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!

Nonprofit Insights: How to Socialize Your Volunteer Recruitment with Google Ad Grants

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.

How can Google Grants help your increase your online engagement? Join the free VolunteerMatch webinar.Question: What difference would it make for your organization if you could get $120,000 per year in free advertising?

Good news: you can. Join VolunteerMatch and Eric Facas, founder and CEO of Media Cause, to learn the basics of the Google Ad Grants program.

How to Socialize Your Volunteer Recruitment with Google Ad Grants

Register for this free event.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
11am – 12pm PT (2-3pm ET)

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

On Wednesday, December 3, 2014, Eric will walk you through how to take advantage of this free “perk,” as well as strategies for getting started with your account. We’ll also cover more advanced techniques including supporter growth, volunteer recruitment, and how this program could help supercharge your online engagement.

Register for this free Nonprofit Insights webinar now.

The Nonprofit Welcome Wagon: How to Engage Newcomers and Build a Strong Community – Through Volunteering

Guest post by Dylan Manderlink

Dylan volunteering at an animal shelter in her new home.

Dylan volunteering at an animal shelter in her new home.

Upon moving to rural Arkansas from Boston, I had anticipated the reality of how different my new life would be down south. From the great distance between towns, expansive farmland, to the welcoming and warm southern accents, I expected my adjustment to take some time and happen gradually.

Although that’s not completely untrue, through the volunteer opportunities I have taken advantage of and the connections I’ve made to local nonprofits since being here, I feel as if my acclimation was smoother, quicker, and more fruitful than I had originally thought. From volunteering at a local animal shelter once a week, to joining a women’s rights and empowerment organization once a month, I involved myself, my passions, and my talents with the community I now live in. And in return, I have felt welcomed, familiarized, and positively acknowledged in a town that I now call home, despite only having lived here for two months.

Because of the initiative local nonprofit workers have made to involve me, get to know me on both a personal and professional level, and accommodate my unique background, passion, and skills, I have felt a sense of inclusivity and comfort that I didn’t expect within the first two months of living in a new part of the country.

A Pattern of Inclusion is Established

Looking back at my four years of college, I remember searching for nonprofits to get involved with, regular volunteer opportunities to take on, and local events to attend to better understand the new community and major city I was about to live in for four years. In just my first semester alone, I was connecting with passionate nonprofit professionals who deeply cared about the wellbeing of their city and its residents: civilians of Boston who lived in the community for years and years, students from different local colleges and universities, and community members who were experiencing the unfortunate realities of many social injustices.

Through these personal connections, I felt a deeper sense of purpose in my community and a strong feeling of gratitude towards the city and its unique people. Through my nonprofit and community service involvement, I was able to examine my community in a unique, personalized, and impactful way. I felt like I had been an active part in creating community ties and building a sense of unity among the people I was meeting.

Moving to Arkansas has really been no different in that sense, which proves to me that the spirit of volunteerism, community change, and social impact run strong in the nonprofit sector, no matter where you are.

A New Home

Upon transitioning from Boston to Arkansas, I was unsure what the nonprofit landscape would look like down south and what volunteer opportunities I would be able to take part in. At first, it was challenging to remove my urban lens when looking for nonprofit opportunities. Coming from a city, I had never partnered with organizations from rural communities, nor had I connected with professionals whose nonprofits weren’t based in or focused on a specific urban area.

But within days of reaching out to local nonprofits in Arkansas, I was receiving positive, eager, and personal responses. The nonprofit professionals I connected with expressed such thanks for me reaching out and were committed to involving me in the organization right away.

Dylan meets fellow volunteers at a women's rights and empowerment organization in her new hometown.

Dylan meets fellow volunteers at a women’s rights and empowerment organization in her new hometown.

Two weeks ago I attended my first meeting with the women’s rights and empowerment organization I have recently become a member of. Despite not having met any of the women prior, and really only having a brief but very warm email exchange with the director of the group, the moment I entered the meeting as a non-Arkansas native and brand new community member, I was greeted with heartfelt appreciation, warmth, and genuine compassion.

I felt immediately at home amongst such passionate, hard-working, and big-hearted activists. The women made such a genuine effort to get to know me, where I’m from originally, the college I attended, what I studied, and above all – what brought me to Arkansas and how they can help connect me more to the community through service and advocacy. I spent the whole morning creating meaningful connections and sharing vibrant stories about justice and equality with women whom I would have never met otherwise, and I feel very fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to meet and befriend activists in my new community.

Through my very recent experiences of being thoughtfully welcomed and eagerly incorporated into my Arkansas community’s nonprofit landscape, the transition from the northeast to deep south that was once full of uncertainty is now more comfortable, warm, and fruitful than I could have ever imagined.

A Call to Nonprofits

I am full of immense gratitude for the inclusive and encouraging experiences these nonprofits have provided for me since being here, and I would prompt nonprofits around the country to focus on volunteer outreach to those community members who are brand new and may be feeling a little out of place. The compassion of nonprofit professionals can bridge the gap from unfamiliar to at home for a new community member in such a unique, meaningful, and passionate way.

I encourage nonprofits to search for outlets in their community where they can connect with and motivate new residents. It is important to encourage and support alternative perspectives when focusing on volunteerism and social/environmental justice work, so welcoming new viewpoints from nonnative voices to your community will be undoubtedly advantageous in enriching and diversifying the cause your organization is fighting for.

How does your nonprofit welcome newcomers to your community? Tell us about it below!

Dylan Manderlink is a recent graduate of Emerson College in Boston, Mass., who with a self-designed major, Investigative Theatre for Social Change. She is now a Teach for America corps member, teaching high school in rural Arkansas. She is passionate about working in the nonprofit sector and providing educational opportunities for students to creatively inform themselves and others about social justice, community change and human rights.