Author Archives: GoVoluntr

New Year’s Resolution Making Cheat

[Editor's note: As we wrap up January, you only have a few more days to call this a new year. Read Jonathan's take on doing good this year! Check out Jonathan's profile here and follow him, he's VID 82!]

My 2015 New Year’s Resolution is to practice blogging more… BAM, think I’m off to a good start. Ok, truth be told I kinda knew this blogging thing was going to be coming up this year, thus my little cheat in making that one of my resolutions. I’m not big into the “NYR” making and upholding, so I tend to be the type to make funny resolutions to make people laugh or to make “cheat” resolutions that are simply too foreseeable and/or enjoyable not to accomplish within the year, such as my buddy’s resolution to “eat more BBQ this year” or mine to blog.

I recently came across an article while browsing social media the first few days of this year that mentioned “New Year’s Resolutions are often times made more for others than yourself,” which only fueled my excuses and nonfulfillment to the famed January question of “did you make any resolutions this year?” However, the fact is that I do enjoy being social — not a “party pooper” — and partake in fun conversation. So that could be why I probably put just as much thought, if not more, into coming up with entertaining or “cheat” resolutions. Oh, and they’re way easier to uphold and tick off the list. I guess I’m guilty of doing this more for others than myself, but what if we could use our New Year’s Resolutions for more than fun? What if we could use them for good? To help others?

So I’d like to propose a resolution that is simple and fun and borderlines being a “cheat” because it’s that enjoyable. Make a New Year’s Resolution to “get more involved in the community and or causes that are important (to you)”. It may sound a bit ambitious, but finding some local volunteer opportunities that align with your interest can be quite easy, enjoyable, and addicting.
Sound like an enticing resolution idea yet? It doesn’t need to be a coastal clean up (though I always enjoy a day at the beach). You can get involved by doing anything from face painting to being an ambassador and attendee at a festival (think music, food, wine) to helping at food and clothing drives to even hanging out in the Giants’ dugout to help with a fundraiser event for local causes (I personally got to do that this year, it was awesome).

So what do you think of my resolution for 2015? If you like this cheat, please do use it! Below are a few of my picks to check out and get involved with but, you can browse through hundreds of opportunities [] and organizations that match your likes or area and then claim that resolutions to make a difference this year.

Spring Pick- Silicon Valley Tour de Cure
Summer Pick- San Jose Jazz’s Summer Fest
Autumn Pick- Guadalupe River Park’s Rose Garden
Winter Pick- Christmas In The Park

Listing Opportunities via XML

Today we’re going to talk about something a bit more techy than usual – because we have something exciting to announce: Opportunity data is now available from GoVoluntr in a XML feed! So what does this mean for those of you who are building web or mobile applications? Well it means you now have access to our database of volunteer opportunities in a format that you can use in your websites or applications. We’ve already been using this internally for building pages specific to zipcodes or certain organizations and now we’re ready to open it up to you.

We’re going to continue making more information available via XML and will be launching a guide on all the properties, but today I wanted to give you just a brief overview of how to begin using the feed to integrate into your projects. So, let’s create a page that pulls all the opportunities from a specific zipcode.

To get started, you may want to take a look at the raw feed. If you do this in a browser like Chrome or Safari, it could auto-format it for you too. The feed can be found at

So, let’s import that feed into our file. I’m using php today, but really you could use any language you want.

   $opp = simplexml_load_file('');

Ok, so this line will pull the feed in and set it to a variable. Then we should put a simple foreach loop together that will go through each opportunity and pull out the details we want.

  foreach ($opp->VolunteerOpportunity as $event):
     if ($zip=$event->Locations->Location->ZipOrPostalCode == 95134 || $zip=$event->Locations->Location->ZipOrPostalCode == 95110) {

Now you should also note that I am checking for certain zip codes before pulling the data. It’s this line right here:

if ($zip=$event->Locations->Location->ZipOrPostalCode == 95134 || $zip=$event->Locations->Location->ZipOrPostalCode == 94301)

You can of course filter by any of the properties and can have multiple if you wish as shown in this example. Great, so we’ve got the information parsed from the feed, now we just need to display it. You can, of course, display it in any format you’d like, but it would look something like this:

   <?php echo $startdate;
      if ($enddate != "") {
         echo " to " . $enddate;
   } ?>

Then, once you’ve set up the display for each opportunity, be sure to end your foreach loop.

endforeach; ?>

That’s it! Take a look at the feed to see what information is available and leave a comment below if you have any questions or requests for other data you want to see available through XML.

Keep doing good!



[Breaking News] New Community Manager is Awesome!

I’m supposed to create a super awesome blurb about myself before answering interview questions that the guys wrote up for me… sooo here goes it:

Caroline is the newest addition to GoVoluntr.  Being the Community Manager, aka “Social Media Maven”, this means that all your social networks are no longer safe.  In fact, she met GoVoluntr by Twitter stalking… then LinkedIn… then Facebook… then in person at a Relay for Life event.

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Sweet 16!

We’re 3 volunteer hours away from tracking 16,000 hours of verified volunteer service as I write this post. I sit here on a Sunday catching up from my week and preparing for the next one, taking a moment to reflect on what 16,000 hours of community service means. How many people, services, communities, families, cities, businesses, and non-profits have been impacted by the service of others?

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Version 2 is Here!

If you’ve been to our site lately – you may have noticed things look a bit different. Well, probably a lot different! We are happy to announce the rollout of Version 2.0 for GoVoluntr and we think you are going to just love it. I wanted to take some time to highlight a few of the new features and improvements, as well as help you familiarize with the new layout. So let’s take a look.

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1000 Hearts for 1000 Minds

[Editors Note: This is a guest blog post by Jennifer Gonzales - 1000 Hearts for 1000 Minds Associate with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Check out how you can get involved here and remember, every hour gets you closer to your next VPin!]

As a firm believer of giving back to my community, I am proud to lead a tutoring and mentoring initiative, 1000 Hearts for 1000 Minds, created by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, in partnership with the City of San Jose, Cities Association of Santa Clara County and 18 Non-Profit organizations. As the 1000 Hearts for 1000 Minds Associate, I work with members of the community and non-profit programs to streamline caring adults to serve as tutors and mentors into programs that offer support to public school students struggling in literacy, math or science.

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The Skinny on Health and Wellness

Health and Wellness is a major topic in our nation, regularly making headlines in the media and always a focal point in boardrooms.

Let’s just talk about Wellness spending from enterprise businesses – so understand these numbers don’t even include Small to Medium sized businesses. On average, enterprise companies implement 21 programs focused on prevention, lifestyle, condition and other wellness programs with no cuts in sight. In fact, more than half of them plan on adding an additional wellness program each year. Continue reading

San Jose Do Goodrs

California and activism go together like peanut butter and jelly. They’re virtually synonymous terms to most Americans and the do gooder stereotype is one I think a lot of us Californians like to perpetuate. We are one of two states with an official State Office of Volunteering and Service. We’re home to VolunteerMatch, Causes, Fundly, and the hottest names in social entrepreneurship. Even our Hollywood celebrities love to get in on the action, with marquis investors like Ashton Kutcher and Justin Beiber becoming household names in impact investing circles.

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Blog Action Day: The Power of We

Every year more than a thousand bloggers take a day and talk about one subject – one social good idea – and they call it Blog Action Day. Since 2007, each year has a unique theme, from food to poverty to the environment. This year the theme for Blog Action Day is the ‘Power of We’ and we thought it was quite a fitting topic for GoVoluntr because, really, GoVoluntr is all about people working together to make change in their local communities. That is what we have spent the last year doing: making it easier for non-profits to support their communities, for volunteers to find opportunities and volunteer, and for businesses to get involved. We’ve provided youth with rugby coaching, we’ve fed seniors and the under-privileged, we’ve tutored kids in reading and math, we’ve helped with creek clean-ups and charity dinners, we’ve made a difference in our communities. So to each of you that make up our we, thank you. With over 8000 hours and counting, thank you for believing in the Power of We.

- The GoVoluntr Team