Meals, reception, recreation, maintenance, paperwork! Volunteers are vital to many homeless service agencies, but the coordination and orientation can be overwhelming. HandsOn offers solutions for non-profits dealing with this issue.
While volunteers are vital to many organizations, recruitment, coordination, and supervision can be time consuming. What if there was a way to have a steady stream of volunteers without all of this extra work? The good news is that there is a way, thanks to the HandsOn Network. HandsOn has 235 affiliates across the US, each with its own name and structure, but the same goal: to provide flexible, team-oriented volunteer support.
HandsOn Affiliates work directly with volunteers and non-profit organizations, which they call “partner sites.” Partner sites provide HandsOn with open opportunities and dates for volunteers. HandsOn integrates the dates into their master calendar, where volunteers can sign. HandsOn Project Leaders manage the volunteers, which minimizes the resources that non-profit agencies need to provide.
We spoke with Kelly Clark of Boston Cares, the HandsOn Affiliate in Boston. Kelly is a Program Manager, so she oversees the calendar of volunteer opportunities and works directly with partner agencies. Here is what Kelly suggests for getting started with your local HandsOn affiliate:
To find a HandsOn affiliate near you visit: www.handsonnetwork.org/action-centers/find
- Contact the HandsOn affiliate in your community and start the process to become a partner organization. This might include registration and paperwork about your organization.
- Learn about the Project Leader model, which many HandsOn affiliates practice. Project Leaders are volunteer leaders who are trained to lead and manage volunteers on-site. The Project Leaders are the point of contact for partner agencies and share information with volunteers about responsibilities, the agency, and any other questions that arise.
- Establish your calendar of project requests as early as possible. Many HandsOn affiliates establish the Project Calendar one month in advance. Find out your HandsOn affiliate’s deadline and try to adhere to it each month. The sooner the affiliate receives a request, the greater the likelihood that you will get the volunteers you need.
For more information about Boston Cares visit: www.bostoncares.org
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