At VolunteerMatch we learn so much from other experts in the field of volunteer engagement and management, and we want to help you stay up to date on the latest news and trends. Check back every month for snapshots of what experts in the field are talking about.Putting Strategic Engagement at the Core
Beth Steinhorn of JFFixler Group introduces us to the new Strategic Volunteer Engagement Track making its debut at the Conference on Volunteering and Service this year. This development places volunteer engagement at the core of the conference, and with experts like Beth and our own Jennifer Bennett contributing, it’s bound to be enlightening and valuable.A Better Board Will Make You Better
Most nonprofit boards are ineffective, state Kim Jonker and William F. Meehan III right at the beginning of their SSIR article. If you agree (and also if you don’t, actually,) read their post for comprehensive strategies to make your board a bigger and better influence for your organization. (And for more about nonprofit board engagement, check out our upcoming Nonprofit Insights webinar, “Building a Future-Friendly Nonprofit Board.”)It’s Red Cross Month
Each year, the president of the United States proclaims March “Red Cross Month.” With stats like “every nine minutes, the American Red Cross brings help and hope to people in need,” it’s easy to understand why. Check out how the Red Cross is engaging people to get involved – and perhaps get some ideas for how your own organization can expand engagement.5 Nonprofits that Newsjacked Facebook During the Oscars
This one’s mainly just for fun. Still, “newsjacking” – art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story – can be very effective for nonprofits. Here are some examples of Oscars newsjacking that Facebook marketing expert John Haydon called out on his blog.
As winter winds down (hopefully) and the polar vortex fades away (hopefully), it’s almost time for the start of another season of the Social Media for Nonprofits conference series.
Each year we make a big deal out of these events, and there’s a good reason: They just make sense. One day dedicated to helping you learn practical, real-life strategies for making social media work for your organization, located conveniently in your own community. These conferences are designed to help you leverage social media for your volunteering program, fundraising and general outreach.
VolunteerMatch is a global partner of the Social Media for Nonprofits series – because we think this is the premier conference series dedicated to social media for social good. Each event features an impressive lineup of local and national experts and practitioners that present best practices for you to use social media in your work. Not to mention all the great networking!Discounts for VolunteerMatch Members
As part of our partnership, we’re offering special discounts to VolunteerMatch members for Social Media for Nonprofits conferences. Just use the code “VMatch” when registering.
(Note: this discount is for the middle and high-level registration – it unfortunately does not apply to the lowest price level.)Bay Area Boot Camps are Back
For the second year, the Social Media for Nonprofits team is adding a second day to its events in the San Francisco Bay Area, for Nonprofit Boot Camp. Boot Camp is a highly practical conference designed to connect nonprofit leaders to the resources, best practices and contacts needed to create a better world.
In other words, get ready to meet a lot of inspiring people and learn a lot of practical things. If you’re within driving distance of San Francisco and/or Silicon Valley, we highly recommend attending.
So check out upcoming dates and locations for the Social Media for Nonprofits series, and don’t forget to use your discount code when registering!Upcoming Dates
New York City
New York, NY
Mountain View, CA
San Francisco, CA
What if you had never had access to books when you were young? (This includes e-books on tablets, too.) How would your life be different now? How would YOU be different?
Africa has the highest percentage of illiteracy in the world, and many African teachers have to teach reading, writing, math and English without even a single book to use as a resource. Meanwhile, U.S. shelves and landfills overflow with discarded books.
Enter Chris Bradshaw and her nonprofit organization, African Library Project.
Chris realized the massive need for books in Africa, and she discovered she had a way to help. The books so many people in the U.S. simply get rid of could be used to educate an entire continent.
Since its beginning, African Library Project has been a grassroots organization. It has always depended on the generosity and leadership of volunteers across the country. In fact, the organization itself is completely volunteer-run – the board meets around Chris’s dining room table.
Read more about Chris and African Library Project, and how volunteers are the magic ingredient that bring books and learning to people a world away – and inspiration to us all right here.
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.
Your board plays a critical role in overseeing your organization’s mission, finances and strategic direction. So it’s equally critical that these board members are supportive of the changes in tools and practices necessary to help your organization stay relevant and viable in today’s rapidly changing world.Building a Future-Friendly Nonprofit Board
Register for this free event.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
11am – 12pm PT (2-3pm ET)
Join VolunteerMatch for the March 2014 Nonprofit Insights webinar that will focus on how to cultivate, engage and retain great board members that are “future-friendly.” We’ll hear from Jenifer Holland, Director of Consulting at BoardSource, about best practices and strategies for finding and engaging the best board members for your organization. We’ll also be joined by Shayla Price, Executive Director for the National Search Dog Alliance, who will share her first-hand experience working with boards from the nonprofit side, as well as serving as a board member herself.
Wondering how to build a board that will support your organization as it moves forward into the future? This webinar will provide ideas and strategies so you’ll never need to “fight” your board for change again.
This year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) hosted by NTEN is approaching – and I don’t know about you, but the VolunteerMatch team is fervently hoping Washington, D.C. will get it together and get rid of that snow before the event kicks off on March 13.
That’s not all that’s on our wish list for this year’s NTC, though. Here are some of the places and spaces we hope to see you this year during the conference. Can’t be there in person? Don’t worry – there are some virtual opportunities on our list, too…Day of Service
The #14NTC Day of Service on Wednesday, March 12, is our chance to give back to the NTC’s host community of Washington, D.C. This year VolunteerMatch is sponsoring (how appropriate!) to help everyone find a volunteer opportunity that fits with your interests and time. You can join a volunteer group, or recruit a group of your own for a rewarding day of giving back.
If your nonprofit is based in D.C. and you’re interested in hosting NTC volunteers for the day, check out this page for instructions to suggest a project.See Shari Talk in Public
VolunteerMatch’s Director of Engagement, Shari Ilsen, will be speaking at a session about designing and measuring engagement in a strategic, mission-driven way. Join Shari and expert nonprofit consultant Lauren Girardin for “You CAN capture lightening in a bottle: Motivating and measuring engagement.” For a practical, fun session that every nonprofit communications person will find valuable.
Also, be sure to see Lauren again as she speaks at “Digital Marketing That Gets Results: 30 Ideas You Can Use Monday Morning” for a thorough look at the latest strategies for ramping up digital marketing at your organization.Some Volunteering-Related Sessions “Handing over the keys: empowering and supporting volunteer leaders”
This session is for people with big ambitions for their volunteer programs. It will show you how to empower volunteers to take on leadership roles, and the challenges, rewards and systems that make it possible.“The Power of Technology and the Millennial Generation”
Join new generation experts, including some of our friends from Network for Good, as they explore big ideas around how to leverage, engage, and collaborate with the Millennial Generation (13-35). Talk through big ideas around volunteer engagement, strategic fundraising practices with a new generation, and technology to build your own youth/millennial network.“What’s Your Board’s IT IQ? Does it Matter?”
With only 1% of board members having any technology background, IT is rarely discussed at board meetings. Yet, these are the very stakeholders who have influence on whether or not technology is viewed as a strategic advantage or simply operational overhead. This talk provides tips and ideas for increasing your board’s IT IQ in order to view technology as a strategic tool to enhance your organization’s capacity. (This is a great tie-in with our upcoming webinar on “Building a Future-Friendly Nonprofit Board!”)Pick Up Some Swag
We’ll also be manning a booth at this year’s Science Fair – so stop by Booth #617 to say hi and score some of the awesome VolunteerMatch swag we’ll have with us. (No, I won’t tell you what it is, but we’ll ALSO have candy…)Connect Online
Can’t make it to NTC in person this year? No worries! NTEN has an Online NTC that is lower cost and commitment. This is a great way to catch the highlights of the conference from anywhere.
If you’re on Twitter, be sure to follow #14NTC to join in the conversation – you certainly don’t have to be at the conference to tweet with attendees. Connect with the VolunteerMatch folks @silsen, @lauren_lynn2 and @heyshannondavid.
Are you going to the Nonprofit Technology Conference this year? Share your must-do’s with us below!
There’s a lot more to Joe Waters than QR Codes. Of course, anyone who’s followed Joe’s well-respected cause marketing blog, SelfishGiving.com, already knows this. But his new book “Fundraising with Businesses” will remove any lingering doubt cynics may have had.
Drawing on an impressive career of doing exactly what his book is about, Joe presents 40 strategies for how nonprofits can engage businesses in fundraising initiatives. The book is easy and fun to read, and contains both illuminating examples and practical tips for those of us on the ground actually doing the work every day.Why is This Important?
Funding is always going to be one of the biggest challenges for nonprofit organizations – and even more so in a down economy. When previous sources of funding begin to dry up, organizations must get creative and diversify. Partnering with businesses is a great way to do this.
Companies all over the world are realizing how critical it is for them to give back – not just for the public image, and not just because their employees want it, and not just because it actually makes good business sense, but because many of them really do want to help make the world a better place. This presents a huge opportunity for nonprofits to step in a guide these businesses (and drum up some significant support in the process).Fundraisers that Involve Volunteering
While most of “Fundraising with Businesses” doesn’t directly deal with volunteer engagement, a few of the 40 strategies presented are volunteer-based: Dollars for Doers is an obvious one – many companies already have “volunteer grant” programs that enable employees to gift company money to their charity of choice when they track enough volunteer hours.
Another fundraiser profiled in the book that involves volunteers is what Joe calls a “Building Fundraiser.” Leveraging the interesting aspects (and heights) of a partner’s physical space will most often involve engaging employees, tenants and visitors in some sort of action for the fundraising itself. Similar to engaging runners for a road race, these volunteers will be willing to climb that extra floor for your cause.Reading Volunteer Engagement Between the Lines
Beyond these obvious volunteering elements, there are other connections that we can make between this book and volunteer engagement. And I’m not just talking about the fact that when engaged, these companies actually become a “volunteer” for you – as a fundraiser! But also because the best practices involved with these partnerships are the same ones that are critical when engaging volunteers in your work. Here are some examples that jumped out at me:Make a Good Match
Throughout the book, Joe stresses the importance of working with the right partners – not just anyone. For example, thinking about who you’re already connected with via board members, volunteers and funders is an easy way to identify low-hanging fruit. But you should also keep in mind that the best partners are those who are well-aligned with your mission, your local community and your goals for the campaign.
Similarly, running a successful volunteer program requires recruiting volunteers who are a good fit for your organization. In fact, that’s basically what VolunteerMatch is all about. (Volunteer. Match. Get it?) Our free online service is designed to help you connect not just with any volunteer, but the right ones, and this should be something you keep top of mind throughout your recruitment and engagement process.Set Clear Expectations
In every single chapter of the book there’s this great section called: “How It Works in 1-2-3.” And for every single strategy, #1 has something to do with communicating clearly with your corporate partner about expectations around who will do what? For who long? How much money is involved? Etc. Without these details hammered out beforehand, even a strong partnership will eventually fall apart.
Setting clear expectations for your volunteers is also important. Otherwise, volunteers will feel adrift and taken advantage of, and you will feel disappointed that they’re not giving you the level of commitment you were hoping for. That’s why we often stress the importance of bullet points in your volunteer listings.Provide Plenty of Training and Support
One of Joe’s most interesting points in my mind was this: The more you do for your corporate partner, the more likely they are to focus their considerable energy on raising money for you. So give them the training and support they need to do a great job!
Volunteers also need lots of training and support from you. No matter how passionate they are about your cause, or how much time they have to give, you need to be there to answer their questions and show them how to do stuff. The more supported they feel, the more efficient and effective their work will be.Show Your Impact!
It’s okay to brag – in fact, it’s great to brag about the impact you made with a corporate partner during a fundraising project. How many people did you help? How many beaches are now clean? How many puppies have a new home? Not only will this drum up even more excitement and support for your cause, but reporting the success of your program will help your corporate partner make the case to run it again in the future.
The best way to retain and appreciate volunteers is to show them how their work made a difference. Even a simple email can do the job, but a phone call, a handshake, a smile, and a thank you are all great, too. Also, people love infographics. Seriously.Technology is Helpful
Some of the strategies in Joe’s book are technology based, like the Pin-to-Give fundraiser, or the Facebook Likes fundraiser. But even those that happen more offline can benefit from the involvement of technology, whether it’s for promotion, coordination or tracking.
And if you’re not already using technology as a key element of your volunteer program, you’re a bit behind the times. Even if you don’t have a fancy system for tracking and managing volunteers, you’re probably using Excel. Plus, we all know how helpful social media can be when it comes to volunteer engagement.
I highly recommend you check out “Fundraising with Businesses” by Joe Waters. Joe also has some great supporting resources like Pinterest boards and a hashtag (#fwb40) to help you join the conversation.
How have you partnered with businesses to help support your organization? Tell us about it below!
Here’s something you might not realize: When you post your nonprofit’s volunteer needs on VolunteerMatch.org, they’re not just seen by the people who type www.volunteermatch.org into their browsers.
Your opportunities are also seen by 3.5 million employees who volunteer through companies that work with VolunteerMatch Solutions. Your volunteer opportunities are also found via our partner websites – and this gets your organization added exposure to millions more people.
For example, on March 9, 2014 the world will celebrate Good Deeds Day. This is quite simply an annual celebration of good deeds – and a way to inspire and incite action to create even more impact. You can watch this video to get an idea of how big this movement has become:
This idea is so simple, yet so inspirational. And that’s why it’s so successful. Focusing on thinking, speaking, and doing good is something everyone can do in some way. Good Deeds Day founder Shari Arison believes that if we mobilize enough people to act, we can reach a critical mass, and change the world.
So what is your organization’s critical mass? What support do you need in order to make a real difference for your community and fulfill your mission?
Good Deeds Day is helping its millions of participants to get involved using VolunteerMatch’s network. You can harness the energy created on Good Deeds Day by making sure your volunteer opportunities are posted and updated on VolunteerMatch.org. And get your existing community of supporters excited to join in on March 9 to change the world.
What’s your critical mass? Make the most of Good Deeds Day by posting and updating your volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch.org.
Let me tell you a story:
In 1995, a new nonprofit organization called Impact Online began promoting the idea of virtual volunteering, a phrase that was probably first used by one of the nonprofit’s co-founders, Steve Glikbarg. There were many volunteers contacting this new volunteer-matching service to say they wanted to volunteer partly or entirely online, but Impact Online could find only a few nonprofits willing to create activities for such volunteers. Impact Online hoped that by promoting virtual volunteering, more organizations would adopt the practice.
When Impact Online became VolunteerMatch, we continued to promote virtual volunteering by allowing organizations to mark assignments on its volunteer matching database as “virtual.” Then, in 1999, VolunteerMatch worked with the Virtual Volunteering Project at the University of Texas at Austin to promote the first Virtual Volunteering Guidebook by Susan Ellis and Jayne Cravens.
Since then, VolunteerMatch has continued to promote virtual volunteering, and our network of volunteering opportunities now allows individuals to search for online volunteering opportunities by location cause, keyword, and more.A Beautiful Culmination
When we heard that Susan and Jayne had spent several years creating The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, we were excited to be a part of its launch. The book is a great resource for organizations who are just figuring out how to engage online volunteers in their work, AND for those nonprofits who are looking for ways to grow their virtual volunteering programs.
An organization that uses the Internet to support and involve volunteers is sending a message to its supporters that it is modern and efficient, that it wants to provide convenience to its volunteers, and that it understands the realities of the 21st-century workplace. ~ from The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook covers topics such as how to best design virtual volunteering opportunities, interviewing and screening online volunteers, managing risk, ensuring diversity, and much more. We were excited to see VolunteerMatch mentioned several times throughout the book, as we’ve worked hard to build and expand our resources supporting virtual volunteering.
It’s tough to know for sure, but we THINK that this book may actually be the last one you’ll ever need about virtual volunteering. Either way, it’s a great one to have now.
So check out The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook – you may just find yourself loving virtual volunteering as much as we always have.
This post also appears on Volunteering is CSR.
Heading to SXSW Interactive this year? You won’t be alone. Attendance at the year’s coolest tech conference – where digital creatives, techies, do-gooders and marketers come together to figure out the future — tracks the tech bubble. And with apps these days selling for this many zeros, you can bet SXSW will see more than the 30,000 people who showed up last year.
In years past, SXSW was trumpeted as a great place to launch new products. That’s changed recently, as fewer apps have kept their mojo after getting lots of attention during SXSW. These days, what’s keeping SXSW hotter than ever is an increased awareness of the power of SXSW conversations and ideas to have an impact in society.
That’s great news if you work in technology for social good. When everyone is focused on the hot new app, it’s hard to get in a word edgewise about things like online organizing, new forms of digital activism, digital cause marketing, or microvolunteering. But with the focus on the change that can be wrought with all this new technology, we nonprofits and social do-gooders can finally seize the day.
So without further ado, here’s my roundup of what I think are the important sessions, lounges, and events that will focus on social good this year at SXSW.The Beacon Lounge
The Beacon Lounge will be back at Austin Convention Center for its sixth year, and it remains as vital as ever, with four days of meet ups, expert-led discussions, beer, live music, food, and casual hanging out. This year the Beacon debuts the Do Good Dialogues, where pretty much everyone is invited to grab the mic and share how you are using design, technology, and communication to lean in to solutions for us all.SXSW Social Good Hub
The action moves offsite from the convention center to two nearby locations for this series of talks and sessions on social good. The awesome teams at Change.org, Participant Media, and the UN Foundation have put together an amazing agenda of counter-programming on topics like design strategy, innovation, conscious consumption, and more. Plus, a party…of course. (It’s SXSW, after all.)Why Clicktavisim Is Not a Dirty Word
After a decade of Facebook helping billions on the Web learn about issues, it’s amazing that people still doubt the power of social media. But we see time and again how sharing stories about important issues, filling out petitions, and even just liking organizations can be incredible ways to support an organization. Come hear folks like Tumblr’s Liba Rubenstein set the record straight.Ethics & Future of Crowdfunding for Communities
There’s so much hype about the awesome power of crowdfunding that the ethical questions – like what makes for a good social impact investment, and what happens to the money – often get ignored. This session with social good tech ombudsman David Neff is definitely ahead of the trend.Multiplatform Strategies for Making Good Happen
Tons of conversations at SXSW this year will be about multiplatform planning – that is, using all kinds of media formats to keep a story going and influence people to get involved. Nonprofit folks can definitely learn a bunch in this session with some of the best minds in the business like Caitlin Burns and Lina Srivastava.How Tech Companies Can Renew Capitalism
Over the years I’ve seen dozens of web services get launched purporting to have a business model that will change the world. Most fell flat. That’s why I think tech founders with truly innovative approaches like Ben Rattray from Change.org are worth a listen.Hackathons for Social Good
With so many smart folks around, it’s hard not to be inspired by the possibilities. The idea of getting down to business to make the future come to life is why hackathons are so incredibly popular at SXSW.
The list above just scratches the surface. Here’s a big hot tip: Follow #sxgood to keep up with events and real-time memes during and round the conference.
How about you? Are you headed to SXSW this year? Let us know what’s inspiring you about technology for social good.
Just like many other nonprofits these days, VolunteerMatch relies on social media to expand our reach, increase engagement, and most importantly, to provide value for our community.
Also like many other nonprofits these days, we face challenges when it comes to things like staff time and capacity, measurement and tracking, and pricing. This made finding the right social media management tool critical – and once we did, it was like the clouds suddenly blew away and our social media days have been sunny ever since (well, as sunny as San Francisco gets).
Sprout Social fulfills our needs in several different ways: It helps us be more efficient with monitoring, publishing and tracking, it enables multiple departments and staff members to easily get involved with social media engagement, and it’s got a very nonprofit-friendly cost structure.
Check out this case study we just did with Sprout Social that details how we’ve used the tool to improve our social media practices – and learn from it. Think about what your organization’s big challenges are when it comes to social media, and find a tool that helps you overcome them. As we learned, the right fit is out there.
Take a look at the VolunteerMatch/Sprout Social case study, and feel free to ask us any questions!
Picture this: Breakfast, lunch and dinner college students pile into their dining halls, swiping their student card to buy their meals. These “swipes” expire at the end of each term, and many students find themselves with leftover swipes that go unused and wasted.
So let them expire! What’s the big deal? These wasted swipes mean wasted food and money, and the organization Swipes for the Homeless has found a way to fix this.
Recently, VolunteerMatch intern Nicole Villanueva interviewed Rachel Sumekh, the current executive director of Swipes for the Homeless.
Swipes as an organization holds its volunteers dear. The chapters are run entirely by student volunteers who organize projects and get university administration on board to transform their dining dollars for good.
In between all their studies and extracurriculars, these students are able to help out and contribute to social change. They are crucial in establishing the grassroots support for a chapter.
At VolunteerMatch we learn so much from other experts in the field of volunteer engagement and management, and we want to help you stay up to date on the latest news and trends. Check back every month for snapshots of what experts in the field are talking about.World’s Best Intern: Advice from Nonprofits to Interns
Beth Kanter reflects on the challenges and opportunities of being an intern, as well as providing advice from some of her nonprofit colleagues who have managed interns in all areas (including yours truly!) Read the post to learn some great lessons for not only interns, but also those training and supervising them.Web 3.0 Means Mobile Volunteering
Volunteer engagement guru and self-proclaimed social media geek Nicolette Winner points out the rapid pace of technological change, and how it’s causing us all to adapt to new lifestyles (how did we live without smartphones??) Now nonprofits must adapt, as well, and tailor our volunteer engagement strategies to the new “Web 3.0″ world.It’s Time to Discuss the Complex Relationship of Volunteering and Money
For her “Hot Topics” column, Susan Ellis of Energize, Inc. highlights the mistaken belief that volunteering and money are always separate – in fact they are inextricably linked. Not only does volunteer engagement cost the organization, but there are costs incurred by volunteers themselves, as well. Susan delineates what those costs might be for specific types of volunteers, and how organizations can account for them in our engagement strategies.First Do No Harm
In this post on her inspiring and intelligent blog “Volunteer Plain Talk,” Meridian Swift tells the story of a volunteer coordinator who had to make a tough decision while screening a potential volunteer – because after all, the community and clients of the organization have to come first…
Monday, January 20th, the National Day of Service commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was a day of innovation for VolunteerMatch. Unlike past Days of Service where the VolunteerMatch team served at outside organizations, we switched things up by bringing volunteering to us. Twenty New Sector fellows were invited to brainstorm and discuss ideas for VolunteerMatch to creatively engage volunteers, nonprofits, and business leaders in 2014.
So what is New Sector?
At the heart of New Sector Alliance’s mission is empowering young leaders while strengthening the social sector. Partnered with Americorps, New Sector’s Residency in Social Enterprise (RISE) fellowship program allows 25 talented individuals to hold full-time positions at nonprofits of their interest. The fellows also meet as a group to learn how to professionally apply their unique skills to address social dilemmas. This Day of Service at VolunteerMatch was an example of the diverse activities that the young leaders get to experience for the duration of their fellowships.
1. Let your values guide you to skilled volunteers
Ideally, your organization gathers people who share your values to engage in a meaningful volunteer activity. In order to best reach that ideal, you need to first be able to find those individuals.
Use videos that clearly outline your mission while demonstrating the social benefits of your work to attract volunteers to your organization, as well as testimonials to speak for your credibility. Social media is another great way to engage skilled volunteers, where live updates and photos will get people excited to come out to your next opportunity. And, of course, VolunteerMatch’s network of volunteers and nonprofits is another useful resource.
2. Build genuine relationships with your volunteers
Creating and maintaining meaningful relationships was one of the most important and recurring concepts of the discussion. Whether you are holding a one-time event or an on-going opportunity, it is very important to establish a relationship with your volunteers and engage with them to make their experience special.
One great idea that arose from the discussion was the concept of VolunteerMatch ambassadors. Volunteers with a strong passion for their work would be selected for these positions, serving as spokespersons and champions for VolunteerMatch’s mission and resources in their local communities.
You can similarly empower your volunteers and add color to your organization: give your stand-out volunteers special titles, and encourage them to build their own unique identities while feeling like they are part of an impactful network of leaders.
3. Show your appreciation for your volunteers
One of the New Sector fellows mentioned newsletters and in-person meetings as ways to make the organizations who provide service and learning experiences for the fellows feel appreciated and involved. When an organization hosts a fellow, being able to see tangible evidence of their impact on that fellow’s career is a great way to encourage the organization to continue its sponsorship.
Similarly, by letting your volunteers know that you appreciate them, they will have much more of an incentive to continue lending their time. Here are a few ideas of how to show your volunteers how much you care:
Our Next Steps
The concept of ambassadors, passionate champions of VolunteerMatch’s work, resonated well with the VolunteerMatch team. As our staff holds subsequent follow-up meetings, we will keep the three points listed above in mind while continuing to brainstorm ways of implementing an ambassador program. For as important as our own expansion and improvement is, creating meaningful experiences for volunteers and organizations remains the number one goal.
Your Next Steps
While thinking about how to apply the three points listed above, ask yourself some questions throughout the new year:
Thank you New Sector!
Finally, we would like to thank the New Sector fellows for donating their time and thoughts for our discussion. It was a very fun and productive way to truly bring “service” into an MLK Service Day. Thank you.
Have other creative ideas for engaging volunteers in 2014? Share your thoughts below!
I challenge you to find one person who doesn’t love watching videos. And what’s better than videos? Entertaining, inspiring videos about making the world a better place.
That’s just what the 2014 DoGooder Video Awards is asking for: Your submissions of the best videos highlighting the impact being made by nonprofit organizations. The Awards are presented by See3 Communications, YouTube, the Nonprofit Technology Network, The National Youth Media Network and National Alliance for Media and Culture, and sponsored by Cisco.
You can click here to learn more about contest rules and the guidelines, but some of the great prizes include a $3,000 cash prize from Nickelodeon, two festival passes for 2014 AFI DOCS film festival, and free registration to the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference.
You can submit your videos until February 15th via the contest website in the following categories:
Members of the YouTube community will have the opportunity to vote for the best among the finalists from February 28th through March 10th.
Exciting stuff! And you know what’s great about nonprofit videos? They are a great way to engage talented and creative skilled volunteers!
Check out the 2014 DoGooder Video Awards, and if you submit an entry, share it with us below!
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.
With new powerful technology popping up all the time these days, engaging online volunteers is a great opportunity for nonprofit organizations to increase efficiency and impact. But there’s a RIGHT way of doing things when it comes to working with online volunteers – and do you know if your nonprofit is doing it right?The Right Way to Engage Online Volunteers
Register for this free event.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
10am – 11am PT (1-2pm ET)
Join VolunteerMatch and online volunteering expert Jayne Cravens for the February 2014 Nonprofit Insights webinar about how to best involve online volunteers in your organization’s work. How can you create a great online volunteer opportunity? What are the best ways to support online volunteers? How should you be tracking the impact of your online volunteers?
If you recognize the value online volunteers can add to your organization, but aren’t quite sure how to set them and yourself up for success, this webinar is certainly right for you.
On January 21, 2014 we welcomed Jayne Cravens as a guest host of Twitter Talk Tuesday, VolunteerMatch’s monthly Twitter chat. The topic? Virtual Volunteering, of course. Jayne has literally written the book on engaging online volunteers, and it was a pleasure to have her join us and share her expertise with our community of nonprofits, volunteers and companies.
— Liza J (@lizaface) January 21, 2014
Jayne put together a great Storify of the chat, and I highly recommend you check that out to quickly see all of the great tips and lessons that were passed along during the one-hour chat – including best practices for recruiting online volunteers, keeping them engaged, tracking their impact and showing your appreciation.
A2 Great online opportunities for volunteers are tasks that have real value to the organization – explain why tasks are important. #vmtalk
— Jayne Cravens (@jcravens42) January 21, 2014
Want to learn more from Jayne about virtual volunteering? Register here for our upcoming free Nonprofit Insights webinar!
Guest post by Katie Campbell, CCVA
We all have a fairly good idea what “being ethical” means, based on our own experiences, values and beliefs. But in today’s complex world of social and organizational dynamics, our personal ethics is often not enough to tell us how to make the “right” decision at work. At the heart of every ethical dilemma there is a conflict between values – personal, professional, or organizational – which is exactly why it is so tough to choose the correct course of action.
In many organizations, ethics is talked about only at the Board table, or when a p.r. crisis looms, or after someone makes a really big mistake. Sure, we may have a “code of ethics” that was developed years ago. But functioning as an ethical organization requires more than posting a code of ethics on the office wall. The “code” must also live within every employee and every volunteer. There must be consistent modeling from the top, through the actions and words of board members and executive staff. There must be encouragement for staff and volunteers to speak up if they observe unethical behavior among colleagues. There must be opportunities for safe and open discussion of ethical questions and issues.
You may be wondering how the theoretical concept of ethics is relevant to your day-to-day work with volunteers. Well, here are a few examples of real ethical dilemmas encountered by colleagues in our field:
Would these scenarios keep you awake at night? Do you know how you would handle them ethically? Fortunately, there are resources available on how to navigate such tricky situations.
As with other professions, a set of professional ethical values and principles has been established for the field of volunteer administration, along with a simple decision-making process. These will be shared during this upcoming free webinar, along with some practical ideas for how you can increase the conversation about ethics throughout your organization.
In the final analysis, “walking the talk” consistently over time demands that our decision-making skills include:
Join Katie Campbell from the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration as she discusses the role of ethics in volunteer engagement in our upcoming webinar on Tuesday February 11th.
Katherine H. Campbell, CVA, has worked in the field of nonprofit and volunteer management for over 30 years as practitioner, author, trainer and leader. She now serves as the Executive Director of the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA), managing professional credentialing programs for leaders of volunteers.
Does your nonprofit have an education or training initiative that you’d like to expand – significantly?
Does this initiative have the potential to reach A LOT of people, but requires a technology solution in order to exponentially scale?
If the answers to both questions are “Yes!!” then you could qualify for Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation’s Impact Grant. As nonprofit technology geeks ourselves, we think this opportunity seems too good to be true.
The Impact Grant offers recipients a two-year donation of Cornerstone software and services, including unlimited use of our learning management system (LMS) and access to a range of pro bono business consulting services. The grant is designed to support a select group of nonprofits that can effectively leverage Cornerstone’s learning and development technology in innovative and tangible ways for significant community impact.
This is a great opportunity to leverage technology to seriously expand your organization’s impact. Completed applications are due by Friday, March 7, 2014.
So if you’re interested in learning more, you can review the grant program guidelines and register for an information session here.
(Photo via rafael-castillo on Flickr)
Have you checked out the VolunteerMatch Learning Center lately? We’ve got a line-up of valuable and practical webinars about volunteer engagement happening every week – all for free.
You’ll recognize some basic skills trainings and old favorites in there, as well as some exciting new topics with expert guest speakers. Check out some of the highlights below, and then head to the Learning Center to register. Don’t miss this chance to get free professional training!Social Media and Volunteer Engagement
This webinar will offer an introduction to including social media in your volunteer recruitment and retention plans. You’ll see examples of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, as well as blogs that other nonprofits have successfully used to draw attention to their organizations and volunteer opportunities. You’ll also learn about the social media tools available as part of your VolunteerMatch account that can help you promote your volunteer opportunity on other social networking sites.The Ethics of Volunteer Engagement with guest speaker Katherine H. Campbell
Sometimes it can be difficult to identify when you’re facing an ethical dilemma in your work with volunteers. Using volunteer management scenarios and a conversational format, this webinar will cover some of the dilemmas you face when you engage and manage volunteers and provide ideas on how to resolve these situations effectively and ethically.Engaging the Volunteer of the Future
The age of one-size fits all volunteer engagement is coming to an end. This webinar will start with a review of some of the things that we know about what volunteers are looking for in an opportunity. It will then help you use this information to start designing volunteer opportunities and determining who is the “right” volunteer for your program. You’ll also learn how “word of mouth” plays such a large role in attracting volunteers to your organization and how social media makes this even more important.Leveraging Volunteer Talent for Organizational Change with guest speaker Beth Steinhorn
This webinar will explore how to engage volunteers as leaders of change. Learn where your organization is in its lifecycle and gain an appreciation for the importance of innovation in organizational sustainability. The webinar will also feature strategies for supporting volunteers and holding them accountable for change.
Head to the VolunteerMatch Learning Center now to find more great webinars on volunteer engagement – all for free.
According to Target, “One in six students who don’t read proficiently by third grade do not graduate from high school on time — a rate four times greater when compared to proficient readers.” A lack of resources plays a large role in the story those numbers tell, and students are unable to learn properly because only a fraction of their class even has books to read.
Target has decided to take this matter into their own hands. As part of Target’s corporate social responsibility program, they have chosen to put a special focus on education. Target’s goal is to renovate 175 libraries as part of the Library Makeover program that was started in 2007. By rebuilding the libraries, Target is able to provide students with new technology and books for a more useful academic resource.
Target has joined forces with The Heart of America Foundation to make this goal possible. Target has chosen schools that aim to raise their students’ reading proficiencies and have the ability to sustain a new library. These new resources will contribute to students learning to read, which helps set the foundation for future academic success.
Each library is designed and constructed pro bono. Over 3,000 Target employees all over the country are joining in to help build, design and stock these libraries. With the help of VolunteerMatch’s Employee Volunteer Solution, Target employees are able to find opportunities in their areas to be a part of a library renovation.
In addition to a brand new library, schools also receive 2,000 new books, and updated technology complete with iPads and interactive whiteboards. To top it off, Target has chosen to donate seven new books to each student and their siblings for them to take home. The schools are also offered the option to adopt the Target “Meals for Minds” program that donates healthy food to students and their families each month.
Dean Osaki, Target Community Relations Project Manager, spoke in 2013 about the renovation of a San Francisco elementary school. He said, “Target renovated Hillcrest Elementary School Library in October, and converging on the school were over 125 local Target team member volunteers. So many parents came up to see their child’s new library, and all left with smiles when each student left with 25 lbs. of healthy food, a new backpack, and seven new books!”
Over 700 volunteer hours go into each library renovation, which adds to the growing number of 107,000 total hours tracked since the Target Library Makeover Project was started. At VolunteerMatch we are impressed by this program because Target’s employee volunteers are helping to fix the root of the problem instead of slapping a bandaid on it. The new libraries are a result of volunteers getting together to grant each school and its students greater access to academic resources.
Congratulations to Target and all the schools they have helped and are planning to help, and keep up the great work!