Archive for October, 2011

Join Us for Family Volunteer Day!

Posted on October 28, 2011. Filed under: Volunteering is Hot! | Tags: |

Family Volunteer Day is a day of service designed to demonstrate the power of families volunteering together. Celebrated annually the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the Day “kicks off” the holiday season with giving and service. Join us on November 19, 2011.

HandsOn will spotlight a few different projects. Check the special event page for a current list of all the available projects. HandsOn is especially happy to host a Project Frenzy at Salem’s Riverfront Carousel. Join us for a great family activity! All who volunteer will receive a free ride on the carousel! Click here for more details and to sign up.

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6 Tips for Recruiting Boomer Volunteers

Posted on October 28, 2011. Filed under: Good Ideas Stick, Tips for HandsOn Partners | Tags: , |

From the HandsOn Network Blog

Why are boomers the future of volunteering? First, because of their sheer size: boomers represent about 77 million potential volunteers. They also have longevity on their side; this group has an average life expectancy of 83 years. That, coupled with higher levels of income and savings than earlier waves of retirees, suggest they have both the time and resources for volunteering.

Could you benefit from boomer volunteers? Here are some tips to help recruit them:

  • Boomers may be highly resistant to a group that includes the previous generation. They may be highly resistant to words like “senior”, “older adult”, “golden years”, “mature adult”, etc. Be creative – anecdotal evidence shows that “experienced” may appeal to this demographic. “Experienced” avoids negative connotations associated with aging and highlights the fact that you value their experience and skills.
  • Be highly aware of the images used in materials targeted towards boomers. According to the Boomer Project national survey, boomers see themselves as being
  • at least 12 years younger than their chronological age. Images of individuals they perceive as “elderly” may be unappealing to boomers – they want to see people who reflect their own self-image.
  • Consider using words other than “volunteer” which is often associated with negative images of PTA lunches or menial tasks unappealing to boomers. The Montgomery County Volunteer Center came up with the name “Pro-Bono Consultants” after several volunteers felt as if they were continuing their professional work – but in an unpaid capacity.
  • According to the Harvard study, Reinventing Aging, boomers are less likely to volunteer out of a response to civic duty or obligation. For goal-oriented boomers, a message shows how they can make a difference in their community is more effective.
  • Boomers may need to have a sense of “what’s in it for me?” Recent studies have shown the health benefits of volunteering, as well as the social benefits that may be important as boomers leave the workplace.
  • Bear in mind that boomers may never fully “retire” – they express a strong interest in continuing part-time work or self-employment. Even a boomer who works a few hours a year may not consider themselves “retired” – tailor you messages, as well as your opportunities, accordingly.
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A Few Tips to Make a Difference and Make your Mark

Posted on October 25, 2011. Filed under: Volunteering is Hot! | Tags: |

From the HandsOn Network Blog

Last Saturday marks the 21st anniversary of Make A Difference Day. Since 1990, HandsOn Network and USA WEEKEND have joined together to sponsor Make A Difference Day, the largest national day of community service. Millions of Americans will unite in a common mission to improve the lives of others this Saturday.
GenerationOn has been supporting Make Your Mark Week this week, a great way for kids to get involved in small acts of service that can come together to make big changes in their communities. Kids can find ways to help animals, the environment, homelessness, hunger, and literacy.
This weekend, it’s easy to get involved in service! Here are some tips for finding your own way to Make A Difference or Make Your Mark:

  • Make a pledge to help animals in your community! Puppies and kittens are adorable, and there are a lot of ways you can help out animals that don’t have a home in your community.
  • Find a volunteer project near you! There are hundreds of volunteer projects going on this Saturday for Make A Difference Day! We bet you can find one that doesn’t start too early so you can sleep in on Saturday!
  • Make the environment a little cleaner! Find a small act or a big project that can help your community be a little greener!
  • Help kids and adults without a home. Take a few moments to find out how you can help families living in homeless shelters lead an easier life while they’re getting back on their feet.
  • Stamp out hunger in your community! Find a way that you can help people who don’t have enough to eat and support your community food bank!
  • Help make reading cool for everyone! Spend some time sharing your favorite books or helping other kids find the adventure in reading!
  • Do your own thing! You can start your own volunteer projects this weekend and have a lot of practice for next year’s Make A Difference Day! Starting your own volunteer project is easy with a little help from HandsOn!
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Calling all MLK Day 2012 Projects!

Posted on October 25, 2011. Filed under: Good Ideas Stick, Tips for HandsOn Partners, Uncategorized | Tags: |

I know Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2012 (January 16, 2012) seems so far away. However, it will come up fast!

HandsOn is happy to announce we will be engaging at least 500 volunteers from many groups including Willamette and Corban Universities. You all know what that means! We need your projects. Because of school schedules and the holiday break we need to send projects to groups for sign up before Thanksgiving. Please note you do not need to give us the exact details of what a group would be doing. We just need to know a general idea of what you might have them do (ex. landscaping, cleaning, sorting, etc.) and the minimum and maximum number of volunteers you can accommodate. All projects will need to take place on King Day. However,

Again we need to a rough list of projects by Thanksgiving. Please submit your ideas and needs to Melissa.

We will, of course, also highlight all projects posted on HandsOn Connect after the Thanksgiving deadline. However, if you would like to tap into an almost guaranteed group of volunteers, the sooner we know the details, the better.

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Statistics: The dementors of your nonprofit’s story

Posted on October 17, 2011. Filed under: Good Ideas Stick, Tips for HandsOn Partners | Tags: |

From Katya’s Non-Profit Marketing Blog,

The most important advice I can give you as a storyteller for your cause is to put a single living creature – not a statistic – at the heart of your story.

To borrow an image from a very accomplished storyteller – JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame – statistics are the dementors of your nonprofit’s story. For those of you who haven’t read the books or seen the movies, dementors are the horrific monsters that suck the souls and happy emotion out of people with a deathly kiss.

If your story stars a statistic, it will suck out the soul of your cause and wring the emotion out of your story. All that will be left is a dry, depressing shell with no heartbeat.

After making this point in a speech last week, a lovely person from a DC-based nonprofit came up to me and said: “But our statistics are so convincing! A third of children in Washington live in poverty. That’s surely the best place to begin a story.”

I said something like this: That is a very sad statistic, but it’s not a story. It’s a fact looking for a person. I encouraged her to tell the story of one child they have helped. Let’s call him Peter. Paint a vivid portrait of all Peter has faced and how the organization has given him the gift of reading and a shot at a future that wasn’t possible before. Then make the point that for every group of three children in Washington, there is one Peter. People will feel that in a way they will never feel 36%.

Numbers aren’t inherently bad, but they aren’t the place to start or end your story. You have to bring forward the living beings behind the stats to forge a true connection. Tell a good story so the facts truly matter.

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Volunteering Cranked Up!

Posted on October 17, 2011. Filed under: Volunteering is Hot! | Tags: |

You are a service-minded individual. You love to volunteer and you know the difference you make in the community each time you volunteer. However, have you ever considered offering just a little more to your community? AmeriCorps is a federal program through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) that is volunteering to the extreme!

But How Does it Work?
Non-profits, schools churches and government entities write grants to CNCS requesting to host AmeriCorps members at their site. Members do any number of jobs from starting brand new programs, engage new populations or even helping an existing program become more sustainable. Some AmeriCorps members travel the country in groups and complete needs for organizations at all corners of the U.S.
Some programs require members to commit to a full year of service. Some have shorter commitments. All members are considered volunteers but do receive a small living stipend and other compensation like health insurance and assistance with childcare.

Does this sound like a good options for you? Check out for more information and to see all the current openings across the nation.

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Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

Posted on October 13, 2011. Filed under: Good Ideas Stick, Tips for HandsOn Partners | Tags: |

I know what you are thinking…HandsOn is worse than department stores. It isn’t even Halloween yet and we are already talking about the holidays.

Well the truth is people are already thinking about what kind of service they will do this holiday season. I can’t tell you how many inquiries HandsOn received last year from people desperate to spread holiday cheer. While many volunteers call us expecting to connect with an opportunity to serve meals to those experiencing homelessness, they are not unwilling to look at other options. So please share your holiday volunteer needs with us! Post your volunteer opportunities on the database. Are you hosting a gift, food or clothing drive? Let us know! Each Holiday Season we dedicate a page on our website to opportunities like these that are wonderful deeds but aren’t volunteer opportunities.

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Volunteering with your Family is Good for Everyone!

Posted on October 10, 2011. Filed under: Volunteering is Hot! | Tags: |

From the HandsOn Network Blog.

Volunteering as a family provides a fun way for families to make memories together while making significant contributions to their communities.

It also teaches children the values of kindness and giving back, ideas which complement the gift giving season.

Family members use their talents to work on an issue they feel passionate about.

Serving together builds problem solving skills and strengthens communication within the whole family.

  • Volunteering together strengthens the family by promoting positive values, creating new opportunities to communicate and focusing on the importance of teamwork.
  • Volunteering as a family strengthens the community by encouraging people to get involved, and improving the community’s overall environmment—attracting new business, new people, new commitments and new ideas.
  • Family volunteering strengthens nonprofit organizations by increasing community awareness of important social needs and expanding the volunteer base.
  • Volunteering together makes family time valuable to both families and communities
  • Family volunteering can help to improve family communication.
  • Volunteering as a family teaches children values like kindness, empathy, respect, friendliness and tolerance.
  • Making family volunteer opportunities available provides opportunities for recruiting new populations, therefore increasing the pool of available volunteers.
  • Recruiting families to volunteer acts as a natural multiplier of volunteers. Recruitment of any one family member often acts as a catalyst for enlisting other family members.
  • Family volunteering garners media attention. Families involved in group projects are a media magnet.
  • Families that volunteer together have a built-in opportunity to reflect on what they did when they volunteered together!

There are lots of great family friendly opportunities this weekend for Make a Difference Day!
Sign Up Now!

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Bring Reflection to your Volunteering Programs!

Posted on October 10, 2011. Filed under: Good Ideas Stick, Tips for HandsOn Partners | Tags: , |

Reflection is a very important aspect of service that is so often forgotten. Check out some tips for incorporating reflection into your programs from the HandsOn Network.

Reflection doesn’t have to be a structured activity – be creative in how you include reflection into service projects!

When you’re planning how to include reflection into service, be sure to remember the following:

  • Allow time for reflection. Blocking out some time at the end of a service project for reflection is important. Not just because it’s including reflection in the project, but because allows volunteers to organize their thoughts about the day.
  • Directly relate reflection to the service being done. When you’re guiding volunteer reflection, try to keep it focused on the work that was done on that day and the impact that the volunteers’ service had.
  • Plan for reflection from the beginning. Be intentional about including reflection from the start of the project planning process.
  • Reflection is about learning. The goal of reflection is to learn more about the service that volunteers did and the impact that they have. Volunteers shouldn’t be expected to share anything they’re not comfortable sharing.
  • The best reflection isn’t always planned. Be flexible and be prepared to capitalize on teachable moments that may pop up during the day. Reflection doesn’t have to happen at the end of the project.

Not sure how to include reflection into your service projects? Try these easy activities:
  • Evaluation: Add a few reflection questions to your written evaluation form, like “How did people respond to you?” or “How does what you did today compare with anything you’ve done in the past?” or “What advice would you give to someone doing this project for the first time?”
  • Guest Book: Ask volunteers to sign your organization’s guest book before they leave. Let them know they are free to write anything they would like about their service experience.
  • Contribution Cards: Prepare a small card for each volunteer that includes information on how their service contributes to the mission of the organization and how they’ve helped the community. Link their work to broader community issues.
  • Lunch Break: Provide a reflection opportunity during a meal break. Provide background material on the social issues your organization addresses on the lunch tables. Provide some sample discussion questions for volunteers to discuss as they eat.

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New HandsOn Connect Feature!

Posted on October 5, 2011. Filed under: Volunteering is Hot! | Tags: |

Hey there volunteers!

Do you find yourself conducting very similar volunteer opportunity searches each time you are on the HandsOn Database? Well you are in luck! A new feature was just released that you might enjoy. You can conduct an opportunity search and then save it!

1. Login
2. Select your search criteria under the Find Opportunities Tab
3. Name your search
4. Click Save

All of your saved searches will appear under the My Account Page. You can also share the URL for your search with anyone!

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