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Seven years ago, five classmates in a Community Leadership Service class came up with the idea of a “online dating site for volunteers.”
VolunteerWilliamsburg.org was born of that idea, and seven years later it is celebrating its most successful year.
“We saw a need for a service that helps nonprofits find volunteers, because they don’t have money to do a lot of reaching out themselves,” said George Spalthoff, a cofounder of the group.
Much like eHarmony or Match.com, users on VolunteerWilliamsburg make a profile in which they identify their strengths, interests and what they are looking for in a volunteer role. The difference here is that rather than matching up romantic partners, VolunteerWilliamsburg matches up individuals looking for volunteer opportunities with organizations in need of volunteers.
Spalthoff is blown away with how much the organization has grown so far.
“We started out hoping to get about 40 or 50 organizations to participate. We never dreamed we would get 141.”
The 141 nonprofits with profiles on VolunteerWilliamsburg represent a range of causes, including high profile national organizations like the Red Cross as well as smaller scale local organizations like the Williamsburg Library.
The needs of these diverse organization are also wildly varied. Some of them are looking for unskilled volunteers to complete basic tasks for their organization on a one-time basis, while others are looking for long-term volunteers to take on important roles in their upper ranks or to perform specialized tasks like creating logos or marketing campaigns.
The metric behind the website assess 26 different criteria in order to find the right matches for each task from a pool of more than 2,100 volunteers. These criteria include availability, special talents and general interests of each individual.
“I probably get eight to ten new volunteers creating profiles a week. Our pool is continuing to grow,” Spalthoff said.
Langley Federal Credit Union Gives Back in a Big Way
Langley Federal Credit Union recently donated $10,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Virginia Peninsula.
Service within the Hampton Roads community has been a significant focus for Langley Federal Credit over the course of the past 80 years, so the recent donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters is a continuation of its past commitment to giving back.
“By supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters we are able to change the lives of many local children who are in need of guidance and support,” said Langley VP Commercial Lending Natasha Merz.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a well known nonprofit that matches school-age children with adult volunteer mentors. According to statistics published by the organization, this partnership leads to kids developing more confidence and better social skills, as well as being less likely to use drugs and alcohol.
“Kids are our future and the positive relationships nurtured by BBBS have a direct and lasting effect in helping the children to have greater confidence, avoid risky behaviors and achieve educational success,” said Merz.