Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Got 5 minutes?

Every day we are asked for our most valuable commodity, time! Whether it's your boss, spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend, friend, your body asking for a break, or HandsOn Northeast Georgia asking you to volunteer, we are all asking for some of your time.

As a volunteer center, the biggest challenge we have is overcoming the response, "well I just don't have time to volunteer or to make a regular commitment." While we are always working with our agency partners to develop one-time, beneficial projects to forward their mission, there are still those that feel they just don't have the time to give. Well thanks to the folks at The Extraordinaries, there are now more opportunities to change the world that just take a few minutes.

The Extraordinaries are helping to move forward the notion of micro-volunteering. By harnessing technology, they are providing opportunities for volunteers to help out in 5 minute- 30 minute increments, whatever time you've got whenever you've got it (they even an app for that).

Today I received a new weekly newsletter that contains current projects (join e-mail list here). The project involved Twitter and harnessing ideas regarding social media, two of my favorite things. So I thought I'd walk the walk and helped out. The following is what resulted.

The Project: Scan through over 1,300 tweets about crowdsourcing at SXSW panel and vote to see which ones had good information to help them rise above the general "wow the workshop is really filling up fast" and "@___________ that was a good point" tweets to find the tweets that had good points or good tips. The end result, hopefully when this project is completed then a Top 10 tips and resources for how nonprofits can use crowdsourcing.

What I accomplished: In 15 minutes of volunteering. I scanned through 15 pages of tweets and voted on 12 tweets as containing what I thought was helpful information.

So there you have it all it took was 15 minutes and I helped move the mark a little bit further. And this was just one of the 250+ projects available. A quick glance of their website shows that KaBoom needs help mapping playscapes in communities and the Smithonian needs photos tagged to help create a searchable photo archive.

So do you have 5,10, or 15 minutes that you can help out? Remember helping some is better than none!

What to help locally? BikeAthens has a way for cyclists to help through their "share your commute" efforts. (Btw, this is also a good example of crowdsourcing which I learned about through my extraordinaires project).

HandsOn NEGA partners- are there any projects that you could use a team of micro-volunteers to help tackle bit by bit? Let us know!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Urgency of Now

I recently read a blog by Jessica Kirkwood at titled "Right Now Volunteerism." The blog posted detailed a situation when Jessica was approached to give a volunteer a ride to the local food bank because they had received a text message saying they were short on volunteers.

I responded to the blog with this:
"I think the challenge is getting the need out to the people. Just having an
open on-going call to volunteer at the food bank is great, but people get the
sense that someone else will do it.

As technology allows for more real-time needs/alerts to be sent out people
respond quicker. a few years ago the local homeless shelter was on the verge of
closing because funds weren't coming in. They put the word out on the paper and
within a few weeks collected enough donations to keep the doors open (and they
still are). Now why did those donors not come forward before and help prevent
the need in the first place- because there wasn't that sense of urgency or
feeling that a donation would really make a difference.

I'm glad this person responded to the call for the food bank, but the
bigger question might be- why wasn't he already planning on going to help or why
didn't he know about the need for volunteers in advance? "

What are your thoughts as to how nonprofits need to communicate their needs, whether for volunteers or donations? How in this day and age of constant communication can nonprofits better market their needs so that we're not having to send out "panic" calls for last minute volunteers.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

reBlog from HandsOn Blog

I found this fascinating quote today:

“Volunteer,” “volunteerism,” and “volunteer service” are terms that are not easily understood by all groups of, HandsOn Blog, Mar 2010

You should read the whole article.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, March 22, 2010

Is volunteering on the rise?

Has there been a boom in volunteering over the past 18 months? According to USAToday and Parade magazine, there has and they have named it the "compassion boom."

USAToday reports that HandsOn's national project "Give a Day. Get a Disney Day." has reached its goal of 1 million volunteers in three months. USAToday reported some of the other projects completed across America:
What types of projects have been completed so far? Here's a short list to give you an idea:

Boston: Volunteers served meals to people in need, knitted and crocheted scarves and mittens for children afflicted with life-threatening illnesses and helped as caregivers at an animal adoption center.
California: San Francisco Bay-area volunteers helped with basic English lessons, painted park benches and planted flowers.
Jacksonville, Fla.: Volunteers painted murals and spruced up rooms at a home for women and children, while in Pittsburgh they tookIn Athens, MLK Day and other projects were a part of the program. on construction tasks – tiling, sanding, staining and painting – to help create affordable housing.
Puerto Rico: 500 volunteers cleaned the beaches of Vaciatalega and La Perla located in the vicinity of Old San Juan.
Why are people volunteering more? Parade reported 60 percent of volunteers polled wanted to help other people, 57 percent wanted to make the world a better place, and 49 percent want to improve their local communities and neighborhoods. About 91 percent of poll participants have volunteered in the past 18 months and 87 percent have given financially. How have you given in the past 18 months? Are you still looking for the perfect volunteer opportunity? Check out our Web site to find the opportunity you are looking for. If you are a business owner, be sure to check out our Be the Change campaign to find out how you can give back to the community in a big way!

We are always looking for new projects. What has been your favorite project so far this year (or ever)? What projects would you like to see more of?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Be the Change

National Volunteer Week is Apr. 17-24, 2010, and HandsOn is launching the "Be the Change" campaign for that week.

What is "Be the Change?" To participate, your business would agree to ask your customers to add $1 or $5 to their purchase to be donated to HandsOn Northeast Georgia during National Volunteer Week, Apr. 17-24. Donor cards recognizing their donation would then be posted in your business, at no direct cost to you. In return, you will be given a poster recognizing your participation, and your name would be included in a minimum of 3 ads in the Athens Banner-Herald leading up to and during the week of the Be the Change campaign. If you agree to match donations made in your business (at least $100), your business name will be bolded in any listing and recognized as a matching participant. If you agree to match to a higher amount, then you will receive the benefits of the corresponding level of sponsorship (listed below):

$100– Name listed on “Be the Change” page of Hands On website
$250– Name listed on “Be the Change” page of Hands On website, poster, and any print advertisements
$500– Logo placed on “Be the Change” page of Hands On website and poster; small logo included in print advertisements
$1,000– Logo placed on Hands On homepage promoting the “Be the Change” campaign; logo on page of Hands On website and poster; logo placed on “Be the Change” donor cards; logo included in print advertisements

We need your help to "Be the Change!" Are you a local business or do you know a local business that would be interested in participating in this project? Let us know below!

New website

In case you missed it, we launched our new site a few weeks ago. What do you think?

Also, for those of you who attended the Social Media training program on March 1, how are your blogs, facebook pages and twitter pages doing?