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!

Was VolunteerMatch Affected by the Heartbleed Issue?

Was VolunteerMatch affected by the Heartbleed issue?On Monday April 7, we (along with many other Web services) received notification of a widespread internet security issue – called Heartbleed, impacting the popular OpenSSL technology – and we moved quickly to respond.

We began testing the fix on Monday morning and applied the changes to our production environment Tuesday afternoon. We have verified that the exploitable bug has been fixed.

The servers impacted by Heartbleed do not store user information, and since we were able to close the gap quickly, it is unlikely that this had a security impact on our users.

To be extra vigilant, this is a good time to choose a strong new password for your account and remember to change it often! We’ve made it a priority to take all the steps necessary to keep your data secure.

To update your account information, including your password, you can follow these steps:

  1. Log in and access your organization’s dashboard at www.volunteermatch.org/post
  2. Click ‘Manage Personal Account’ on the left side of page.
  3. Choose ‘Edit Personal Profile.’
  4. Make any desired changes and click ‘Continue.’

If you also change your email address, please make sure to check your inbox for a request to verify your new email address.

Don’t worry, we’re taking care of you and your information, but you can help out by changing your password often!

Welcome to the Family

Welcome to the VolunteerMatch network! Here's what happens after your nonprofit organization joins to recruit and engage volunteers.Congratulations! You just registered as a nonprofit on VolunteerMatch.org. You’re now part of a rapidly growing network of close to 100,000 organizations that have realized the value of engaging volunteers through our network.

What now?

 

Good question – here’s what happens next, once the honeymoon is over and the good stuff really begins…

We Vet You

Believe me, this is a good thing. Our crackerjack team of nonprofit community support folks checks each new organization that joins VolunteerMatch to make sure they are truly doing the good work they say they are. With tools like GuideStar to help, this rarely takes more than a day, and ensures that the nonprofits and listings in our system are real and wonderful. It’s a major way we fulfill our commitment to accountability, transparency and quality.

We Support You

Not sure how to post a new listing? Confused by a message you got from us? Wondering where the volunteers are? Just want to chat? So do we. Support for the nonprofits in our network is a major priority for us. Whenever you have a question or a problem, don’t hesitate to reach out and we’ll get back to you very quickly.

We Teach You

It’s not just about the tools, though. Successful volunteer engagement is a complicated career skill, and we know that in order to truly make a difference we need to help nonprofits learn how to do this better. Our Learning Center is your hub for learning how to be awesome at volunteer engagement. We’ve got free webinars, downloadable resources, books and websites. Definitely something to explore during your professional development/coffee time.

We Connect You

Finally, joining VolunteerMatch means being connected to a huge community of nonprofits, volunteers and companies focused on giving time and doing good. Follow our blog, join the conversations on Facebook and LinkedIn, keep up with news via Twitter, and get inspired on Instagram.

We’re so happy to have you as a member of VolunteerMatch! Good luck engaging volunteers, and keep up the great work!