Springtime is the time for getting out and doing good with your kids! Here are a few key opportunities for kids and teens to pitch in and help someone in need this season:
1. National Volunteer Week (April 6 - 10, 2016) > The long celebrated National Volunteer Week is a great time for families to connect with local organizations and causes they care about to support a specific volunteer project in their community. The week-long celebration also encourages volunteer appreciation and media coverage of year-round opportunities for volunteers to pitch in and help others. Learn more and access a free National Volunteer Week toolkit over on PointsofLight.org.
2. Global Youth Service Day (April 15 - 17, 2016) > With a special focus on the contributions of children and youth in their community, GYSD (sponsored by Youth Service America) is the largest service event in the world. It's easy for families to get involved > visit the Global Youth Service Day website and work with your kids to pick, plan, post and promote a service project that will impact their neighborhood or community.
3. Earth Day (April 22, 2016) > Earth Day falls on a Friday this year and what better way to engage children in stewardship of the environment than with service and volunteer projects that weekend? Whether volunteering at an Earth festival or celebration in your city, pitching in at the community or school learning garden, or simply beautifying the green space of a local nonprofit, there are tons of 'green' ways to get involved, see more here.
Related: 6 Eco-friendly Service Ideas
4. Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2 - 6, 2016) > This treasured week to recognize and thank teachers is a great way to involve kids in acts of kindness and generosity. Handwriting thank you cards and creating giftbaskets or baking sweet treats for the teacher together are simple ways kids can take action in showing their appreciation. Check out more teacher appreciation ideas here.
5. Hasbro Community Action Hero Award > Know a young person already making a difference in their community? You can nominate them for the Hasbro Community Action Hero Award, a program of GenerationOn. With nominations opening soon, it's a great time to think about the outstanding children (5 - 18 yrs) who you know that are making an extraordinary mark on their community through service, advocacy or innovation. Learn more here.
Tags: family service ideas, family volunteer ideas, family volunteering, global youth service day, kid volunteer ideas, national volunteer week, spring volunteering for kids
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Looking to make a difference in your community but falling short on funds? Even the littlest amount of money can make a difference towards purchasing much-needed supplies, food, and gas for your initiative. There are GOOD companies out there who want to support your ideas - you just need to know where to find them. Check out these 3 below:
1. DreamBuilders Contest: Now through Feb. 7th, 2016, CreatetheGood.org is collecting video entries for the DreamBuilders contest where the grand prize winner will get $2,500 to support their favorite nonprofit's service project or event. It's super simple to enter, even a short video from your smartphone will do! Click here to register and submit your entry today >>
2. Thrivent Financial Action Teams: Thrivent Financial, a leading financial services organization "connecting faith and finances for good," supports community volunteer teams led by Thrivent members. With seed money and promotional supplies provided by Thrivent Financial, these Action Teams are an incredible way for Thrivent members to make an impact where they live, work and worship. Learn more.
3. GrantWatch.com: Keep an eye on GrantWatch for news about grants and government dollars allocated for community service. Filter your alerts by region, category of nonprofit or service initiative, and source of grants (federal, foundation, state, etc). Learn more here
An all to real situation volunteer managers have to face when coordinating a busy schedule for lots of volunteers is last-minute cancellations. Not only can this seriously affect the support your volunteer event so vitally needs, but it can cause undue stress and lead to further scheduling complications. Check out these 5 top tips for preventing and handling last-minute volunteer cancellations:
1. Coordinate volunteers online: Free, online volunteer scheduling systems like VolunteerSpot afford volunteer managers the capability to rely on comprehensive online tools to schedule, manage and communicate with volunteers (to avoid last-minute cancellations). An easier alternative to paper sign-up sheets and 'reply-all' emails, free, online sign-ups from VolunteerSpot ensure all your volunteers the convenience of checking out available spots to get involved from their computer or mobile device; as well as captures contact information for the organizer and issues automated confirmation and reminder messages. Try a free demo
2. Ask volunteers to swap: Establish a 'swap' policy with your volunteer group where if someone cannot make their shift, they're in charge of swapping their spot with another volunteer who can cover them. *Note: VolunteerSpot's unique "Swap" feature makes it super easy for volunteers to message and swap spots with one another, right from the online sign-up. Learn more
3. Share a 'sub' list: If the total spots for your volunteer event filled quickly, but you still have interested individuals, ask them to serve as subs or alternate to be on call if someone cancels. Build your substitute list in VolunteerSpot as a "no date" sign-up, or share with your volunteer group using Google Docs or Dropbox, free cloud storage tools.
4. Invite volunteers to bring friends: When recruiting volunteers for your school or nonprofit, encourage individuals to come in groups or with friends. Volunteers may be less likely to cancel last minute if they have both a commitment to the event and to another person they're going with.
5. Use group messaging tools: Find easy ways to communicate with your entire volunteer group quickly in case of a last-minute cancellation. VolunteerSpot's online sign-ups come with free messaging tools that help leaders email volunteers in seconds as a group or by status (i.e. signed up, invited, etc). Apps like Voxer and Facebook Messenger let you text, message, or live voice chat with your volunteer group wherever they're at on any device.
At VolunteerSpot, we power festivals big and small around the country - from one-day community events like the Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson, to multi-day international events like the Long Beach International Film Festival. We wanted to learn more and went to the experts at FestForward.
Laurie Kirby and Stuart MacNaught, two long time veterans in the festival space, saw the diversity of festivals and lack of a centralized network and community and created FestForward, a conference dedicated to festival organizers. On Sunday, November 22, over 500 attendees gathered in Santa Barbara to learn from one another over the course of three days while participating and enjoying dozens of panels, speakers, a hackathon, live music, wine and beer tastings and a “Best of Fests” Award Ceremony.
Highlights included Lesa Ukman, a leading authority on sponsorships, who led an intimate panel that helped festivals better understand how to approach sponsors and execute sponsorship proposals, and Scott Mirkin, one of America’s most successful event producers, sharing his thoughts on the importance and evolution of technology in festivals.
The diversity of festivals is impressive and that’s before you consider the people and companies who bring them to life. From tiny non-profits, which can be staffed almost entirely by volunteers and rely on donations or fundraisers for support, to large for-profit organizations with legions of paid staff with healthy budgets and big name sponsors that can generate millions of dollars in revenue.
Not surprisingly many of these festivals and their organizers face a number of similar challenges including sponsorship activation, staffing, volunteer organization and most importantly delivering a great experience to attendees. A number of vendors were on hand at FestForward to show off their solutions for addressing these issues including Eventbase, a company that specializes in designing world class apps for festivals of all shapes and sizes. In addition to building custom apps for events like SXSW, the London Olympics and Sundance they also offer a free version for those who might have a slightly smaller budget.
Based on the success of this year’s event dates have already been announced for next year’s conference which will take place November 20 – 22 in Santa Barbara. For more details, please visit: http://www.aboutfest.com/home.html
Recruiting volunteers? Trying to engage new supports for your organization? Simply need more hands helping at school? Bookmark this list of 8 simple but innovative and time-saving communication tactics for reaching volunteers:
1. Tweet: A simple tweet can say a lot! If your community organization is looking for volunteers, strategic tweeting might do the trick. Utilize searchable hashtags like city names, events, etc. Check out, 8 Best Practices When Tweeting for Help.
2. Email: Whether in a letter-style email from your nonprofit leader or an eNewsletter full of content and volunteer opportunities, email is going to be one of your number one ways to reach current and potential volunteers at just the right time. Companies like Emma, MailChimp, Constant Contact, and iContact are great vendors to check out for more enhanced eMarketing capabilities.
3. Blog/Webpage: If your nonprofit has a website, make sure your volunteer webpage is doing everything it can for you! Post volunteer opportunities and sign-up links frequently, share volunteer testimonials, and encourage visitors to follow your group on social media. You never know, your next great volunteer leader might just be a google search away!
4. Online Sign-Ups: The easiest way to coordinate and communicate with volunteers is to schedule and remind them online! Planning a service project, an appreciation potluck, a carnival, festival or fundraiser? VolunteerSpot's free online sign-ups and scheduling tools are the answer for saving time and boosting participation! Try it out now
5. Facebook: Reach volunteers where they're at - on social media! Posting volunteer opportunities, nonprofit news, even feel good quotes and volunteer pictures is a great place to start in developing a communication highway on facebook. Check out Facebook for Volunteer Recruitment & Engagement.
6. Post online: Online resources like HandsonNetwork.org, VolunteerMatch.org and CreateTheGood.org let organizations and nonprofits post volunteer opportunities in an online database that anyone can access who is interest. Read more
7. Word of mouth: Few recommendations carry as much weight as someone telling a friend what an amazing time they had volunteering for your organization. If you're group is struggling to recruit new members, consider a "Bring a friend program" where current volunteers are encouraged to bring a friend or group with them to the next volunteer event. Organic, word-of-mouth buzz helps build a loyal base of supporters for years to come.
8. Like organizations: Network with similar organizations in your area to boost one another's visibility in the community. Partnering with another local cause or group can give you access to a whole new sect of volunteers and donors who have a record for giving back and supporting the community. Consider swapping emails to one another's lists, sharing booth expenses at the community festival or promoting one another on social media.
Tags: online volunteer sign ups, volunteer communication, volunteer engagement, volunteer scheduling, volunteer sign ups
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Fundraising events like galas, auctions, walk-a-thons, and are not only great community builders but main sources of operating budgets for non-profits big and small. Event fundraising, however, can be a real gamble especially when resources are tight.
A recent IndustryView study from Software Advice, a company that provides online reviews of nonprofit software, illumines answers to these questions and many more with insights based off a survey of fundraisers who have planned at least one major event in the past year. Check out their INFOGRAPHIC with key findings below and read the full report here.
Key Findings Include >
Type of Event: Fun Runs and Walks are recommended for non-profits of all sizes due to their higher ROI and ease of planning, while time-consuming events like concerts and galas take much more work and bigger initial investments.
How to Organize: Event planning and volunteer management tools streamline coordination and communication and save hours of administrative work. Check out our favorite free tech tools that simplify event planning, and the Top 10 Fundraising and Donor Management Software Systems recommended by SoftwareAdvice.com.
What to Measure: Cost Per Dollar Raised (CDPR), # of attendees, # of donors - what your non-profit measures for success can affect how you decide to fundraise in the future.
Training for a 5k? Try training to organize one! From managing tactical event details to recruiting and organizing volunteers and sponsors, coordinating an outdoor race or athletic fundraiser can really take the wind out of you. Stress less and save time finding all the help you need with free online sign-ups from VolunteerSpot!
24/7 access from a computer or mobile device makes signing up to help with this year's 5K or Fun Run a breeze, not to mention eCalendar syncing and automated email reminders! Volunteers and helpers will thank you for making it so easy to get involved.
Charity Race Sign-Up (Mobile View)
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Charity Race Sign-Up (Desktop View)
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In addition to intuitive and quick scheduling tools, volunteer coordinators have access to:
Posted at 03:30 AM in Fundraising Ideas, How 2 VolunteerSpot - Tips, Tricks and Technical, Online Sign Up Feature Friday, Tips for Non-Profits, Volunteer Action - Motivation and Coordination | Permalink
Tags: 5k volunteers, charity race sign-ups, coordinating walkathon volunteers, fun run volunteers, organizing 5k volunteers, volunteer coordinator charity race
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Thanks to RewardVolunteers for this inspiring guest post. RewardVolunteers makes it easy to do GOOD, earn rewards and spread the word about helping others.
Shine a light on service this Summer with these creative and FUN volunteer ideas for kids of all ages!
K – 6 > You’re never too young to give back! We love these easy, kid-friendly ideas for helping others:
Teens > Encourage your teen to join their friends in planning a special service project over the Summer:
Youth/Adults > It’s easy to weave service into fun Summer events and activities you already have planned:
Get rewarded for all your GOOD work with RewardVolunteers! Reward Volunteers is a free, easy way to track the time you spend volunteering in your community and to earn rewards for your contributions. You can also amplify your good work on social media to spread the word and get friends involved. Prizes include vacations, cash, cruises and much more. Get started
Tags: family volunteer ideas, family volunteering, kid volunteer ideas, summer service ideas, summer service projects, volunteering at all ages, volunteering with kids
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Volunteers give from the heart - but it never hurts to have a little incentive too, once in a while. Check out these easy 8 volunteer incentives that could help your school or nonprofit boost turnout today!
1. Food: Volunteers won't necessarily show up just for the food, but they sure will remember snacks and drinks were provided. Whether it's icey lemonade shared with volunteers during the hot festival hours, or coffee and donuts for an early morning volunteer project, simple food and beverage is a great way for volunteers to commune and bond, and shows your organization is putting in the extra effort.
2. Complimentary Access: Recruiting volunteers for a festival, conference, fair or concert series? Complimentary access, free admission and/or a chance to win tickets is a great way to encourage more folks to help out with your event.
3. Swag: It's almost commonplace, but a simple knick knack or token (think key chains and pens all the way up to reusable water bottles and t-shirts) are a fun way to incentivize volunteers. Ask a local vendor to donate them, or work 'volunteer swag bags' into the budget for your next big event.
4. Time-saving sign-ups and scheduling. Do your volunteers get bogged down in 'reply-all' emails and last-minute phone calls? The best way to encourage volunteers to get involved quick and easy is to streamline the scheduling process with free online sign-ups with reminders. Mobile, 24/7 access, eCalendar syncing, and automated email reminders make it easy for volunteers to stay on task and encourage them to return regularly to help out. Get started
6. Community Coupons: Promotions and coupons to local restaurants, movie theaters, retailers, you name it are a great way to both thank volunteers and encourage them to sign up to help in the first place. Connect with vendors in the region with a simple phone call asking if they are interested in supporting volunteers for your event.
7. Fundraising Goals: Fun volunteer and donor incentives include fundraising goals where a specific event or action will take place if a certain amount of money is raised. Duct-taping teachers and staff to walls is a favorite for elementary schools, while non-profits can shoot for pie-ing their founder in the face at the annual carnival or watching them shave their head for the charity.
8. Kudos: Knowing you're appreciated, and even publicly so, is great fuel for volunteers to return and stay loyal to your organization. Kudos as simple as shout-outs on facebook, twitter, and your group's website is an easy place to start. Tag your volunteers' social handles where possible, post photos and ask for their own testimonials and quotes to be shared too.
Whether you're getting in the spirit by giving back this week, or taking time to thank the volunteers in your life, have an awesome National Volunteer Week - here's to you!
Planning a special event for National Volunteer Week? Whether for a party or luncheon, free online sign-ups will save you (and your volunteers) time in getting coordinated for delicious fun!
Use VolunteerSpot's intuitive scheduling and communication tools to quickly set up what needs to be brought for the lunch and where you need participants; invite them to sign up 24/7 from their computer or smartphone, and rely on eCalendar syncing and automated reminders to keep everyone on track! Get started
See how easy it is to set-up your Appreciation Luncheon sign-up in this quick video:
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And don't miss these great Appreciation Potluck ideas:
Tags: appreciation luncheon sign-ups, national volunteer week, online luncheon sign-ups, potluck sign-ups, volunteer appreciation lunch ideas, volunteer appreciation potluck
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By: Jessie Lynn Olien, Co-Director of the Volunteer Program Assessment Service at UNC-Charlotte
Volunteers amplify the work your organization does – they can share the workload, raise awareness, and help your organization meet its mission. While volunteer programs are an essential part of many non-profit organizations, it takes time and effort to ensure these programs run effectively.
1. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
The first step in maintaining a successful volunteer program is understanding the health of your program. Knowing where you can, and should, improve allows you to access key resources and allocate them effectively. The Volunteer Program Assessment (VPA) uses a comprehensive and validated volunteer attitudes and engagement survey to assist organizational leaders in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of their volunteer program. With the help of grants, VPA offers scholarships for free assessment services. To learn more about VPA and apply for a free scholarship, visit http://www.vpa.uncc.edu
2. Get Organized
Great organization is key to a smooth-running volunteer program. VolunteerSpot's free online signups and volunteer calendars provide organizations with tools and software designed to optimize your volunteer program. Their free services include, but are not limited to, scheduling tools and wizards to plan shifts, donations, tasks and volunteer jobs, the ability to collect contributions from members and donors, automated reminders, mobile access, eCalendary syncing of volunteer jobs and streamlined communication tools. Take a free tour
3. Understand Your “Fit”
Who’s going to be effective in your organization? Before bringing volunteers into your program, you need to know what you value in your volunteers and then accordingly, communicate these desires to your potential volunteers. The Humane Society of the United States has great resources for helping you screen volunteer applicants and make decisions regarding who will be the best fit for your organization, click here.
4. Show You Care
Lastly, never forget to show your volunteers how much they mean to you! Create a culture of appreciation within your organization, where volunteers feel valued and informed. This goes beyond recognition events, awards, and gifts – it filters down to day-to-day efforts such as making sure volunteers are thanked for their work, in the loop regarding key issues, and treated with respect by paid staff. You can find great ideas for showing your appreciation at VolunteerMatch.org, click here.
About the Author:
Originally from Portland Oregon, Jessie Lynn Olien received her BA in Psychology from Michigan State University. She is currently a fourth-year doctoral student in the Organizational Science program at University of North Carolina Charlotte. In addition to her work as co-director and consultant with the Volunteer Program Assessment, Jessie also conducts research on non-profit management.
Looking to pump up your volunteer base this year? It's easy with these ideas for volunteer managers and coordinators:
1. Recruit more volunteers. The key to finding more volunteers this year is meeting them where they're at - online! Try some of these recruitment trends changing the face of volunteerism:
Related: 10 Ideas for Volunteer Recruitment
2. Don't lose the personal touch. Saving time communicating and coordinating online does not mean that the personal touch of joining together to help others goes out the window. Still find ways to commune and bond with volunteers offline:
3. Engage more volunteers. Keeping the volunteers you find can be a real roadblock for many volunteer managers. Find creative and new ways to involve and engage volunteers so they bond with your group's mission and remain active and loyal for years to come:
4. Practice better volunteer appreciation. This year might be the year to put a bit more effort into thanking your volunteers for the time, talents and commitment they offer to their schools and communities. It's easy:
5. Be more social: As mentioned above, active social communities are key for staying visible in the feeds and lives of potential and current volunteers. Facebook, twitter and instagram are great for:
Tags: free online signup, volunteer coordination, volunteer engagement, volunteer management, volunteer management ideas, volunteer recruitment, volunteer recruitment ideas
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Using VolunteerSpot for all your GOOD work this holiday season is a given, but now it's even easier to save time and stress less coodinating the signups and holiday help you so need.
VolunteerSpot's brand new Quick Item Entry feature helps organizers build lists in minutes of all the items and things they need donated or contributed: Quickly organize:
Watch our quick how-to video below and click to set up your signup now!
Invite volunteers, family members and participants to sign up to help with a quick email invitation - or post a shareable signup link to your webpage, social accounts. Rely on mobile access, eCalendar sync and automated reminders to keep everyone on track! Get started now
Tags: adopt a family signup, free online signup sheets, giving tree signup, new volunteerspot feature, online signup sheet, potluck signup sheet
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