How VolunteerMatch Volunteers: The Power of Teams

The VolunteerMatch Team at Baker Beach

My VolunteerMatch volunteer team at Baker Beach

At VolunteerMatch, we work full-time on volunteerism. But we also like to get out of the office and volunteer ourselves!

That’s why we’ve split up our staff into small volunteer teams, each led by a team captain.

Mainly, this is for encouragement. We want our staff to feel like they’re supported in their volunteer efforts. A team gives them a place to go to share what they’re working on, generates suggestions from coworkers for new volunteer opportunities, and builds momentum for volunteerism within our organization.

Recently, the volunteer team I lead volunteered at the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (GGNPC). It’s one of my personal favorite organizations to volunteer with in the Bay Area. The staff are incredibly friendly and organized, and I feel great giving back to a place that allows millions of San Franciscans to enjoy its services every year.

Another reason why I love volunteering with the GGNPC is their amazing group volunteering activities. With summer coming, I was looking for a volunteer project that would get me and my coworkers outside for the afternoon. I emailed GGNPC letting them know the size of my group and the dates we were available. They quickly put together a project plan for us with directions to the project site, details on what we would be doing and some information on the impact we would be making to their organization.

Our group arrived at a wooded area next to Baker Beach with a warm welcome from the GGNPC staff. They told us some amazing facts about the area (such as, San Francisco used to get its water from a stream running into Baker Beach) and the types of plants we would be seeing during the day. They instructed us on how to pull weeds and plant flowers correctly, along with how to most efficiently use each of the gardening tools.

After three hours of work, our team had worked so diligently that the GGNPC team rewarded us with a guided Nature Walk. Taking us through the woods, they showed us how volunteers like us make a difference in the natural habitat. Without our weeding and gardening, the beautiful California poppies wouldn’t be able to survive! Our nature hike ended at Baker Beach where we were rewarded with a spectacular view.

I encourage anyone – companies, organizations/ clubs, families, groups of friends – to seek out opportunities such as this.  Group volunteering is a great way to get people out of their chairs and interacting with one another. (And if you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, check out the GGNPC!)

2014 Impact Report: Volunteer Engagement Shows Signs of Recovery

2014 Impact Report 2“Our democracy works because ordinary folks, well-meaning people, each and every day are trying to make it a little bit better.”  -Barack Obama, May 4, 2015

Every year, VolunteerMatch crunches its network data to put together an Impact Report, our infographic version of an annual report. And each year, the report offers insights into volunteer engagement trends, and the people and causes making a difference in neighborhoods across the country.

This year, we discovered five encouraging stats that show the nonprofit sector and volunteer engagement may finally be recovering from the economic recession.

Volunteer Engagement by the Numbers:

VolunteerMatch's 2014 Impact Report

  • 99,132 – the number of groups and causes on VolunteerMatch. working to engage the volunteers they need to make a difference in their community. A record 8,200 new causes registered in 2014.
  • 20% – the increase in new opportunities posted on VolunteerMatch by local causes and groups, inviting volunteers to put their time and talent to good use for a cause they believe in, as compared with 2013.
  • 13,285,814 – the number of potential volunteers accessing VolunteerMatch to find their opportunity match to make a difference.
  • 44% — the increase in the number of potential volunteers who connected with a local cause or organization, as compared with 2013.
  • $1.34 Billion — the estimated collective impact of the volunteers who used VolunteerMatch in 2014 to get involved.

 

If you are looking for more data and insights into the health of volunteer engagement, view the full report.

The New Face Behind @VM_Solutions (And Much More!)

The following post is by Stephanie Hong, one of VolunteerMatch’s newest employee. Please join us in welcoming Stephanie to the team!

Stephanie Hong, VolunteerMatch's new community engagement managerMy first memory of volunteering was when I was 7 years old. My older brother was in the Boy Scouts and I tagged along for their Habitat for Humanity project. I still recall that day: it was warm but breezy, everyone was in a good mood, and we finished ahead of schedule. Granted, I was too young to do any heavy lifting, but I remember feeling a wave of emotion when we completed the project.

Flash forward to now – I’m still addicted to that feeling. From helping various animal welfare organizations to partnering with local food banks to being an animal keeper at a museum, volunteering has brought me so many fond memories. And now I get to make it part of my career! I’ve joined VolunteerMatch as the Community Engagement Manager. #Woohoo!

As the Community Engagement Manager, I am the voice of VolunteerMatch and VolunteerMatch Solutions on social media. Actually, not just the voice, but the cheerleader. The person who gets nonprofits, volunteers, and companies excited to change the (gimme a) W-O-R-L-D. Analytics and advertising are also in my court. Meaning, not only do I cheer everyone on, I also make sure we’re doing it right and getting in front of as many faces as possible.

With experience from the advertising industry and, most recently, media at the San Francisco SPCA, I bring forth marketing expertise, an investigative mind, and a big heart. Spreading VolunteerMatch’s mission is easy; the hard part will be getting people to act. But that is what drives me to do more, and, ultimately, drove me to join VolunteerMatch and its wonderful Engagement team. I want everyone to feel the feeling I felt when I was 7 years old.

To learn more about me, my career, and projects I’ve worked on, connect with me on LinkedIn. To join the VolunteerMatch Solutions conversation, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Better Together: NYC Service & VolunteerMatch


“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” -Harry S. Truman

VolunteerMatch and NYC Service PartnershipIf you’ve spent any time working in the nonprofit sector, you know that there is a cultural expectation to publicly avoid the appearance of competition between organizations…even when (actually, particularly when) they are in fact competing.

So it would be polite to say that NYC Service and VolunteerMatch have for many years been working in the same space…with a shared goal of making it easier for New Yorkers to find volunteer opportunities.

But now, thanks to the leadership of the city’s Chief Service Officer Paula Gavin and her team at NYC Service, we don’t have to say that anymore because now we can say we are partnering to achieve that goal together.

That is right, just in time for National Volunteer Week (April 12-18), NYC Service is breaking new ground to become the first City of Service in the nation to adopt VolunteerMatch’s free Public Use API.

What does this mean? Read the full post from VolunteerMatch President Greg Baldwin.

Hey, Over Here! The Best Place to Discuss Volunteering & CSR

We might be biased. But we LOVE our blog. Volunteering is CSR is a challenge to companies to include volunteerism as a prominent part of their corporate social responsibility – because it pays off in so many ways.

But you know what Screenshot of Volunteering & Corporate Social Responsibility LinkedIn Groupelse we love? Lively conversation about best practices, news, and events around volunteering and CSR. Join the LinkedIn group exclusively for CSR professionals like you – people interested in the role volunteerism plays in a robust CSR program.

Don’t miss out! Dive into the discussion with fellow CSR professionals and thought leaders today. See you there – we can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

(While you’re at it, follow VM Solutions’ LinkedIn page for event announcements, CSR stories, white papers, and more.)

New Time-Saving Features = More Time to Volunteer!

Incorporating volunteerism into your corporate social responsibility program has never been easier. Why? VolunteerMatch recently rolled out new features to our existing tools. We’ve made things simpler and stronger so your company can volunteer better.

Here’s a roundup of the new features:

Updated skills library.

Screen Shot of How to Select Skills

We love that skilled and pro bono volunteering continues to gain momentum, which is why we created this feature. Matching the list of user skills on LinkedIn, you can now post projects, collect data and calculate impact based on specific volunteer skills. For example, do you want to know how many hours your employees donated using their design skills? Done.

Fewer pages and clicks to get to what really matters: Connecting good people with good causes.
Less hassle online means more volunteer time for you and your employees. VolunteerMatch has simplified processes and streamlined our layout so it’s easier and quicker to navigate through our tools and to post volunteer projects.

Third-party contacts to manage relationships with partner organizations.
Add contacts to your VolunteerMatch Solutions site from outside your company, such as your nonprofit partners, and manage all your volunteer-related relationships in one space.

More flexible project types, such as virtual and ongoing.

Launch Screen Shot 2

Technology is constantly increasing the number of volunteer projects that can be done virtually. Give your employees that added flexibility by entering virtual projects, as well as projects that don’t require a specific date and time.

 

 

Stay tuned for a soon-to-be released demo showcasing these new features and more. In the meantime, check out more features of our employee engagement platform.

On #GivingTuesday, Take Your Volunteer Impact to the Next Level

Today is #GivingTuesday. Step up your volunteer impact by donating to VolunteerMatch.Today is #GivingTuesday, a day dedicated to giving back. Today, millions come together to focus on one thing: giving money, time, skills and passion to help make the world a better place.

At VolunteerMatch, though, we know that many of you focus on this type of thing all year round. Whether it’s through your company’s volunteer programs, or volunteering you do on your own time and with family, you know what it means to make a difference for what you care about most.

So today, on #GivingTuesday, we want to show you how to take things to the next level. This year, we’re reaching out to our network and asking you to donate to VolunteerMatch.

Donate to VolunteerMatch and help create more superheroes.Why? Great question! Because VolunteerMatch is a nonprofit, just like where you volunteer your time. Each donation we get helps millions more people find ways to make a difference. (In fact, our unique work with companies helps close to 100,000 organizations connect with skilled volunteers.)

We’re participating in the CrowdRise Giving Tower Holiday Challenge this year to build a tower of donations that reaches higher than any existing building in the world!

So please click here to donate to VolunteerMatch, and then you can click here to download the app and view the Tower being built in real time.

With your help, we can create a network of volunteer superheroes that will make anything possible – even a tower to the moon!

Click here to donate to VolunteerMatch.