Need a Hand? VolunteerMatch Can Help!

If you need a hand with volunteer engagement, VolunteerMatch can help.At VolunteerMatch, our mission is to strengthen communities by making it easier for good people and good causes to connect (emphasis on the “easier”).

We try to keep it as simple as possible for you to post your open volunteer opportunities on the site and attract great volunteers, but if you run into bumps along the way or want to boost your recruitment efforts, we can help! Here’s how…

Having trouble with your VolunteerMatch account?

There are a couple of places to go if you have a question or issue with your account. First, our treasure trove of support information, answers, and tips for users. To get to this magical place, just click ‘SUPPORT’ in the top right corner of any page on our site. You’ll find detailed info about things like registering your organization, accessing or updating your account, posting and managing opportunities, and much more. Just sign in to your nonprofit account to view these articles!

VolunteerMatch Help Center screenshot

We also have a bunch of quick and easy video tutorials that will walk you through how to do things on your account. These can help you with tasks like gaining administrator access to your organization’s existing account, managing your opportunity contacts, or adding photos to your listings.

Looking for ways to attract more volunteers or strengthen your program?

Look no further! We offer FREE live webinars throughout the year presented by our resident volunteer management guru along with other seasoned professionals from the field. Learn about best practices on important topics like screening volunteers, planning for the future, and using social media to engage volunteers.

We’ve also curated a list of useful resources from around the web that you can find on our Learning Center and blog.

Still haven’t found what you need?

You can always contact us! Click ‘SUPPORT’ at the top of any page on VolunteerMatch.org, then click ‘Submit a Request’. This allows you to send us a message with details about your question, and even links, attachments or screenshots to help us understand the issue you’re having. Your request will be read by human eyes at our office in San Francisco, and we’ll do our best to get you the help you need.

Another great way to reach us is on Twitter. If you’re a big tweeter and have a question that can be posed in 140 characters or less, then this is the resource for you. We monitor incoming tweets all day and love providing fast, succinct help whenever possible.

We hope you’ll take advantage of some of these tools, and if there’s anything else you think might help you engage volunteers and better support your community, we’d love to hear about it.

Make New Friends and Give Back in Austin, TX

If you haven’t heard of the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) hosted by NTEN, then you should check it out and register. A couple thousand nonprofit professionals coming together to discuss how to make the most of technology? Yes, please!

Join VolunteerMatch at the 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference Day of Service.

VolunteerMatch is proud to be sponsoring the Day of Service at this year’s NTC. Throughout the conference, there will be volunteer opportunities for you to share your skills with Austin, TX area nonprofits. And this year, we’ve expanded the Days of Service program at the 15NTC to include virtual volunteering opportunities, so you can give back before the conference, too!

A Call for Projects

Are you an Austin-based organization that could use some help either in person between March 3-6, 2015, or virtually in advance of the conference? We would love to hear from you! Please add your organization’s volunteer opportunity to our “Days of Service” project. All you need to do is the following:

  • 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.

Please note that you can post multiple opportunities from the same organization. Kindly include a link with the project suggestion and include contact information for the person leading the volunteer opportunity. That will help us and attendees better connect with you.

In order to make these opportunities as rewarding as possible for both the organization and the 15NTC attendees, we ask that projects consider the following guidelines:

  • The volunteer time commitment between March 3-6 needs to be limited to no more than 2 hours per day and must be suitable for groups of 2 or more.
  • In-person volunteer opportunities must be easily accessible from the Austin Conference Center on foot, public transit, or using a transport mode that the organization can provide to/from the Convention Center.
  • Virtual opportunities are also welcome, with specifics on how volunteers will connect with the organization (e.g., Skype, Google Hangout, listserv).
  • Virtual opportunities can begin ahead of the conference.

So spread the word to any Austin-based nonprofits you know! And if you’re a 15NTC attendee looking to volunteer while in Austin, you can sign up for an opportunity here.

We hope to see you (volunteering!) at the 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference!

Make 2015 Count with VolunteerMatch’s New Organization Profiles

Make the New Year count with new organization profiles at VolunteerMatch.The New Year is an exciting time that poses many opportunities for nonprofits to engage their supporters and strengthen their Organizations’ missions. Case in point: Jump start 2015 with VolunteerMatch’s new Organization Profile!

 

New VolunteerMatch Organization Profile with "More Info" tab open

The brand-new VolunteerMatch Organization Profile.

The new Profile will boost your organization’s VolunteerMatch recruiting efforts, and serve as a quick and easy way to advertise across the Internet. Due to VolunteerMatch’s excellent search engine optimization, organizations registered in the VolunteerMatch network will most definitely have their profiles prominently displayed on Google search results lists. So take advantage of VolunteerMatch’s SEO, and update your organization’s profile page or register with our vast network of nonprofit partners and volunteers.

The new Organization Profile was redesigned with both nonprofit administrators and volunteers in mind – the Volunteer Profile was a huge inspiration! Check out VolunteerMatch’s new Organization Profile and some noteworthy changes below:

Highlighted volunteer opportunities: Now, everyone who visits your organization’s profile will know exactly how many volunteer opportunities are available and have instant access to your listings. The grid view displays cause areas and requested skills for that particular opportunity, while the list view shows the location and time commitment.

Two views of the Organization Profile at VolunteerMatch.

Grid view (left) and list view (right) of volunteer opportunities on the Organization Profile.

At-a-glance information: We know prospective volunteers are busy people, that’s why we rearranged the Organizations Profile details, so future supporters can quickly scan and discover the information that matters most to them and your organization.

At a glance information on the VolunteerMatch Organization Profile.

At-a-glance information about your organization on your VolunteerMatch profile.

VolunteerMatch Organization Profile on a mobile device.

Your new Organization Profile on VolunteerMatch looks great on any device.

Responsive for mobile: With up-to-date information and active volunteer opportunities, your organization’s profile will stand out on every mobile device!

To view and update your organization’s profile on VolunteerMatch:

  1. Log in at www.volunteermatch.org/post/login.jsp to access your organization’s dashboard.
  2. From the side menu, select ‘Preview Organization Page’ to view your organization’s public VolunteerMatch profile.
  3. See anything that needs to be changed? Click your name at the top of the page to return to your dashboard.
  4. From the ‘Manage Organization’ menu on the left, select ‘Edit Organization Profile’ to update your organization information.

What do you think of the new Organization Profile? Let us know in the comments below, or by emailing support@volunteermatch.org!

What Does Your First Date with a Volunteer Look Like?

Guest post by Robert Grabel, Training for Good

A client recently shared that they had been trying to connect with a volunteer that had approached them. She had enthusiastically contacted the organization and there was a quick discussion.
How to have a first date with a volunteer to help make sure there's a second.

After that first meeting the dialogue – or should I say “almost dialogue” evolved into a game of cat and mouse. Despite the volunteer director’s phone calls and emails and the prospective volunteer’s few attempted returns (reportedly, a 3/1 ratio), they had to accept that it was not to be. Something was out of sync and and they couldn’t figure out what.

While in romance and perhaps a few other things in life, the chase is as exciting as the catch, not so when it comes to volunteer engagement. Perhaps it’s a stretch, but maybe there are a few parallels here:

  • Both parties come together with lots of expectations
  • Those expectations often aren’t expressed up front (and sometimes not until it’s too late) and;
  • Communication is key!

I’m sure there are other similarities, but I think these are good starters. This got me thinking:

What are the best questions to ask a potential volunteer on an initial meeting?

In other words, what are some things you (as the organization) should ask on that all-important first date to ensure a second? Here are my suggestions:

  1. What got you interested in volunteering with us? Are you looking at similar opportunities with other organizations? (Translation: Are we special? Are you looking for a commitment? Or, are you playing the field and checking out other options?)
  2. Are there special skills you’re looking to utilize with us? (Fairly standard: What do you bring to this relationship? Taking it a step further, are we going to be able to keep you busy doing what you do?)
  3. Are there skills YOU are looking to develop? Are there experiences YOU are looking to have? (These two are my favorites because they say WE CARE ABOUT YOU, not just what you can do for us. Backed up with sincerity, this mindset keeps volunteers engaged and part of your organization)
  4. Would you consider taking on a leadership role if the opportunity was right? (This re-affirms their long-term interest and speaks to the critical question of leadership succession. Committed, active volunteers with a stake in your future are your leaders of tomorrow)
  5. What’s the most effective way to build our relationship? How can we be sure we’re meeting your expectations? And what’s an effective way for us to give you feedback? (This gets to the heart of the communication issue and sets a platform for honesty and continued growth)

At the core, these questions speak to an organization’s mutual interest in the volunteer’s experience, growth and long-term prospects with an organization. While I can’t guarantee every first date approached this way will mean a second, you’ll at least feel confident asking.

I’d love to hear what works for you. Please share your “first date” experiences in the comments below!

Robert Grabel is the President of Training for Good, a consultancy that trains charities to become business development experts consistently generating new leads and developing rewarding relationships. Robert has over 25 years of professional experience split equally between business & finance and the nonprofit sector and has held Senior Leadership roles at the Cabrini Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, Volunteers of America Greater New York, Turnaround for Children, The American Heart Association and Spoons Across America. You can follow Robert on Twitter and on his blog.

A Whole New World of Volunteer Recruitment

It's a whole new world of volunteer recruitment.Last week, VolunteerMatch rolled out some really exciting new features to our free volunteer recruitment tools. Processes are now even simpler, which means less clicking and more connecting with the right volunteers for your organization! Here are the details:

Fewer Clicks

Perhaps you thought posting a volunteer opportunity on VolunteerMatch was easy before. After all, 5-10 minutes of time, moving through a quick listing flow, doesn’t seem like a lot, right?

Who cares, we were determined to make it EVEN EASIER AND FASTER. As of last week, posting a volunteer opportunity on VolunteerMatch happens in even fewer clicks, all on one clean, clear page. The whole process is quicker and more efficient, and comes with a sleek new look that makes navigating a breeze.

More Skills

You might remember a few years ago when we introduced a new way to post listings that included a skills taxonomy. For the first time, you could officially connect your volunteer opportunities to the skills volunteers have to give.

Now, three years later, we are thrilled to present the next generation of skilled volunteer recruitment at VolunteerMatch. We’ve upgraded from 19 main categories of skills to 32, and our skills library has increased from 132 specific skills to 354 that you can include in your volunteer listing.

With the newly expanded VolunteerMatch skills library, it's even easier to connect with the right volunteers for your nonprofit organization.

That’s a lot of skills! They include a blend of general, more common skills, and industry- and product-specific skills. (For example, you can recruit a Drupal expert, or a music teacher…) The new skills library covers a huge range, so you can be specific and strategic about recruiting skilled volunteers for exactly what you need.

And remember, every time you include skills from the new library in your volunteer listing on VolunteerMatch, the opportunity will automatically appear on LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace, in front of more than 300 million skilled professionals! (Click here for more information about this partnership and how to connect your VolunteerMatch account to your LinkedIn Company page.)

The whole point of these changes is to make it even easier for your nonprofit to connect with the volunteers you really need. And this is just the beginning – stay tuned for even more great enhancements in early 2015…

Let us know how we’re doing in the comments below, and try out the new features today by posting a volunteer opportunity on VolunteerMatch!