Posts Tagged ‘Recruiting Volunteers’

$14 Million in Funds to Engage More Older Volunteers

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

background check, volunteer screeningThis summer, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced a competition that will provide nonprofit organizations the opportunity to bring on more volunteers who are age 55 and older. The deadline for letters of intent to reply (which can be a simple email) is August 9, and the deadline for applications is September 10.

The agency will award more than $14 million to local organizations that sponsor RSVP programs, and is expected to bring in more than 92,000 volunteers in six areas:

  • Disaster services
  • Economic opportunity
  • Education
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Health futures
  • Veterans and military families

RSVP was established in 1971. It is now one of the largest senior volunteer programs in the nation, offering a variety of activities that benefit both volunteers and the communities in which they live and work.

The competition will focus on measuring performance, and increasing and demonstrating the impact of national service in 270 specific communities, by funding grants that support volunteers 55 and older. The communities are in 45 states, and eligible organizations include public and nonprofit agencies, city and country governments, higher education institutions, Indian tribes and faith-based organizations. Learn more here.

According to the CEO of CNCS, Wendy Spencer, the focus on senior volunteers reflects the fact that “Baby boomers and other older adults are an excellent resource for local nonprofits, faith-based institutions, public agencies and others.”

Why not check to see if your community is on the list, and apply to participate in the competition? You might just increase your volunteer base, and your impact!

New Study Says Volunteers are More Likely to Land a Job

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

volunteer screening, volunteer background checkEven though the economy is on the mend, it’s still a tough job market out there. But a recent report contains news that might make your volunteers feel better about their prospects—and help you recruit more talented volunteers, too.

The report was published by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), and it provides evidence of an association between volunteering and employment. In fact, it states that unemployed individuals who volunteer over the next year have a 27% higher chance of being employed at the end of the year than non-volunteers.

Interestingly, factors such as age, gender, geographical location, ethnicity and job market conditions did not change the odds.

The CNCS used over 10 years of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and analyzed more than 70,000 people aged 16 and over. Their volunteering and employment records were studied over two years. The 27% increase in employment odds was stable over each year of the study, despite varying employment rates.

The research suggests that volunteering may provide a job-hunting advantage, regardless of the hiring conditions at the time.

Individuals without a high school diploma and those who live in rural areas saw even higher increases in the odds of landing jobs (51% and 55%, respectively). This suggests that those with limited skills or networking opportunities gain even more advantage when they volunteer.

Volunteering has long been seen as a way to enhance social connections, professional contacts, skills and experience. It can also be a route into a paying position with the nonprofit organization. Even the Department of Labor issued guidelines last year that volunteering can help unemployed people enhance their resumes and develop new skills. The agency encouraged state workforce offices to promote volunteering by those receiving unemployment benefits.

If you’re looking for quality volunteers, encourage those who are unemployed to apply with your organization. You may both benefit!

Can you trust every person who volunteers for your agency? Conduct background checks on all volunteers. Rely on for your volunteer screening services. Protect your staff, clients, and your community with volunteer background checks.

More Employers Allow Paid Volunteer Time Off

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Volunteer screening, volunteer background checkThe Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that more companies are offering paid time off for volunteering as an employee benefit. Over the past few years, the number has increased to 20% among the companies participating in a SHRM survey.

U.S. Bank is among them. Its employees are compensated for up to 16 hours of volunteer time per year each, depending on their length of service with the company. Some go to food banks to serve breakfast. Others help with children’s services organizations. They say they appreciate their employer’s policy, because without getting paid time off, they wouldn’t have time to volunteer.

Studies show that when employers support employees in their volunteer work, the employees feel better about their jobs. In this time of increasing on-the-job dissatisfaction, it can really give productivity a boost. Volunteering can augment whatever low sense of accomplishment employees may feel on the job.

For companies, offering paid time off for volunteering is a smart move. Not only do they benefit from happier employees, but they typically have lower turnover rates – which saves them money. And in many cases, when companies that are unable or unwilling to give pay raises give paid time off for volunteering, their employees are just as happy.

So, if you want to get more volunteers who are happy to help, try pitching your local employers to pay their employees to work for you. The employer and employees will benefit as much as your organization. It’s truly a win-win-win situation!

Attract New Volunteers Through Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

Friday, May 31st, 2013

screening, background check, volunteer, criminaldata.comSocial media can help you attract new interest in your non-profit organization, and greatly expand your audience. Through the power of social sharing, your mission can be delivered to people who haven’t heard of you before.

Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest are great ways to recruit new volunteers, too. If you haven’t signed up for each of these services yet, you’re way behind. But it shouldn’t take too long to catch up and start building your following.

One of the best—and most important—things about social media is its ability to make one-on-one connections. Having conversations is the best way to achieve this. When you start posting and following people on Twitter, you’ll see that there are a lot of conversations going on. Show you’re interested in what others have to say by re-tweeting interesting tweets. Thank people when they re-tweet yours. Ask questions of your followers.

On Facebook, provide interesting and usable content so your followers will feel compelled to share it. Ask questions so you can get to know people and spark conversations. Conduct a poll or ask them to promote your events. And when you need volunteers, you’ll have a ready-made audience that is interested in what you’re all about.

The same goes for Pinterest. Provide your followers with interesting content. That’s why they’re following you, after all. And share theirs. Social media is a two-way street.

Soon, you’ll feel comfortable asking for volunteers, as well as asking others to spread the word for you.

Once you’re up and running fast on social media, use it to your advantage. You can create a Google+ group for your volunteers, so you can communicate directly with them. Use Facebook for making announcements and creating interest in your events. Encourage people to share your information—and be sure to thank them when they do!

When you’re building an audience of social media followers, you’re also building a supply of potential volunteers. Use social media to make recruiting volunteers easier!

Can you trust every person who volunteers for your agency? Conduct background checks on all volunteers. Rely on for your volunteer screening services. Protect your staff, clients, and your community with volunteer background checks.

Dos and Don’ts for Successful Volunteer Interviews

Friday, May 24th, 2013

volunteer screeningJust as in the for-profit world, the importance of interviewing cannot be overstated. Non-profit organizations are placed in a delicate position, because unlike employers, volunteers may feel insulted if put through their paces in the interviewing and screening process.

However, bringing in the right people is vital to the success of any organization. And successful volunteer recruiting requires successful interviewing. Here are some dos and don’ts that can make the interview process more effective:

  • Don’t be swayed by others: Often, volunteers recommend their friends and acquaintances. In fact, current volunteers are great recruiters for your organization. But when it comes to the interview process, focus on the applicant and the facts, not on what you’ve been told. Jane or Justin might not be the solution to all your problems, no matter what has been said.
  • Do pay attention to language: An interviewee who is unaware or uncaring about the language he or she uses with you is likely to continue in that realm around board members, clients and the public when representing your organization. People can be easily offended by vulgar, sexist or racist language, so if you hear any during the interview take it into consideration.
  • Don’t judge by appearance: We all tend to form impressions based on limited exposure to a person—it’s human nature. But the best-dressed and most clean-cut people can still be dangerous to vulnerable populations. Only a complete volunteer screening and background check will tell you whether a prospective volunteer is safe to serve your organization’s clients, drive its vehicles and handle its funds.
  • Do allow plenty of time: You may not have ample time in your day to interview potential volunteers, but this important task should not be shortchanged. Squeezing interviews between other meetings or being ill-prepared will likely result in a bad decision. You could either miss important red flags about a volunteer or overlook qualities and skills you need to accomplish your goals. Neither results in an effective volunteer workforce.

The Reasons For Volunteering Are Changing

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

People used to volunteer out of a sense of moral obligation; however, that seems to have changed over the years. Some volunteers are repaying a kindness done to them or a family member; others remember a positive experience from childhood and strive to make that same difference to another child. Still others want to improve their professional skills, meet people or just fill their spare time.

And with time is so limited, these days, volunteers are looking for more meaning in their volunteer experience. People are more distant from each other; they connect in online social networks, but don’t always have trusted relationships or a sense of belonging to a community.

Volunteering is a way to form those real relationships. And volunteer managers need to recognize this new reality, promote their organization’s ability to bring people together and let volunteers shape their own experience that will work for them.

How to you draw in people who are looking for solid relationships? By establishing a little one-on-one time. Ask potential volunteers for a cup of coffee. Or ask small groups of two or three for their help in brainstorming ways for new volunteers to get involved with your organization.

Attract volunteers who want connection by providing it. Tap into the passions people have for a good cause. Share your mission and ask for their involvement.

More Details About Teens and Volunteering

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

volunteer screeningWhen it comes to volunteering, young people have definite motivations and favorite causes. A recent study by offers some great insight into the way teens and young adults think.

For example, we talked about how having friends who volunteer is a big influence over teen volunteer rates. But they’re self-motivated, as well. For young people, making a difference on an issue they care about is their #1 stated reason for volunteering. For girls, they say that volunteering is its own reward, as well, while boys were more likely to state that getting into college or landing a good job are also important reasons.

The top five issues that young people are most interested in volunteering for are:

  1. Animal welfare
  2. Hunger
  3. Homelessness
  4. The environment
  5. The economy

In reality, young people tend not to volunteer with groups dedicated to animal issues. They are, however involved in fundraising. Nearly 39% of young people who volunteer have fundraised for charity. If you’re running a nonprofit organization, you may not have considered recruiting teens to help with all-important fundraising. Maybe you should!

Guys tend to volunteer in physical ways, such as environmental cleanup or working with kids in sports or recreational programs. Girls tend to do more fundraising and working with marginalized populations. Girls also volunteer more frequently, with 51% volunteering once per month or more, compared to 45% of guys volunteering once per month or more.

Anyone who volunteers know how rewarding it can be. With youth, it’s just as true as with adults. Young people who volunteer score about 24% higher on a life satisfaction. The following activities offer the most satisfaction, according to the survey:

  • Working with young kids in a sports program    71% Happiness Scale
  • Helping at a library or cultural or historical group 69% Happiness Scale
  • Fundraising 68% Happiness Scale
  • Working with sick or old people 63% Happiness Scale
  • Working on a political campaign 60% Happiness Scale
  • Do not volunteer at all 51% Happiness Scale

New Survey Offers Insights into Teens’ Volunteering Habits

Friday, October 26th, 2012

volunteer screening, volunteer background checkThink teens volunteer in their communities because it makes them feel good, or because it looks good on college applications? Or do you think teens sign up for volunteer tree-planting projects because they want to save the environment?

A new study by reveals some interesting insights into teens’ reasons for volunteering. Over 4,300 young people aged 13 – 22 were surveyed across the country, and here are some of the results:

  • 93% of teens say they want to volunteer, but a far smaller percentage actually do.
  • Teens’ volunteer habits are primarily influenced by having friends who volunteer regularly. Over 70% of teens with friends who volunteer also volunteer themselves.
  • Many teens (40%) don’t volunteer through traditional organizations, but rather through clubs, friends and family, or on their own.
  • Teens want volunteering to be fun, like a party. Make it social, and they will come.
  • What’s on teens’ minds? Number one is paying for college. Next is getting into a college.
  • The biggest reason teens don’t volunteer is lack of time.
  • Many teens want to be anonymous, or help from a distance. They also want to volunteer with people their age (but not necessarily the same gender).
  • Religious teens’ volunteer habits are not determined by the importance of religion in their lives, but by how often they attend religious events, including youth groups.
  • Young volunteers want opportunities that are close to home, but not at home.
  • Short activities that allow for different levels of engagement are preferred by teens.

It looks like the influence of their friends is most motivating when it comes to teens and volunteering. We’ll be sharing more insights from this interesting survey in coming weeks.

Make Volunteering a Family & Halloween Tradition

Friday, October 19th, 2012

volunteer screening, volunteer background checkSince Halloween is just around the corner, why not use the holiday as a way of introducing kids to volunteering?

Involve families with kids by creating a weekend family volunteer activity. When the place, time and task list are set and ready, it’s easier for parents to just show up and get their kids involved. And when parents are supervising their kids, it’s much easier on volunteer managers.

Halloween Volunteer Activities For Kids

  • How about cleaning up the neighborhood after trick-or-treating? It’s unfortunate that some Halloween traditions include smashing pumpkins, dropping candy wrappers on the ground or even acts of vandalism. Cleaning up the neighborhood can teach kids that we’re all responsible for a healthy, clean community. It’s also a big help for elderly folks who can’t pick up around their own properties. Equip kids with thick gloves and garbage bags. Emphasize safety and keep them out of the street.
  • Host a Halloween party for disadvantaged kids. This is a great way to involve young people in setting up, decorating, gathering goody bags and developing activities. And what better way to teach children to understand the difficulties that other people face? They’ll feel great about helping, and have fun, too.
  • Visit senior centers. Organize a trip for costumed kids to bring some cheer to elder care facilities. Of course, the rules have to be strict, and anyone with the sniffles shouldn’t be around the elderly. But there is nothing like a bunch of trick-or-treaters to brighten the faces of senior citizens.

When you combine families with kids, holidays and volunteering, the ideas just keep coming. Jot them down and you’ll soon have plenty of ideas to make recruiting volunteers—old and young alike—easier and more successful.

Keeping Teens Healthier With Volunteering

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

volunteer screening, volunteer background checkAccording to Volunteering in America, youth in this country volunteered 377 million hours of volunteer services in 2010. The number of teens aged 16 – 19 who gave all of these hours was an astounding 4.4 million, which represents 26% of all youth in that age group.

An older study showed that among the larger youth age group, 12 – 18 years old, 15.5 million kids contributed more than 1.3 billion hours of service. Young people volunteer more than adults, and they do it out of a sense of altruism. Making the world a better place and helping others are very important to young volunteers.

Teens can be a valuable source of new volunteers for any organization. Not only do they provide labor, but they can also give older folks a focus. Matching young volunteers with older mentors can create mutually beneficial and even long-lasting relationships.

Adolescents who volunteer typically perform better in school than their peers. Studies show they are also less likely to engage in risky behaviors. Plus, volunteering helps kids feel good about themselves. All of this adds up to healthier, happier and safer teens.

Volunteering can also lead to the release of endorphins in the brain. Ever heard of a runner’s high? A similar effect can come from doing good things for others. Endorphins reduce stress, which helps build a stronger immune system. They can also reduce head and back aches, depression and blood pressure.

If you’re recruiting volunteers, arm yourself with these facts and present them to youth groups at local schools or churches. Spread the word through social media about the positions your organization has that are appropriate for teen volunteers.

Get youth involved in your organization. You’ll be doing them, as well as yourself, a favor!