March 17, 2009
With all the jobless individuals out there, many have turned to volunteerism to fill their time, to sharpen their skills and to network with people. Many nonprofit organizations are scrambling to manage the overflow of applicants with waiting lists and some are struggling with funding.
In light of the challenges nonprofits are facing, the symbiotic relationship being met by the volunteer and the charity is truly inspiring. Julie Bosman with The New York Times reports on just how pumped up and enthusiastic the volunteers are:
“Right now, I could volunteer about five times a week,” said Emily Jimenez, 29, who lives on Staten Island and was laid off last month from the Milford Plaza hotel in Midtown. “If they’d want me to.”
Katherine Howie, an out-of-work lawyer, wrote “N/A currently” under employment information on the orientation forms. “I don’t mind making a commitment,” she said. “I’m happy to work with children, or sports, or recreation. I just want something to fill my time.”
Nini Duh, 29, was laid off from Lehman Brothers in September and now volunteers at any number of places — an elementary school, a finance workshop in Chinatown — nearly every day. It is a welcome change from her 100-hour weeks before her investment bank went bankrupt.
So while the nonprofit organizations are managing this wave of eager volunteers, the volunteers are taking away experiences that will last a lifetime. Breaking away from the day to day grind, having the satisfaction of helping others and hopefully becoming inspired with the new experiences they have.
March 16, 2009
Students volunteering their time at hospitals provides an educational experience and helps them explore a career in the medical field. There are a variety of volunteer positions available from nursing units, information desks, the ER or at the gift shop.
No matter what their age, volunteers help save money. Last year, volunteers at Memorial helped save the hospital $996,000, according to Trammell. “They are extremely helpful,” Trammell says. “The amount they save for the hospital is priceless.”
Volunteering provides services to the hospital but is also a great way for students to learn more about the industry, explore a career in healthcare, learn new skills and have fun while helping others.
To learn more about student volunteering, contact your local hospital and inquire about volunteer services.
March 14, 2009
Finding a volunteer job can be challenging if you don’t do your homework. The more research you do in trying to understand the volunteer industry, the more likely you are to find an opportunity you are looking for. Alina Tugend from the New York Times reports:
Problems may arise for a number of reasons. Nonprofit groups, already stretched thin, may not have the staff to adequately train and manage volunteers, or even to respond to volunteer requests. And sometimes, the organization or the position just doesn’t turn out to be what you expected.
Here are some resources that provide information that can help you along your volunteer path:
- Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics: Here you can find quick answers about the nonprofit sector, information about how many organizations there are in the U.S., statistics and profiles.
- Foundation Center: This site provides knowledge on philanthropy, training courses, information about funding, events and more.
- GuideStar: They consolidate data from nonprofits and additional sources to inform you about the legitimacy and financial health of the organization.
- Look for a local city program or organization where you can find opportunities where you can impact the pressing needs of your community
March 10, 2009
As seen in the New York Times, the famous logo for “I ♥ NY” is being replaced in the recent public service campaign to “I (Red Cross) NY” in hopes of getting New Yorkers to volunteer for the Red Cross Reserves in the event of a disaster.
There are currently 6,200 members of the Reserves, the New York Red Cross says, who qualify to help in the event of large-scale mishaps, man-made or natural, by taking a six-hour training session.
The goal of the campaign is to increase the ranks of the reserve force by more than half, to 10,000.
In addition to individuals volunteering, there are many media organizations who are pledging ad space or commercial time in support of the campaign.
Among the media outlets that are promising to donate ad space and commercial time for the campaign are bloomberg.com; fandango.com; hopstop.com; menupages.com; New York magazine and its Web site, nymag.com; Thomson Reuters, which will run ads on the giant digital signs on its building in Times Square; and U.S. News & World Report magazine.