April 25, 2018

Too Many Volunteers?

Too Many Volunteers - Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard 006
by Fonda Kendrick, VolunteerHub.com

It’s a perfect storm when it comes to volunteerism in America right now, based on several factors that we’ve blogged about in the past. The baby boomers are retiring, the unemployed are looking for activities to hone their skills for resumes and simply to fill their free time, and President Obama has issued a massive call to action on the volunteer front. Based on these three streams of supply, nonprofits are currently seeing an unprecedented demand for volunteer opportunities.

In an ironic twist, many organizations that have seen a rise in their volunteer numbers have also seen a downturn in resources. Lindsay Firestone of Taproot comments, “It’s like a Greek tragedy. We’re thrilled to have all of these volunteers. But now organizations are stuck not being able to take advantage of it because they don’t have adequate funding.”

Just a few months ago, The New York Times reported a huge surge of volunteers in areas all across the country. (One hundred thousand in New York City alone!) Suddenly, many nonprofits nationwide are saying something they never thought possible: we have too many volunteers! In fact, the Times quoted one anonymous nonprofit exec as saying, “Can you make them stop calling? Everybody’s inspired by Obama,” he noted. Then he tacked on, “They also don’t have jobs.”

Others echo the executive’s sentiment. Bertina Ceccarelli of United Way in New York, states: “It’s sad but true, but the irony is that sometimes it’s almost more work to find something for a volunteer to do than to just turn them away.”

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You Can Organize Volunteers with Free Online Tool


What is VolunteerSpot?
VolunteerSpot is a free, online sign-up tool that makes grass-roots volunteering easier. Volunteer leaders now have the ability to easily and quickly mobilize and coordinate volunteers in their community, congregation or social network.

VolunteerSpot is the brain child of Karen Bantuveris, an Austin, Texas, management consultant who launched the website in the fall of 2008. “I got involved with volunteering through leadership positions in PTA and Scouts,” she said. “Anyone who has volunteered knows how difficult it can be to organize groups of people.  There are a lot of phone calls, sign-up sheets and back-and-forth e-mails. Good people sometimes stop volunteering because it’s such a hassle.”

How does VolunteerSpot work?

There are three simple steps.

  1. The leader creates a schedule of volunteer needs on the online calendar and invites people to sign up with an e-mail.
  2. Volunteers click a link to see what spots are available and choose when and how they want to help.
  3. VolunteerSpot sends automated confirmation and reminder messages which help everyone keep their commitments.

Because all of this happens in real-time, the schedule is always current. This significantly reduces coordination time and makes the process easier for everyone.

VolunteerSpot will always offer a free service to local-level volunteers. They will, however, charge corporations and groups wanting to brand the Web site, and will be adding premium features, such as hours tracking.

“We’re thrilled with the positive customer feedback and how fast we are spreading to new groups,” says Karen. “It feels good to already be helping so many people.”

Volunteer leaders have received a real gift from this free management tool. Karen’s goal is that grass-root groups and nonprofits from all over the United States will use their Web site to make a big difference in their communities.