Last Chance to Shape the 16NTC Agenda!

NTENIn today’s world, volunteer engagement and technology go hand in hand. In our recently-published book Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World, we dedicated an entire section to technology shifts and their impact on the volunteer engagement space.

So wouldn’t it be great to see volunteer engagement heavily represented at the conference for leveraging technology for social good?

Yes, I’m talking about NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (16NTC), coming up this March in San Jose, CA. This conference puts its content in the hands of its community, by allowing upvoting and downvoting on session proposals before the agenda is finalized.

But here’s the thing. Voting ends on July 31st. If you haven’t already had your say, make sure to cast your votes now. Help us get volunteerism into the conversation. There’s are least 7 proposals all about volunteerism, including Leveraging Expert or Technical Volunteers, Convert Volunteers into Donors (& Vice Versa) and Here, There, and Everywhere: Distance Volunteer Training.

Remember, you don’t have to go to 16NTC to help shape the nonprofit technology conversation. Cast your votes today.

P.S. We also proposed a session on how we took full advantage of our Google AdWords Grant and were able to increase traffic to our site, decrease bounce rates, and increase conversions. Help us out by giving us an upvote on that session, too.

Session Recap: Tech Platforms for Volunteering

“How many of you work for nonprofits?”

Joel Bashevkin, Executive Director of Taproot Foundation, posed this question to a packed room in downtown San Francisco last week. As might be expected at an event for the group San Francisco Tech4Good, a majority of the audience raised their hands.

“How many are tech workers?” Joel went on to ask. While less than before, a substantial amount of hands went in the air.

“How many are nonprofit tech workers?”

As a few lonely hands proudly went up (mine included), the audience let out an embarrassed chuckle.

Why aren’t there more organizations that merge technology with the social sector? As an employee of VolunteerMatch, I’m fortunate to see technology put to work every day for social good, and I know the large-scale effect it can have. (Last year alone, VolunteerMatch generated $1.34 BILLION in social value).

This quandry, along with many others, was discussed at last week’s Technology Platforms for Good. The event rounded up pioneers in the tech-volunteering space. Our own Greg Baldwin joined the panel along with Joel Bashevin and Meg Garliginhouse, Head of Social Impact at LinkedIn.

The ultimate conclusion? With so many ways (and free ways at that!) to find, manage, and engage volunteers online- if you’re not using technology, you’re missing out.

I’ve chosen a few of my favorite live tweets from the session, some of which include actionable advice for engaging volunteers via technology (see below). Want even more? Watch the video recording of the event.

Expert Snapshots for June

Expert Snapshots

At VolunteerMatch, we learn so much from other experts in the field of volunteer engagement and nonprofit management, and we want to help you stay up to date on the latest news and trends. 

Here’s just a snapshot to get your June going:


Challenging What’s Possible with Pro Bono Service
Pro bono = unlimited potential. In this post, Points of Light CEO Tracy Hoover discusses her recent visit to the White House for a “change-making expo,” where she brought attention to the current breakthroughs and future possibilities of pro bono volunteerism. Drawing on case studies, such as IBM employee’s role in fighting Ebola, she shows that there’s many ways to think outside the box when it comes to using specialized skills for social good.

How to Manage Virtual Pro Bono
Speaking of pro bono potential, what about virtual pro bono volunteering? In this post, Taproot Foundation discusses tools to help you take pro bono online. While written for a corporate audience, the concrete tips Taproot offers spans sectors. Is your nonprofit engaging virtual pro bono volunteers? Share your experience in the comments below.

Websites for Better Volunteer Recruitment
When someone considers volunteering for your organization, what is likely the first thing they do? They check out your website. In this post from Volunteer Engagement expert Tobi Johnson, learn how to make sure your website is telling the right story to potential volunteers.

Tapping Experience for Impact: Engaging Older Volunteers
Older Americans Month just ended. But that doesn’t mean we should forget the potential older volunteers have to move our missions forward. In this post on United Way’s blog, you’ll see examples of how United Way successfully engages older volunteers. Have a volunteer opportunity that would be great for seniors? Don’t forget to mark the 55+ box when posting your opportunity on VolunteerMatch!

Follow us on Twitter for volunteer engagement news and trends throughout the month: @VolunteerMatch.

How to Have a Fun-Filled, Fullfilling #15NTC with VolunteerMatch

Gummi bears on fingers of hand.In less than one week, thousands of nonprofit nerds will be descending on Austin, Texas to learn, network and have fun at the 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference. Hooray!

Whether you’re an NTC veteran or this will be your first time, VolunteerMatch has one thing that will guarantee to make your time in Austin stand out: candy.

Okay, that might have been a joke (not the candy part – we will have that), but finding VolunteerMatch at the conference is a great way to make sure you’re hitting the highlights.

For example, as you explore the wonders of the Science Fair,  stop by booth #726 for some sweet treats – and to learn all about how VolunteerMatch can help you inspire, educate and mobilize your volunteer supporters. For free.

Day of Service at #14NTC conference. Crowd of people standing holding coffee.And if you’re inspired yourself to make a difference, be sure to sign up for the Days of Service. This year it’s even easier to turn your time at the conference into real-life impact (there are even ways to help your favorite causes from the comfort of your hotel room!)

Learn more here and sign up now with a few clicks!

This is truly one of our favorite conferences of the year, so we hope to see you there. Look out for Adam Alley, Marlene Feil and Tessa Srebro.

Come by, meet the team, eat some candy and tell us your favorite volunteer-related story. We know you’ve got ‘em!

Top photo by Betsy Weber on Flickr.

Think Fun, Think Big and Think GOOD at This Year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference

Arbor Day Foundation Volunteers outside by a tree.

Arbor Day Foundation volunteers having some fun.

Close your eyes, and imagine this:

You’re outside, and you’re not cold. No snow. No biting wind. No humidity, even. Instead, the sun is warm on your face as you laugh with the person next to you. Your common interests and experiences made you fast friends, even though you only met about 30 minutes ago. And as you chat, you’re filled with a deep sense of satisfaction as you weed and plant together in the garden of the nonprofit organization Urban Roots in Austin, TX.

That’s right, you’re volunteering. And this isn’t just any volunteer gig, either – it’s part of the Days of Service program of the 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference (15NTC).

Throughout the conference, there will be volunteer opportunities for you to share your skills with Austin, TX area nonprofits. This includes virtual volunteering opportunities, too, so you can give back before the conference, and even from your hotel room!

Think fun: You’ll be meeting new people, you have the opportunity to be outside or interact with the locals at the Food Bank, and make a difference in a whole new place. The Days of Service is an opportunity for you to feel good about your time in Austin…by doing good.

Once you’re registered for 15NTC, sign up for an account on the Days of Service site and start exploring your opportunities!

But wait! Are you an Austin-area nonprofit organization? Your organization could be one of the places these dedicated, passionate, talented 15NTC volunteers spend their time during the conference!

These are people who understand you and your needs. They have the skills and experience to really get stuff done.

Think big: what sort of help does your nonprofit need, whether on-site or virtual? Perhaps some marketing and communications strategy advice. Or help with fundraising planning. Or board development. Or IT and tech infrastructure. Or training for programs like Excel and Photoshop…

You get the idea. The possibilities are limitless, but unfortunately time is not. So hurry up and follow these easy steps to get your nonprofit’s volunteer project up on the #15NTC Days of Service site:

  • Create an account – be sure to register as a nonprofit looking for volunteers.
  • Suggest an opportunity – use the ‘Add a Project’ form to share your organization’s volunteer opportunity with the NTC Community.

And spread the word to other Austin-area nonprofits – there are more than enough awesome 15NTC attendees to go around.

We hope to see you in Austin! (Maybe at your organization, volunteering our time…)