February 13, 2009
The San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders is looking to volunteers to help the city through these difficult times according to Helen Gao, a Union-Tribune Staff Writer.
Sanders is spreading that message as the city faces budget shortfalls that could exceed $100 million in coming years. In his State of the City address last month, he announced a goal to double the ranks of volunteers to offset cutbacks in city services.
There are thousands giving their time or money in San Diego but there are many challenges faced when trying to figure out where volunteers can serve when some jobs require special skills or training. The result of the hard work that goes into organizing the volunteer programs and the is very rewarding to the community.
- Friends of theraised more than $254,000 in fiscal year 2007-08 to benefit the system. The money has paid for books, rugs for children’s reading areas and supplies for craft workshops.
- The Police Department also depends heavily on free labor to supplement its operations. Volunteers take minor-crime reports over the phone, direct traffic at accident scenes and comfort victims.
- The department’s Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol, highlighted by the mayor in his State of the City speech, averages 450 to 500 members. Retirees in uniforms make welfare checks on shut-ins, patrol around schools and issue citations to those who park illegally in disabled stalls, among other duties.
Volunteers who give their time or money provide the much needed support to our libraries, parks, police and. We need to continue doing our part for our communities especially through these tough times.
January 24, 2009
Kelley Holland’s New York Times piece on volunteers and professionals points out that
Volunteer work can help unemployed professionals keep their spirits up, make new contacts or even to try a new field.
“Three-quarters of people find jobs through being out there, engaged and meeting people,” said John A. Challenger.
However, if volunteering remains a high-commitment activity, this trend will continue: “More than a third of the 61.2 million who volunteered in 2006 didn’t donate any time the next year.”
Most professionals want to volunteer, at every stage of our careers. What we need are more high-impact, low-commitment opportunities to serve.
As the New York Times article points out, the benefits of volunteering to professionals are substantial, and include:
- Learning new skills and improving existing skills.
- Making new contacts and deepening existing contacts.
- Keeping our minds sharp by working in a different environment than we’re used to.
The benefits of volunteering to people entering (or re-entering) our careers are also substantial, and include:
- Learning new skills and making new contacts.
- Keeping our spirits up while we look for jobs.
- Offering new items to include on our resumes, that embody our values and showcase our commitments and follow-through, and that we have a service-oriented attitude.
In both cases, people can contribute something meaningful to a cause we believe in, and also benefit our careers while doing so. Volunteers and careers belong together, like chocolate and peanut butter.
January 7, 2009
Om thinks Renkoo is rebooting, and we’ll be the first ones to admit that 36 million Booze Mail users on Facebook platform isn’t worth a whole lot, even as Facebook passes 150 million users. As Andy Grove put it, “You can’t build an empire out of this kind of concoction.”
But Om, we’re not bored at Renkoo. And we’re still building Facebook and MySpace applications. So what has changed?
We believe an important mission has found us. And we believe we’re just getting started.
We believe the first four years of Renkoo were our boot camp, where we learned all of the skills we can now employ to help people serve.
We believe that Craig Newmark was onto something big when he explored the metaphor of a Craigslist for service.
We believe, like Arianna Huffington, that Obama isn’t the only one being inaugurated on January 20th. We are all stakeholders.
We especially feel this way after noticing that today the Presidential Inauguration Committee launched USA Service dot org. This is one step closer to Obama’s service agenda becoming real. Next up: passing the bipartisan Serve America Act into law.
So Om, stop being so cynical, and Sign Service Nation’s Declaration of Service. America has a lot of work to do in 2009, and we all have an opportunity to serve. Om, we invite you to be part of the solution.
And Om, there’s more to life than a business model.
Goodness begins in small steps.
January 1, 2009
Renkoo was founded on March 1, 2005, with the belief that we could build a great application that employs the Internet to bring people together.
Version 1 of Renkoo lasted about two years. We built a website — Renkoo.com — that helped people decide when and where together with real-life friends. We learned a lot about building social applications and helped pioneer Dojo Toolkit in the process.
Version 2 of Renkoo also lasted about two years. We decided it was better to take your applications where people are — the social networks — and as a result we learned how to build an entirely different type of social application. We built a half dozen popular applications on Facebook and MySpace that got used by more than 36 million people over a half billion times. These applications were not fulfilling to us because although they were entertaining, they did not help people help other people.
From this point forward, we will serve the mission of helping people help other people.