Online platforms connect donors, volunteers with appropriate causes

Nonprofits face a tall order to engage individuals in their organization's cause in the short and long term, hoping to generate continued contributions of both time and money. While many nonprofits choose to focus on raising money through online donation pages, there are other ways digital platforms can drive results, such as increasing volunteering and creating awareness of opportunities to help in local communities. Making an online donation page and website more informative for the visitor helps enhance overall performance and drives higher response rates in a large audience of interested contributors.

Volunteer Select
United Way of North Central Florida recently launched its Volunteer Select platform that matches volunteers with various programs in progress. The online volunteer match system allows interested contributors to post their resume, interest areas and availability through the platform, and nonprofit organizations can list their volunteer needs in the same space. The two-way match system allows both volunteers and organizations to browse the database and communicate with one another when there appears to be a good match.

Furthermore, the match platform provides an opportunity for businesses or experts in a given field to offer pro bono services to nonprofit organizations, and likewise charities can list what services are highly sought after to support campaigns. For example, a marketing expert or public relations firm may wish to offer guidance and services to a local nonprofit to enhance its image and give back to the community. The match system provides a communication channel to connect the contributors to organizations in need. Likewise, the two-way system also enables donors giving resources such as supplies or tools to find an appropriate nonprofit seeking the services.

Red Cross match system
Similarly, the American Red Cross recently implemented a new online volunteer system that helps individuals interested in helping better match their skills and experience to different campaigns and programs nationwide. Placing greater emphasis on the interests and talents of volunteers, the American Red Cross hopes to incite greater participation in its different programs by making it easier for individuals to find an initiative they can be passionate about.

"Volunteers are essential to the Red Cross and to our ability to fulfill our humanitarian mission, and the Red Cross is always seeking volunteers with a diverse range of backgrounds, ages, talents and skills," said Jim Starr, vice president of volunteer management at the Red Cross. "Our goal is for the Red Cross to be the premier place for volunteers to work."

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