My gift to you, this Sunday. This is an 18 page compilation of nonprofit job boards, associations, and organizations. You’ll find links broken down by category and location.
Information is ever-changing, so I welcome your input and suggestions. Please feel free to email me at tara.mason.harris AT gmail.com
Click here to download:
Since losing my job a year ago, I’ve been “virtually volunteering”. As a volunteer coordinator, I never had the opportunity to create online volunteer opportunities. The standards of recruitment and screening within our organization were so stringent, that anyone wanting to volunteer was required to attend an in-person interview and orientation. It was a good system, but it alienated a sector of volunteers. My current ‘virtual position’ involves managing social media accounts and writing the occasional press release for a small, non-profit treatment facility. It’s great that I can help out an organization that I love, despite being 200 miles away. The freedom of volunteering when it’s convenient for me is amazing, but paired with that freedom are a few frustrations.
This brings me to . . .
THE 3 THINGS A VIRTUAL VOLUNTEER SHOULD EXPECT FROM AN ORGANIZATION:
Everyone is busy–volunteers and staff. It’s easy to lose track of time, days, weeks, and even months. Sometimes it takes days for a volunteer manager to contact me with an updated password or answer to a question. I’ve been there, so I’m not saying that managers need to swing all attention to their off-site volunteers at the drop of a hat, but it is nice for someone to keep regular communication. What if your outlook reminded you to send a (quick) weekly email to your volunteers (en masse)? How about Tuesday at 10 a.m.? Does that work for you? Great!
Most office volunteers and virtual volunteers can most likely relate to having a lack of direction. Volunteer’s aren’t mind readers. Sometimes we’re too busy to read between the lines. Keep directions simple. Keep it all-inclusive. Explain EVERYTHING. If you have even the most remote thought that someone might misunderstand something, explain it more thoroughly. If you have the time, follow-up with a phone call. Volunteers are anxious and excited to get started on their projects. A gap in direction or communication can delay the process, and in turn, allow that passion and motivation to fizzle.
Remember, volunteers are giving up their personal time. Volunteer managers should always follow-up with volunteers after a project is complete. We want to hear “thank you”. We also want to know how it benefited the organization. Let us know if that press release gets published. Tell us how many hits your website got after the email blast. You get the idea.
Now, for tomorrow’s post, we’ll turn the tables: THE 5 THINGS AN ORGANIZATION SHOULD EXPECT FROM A VOLUNTEER
You’re sitting at home reading the headlines and wondering what you can do to help during this time of need.
Here are eight volunteer jobs that can help make our country better while facing tough times.
8. Clothing Closet – From children’s clothes to professional attire, there are community clothing closets with volunteer opportunities. Spend a Saturday morning sorting clothes. Donate suits and dresses from your closet to a charity that assists low income adults and those re-entering the work-force with business attire for interviews and other job opportunities.
7. Professional Services – You don’t have to be a lawyer or a doctor in order to donate your professional services. People from all business sectors have something to offer–especially at a time like this. Volunteer to help job seekers with resumes. Donate your accounting skills to an underfunded charity. Perhaps your favorite organization needs clerical assistance on weekends–or even someone to manage their social media! I’m currently volunteering my time to assist an agency in setting up their first website and blog!
6. Crisis/Counseling Hotline – High unemployment and a bad economy make for high stress and depression. If you have experience in mediation–or maybe you are empathetic and a good listener–seek out opportunities to volunteer your time assisting with a crisis or counseling hotline. Many places train their volunteers prior to placement.
5. Youth Services – This is a very broad category. If you like to be hands-on with children, look into mentorship programs, like Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Collect and donate school supplies or clothing to local organizations. Scan your local volunteer listings on volunteermatch.org or idealist.org for more ideas.
4. Respite Care – I have to give a shout-out for respite care volunteers. Care-givers of the sick and elderly desperately need assistance in the form of respite care. Volunteers typically sit with the patient, while the care-giver (often a family member) takes a much needed break, which typically involves catching up on errands and tasks that have fallen to the wayside. Many caregivers for those with an long-term illness pass away before their patient, due to the stress of providing twenty four hour assistance. Add the current strains of our economic climate to their situation and you have cause for worry. Giving these families a two hour or more break once a week can make a world of difference. Our program requires a day of training before placing with an area family. Check out idealist.org for local listings. Readers in Oklahoma and Arkansas can contact me for more information on volunteering for the Alzheimer’s Association.
3. Animal Shelters/Rescue - Foreclosures and job loss are just two of the many reasons that people are having to give up their beloved pets. Donate your time at a local shelter or rescue. Some rescues need volunteers to transport animals from one city to another. You can also help by fostering a pet while waiting for adoption. Find out what supplies your shelter needs. Some people collect newspapers and old blankets for shelters year round.
2. Homeless Shelter/Housing Assistance – Search Idealist.org for opportunities helping the homeless, an ever-increasing population. Perhaps you’d rather help build homes with organizations like Habitat for Humanity. Either way, you are helping the housing crisis in your own way.
1. Local Food Bank – As so many families lose their primary source of income, the number of people turning to food banks for help is growing. Visit Feeding America for statistics on hunger and poverty in America. If you are in and around Tulsa, I encourage you to contact the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.
Looking at this chart from Independent Sector, you will find that the average volunteer hour (both nationally and statewide) is likely valued higher than most paid position’s salaries.
The estimated dollar value of a volunteer hour in 2007 is $19.51 (national average) and $15.68 in Oklahoma.
Are you giving your volunteers the same treatment you would a paid staff member at this rate?
Track your volunteer hours and calculate how much money your organization is saving by delegating tasks and positions to volunteers. Only calculating my student volunteer’s hours for the month of February, I find that our organization has saved a total of $1,536.64. Of course, this doesn’t include the long-term , RSVP and AARP volunteer hours which would put us well into $3k.
The question I’m asking myself: How can I show my volunteers that I value their service? More than just a thank you card or a gift–volunteers want something meaningful. They want to know that they made a difference.
In the next month, we will be planning a volunteer appreciation luncheon. I will share as the details unfurl.