People Make the Difference: The Joys of Discovery

Each day, people discover ways they can make a difference. And as the VolunteerMatch network grows, so does our impact.You may have noticed lately that we’ve been highlighting the data and stats in our 2013 Annual Impact Report. And these numbers are exciting, don’t get me wrong. We’re data nerds with the best of them.

But data isn’t the whole picture, especially when we’re talking about social impact. The truth is, there’s no substitute for the stories behind those numbers. These are what show us that each one of us – staff member, employee, volunteer, company, nonprofit – can make a difference. Hearing about real-life stuff going on in the network is what inspires us to take action.

So as you browse the Impact Report, take a look at some of these great micro stories that showcase the amazing work happening in the VolunteerMatch network. You’ll see how technology, and your company’s use of it, creates real change in the community.

Each day, people discover ways they can make a difference. And as our network grows, so does our impact.

Keep up the great work!

Has VolunteerMatch made a difference for your company and employees? Share it on social media using #vmstory, or submit the full story here!

Has VolunteerMatch made a difference for your company and employees? Share it on social media using #vmstory, or submit the full story here!

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21 Ideas for Re-Purposing All Those Volunteer Event T-Shirts

Make a dress out of volunteer event t-shirts Is there any symbol of the volunteer experience more iconic and recognizable than the t-shirt? This cultural mainstay of American volunteerism represents unity, pride and purpose to everyone bonded by its bright colors and advertised program, organization or mission.

When it comes to showcasing our passions and involvements, our t-shirt collections define us. Indeed: we are what we wear.

For those with years of service under their belts, you’ve probably got a drawer full of t-shirts that rarely see the light of day. Too sentimental and hard-earned to give away, too starchy or unisex to make it into your everyday wardrobe – what is to be the fate of these wearable certificates of community involvement?

Luckily, creative minds have put their energies toward inspiring re-use options for this personal, yet impractical collection. Here is just a sampling of the fun and funky ways to give your volunteer wardrobe a second life, whether you are an animal lover, fashionista, home decorator, or deal-seeker looking for do-it-yourself gift ideas. Enjoy!

For the At-Home Artisan:

Make a rug out of volunteer event t-shirtsMake your colorful collection brighten up a room with a cozy rag rug or a braided basket.

Want to keep your t-shirts more intact and be reminded daily of all you’ve been a part of? This t-shirt quilt is a total favorite! Get those memories and feel-good vibes out of the drawer and onto your bed – it’s safe to say, this quilt will help you sleep at night!

Easy coasters and fabric bowls are perfect touches for beginner crafters to start with.

For the Do-It-Yourself Trendsetter

Make a scarf out of volunteer event t-shirts.Pinterest is bursting with intriguing ways to “upcycle” your t-shirts into more artistic wearable designs. Check out making a fringe scarf, a halter top, or even jewelry out of your old tees, and enjoy the comfort and softness of cotton while making a much more upscale fashion statement.

Your t-shirt is a blank slate, a palette, and with ideas like these, you can play trendy designer and show everyone how fashionable it is to help others. Ooh, community service looks good on you!

For the Homemade Gift Enthusiast

Have a friend who loves a particular cause? Make a no-sew tote bag out of a t-shirt with a compelling quote, striking image or the name and date of an event she loved, and she’ll be able to showcase her pride daily, without having to re-wear the same t-shirt day after day.

For the cook in the family, a fun t-shirt you just don’t wear anymore can become a go-to apron – might be the perfect solution for one that already had a stain or paint splatter.

A braided rug can make a lovely housewarming gift for the entryway, and this darling, soft headband is a perfect pick-me-up for a sister.

For the Pet Lover

Make a dog toy out of volunteer event t-shirts.Make a braided doggie chew toy! This is a fun one to do with your kids – no sewing necessary, and they’ll have a blast making a gift for the family dog. Once you’ve got it down, keep up the do-gooder spirit that got you the tees in the first place, and make a batch to bring to your local pet shelter. The animals rarely get new toys, so it’ll send the pups and the caretakers over the moon. This is an awesome activity for a birthday party, camp service project, or rainy afternoon playdate.

For older kids ready to take it to the next level, here’s a crocheted t-shirt kitty cave for your feline friends – washable, durable and cozy.

For the Mom-to-Be

Make a quilt out of volunteer event t-shirtsNo one wants to overspend on clothes for little ones that will no longer fit in 6 months, so why not make pajamas, dresses, even blankets out of your soft, well- worn t’s? Here’s to passing on the spirit of volunteerism to the next generation!

Looking for an adorable gift for a baby shower? These little lamb toys will add a soft touch to any nursery, and this knotted baby hat is sure to warm heads and hearts alike.

Thanks, volunteering, for the starting materials for all of these cute, crafty and useful designs! Just more proof that doing good in the community always ends up making the volunteer feel awesome, too.

Happy crafting! Need more t-shirts to complete these? We know where you can sign up to volunteer again…

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Have Some Fun Today: Which Celebrity Do-Gooder Are You?

Don’t forget – volunteering is supposed to be fun! Sharing social good-themed stories, videos and quizzes is a great way to remind your employees why their volunteer work is important, get them more engaged, and keep things light and fun.

VolunteerMatch recently partnered with Zimbio and United Way Worldwide to produce the quiz “Which Celebrity Do-Gooder Are You?”

Have some fun and share this quiz - which celebrity do-gooder are you?

So take the quiz, share it with your employees, colleagues and everyone you know, and let’s spread some do-good fun today!

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Inspiration Lives Here

Read inspiring stories of companies making a difference through employee and consumer engagement.

Who will you inspire with your company’s story?

Actually, inspiration is shared here. What really inspires us is the difference companies like yours can make through your employee and consumer engagement activities. Not only does your work have a direct impact in your communities, your employees feel richer and more fulfilled by the opportunity to give back through their workplace. What a deal!

When we hear about companies who are doing great things in volunteering, we tell their stories.

 

Want to be inspired? Read through the stories below, learn from what others in your field are doing, and share with your employees:

Does your company make a difference through your employee volunteer activities? Contact us and tell us about it! 

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Join Us for a Week-Long FestiVOL

Volunteering is the best, right? So this year, in honor of National Volunteer Week, we’ve decided to celebrate volunteers and the difference they make by launching a spectacular week-long FestiVOL – and we want YOU to join us!

Why FestiVOL?

Join VolunteerMatch for FestiVOL, a week-long celebration of volunteering in honor of National Volunteer Week.At VolunteerMatch, we hope FestiVOL will help you, your company and your employees make the most of National Volunteer Week. Whether it‘s appreciating your volunteers, demonstrating impact, or building out new projects, VolunteerMatch will be providing tips on how you can increase engagement.

Each day we will release three “nuggets” just for you: One piece of inspiration, one piece of knowledge, and one action. We hope you’ll share these with your community members, learn from them, and encourage everyone to get more involved.

Join FestiVOL!

FestiVOL will run from April 6-12. You can see all the nuggets as we release them on the FestiVOL landing page.

You and your employees can join FestiVOL by following on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the hashtag #FestiVOL. We hope FestiVOL gives you the energy, passion and ideas to make our communities stronger and our world happier all year long!

How will YOU celebrate volunteering during FestiVOL?

Gorgeous FestiVOL graphic designed by Katy Roby.

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Family, Community, Country Music and Volunteering

CMT One Country volunteer engagement programWhen someone says, “country music,” usually volunteering does not come to mind. But the two have more in common than it would initially seem, for at the core of both lie two integral values: family and community.

CMT One Country is dedicated to connecting its viewers to local volunteer opportunities. Founded on those very values of family and community, CMT, a subsidiary of MTV and Viacom, broadcasts popular country artists and music programs. Its “One Country” volunteer program encourages its national audience of almost 100 million homes to take action and give back to their communities.

For the past seven years, CMT One Country has used VolunteerMatch Solutions to make finding national volunteer opportunities as easy as possible.

Learn more about how CMT One Country engages its fans as volunteers and encourages the values of family and community using VolunteerMatch tools.

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