Bay Area: Want to Star in a VolunteerMatch Video?

Star in VolunteerMatch's new videoDo you know a volunteer who fits these three criteria?

  • Volunteers somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area,
  • Has a compelling and/ or heartwarming volunteer story, and
  • Found their volunteer opportunity through VolunteerMatch.

If so, we want to film them!

Julia, our awesomely creative Creative Services Manager, is in the process of creating a 1-2 minute, easily-sharable video. If your volunteer is selected, Julia will come to your nonprofit this May or June to capture their story through interviews and volunteering footage.

If you’re wondering why we’re only looking for San Francisco Bay Area organizations, it’s not because we love the rest of the country any less… we promise! It’s because VolunteerMatch is headquartered in San Francisco, so we’re starting local. But don’t worry! We have plans in store to include the rest of the country soon.

So Bay Area, what do you think? Want your nonprofit to star in a video and help VolunteerMatch? Send us an email.

Hunger Nonprofits: Grow Your Volunteer Program with This Free Tool

Hunger Organization Volunteer Improvement ToolWhat if you could improve your organization’s volunteer program with just a few clicks?

If you’re a hunger-fighting organization, now you can.

We’ve developed a free tool specifically for hunger-fighting organizations to evaluate their volunteer engagement programs.

Why hunger organizations?
This tool was developed as part of a partnership with ConAgra Foods Foundation, a company with a big commitment to end childhood hunger. Part of this commitment includes equipping nonprofits with the resources they need to do what they do best – create real change in their communities in the fight against hunger. And for many food banks and similar organizations, this change is dependent on volunteers.

About the tool.
In this tool, called the Volunteer Program Improvement Tool, you will be taken through a series of statements, and will be asked to select the statements that are true about your volunteer engagement program.

In just a few short minutes, the tool works its magic and generates a custom report just for you. This includes:

  • Where your volunteer program currently stands. Are you volunteer engagement novices, or is your program already running at rock-star level?
  • Specific action steps to improve your volunteer program, based on where you’re program is currently.
  • Lots of additional resources to help with your improvement journey.

Best of all, it’s completely free. Ready to get started? Access the tool today.

Save Time and Build Better Relationships with VolunteerMatch Premium

Celebrate with VolunteerMatch Premium!At VolunteerMatch, we love living out our mission of connecting good people and good causes. And we love that we can do this at no cost to the inspiring people and causes doing amazing work in their communities.

We do this because we believe that everyone should have the chance to make a difference.

However, for organizations that rely heavily on volunteers, we have another option that makes finding new volunteers even easier.

VolunteerMatch Premium lets nonprofits do some pretty cool things with their VolunteerMatch account. Want to craft a personalized greeting VolunteerMatch Premium vs. Basicto potential volunteers when they first connect with you? You can do that. Want to quickly repost that volunteer opportunity from last month that’s still relevant? You can do that. How about exporting a list of the volunteers who have reached out to you? Yep, you can do that too.

That’s just the beginning. Learn more about the various ways we support nonprofits, including our premium service. And if you choose to, head over to your VolunteerMatch account to sign up.

For less than ten dollars a month, your nonprofit can build strong relationships with volunteers from the start, and spend less time managing prospective volunteers. And I’m sure you have many ways to spend a little extra time.

Nonprofit Insights: New Tools and Strategies for Managing Risk

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.

Register for the Nonprofit Insights webinarWhen your organization welcomes new volunteers, how do you screen them?

It seems every nonprofit has a different process and set of standards, and we think it’s time to make the whole experience easier and better.

Late last year, we partnered with a national identity service provider and conducted a survey to gather information about how nonprofits screen and authenticate volunteers. Thousands of responses later, we’re ready and itching to share some truly valuable insights about risk management and volunteer engagement with you – and to hear some more good ideas in return.

Join us for a special, free webinar on the best strategies for screening new volunteers and identifying potential risks to your organization, featuring Ernie Allen, founder, former President and CEO of National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

No matter what your current risk management practices, you’ll gain some great insight into how other nonprofits approach this issue, and how you can determine the best policy for your organization.

Reserve your spot today!
Monday, April 6, 2014
11am – 12pm PT (2-3pm ET)

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

This webinar is generously sponsored by SureID.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Words

The words you use to engage volunteers matter.Which is more likely to inspire you?

“Help support your community by volunteering to build houses for those in need.”

“Housing is a right everyone should have. Create new neighbors by lending a hand!”

Whatever the purpose: engaging volunteers, raising money, promoting an event, etc. – the words you use matter. Words with the highest value (i.e. the words most likely to engage your audience), are unique, specific, and  easy to understand.

Make Them Unique

Why are unique words so important? People are much more likely to pay attention to new information. In fact, new information actually makes us feel good, physically. Novelty causes a release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that gives us pleasant sensations from the brain stem. Because of this excitement and pleasure, our brains are trained to pay attention to new things and overlook the old. Choosing words that are unique will make you stand out, and will draw people in.

The Marketplace of Words

You might be wondering, “How do I know if my words are unique?” Well, there’s a website for that.

MarketplaceOfWords.com Website Preview

Earlier this year, I researched the words most frequently used on nonprofit websites, and created the tool The Marketplace of Words. You can type your potential word in the box on the main page, and find out where and if it ranks in the top 1000 words most often found on nonprofit websites as of April 2014.

You can also browse the full lists in the Results tab. These include counts and percentages overall, in addition to breaking it down by part of speech. In the Getting Started tab, you can find advice on the most productive ways to use the tool.

The Marketplace doesn’t cover the other properties of high-value words, which are: Specific, and Easy to Understand. Here are quick explanations of why these are important to consider in addition to uniqueness:

Make Them Specific

What do you actually mean when you say community? How big is it and who is a part of it? There are so many methods of outreach; which are you referring to? These are examples of unanswered questions caused by vague words. Get specific! Instead of “utilizing a community outreach strategy”, say you’re “meeting face-to-face with residents of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.”

Make Them Easy to Understand

The simplest way to achieve clarity in writing is to write like you speak. If someone has to take the time to decipher your message, they most likely won’t. An easy test is to ask yourself, “Would I use this word, phrase or sentence in a casual conversation?” If the answer is no – revise it. Also, when you are considering a few good words, opt for the word with fewer syllables.

The last thing you want to do is bore your volunteers with overused words, or hit them with unclear jargon. They should be excited about the awesome work they’re doing, and you have the power to make that happen. So, go on now: Go get the most value for your words!