June Webinar Preview: New Ways to Engage Volunteers

 

Learn something new. Register for a webinar.

This month we’re introducing even more webinars to help you engage volunteers. We’ve added two brand new sessions to our Fighting Hunger series.These webinars might be geared towards fighting hunger, but the information provided is applicable to all types of organizations. No matter where you’re at with your engagement strategies, these webinars can help.

 

Fighting Hunger Together: Engage Volunteers in New Ways!

When you think about volunteering to fight hunger, do you think of jobs like food sorting or serving food in a soup kitchen?  What if we told you that volunteers can do even more to help fight hunger? Using examples from successful food banks, pantries and meal service programs, we’ll discuss creating new types of opportunities in order to create more volunteer engagement. Even if you don’t work for a hunger organization, you’ll learn how to engage volunteers by thinking outside the box. Sample position descriptions will be provided.

Fighting Hunger Together: Recruit & Engage Volunteers in SNAP Outreach

One of the most effective ways to fight hunger is to ensure that your clients are enrolled in federal assistance programs. Mobilizing volunteers to assist with your SNAP outreach (formerly the food stamp program) is not only a great way to help meet your mission, but it’s also rewarding for your volunteers. In this webinar we’ll cover the steps for recruiting, training and managing volunteers in SNAP outreach. Sample position descriptions and recruitment plans will be provided. If you aren’t yet engaging volunteers in this way, or if you’re looking for some new ideas – this session is for you.

If you’re looking for more webinars about volunteer engagement, be sure and register for these titles too:

Where Do I Go From Here? Engage Volunteers in New Ways

Build Staff Buy-In for Volunteer Engagement

Engaging Pro Bono and Skilled Volunteers

Social Media and Volunteer Engagement

Developing a Strategic Plan for Volunteer Engagement

To check out all of the titles we have to offer, please visit Learning Center.

Think ‘Outside-the-Box’ to Engage Volunteers

Get excited for National Volunteer Week!

National Volunteer Week is about recognizing and inspiring those who give back to their communities through service.  It’s also the perfect time for your organization to engage new volunteers. A great way to promote your cause and grab the attention of volunteers is to post a creative, ‘outside-the-box’ volunteer opportunity.

We’ve selected four of our favorites to share with you. Each opportunity engages audiences through celebrating the role of volunteers and the impact they have within their organizations. Let’s take a look!

Calling All Magicians, Clowns, Face Painters and Performers!

If you like magic, music, clowns and fun then this opportunity is for you! This organization puts on monthly birthday parties for low-income children residing in homeless shelters. They believe that children should be celebrated throughout the year and not just on holidays.

This opportunity was posted by Cause For Celebration. For more information about this organization, click here.

Calling All Beauty Professionals! Help Chronically Ill Patients!

If you want to put your beauty talents to good use, look no further. This organization recruits volunteers to bring dignity, hope and respite to people living with chronic or terminal illness through beauty ad grooming treatments. They strive to make clients feel beautiful inside and out, in order to raise self-esteem and maintain dignity and the enhance quality of life.

This opportunity was posted by Beauty Bus Foundation. For more information about this organization, click here.

Exotic Plant Removal

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and you like working in nature, sign up for this opportunity. This organization strives to develop in children and adults an appreciation for the natural world, and to preserve Eaton Canyon as a natural area for future generations.

This opportunity was posted by Eaton Canyon Nature Centers Associates (ECNCA). For more information about this organization, click here.

Video Editors for Hospice Patients Life Stories

Put your video editing skills to use and sign up for this opportunity. Like their counterparts, Evercare Hospice strives to preserve dignity and freedom from pain at the end of life through a series of customized projects and activities. The Life Review Videos help in these efforts by showcasing the lives of each patient.

This opportunity was posted by Evercare Hospice & Palliative Care For more information about this organization, click here.

Does your organization have a fun, creative opportunity that you’d like us to share? Post it in the comments below!

Earth Day Gone Virtual: Web-based Volunteering with Environmental Nonprofits

The volunteer experience on Earth Day is changing now more than ever. The Internet has become a great way for Earth Day volunteers to share stories, collaborate efforts and spread general awareness about environmental issues. Using the connectivity of the web, environmentally-focused nonprofits can engage volunteers in a multitude of creative ways on Earth Day and throughout the year.

The Earth Day Network
An excellent online Earth Day resource is the The Earth Day Network, the same group that founded Earth Day over 40 years ago. The nonprofit has developed a number of innovative web-based environmental campaigns for volunteers.

For Earth Day 2013, the group has embraced the challenge of engaging millions of volunteers from around the globe with The Face of Climate Change social campaign, which showcases user-submitted pictures and inspirational stories about people, animals and places directly affected or threatened by climate change.

Launched in 2010, The Earth Day Network’s A Billion Acts of Green is the largest environmental service campaign in the world to date. The campaign encourages volunteers to pledge, donate and commit through various virtual initiatives including Protect Our Clean Air, Recycle Your E-Waste and Restore the Canopy. The Earth Day Network uses its own platform as well as other nonprofits from around the world to spread awareness about a wide array of environmental issues.

Other Great Virtual Volunteering Resources
The Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota are promoting volunteerism this Arbor Day by creating the Volunteer Center, which allows nonprofits, businesses and civic groups around the country to engage volunteers in all 50 states. Through the online tool, volunteers can more easily learn about and share conservation projects in their communities. The interactive database is made possible by support from Toyota and a partnership with VolunteerMatch.

VolunteerMatch is a great resource for virtual volunteers. With the advanced search section, volunteers can narrow their search for virtual opportunities in a wide range of causes, including the environment.

The Environmental Community is nonprofit organization that has developed a unique environmental platform to create new waves of eco-activity. They use VolunteerMatch to find virtual volunteers with a variety of skills to help with environmental projects.

As The Earth Day Network has shown, the Internet can be an effective tool to engage volunteers. As a nonprofit, consider using the web to connect with virtual volunteers. An active volunteer can play a vital role in the health and sustainability of a community and the local environment, and millions of virtual volunteers from around the world can have global impact.

This Earth Day and beyond, use VolunteerMatch as a resource to recruit volunteers who can help you create a sustainable, more livable world – not only for us, but for generations to come.

Back in the States and Ready to Intern! Greetings from the Newest VolunteerMatch Communications Team Member

Stephanie Rosenburg, Spring 2013 Intern

Hello everyone! My name is Stephanie Rosenburg and I am thrilled to be joining VolunteerMatch as one of the new Communications & Social Media Interns for Spring 2013. I am excited to be part of such a passionate and engaged organization, and I look forward to helping take their online community further by using social media to connect with people who care about volunteering.

I just finished my Master’s Degree in the United Kingdom about four months ago and am so happy to be back in the San Francisco Bay Area—where I studied my Bachelor’s Degree at Pacific Union College and first got involved with volunteering and nonprofit work.

I have a background in both Public Relations and Design, and was involved in managing and promoting the Cheers! St. Helena events in Napa Valley for about three years. Most recently however, I decided to switch my focus to online social engagement. So this past year, I went abroad to study the Anthropology of Development and Social Transformation from the University of Sussex. I loved doing research in online culture and exploring the use of new media in social movements, and I’m very excited to be applying this knowledge and expertise for a worthy cause.

I first met some of the VolunteerMatch team while volunteering for an event by Social Media for Nonprofits in November and instantly fell in love with their mission. Since then I have been following what they are doing and learning more about their work. Once the Spring internship position was announced, I jumped at the chance to be a part of it all. And now here I am!

Ready to Work, Ready to Learn

During the next few months, I will pour my skills, experience, and passion into reaching VolunteerMatch’s online communications and social media goals. I will develop my writing skills while writing lots of blogs and articles, and I will learn a lot more about social media strategy through contributing to Twitter and Facebook.

Additionally, I’m hoping to get involved in new and developing social media campaigns. I want to help in creating new ways to engage our public and spread the word about our awesome services—for people who want to volunteer and nonprofits who need help and also for companies interested in developing CSR programs. Most importantly however, I will be helping out a great cause.

Thanks so much for reading my short bio (I just couldn’t write it all in a 140-character tweet!) Stay tuned to see some great things coming from the Spring 2013 intern team! Also, make sure to follow my personal blog for a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a VolunteerMatch intern.

Finally, don’t forget to check out VolunteerMatch for yourselves! It’s such a great resource to connect with volunteers in your area and offers so many other tools, tips and advice. Take a look!

Because They Care: Celebrating the Women Who Volunteer, Great and Small

Volunteer Ann reads to girls as part of the Foster Grandparent Program.

March is Women’s History Month, and here at VolunteerMatch we want to acknowledge all the great women who have dedicated time and energy to volunteering—around the world and in their own communities. Thank you so much for your work and inspiration!

I want to highlight two women in particular who have inspired me to become a volunteer. The first is my mother, a hardworking woman who has been tirelessly involved in bake-sales and church functions as long as I can remember, and who raised my sister and me to help out, too. The second is Melinda French Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and number four on Forbes Magazine’s list of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” She is someone I have always admired and aspired to be like.

Both these women are my role models, showing in their own ways how far a woman can go and how much difference she can make. But what motivates these two very different women to volunteer? What does the work of an internationally-renowned women’s rights advocate and co-founder of one of the world’s richest nonprofits have in common with my mother’s quiet efforts in her community? Most importantly, what can I, as a woman and a volunteer, learn from them?

Filling a Need

My mom has always used my sister and me as her excuse for why she started volunteering in the first place. However, now that we are both grown up and moved away, she can no longer say we are her only reason. She is still very involved in her community, running over to the school on weeknights to set up for fundraising dinners, or taking time from her weekends to manage church finances. Her reason now is that she continues to see a need for what she’s doing, which didn’t go away after we left. Although they are someone else’s children now, she explains, she volunteers because she cares.

Melinda Gates sums up the work she does in much the same way. “Our desire to bring every good thing to our children is a force for good throughout the world,”she explained recently in one of her TED talks. This desire has motivated her to help other women achieve this for their own children.

Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and her own work, Mrs. Gates has committed herself to improving people’s health and wellbeing, and to improving education for young people. Most recently, she has joined the fight for women’s reproductive rights, even standing up against the Catholic church in defense of improving access to contraception in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Propelling Societies Forward, One Woman at a Time

While both women have made different impacts in volunteering, it seems they are inspired in similar ways. They both care for family and community, which helps them empathize with other women and motivates them to make a difference.

According to Mrs. Gates, such care and desire to provide what’s best for our children “propels societies forward.” Understanding this has allowed her to connect with mothers and women around the world. At the same time, my mother’s care for her children led her to first recognize and then continue “filling a need” in the community, even after her kids grew up.

So although caring is not a feeling exclusive to women, we certainly learn a lot about how to care from our mothers. I want to make a difference because I have been inspired by the world-changing work of Melinda Gates. However, I began to get involved because of my mother’s continued involvement in her community. Thanks to both of these caring women, I volunteer.

Image provided courtesy of Foster Grandparent Program/VolunteerMatch.