Category Archives: Nonprofits

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

Case Study: San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2013

[San Jose Jazz currently has open volunteer spots for Winter Fest 2014.  Check out their GoVoluntr profile here and register for Winter Fest!]

In 2012, Tracey Ferraro started her position as volunteer coordinator with San Jose Jazz, a small nonprofit of six staff members that hosts some of San Jose’s largest music festivals. Their banner event, Summer Fest, is the official jazz festival of San Jose, complete with a star studded lineup, 11 stages of live entertainment, and tens of thousands of festival goers. With such a small staff dedicated to coordinating and planning the event, they’re reliant on hundreds of volunteers to power the three day festival.


When Tracey inherited the event, volunteer recruitment consisted of antiquated software, complex spreadsheets, and lots of back-and-forth dialogue to fill spots. Tracey set out to bring San Jose Jazz into the modern age. Utilizing GoVoluntr’s positions and shifts feature, in tandem with some social media marketing assistance from the GoVoluntr team, Tracey’s initiative to digitize and streamline volunteer recruitment ended with staggering results.

“From June 1st to the first week of August, I averaged less than 20 hours a week on volunteer recruitment activities–an approximate 50% decrease from last year. I believe it is possible these hours could be reduced even further as I continue to streamline processes.”

And by saving herself a lot of time and hassle, she was able to delve into other critical tasks.

“With less time needed to focus on actual schedule creation, I was able to better-engage our Summer Fest volunteers; Hobee’s Pruneyard sponsored and hosted a Meet’n Greet, and we held two well-attended orientations. “

Not only was Tracey able to save time and reallocate resources, but using an online resource to source and manage her volunteers boosted her numbers. The outcome with GoVoluntr? 700 volunteers providing over 2500 hours of service. And since she used GoVoluntr all of her volunteers received recognition and rewards that didn’t cost SJ Jazz a single cent.

Want to learn more about how GoVoluntr can help you find and reward volunteers at no cost? Click here to get started. Learn more about San Jose Jazz by visiting their website.


Connecting with Millennial Do Goodrs

[ The following blog post is a summary and list of tips based on the 2012 Millennial Impact Report.  This is to help provide insight to nonprofits and other social good organizations looking to recruit and retain Millennial Do Goodrs ]

The 2012 Millennial Impact Report was released and the findings show that Millennials are engaged and want to act on that engagement. They want to give, they want to serve, they want to learn, and they want to teach. Millennial Do Goodrs can be the undiscovered talent that remain overlooked until they are connected with the right organizations and opportunities.

For non-profits the big question is, “How do we tap into that undiscovered talent and connect with our Millennial Do Goodrs?” The suggestions below will help you engage Millennials in their preferred methods.


When learning about a nonprofit, Millennials’ top preferences are: Website, Social Media, and E-Newsletter.

Website Tips:
• Make sure your website is user-friendly; becoming mobile-friendly can also be beneficial. Navigation should be seamless and information easily accessible.
• Make sure your organization’s mission statement is purposeful and succinct.
• Photos and images help show your stories instead of telling them.

Social Media Tips:
• Use each social media network for their intended purpose and play on each of their strengths. Scheduling auto-posts from one source to all your social networks can overlook relevant tagging, hashtags, and engagement with each networks’ users.
• Be genuine with the content you post and realize that engagement is more than just disseminating information. It’s about having an actual conversation or creating relationships with your audience.

E-Newsletter Tips:
• Make sure your newsletters are either informative or calling Do Goodrs to action. Be concise with your words.
• Use bulleted lists to summarize organization news and include upcoming events or volunteer opportunities. Including visuals and images can keep readers engaged to read on.
• Make sure you link back to your website in some way in order to help gain traffic.

63% of Millennials volunteered in 2011 and 41% of them stated they would volunteer more in 2012. Of those, volunteers prefer short-term, ongoing, and intensive volunteer opportunities and a majority prefer to learn about volunteering through peers.

Tips to Increase Volunteer Involvement:
• Provide one-time and long-term volunteer opportunities (GoVoluntr just added this search option on our site! Make sure to select the proper options for your next event).
• Make sure you provide a wide array of opportunities and time frames. Even one hour helps make a difference. But make sure you are clear about the time commitment and duties.
• Put volunteers in a place they want to be and can utilize their talents. Volunteering isn’t just about what your organization needs, it’s about where can people’s skills can be most beneficial and where people can feel a connection. Show how each and every volunteer benefits the organization. Happy volunteers are returning volunteers!

Although 47% of Millennials would give time and 16% would give money, 37% said they would give time AND money. Monetary gifts have potential to grow; 27% of respondents said they give larger amounts to a few organizations they care about. Recently, the trend of philanthropic crowdfunding sites have been growing.

You might want to check out a few philanthropic sites that put a twist on giving. They’re doing it and doing it right:

• Fundly