Friday, February 13, 2009

A Virtual Matchmaker for Volunteers

Thanks to volunteer John Chao for pointing out this article in the Wall Street Journal:

Many Americans fortunate enough to have a solid job in a soft economy -- or newfound free time due to a layoff -- may consider participating in volunteer work to make use of their time and talents. Indeed, President Barack Obama has stumped for volunteerism in recent television commercials, urging Americans to pitch in around their communities during a difficult time.... The ranks of volunteers in America have fluctuated in recent years, but on average 27.2% of Americans volunteered between 2005 and 2007, according to survey data from the Corporation for National and Community Service in Washington, D.C. During 2007, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 60.8 million Americans donated 8.1 billion hours of volunteer service. "We have an unprecedented moment of need and opportunity for volunteering in America," said Sandy Scott, spokesman for the nonprofit service organization. Mr. Scott said the combination of the economic downturn and a drop in donations to charitable organizations means volunteer work has become even more important to the U.S. social fabric. Eager to roll up our sleeves but strapped for time, we sampled several free online services that match willing volunteers to organizations that need short-term assistance. (Many such organizations are indexed at, a governmental program that aims to serve as a one-stop shop for volunteer projects.)

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