to Join In?

We know why sponsorship is great for VolunteerMatch and for nonprofits and volunteers who care about doing good, and it can also be beneficial for your initiatives – walkathons, unique volunteering projects, etc. We are engagement experts and our members want to take action. The VolunteerMatch network is growing by leaps and bounds thanks to all of you: we had 12 million visits to the website in 2013, and 2014 is shaping up to be even better. Hundreds of thousands of people get our emails each month.

With millions of members, we are a trusted resource and destination for anyone who cares about getting involved in their community. Where better to put messages about your projects and efforts?

We’ve got a bunch of different, flexible opportunities for you to share your organization’s message with the perfect audience, inspire more people to get out and make a difference, and support VolunteerMatch’s work.

Interested in sponsorship options at VolunteerMatch? Get in touch!