NCVS 2015: Engagement & Impact

Given this year’s conference in Detroit on June 27-29, I wanted to share some additional thoughts from last year’s conference in Houston. In part I, I shared observations on what can be considered volunteering, faith based volunteering, and making the most out of every volunteering opportunity. A second huge component was engagement and impact. Here I’ll touch on how nonprofits engage with volunteers, why capacity building in a nonprofit is important, and what nonprofits can leverage from the for-profit space! Continue reading

Recap: 2015 National Volunteer Conference

conf_2015_logo_verticalFor the thousands of volunteers, non-profit leaders and professionals that look forward to the National Volunteer Conference, this year’s conference gets underway on Monday June 27th in Detroit, Michigan! Ahead of this amazing event, I wanted to share some thoughts and reflections of last year’s conference. Continue reading

COLLEGE IMPACT – VOLUNTEERING ON CAMPUS PART II

MIT students are making a change in campus life through volunteering. As part of a special feature, the AltrUHelp blog will spotlight several MIT student organizations that are creating a big impact on campus. In our first post we explored the impact of Lean on Me. Get to know a group of bright and motivated people who strive to actively work for the better!Fossil Free Logo

Fossil Free MIT—Volunteers Sit in for Sustainability

On October 21, MIT released its climate action plan, the Institute’s agenda for climate change. A group of students felt that the plan lacked ambition and wasn’t advanced enough to match MIT’s long held stance of developing forward technology in the field of clean energy. The next day, that group created Fossil Free MIT. Continue reading

College Impact – Volunteering on Campus

Lean On Me

MIT students are making a change in campus life through volunteering. As part of a special feature, the AltrUHelp blog will spotlight several MIT student organizations that are creating a big impact on campus. Get to know a group of bright and motivated people who strive to actively work for the better!

Health and wellness are issues that have long concerned students and staff at MIT. One student lead organization is tackling this problem head on. Andy Trattner, Linda Jing, and Nikhil Buduma created Lean on Me, an anonymous peer support network that automatically connects students with volunteer supporters and counselors through mobile text. Continue reading

Doing Good is Good for You

We love sharing inspiring content, especially about volunteering and its positive effects on individuals and organizations. The following is a gently edited blog post by RealizedWorth from Kate Rubin, Vice President of UnitedHealth Group and President of UnitedHealth Foundation. We hope you enjoy this research on how volunteering can improve your health.

For organizations like UnitedHealth Group, building healthier communities is part of our mission. We’ve invested in research that demonstrates how volunteering is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. In our Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study, we learned that people who volunteer feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Doing good is, indeed, good for you! Here are the findings:

Volunteering Makes a Difference

People who volunteered in the past 12 months told us volunteering has made them feel physically healthier and there was an even stronger connection between volunteering and mental health.Volunteers in the study provided higher ratings than non-volunteers on nine well-established measures of emotional well-being, which included overall satisfaction with life, personal independence, and capacity for rich interpersonal relationships. Participants also cited that volunteering improved their mood and self-esteem! Other benefits like lower stress levels can be viewed in the diagram below:

It’s true: volunteering makes us feel better. And while we’re feeling better, other people who benefit from our volunteer efforts feel better, too.  Everybody wins! Continue reading

Meaningful Lessons Children Can Learn From National Awareness Days

Children helping father to collect autumn leavesFrom Women’s History Month to Child Abuse Prevention Month, the calendar is full of days dedicated to raising awareness and inspiring others. While each topic is as important as the next, the abundance of national awareness days can be a bit overwhelming. The flip side: They provide an opportunity to motivate and reinforce positive behaviors in our community and, more importantly, in our impressionable children.

Children learn more—from math to life lessons—through interaction. By creating fun ways to embrace awareness days, you can help stimulate your child’s brain to learn from context. Consider these awareness day topics our readers find intriguing:
Internet safety, healthy nutrition, world kindness & anti-bullying.  Continue reading

It’s Not Every Day You Get to Save a Five-Year-Old’s Life

Hudson and ConfidenceBusiness leaders are increasingly faced with the difficulty of providing employees with more meaning at work. Whether its Gen Y workers or Millennials driving change at your work place, nearly all of us desire more meaning in our daily tasks. For Don Fornes, CEO of Austin-based tech company, Software Advice, addressing this concern for his 100 employees came in the opportunity of saving a five-year-old’s life.

After reading a New York Times article about engaging employees via corporate giving and volunteerism, Fornes joined forces with HeartGift Austin, which brings children from developing countries who suffer from congenital heart defects to the United States so they can undergo life-saving surgeries that are unavailable in their homeland.  The children are placed with a host family for the six-week duration of their stay, and are returned home when they have fully recovered. Dan and his employees found their purpose in the form of Confidence: a five-year-old girl from Benin City, Nigeria who needed life-saving heart surgery. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Reflections

happy-thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is here! This time of year is synonymous with turkey, spending quality time with friends and family, and pausing to reflect on the things for which we are thankful.

From the AltruHelp team, we would like to pause and give thanks to our community, supporters, and all those who have shared in our journey.  We are humbled by those who continue to support our mission of increasing volunteerism! Thank you for using AltruHelp to find new meaningful ways to give back, share your act of kindness with the world,  and inspire others to help us create a lasting culture of service. Together we can strengthen our communities to make a difference!

Interested in creating positive change this Thanksgiving? Here are a few ways to show thanks by giving back:

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When Natural Disaster Strikes – How Can YOU Help?

It’s no secret that natural disasters pull at our heart strings. Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the recent tornado in Washington, Illinois not only took people’s lives and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless but they unraveled communities, families, and hope. Yet with all the media coverage around the world when natural disaster strikes, sometimes one question remains unanswered, “How can we help?


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What Can We Learn From America’s Most Civic Companies?

In 2012, The Civic 50’s inaugural year, Bloomberg LP in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship and Points of Light came together to implement a “scorecard” ranking of America’s top civic businesses based on their community impact as well as their ability to use the time and talent of their employees toward their service goals.  These top 50 companies are purpose driven, conscious of their impact on the world, and focus on shared human value, not just shared economic value. So what can entrepreneurs, businesses leaders, and even individuals learn from these changemakers? Here are seven key insights:

Civic 50

  1. Use Industry Expertise to Galvanize Impact

IBM, the top-ranking business on The Civic 50 list, dedicated 3.2 million hours of service in 2011 alone to technology-related causes. The company helped launch P-Tech, a public high school in Brooklyn where students can earn an associates degree in computer science. They also developed the world’s first World Community Grid, a global grid that pools unused computer processing power for the benefit of researchers looking to solve humanitarian problems.

FedEx took similar action by providing improved transportation to Direct Relief, an organization that provides medical assistance to people around the world who have been affected by poverty, natural disasters, and civil unrest. Together, FedEx and Direct Relief helped people in disaster areas gain access to emergency medicine.  Continue reading here or on Forbes.com Continue reading

Celebrate Earth Day

StonyFeild Earth Day 5K

The food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe…it all comes from nature. This Earth Day, join people around the world in a global celebration of our planet and the bounty it provides. The first Earth Day in 1970 was instrumental in mobilizing public support across the country for passage of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and other key environmental initiatives!

Join us Saturday, April 20th, to support Earth Day with Stonyfield Yogurt Works’ annual Earth Day 5K Celebration. Stonyfield, the world’s leading organic yogurt maker, has organized this family-friendly event and annual run to include giveaways, costumed characters, and more!  At the AltruHelp Social Impact tent, visitors can sign up to see real-time local volunteer opportunities and amplify their impact via our ipad station. You can also join our upcycling volunteer project as we turn plastic water bottles and yogurt cups into planters, bird feeders, and blocks.  We’ll be donating $1 for everyone that signs up for volunteering at our station to support victims of the Boston Marathon Tragedy. The first 100 people will also be able to win free car washes from our eco-friendly partner, ScrubaDub, and Social Impact t-shirts while they last! Proceeds from the Earth Day 5K will benefit the Life Is Good Kids Foundation, New Hampshire’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program, and scholarships for Londonderry High School students. Continue reading

Civic Leader Inspires National Service

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When one thinks of dedication to service and inspiration, few individuals epitomize these attributes in the same way as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As a father, scholar, pioneer, and civic activist, King served as a role model to countless Americans.  King spread hope and the creed that doing what is right is at the core of strengthening our communities and advancing our nation.  It’s no surprise, that only a few weeks ago, this civic leader was honored across the nation by millions with a National Day of Service.

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Points of Light, the largest national nonprofit dedicated to increasing volunteerism, mobilized people across the nation to transform veteran’s homes in Phoenix, complete school makeovers in Los Angeles, repair communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy in New York and more. Their signature event was in Washington DC, the largest single-site service project of the inaugural weekend, which was made possible by Target, as they give 5% of their profit and thousands of volunteer hours to communities every day! Continue reading

Experience Volunteering in Africa – Building A Habitat For Humanity

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At AltruHelp, we encourage our team to practice what we preach and get involved in local communities as well as projects around the globe. From August 31 to September 13, one of our team members, Paige Herlihy, had the opportunity to travel to Humjibre, Ghana and help build houses with the Ghana affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. Below, from the eyes of Paige, is her story.

AltruHelp in Ghana

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Summer IMPACT Networking For Charity

AIN Summer 2012 Impact Report

On July 10th AltruHelp hosted the second annual IMPACT Networking Event For Charity at the Microsoft N.E.R.D. Center in Cambridge, MA. Over 100 philanthropic Bostonians came together to enjoy a fun evening of speed-volunteering and networking to support the local non-profit community and increasing Millenial (ages 16-29) volunteersim. The attendees ranged from college and graduate students to accountants, lawyers, entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders and more. Continue reading

Inspiring Innovation: Social Good Hackathons

Social Good Hackathon

What do you get when you bring together brilliant people that love to write computer code and program for 24 hours with a common goal of doing good? Well, a Social Hackathon of course!

This Spring, StartLabs brought together nine teams at the Cambridge Innovation Center to create the most socially beneficial, impressively designed, and well implemented websites and applications. StartLabs recruited innovative leaders from the “Social Impact” Space including Mozilla “FireFox” Foundation, AltruHelp.com, RedStar Ventures and Fundraise.com to mentor the participants, providing the newly formed teams with structure & vision in the brainstorming of product development. Continue reading

Green Action: EarthFest & Earth Day

Earthfest

With all the talk about going green and building a sustainable planet, its easy to miss some of the awesome action individuals and organizations are taking to make the world a better place. This past weekend, Radio 92.9 & Whole Foods Market teamed up to present EarthFest with musical performances from Third Eye Blind, Switchfoot, Eve 6, Spin Doctors and local Boston artist Twin Berlin. Thousands of people came out to hear some great live music while meeting environmental non-profits from across the country, tasting free samples from Whole Foods companies that focus our attention on being green, and experiencing Kids’ Planet – an interactive family area with environmentally focused learning, volunteer opportunities, and exhibits for children.

In addition to EarthFest, only a few short weeks ago more than 175 countries celebrated Earth Day where volunteer events were held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the earth’s natural environment.  Did you know Earth Day was designated to be held on April 22 in 2009 by the United Nations??? Continue reading

The Benefits of Volunteering – National Volunteer Week

AltruHelp - National Volunteer Week: The Benefits of Volunteering

Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to give back. It’s about working together to take action, encouraging individuals and their communities to be a catalyst for social change. This week (April 15 – April 21, 2012) is a time to celebrate volunteers and share ideas, practices, and stories – wherever they happen – that help shape social impact!

Volunteering is more than just a great way to help out in the community. Here we’ve outlined six benefits of volunteering that are sure to get you pumped about giving back!

1.) It can help you professionally. Volunteering improves your chances of nabbing a great job! Organizations want to hire people who can help them inspire a culture of giving back. In an article published by World Volunteer Web, a survey from TimeBank showed that 73% of employers will recruit someone with volunteer experience over someone who doesn’t have any.  Taking time to volunteer shows companies you are a person of initiative that spends your time caring for others & improving the community. Continue reading

How Corporate Volunteer Programs Help Your Business

Corporate Volunteer Program Benefits

A recent announcement by the Corporation for National and Community Service revealed that 582,000 Americans applied during the past year to serve in the AmeriCorps – an increase of almost 10 percent or 50,000 applications on the previous year. The Corps, however, has turned away close to one million potential volunteers since 2009 due to a lack of funding, and those people are looking for somewhere else to volunteer. A corporate volunteer program (CVP) offers multiple benefits to your company and employees, as well as the causes they take up.

Corporate Citizenship

Corporate America is catching on to the value of establishing CVPs, with almost one-third of corporations now offering some form of volunteerism for their staff – a growth of 150 percent over the past two decades. Continue reading

Want to Improve Your Health & Get Some Sleep, Try Altruism!

Sleep Better from Altruism

You first heard the idea in kindergarten: Share your toys. Later on, you were taught, “do unto others.”  And as an adult, you may have gotten the advice that the best way to feel better about yourself is to help the less fortunate.

No matter how you got the message, the concept of altruism is one that is ingrained (or should be) in our collective social conscience. Not only because acts of altruism benefit society as a whole but because, darn it, it just feels right!

So volunteering and giving feel good. But is altruism actually good for your health? The Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science tackled that question in 2009 and came to the conclusion that …it is.  Continue reading

A BILLION+CHANGE: Companies Pledge To Commit BILLION$ To Skill-Based Volunteering

On International Corporate Philanthropy Day, this past Monday, AltruHelp joined more than 100 leaders in business, policy and civic engagement in New York City to celebrate the continuing success of A Billion + Change, a national campaign to mobilize billions of dollars of pro bono and skills-based volunteer service from corporate America by 2013.  Since the summer of 2011, more than $1.6 billion of skills-based volunteer services has been contributed and 78 pledge companies have joined the movement. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the campaign’s honorary chairman, announced this as part of a program hosted by Morgan Stanley at the company’s headquarters in NYC. The event recognized the innovative pro bono programs companies are developing to deliver high-impact services to address community needs.

A Billion + Change, housed and managed by Points of Light, is seeking 500 companies willing to pledge their best business skills and talents to serve the needs of nonprofits and communities at home and around the world. The campaign’s vision is to inspire the largest commitment of corporate pro bono service in history. A Billion + Change is encouraging companies of all sizes across all sectors to achieve this kind of change. Pledge companies range in size from small businesses, like gothamCulture and AltruHelp, to large companies such as Nielsen, General Mills, Boston Beer Company, State Farm, Hewlett-Packard, UnitedHealth Group and Morgan Stanley. To date, these companies have committed to give more than 11 million hours of time and talent to nonprofits by 2013. Continue reading

Measuring the IMPACT of Networking on Charity

With the recent surge in corporate social responsibility and startups supporting the charity scene – a trend that became more visible at the Social Good 2.0 conference two months ago– AltruHelp has partnered with multiple nonprofits in the community (Animal Rescue League of Boston, Playworks Metro Boston, American Red Cross and more) to pioneer “IMPACT Networking For Charity,” a fun series of speed-fundraising, volunteering & networking events aimed at increasing Millenial volunteerism and community IMPACT.

On January 26th AltruHelp hosted it’s first Winter Impact networking event to kick off a new year of social impact!  Borrowing a page from speed dating, we matched professionals and college students with various speed-volunteer/fundraising stations enabling them to support multiple nonprofits in one night, under one roof, while forming meaningful career connections!

AltruHelp Winter IMPACT Networking at MassChallenge

Over the course of just 2 hours, 100+ local Bostonians generated some awesome IMPACT for the nonprofit community:

AltruHelp Winter Impact NetworkingWhat’s more, the event also raised more than $2000 for Charity! Think of it this way: while attendees were sipping on ice cold Narragansett Tallboys, eating tasty Boloco Burritos/Panera sandwiches, and expanding their professional networking connections, they created more good for the greater community on a Thursday night than the average person does in a year! If that doesn’t deserve kudos, we’re not sure what does!  Continue reading

Volunteering INCREASES Employment: Meet Scott Bailey of MassChallenge

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Scott Bailey

During these difficult economic times the job search process can be challenging but what if you tried something new? Instead of spending each day applying to jobs online, submitting your resume to Monster.com, Craigslist, Careerbuilder and more, why not try a few days of volunteering? Sounds crazy right??? New case studies show that taking time to give back will expand your network, enhance your character, and potentially lead to full-time career opportunities! This post marks the first in a series of interviews we’ve conducted with successful individuals who have obtained AWESOME Jobs, expanded their network, and increased their personal development by volunteering!

Meet Scott Bailey. Scott knows the key to success, and it’s not based on the money you make.  “It’s a weird thing,” he says.  “Right out of college, people think you need a job that really pays.”As a recent college graduate I certainly questioned this philosophy; isn’t a well-paying job the goal of a degree?  After sitting down to talk with Bailey, the Director of Partnerships at MassChallenge, it seems he had the right attitude as he set forth into the professional world.  Continue reading

Cradles To Crayons: AltruHelp Visits the Giving Factory

This past Saturday morning, the AltruHelp team joined dozens of professional groups, families, and individuals at the Cradles to Crayons Giving Factory in Brighton, MA.  This nonprofit organization works year-round to provide children up to twelve years old with many of the necessities we often take for granted, such as clean, presentable clothing; school supplies not typically provided in the classroom; new or gently used toys; and other goods that add to the key senses of happiness and security in a child’s life.

During our time at Cradles to Crayons, all volunteers split into small teams and worked together to build winter clothing packages for children in need.  The AltruHelp team Continue reading

AltruHelp’s Thanksgiving Reflections

Thanksgiving is here, and for some, this time of year cannot come soon enough!  Turkey, quality time with family and other loved ones, rest and relaxation are just a few of the ways one can enjoy the holidays.

Along with food and happy memories, this time of year also serves as a great pause from the daily hubbub to reflect on the things for which we are thankful.  What are you thankful for?

From the AltruHelp team, we would like to pause and give thanks to our blog readers.  We are humbled by those who continue to show us their support by viewing and sharing our content with others, posting comments, or writing to us directly.  Together we can inspire altruism and amplify our social impact!

Here are three simple idea on ways that you can show thanks by giving back: Continue reading

AltruHelp’s Halloween Volunteer Adventure

http://familiesintheloop.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Halloween.jpgIn the spirit of the season of changing leaves and things that go bump in the night, the AltruHelp team was happy to volunteer this past weekend at the Castle Island Association’s 29th Annual Children’s Magical Halloween Castle. For one weekend a year the Castle Island Association transforms Fort Independence in South Boston, into a haunted castle open free to the public.

As we helped at the event we were treated to a parade of kids in costumes; we saw brave superheroes, roguish pirates, howling werewolves, and all manner of witches, princesses, ninjas, knights, ghosts, and ghouls. After exploring the shadowy depths of the castle, kids were treated to a magician, a storyteller, a temporary tattoo station, and an assortment of pastries, donuts, cider and of course, candy. Over the course of two days, over 10,000 people came to the event! And we were proud to be a part of the 30 plus volunteers who helped to make that possible.Altruhelp Volunteer event 2011

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Turning The Gears of Social Innovation: AltruHelp Partners With Cambridge Chamber of Commerce

Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and AltruHelp PartnershipBOSTON, MA and CAMBRIDGE, MA — AltruHelp, a social media platform, toolbox and online community to support volunteering and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), has announced a partnership with the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce (CCC). The Cambridge Chamber will use the AltruHelp platform to measure enterprise involvement in the local community.

The goal of the partnership is to create a more detailed report of enterprise social impact in the Cambridge community than has ever been created before. Previous Chamber reports have highlighted the philanthropic initiatives of companies with local offices like MicrosoftLiberty Mutual, Novartis, Biogen Idec and more.

“Citizens today are much more interested in how companies are giving back to their community and aware that CSR can provide profound impact,” said Kelly Thompson Clark, president & CEO of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. “Sometimes this impact is difficult to capture, track, and showcase. By working with AltruHelp, the CCC will be able to produce a report for the City of Cambridge and our own efforts that will highlight company involvement in community programs and set the stage for a larger scale inventory of the Cambridge business community.” Continue reading

9/11 National Day of Service


On September 11th 2011, Team AltrUHelp bonded together to pay tribute to the tragedy of the September 11th attacks that occurred a short 10 years ago. After the September 11th tragedy, there was a tremendous outpour of unity and altruism that should always be present in our everyday lives.

AltruHelp Team Volunteering on 9/11/11This past Sunday, our team volunteered on a community project in Waltham, MA as a part of the September 11th National day of Service and Remembrance with volunteers from Boston Cares, City Year, and AmeriCorps Vista Project Leaders. The National day of Service was written into law in 2009 and is promoted heavily by the White House. Continue reading

Saving the World: Acting Local, Thinking Global

It’s not hard to believe that the ever-growing world population is close to reaching 7 billion people this year. What’s truly surprising, though, is that after experiencing advances in technology coupled with the staggering pace of development in the way we communicate, global social issues such as: health, agriculture, AIDS, and democracy, among others, would appear to have been left in the wake of progress.

So I wondered: Where does the disconnect between humans, technology and social responsibility lie? Could it be that when it comes to addressing social issues, a global solution has thwarted us from acting locally?  In looking for the answer,  I first thought of my personal approach in helping solve world problems:

I was truly committed, and felt responsible as an individual to get involved and save the world, but: Where and how to start? I tried donating money to organizations in other countries; still, deep inside I knew I could do much more. I discovered that having global perspective on social issues triggered something within me, but I concluded that thinking global yet acting local, would allow me to get hands-on and achieve REAL impact. Turns out I wasn’t alone…

 Young people (Gen Y’ers), those under the age of 25 who represent  nearly half of the world’s population (almost three billion people) are creating tremendous IMPACT. Continue reading

Altruism in the wake of Irene

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As Hurricane Irene tumbled through the East Coast this past weekend, leaving a trail of destruction, the team here at AltrUHelp has been inspired by the stories of Altruism and individuals going above and beyond to help others. Individuals traveled thousands of miles to give their time and energy for the benefit of others. Stories like the ones below are the motivation that team AltrUHelp uses to push forward in creating a social media platform to prove that individuals inspire the uninspired.

Red Cross volunteer travels from IL to Boston to help in Irene recovery (link)

Pat Johnson, a Red Cross volunteer, traveled from her home in Knoxville, IL to travel to Boston, MA to volunteer at a shelter for two weeks. Johnson has been an active volunteer ever since retiring in 2005, and says ““I just wanted to do something and have a sense of accomplishment. It’s been a very great experience for me. I’ve learned a lot and met a lot of wonderful people. I have some very good friends I’ve remained in contact with. I feel I’ve received more than I’ve given out.”

Search dogs part of Irene rescue team (link)

Search dogs came to the East Coast from Ohio to New York after training their whole lives to rescue trapped individuals. Continue reading