Archive for October, 2011

Five Ways to Gear Up for Make a Difference Day

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Volunteer screening blog, volunteer background checkIs your non-profit organization ready for Make a Difference Day? It’s coming up soon—next Saturday, October 22. Here are five ways you can recruit volunteers and develop projects so that your community is ready to Make a Difference!

  1. Go to and download the Volunteer Leader toolkit. It’s full of great advice about assessing needs, and creating and managing community projects, from inception to completion.
  2. If you haven’t done so already, register your organization at It’s a powerful online service that can help you recruit volunteers online, manage their time and schedules, and contact volunteers quickly and easily through emails and reminders. Signing up takes just minutes—and it’s free! Then, when prospective volunteers are looking for opportunities (as many will do in the next week as word of Make a Difference Day spreads), your organization and projects will be featured, and volunteers can sign up to help.
  3. You might need to hurry on this one, but make an inquiry about possibility of writing a guest editorial for your local newspaper. If there is not enough time for an editorial, be sure to write a letter to the editor immediately.
  4. Turn to social media to spread the word. Update your organization’s Facebook page with volunteer opportunities. Or, create a volunteer event and invite all of your page supporters to participate. It only takes a few minutes and could really help you spread the word about Make a Difference Day! Be sure to post something new every day to stay in front of your support base. And boost your efforts through Twitter posts as well. Refer people to your Facebook page so they can sign up and get all the information they need to volunteer for your organization.
  5. Reach out to churches, schools, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, youth organizations, hospice care organizations, social service organizations and elder care homes to see what the needs are and to partner with potential groups of volunteers. Some worthy causes may have been overlooked, and would welcome your help. You may have more volunteers than you know what to do with next Saturday, so be sure to find something for them to do!

Millions of volunteers around the U.S. will be taking action on Saturday, October 22 for Make a Difference Day. Every project and every new volunteer can make a huge difference in a community, so get busy and make this a successful event for your organization!

Don’t skip the volunteer screening check when recruiting for Make a Difference Day. You can quickly and easily protect your clients and your organization by verifying the identity, checking the criminal history and reviewing the background of each volunteer applicant.

Charitable Giving Results for First Half of 2011

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

volunteer background checkIt takes money to make money. That’s an old saying that doesn’t usually apply to non-profits, but according to a new study, it should.

The results of a survey conducted by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative found that 60% of groups that spent more money on email and other internet fundraising efforts in the first half of 2011 saw a greater return in donations. But overall, only about a third of charities reporting actually increased spending on online efforts. The lesson: if you can increase your online efforts, you have a good chance of increasing your fundraising success.

Other results from the study were that participating charities were successful with a variety of fundraising methods, from seeking support from corporations and foundations, to events, direct mail and asking board members for donations. About 45% used social media and planned giving. Donors responded to every form of fundraising, with event donations up for two-thirds of the charities that produced them, and direct mail and major gifts up for 54% of the charities that invested in these methods. The lesson: Keep up the effort, no matter which form it takes.

Overall, giving was better in the first half of 2011 for nearly half (44%) of the responding groups; worse for others (30%), and unchanged for a large percentage (25%). Charities with large budgets—over $3 million—saw greater increases in giving.