When People Inspire Us

People are amazing. And when their passion, commitment and talents inspire us, we’re even more energized to make sure everyone has the chance to make a difference.

And we’re lucky, because people in the VolunteerMatch network inspire us, like, every day. Here’s a great example:

 

So what inspires you every day? Share the wonderful wealth!

Here’s How You Measure Volunteer Impact

The results are in - check out the Volunteer Impact ReportRemember back in May, 2014 when we launched a survey asking you how you determine the effect volunteer work has on your mission?

The results are in!

55% of nonprofits measure volunteer impact.
Tweet this stat!

Check out this clean, easy-to-read, chart-heavy report we produced in partnership with volunteer technology review firm Software Advice that presents the metrics, indicators and data collection methods nonprofits use to measure volunteers’ impact on their organizations’ outcomes.

In other words, check out this report to see how what YOU do compares to what everyone ELSE does to track volunteer impact at your organizations.

The first ever volunteer impact report from VolunteerMatch and Software Advice.

17% of nonprofits saw an increase in funding as a result of measuring volunteer impact. Tweet this stat!

Hopefully, this report will help you determine areas for improvement, and provide inspiration for how you can best measure the impact of your volunteer program on your nonprofit, your community and your cause.

What do you think of the Volunteer Impact Report? How do the results compare to how your organization tracks volunteer impact? Let us know!

*Special thanks to our partners Software Advice for administering the survey, analyzing the data and producing the report!

Nonprofit Insights: Engaging Volunteers on Facebook

The Nonprofit Insights webinar series brings major thought leaders and experts to you for thought-provoking presentations on a variety of issues related to technology and engaging your community members for social good.

Join the free Nonprofit Insights webinar about engaging volunteers on Facebook.With all the buzz recently about Facebook and organic reach, one question remains:

How useful is Facebook for nonprofit engagement? Can nonprofits build support on Facebook? How??

Engaging Volunteers on Facebook

Register for this free event.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
10am – 11am PT (1-2pm ET)

Follow along with the conversation on Twitter: @VolunteerMatch and #vmlearn.

Join John Haydon, nonprofit marketing expert and author of “Facebook Marketing for Dummies,” for a Nonprofit Insights webinar focused on de-mystifying the process of engaging supporters on Facebook. John will walk us through today’s version of the popular social network, and provide concrete strategies for how our nonprofit organizations can connect with potential supporters and build real relationships with volunteers that can exist online, offline, and wherever we need them.

Register for this free Nonprofit Insights webinar now.

5 Tips for Engaging Youth Volunteers

Guest post by Susan Ragsdale

5 Tips for Engaging Youth Volunteers

A young lady works on door decorations for Ronald McDonald House during service camp.

“[The world's hope] is to rely on youth . . . not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.” — U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy

When I was young, I watched the Wonder Twins on Saturday morning cartoons. These youth worked with superhero adults to make a difference in the world. They assessed situations, made decisions and took action to try to make things better.

Sometimes their plans worked; sometimes they didn’t. But, that didn’t stop them from using their minds, hearts, time and energy to do what they could.

Today, there are many youth who want to make that difference and yet are often overlooked as possible resources in the volunteer pool. Working with various youth groups over the past 22 years, I’ve seen youth dig in and happily do what they can to make things right, better and more just and come up with viable solutions.

In engaging youth as volunteers, I recommend these tips from my book Groups, Troops, Clubs and Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth:

  1. First, recognize youth are resources in your own thinking. Acknowledge that they have a perspective you don’t but that you need.Young people’s brains are often unfettered by “no”. Adults have often been told too many times that there ideas won’t work; systems are too hard to change. But youth haven’t repeatedly heard that message, thus they often have more freedom to tackle problems with enthusiasm, courage and out-of-the-box thinking. Use that resource!
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  3. Ask them to do good. Ask them to make the world better. Ask them what they think; ask them to get involved, to help, and to share their gifts.
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  5. Look for and engage youth from their sparks (their interests and talents). When a youth is actively involved in his spark, he is following his innate purpose and will be fully engaged in what’s going on. Challenge them to tap into their powers and use them for good.
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  7. Mix it up. Involve youth volunteers in a variety of opportunities. Expose them to different community needs and ways to contribute. Help them find their passion and voice.
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  9. Let youth work side-by-side with adults. Working next to adults expands youths’ perspectives and feeds into their own sense of purpose as they hear why adults are giving of their time.

We can’t afford to wait until young people are grown up before they understand or learn about society’s problems, find their voice, take action, and have an impact. We need to harness their energies, perspectives, gifts, and understandings today as actors in finding solutions for today’s challenges. We need them and they need us. Take a chance and start seeking young people out as volunteers.

See how these youth are serving: http://bit.ly/1thSvDh then send me how you’re engaging youth. We’ll tell your story on our blog.

Susan Ragsdale is a nationally recognized trainer in positive youth development, service-learning, and play with purpose as well as the co-author of 7 books including her latest, Groups, Troops, Clubs & Classrooms: The Essential Handbook for Working with Youth, (published in September 2014 by Search Institute Press). Learn more through her website and her blog, or reach her at cad@TheAssetEdge.net or Twitter @TheAssetEdge.

Fall Webinar Preview: New Heights for Your Volunteer Engagement

Take free trainings from the VolunteerMatch Nonprofit Learning Center.September always brings a new school year and a new television season – in the spirit of both, here’s my Fall Preview of all of the upcoming presentations and workshops on VolunteerMatch’s Learning Center.

Focus on Foundations

This Fall I’m focusing on the foundations and some important key components for your volunteer engagement program. Whether you’re new to volunteer engagement or just looking for a refresher, I’ve got a great fall lineup!

New Faces, Topics and Special Two-Parters

But enough about me – In October I’m happy to welcome back Katie Campbell as she joins me for a conversation around ethics in volunteer engagement. This topic was a huge hit at the beginning of the year, and we’re excited to bring it back. Read the article Katie wrote in January to learn more about what we’ll be discussing on October 15th.

October also welcomes our first new presenter. Please welcome Deanna Cole to the VolunteerMatch Learning Center family. She’s a seasoned volunteer program manager with a lot of experience in online training. Join her on October 29th, as she discusses best practices for turning volunteers into advocates.

Some topics just can’t be covered in an hour, and in November we’re starting something new – Two Part Webinars! You don’t have to attend both parts, but I hope you’ll join me and some awesome guest presenters as we do a deeper dive into some complex topics.

If you’ve attended Measuring Success (also happening on September 18th), you’ve heard me mention Tony Goodrow’s tool for measuring Volunteer ROI (return on investment). I’m so pleased to announce that Tony will be doing a two part series on how to use his tool and how to start measuring the real impact volunteering has on your organization. Part 1 will happen on November 12th, and Part 2 is cued up for December 10th.

Deanna is also going to join me for a two part series on creating virtual volunteer opportunities. We’ll get things started on November 13th with a session on how to create those virtual opps, and finish up on February 3rd with some best practices for training and managing remote volunteers. Remember while the opportunities are virtual, the volunteers are real!

Deanna is going to be doing her own two part series, as well. Mentoring can be a great way to ensure that every volunteer receives the time, training and attention that they need. On November 18th Deanna will discuss how to introduce mentoring into your volunteer program and on January 15th she’ll talk about best practices for building and managing that program.

But wait, there’s even more! You can check out the complete list of our always free online trainings here. I hope you’ll join us for a learning opportunity this fall, and that you’re as excited about these new topics and trainers as I am. Keep an eye out for blog posts from our new trainers about our new topics in the coming weeks.

Sign up for some free trainings on the Learning Center now!