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GiveGab Ambassadors - Actively seek to recruit more, happy volunteers

We have created the GiveGab Ambassadors in recognition of those we see supporting their communities and others.

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Who earn can earn the exclusive GiveGab Ambassador badge?

A GiveGab ambassador is someone who is enthusiastic about civic participation, an engaged member of their community and actively seeks to recruit more, happy volunteers.  To be eligible, just do things like invite new users to the website, post updates/photos to The Gab, offer feedback on how to improve the site, or recommend nonprofits to be added.  Simple things that show you’re an active GiveGabber!

What are the benefits?

Being a GiveGab Ambassador boosts your resume by showing that you’ve displayed leadership skills; it gives you the opportunity to interact and network with other GiveGab Ambassadors; and allows you to promote what is important to you.

Plus you have the opportunity to get some cool chotchkies (more on this later!).

If you’d like more information on GiveGab Ambassadors, please contact Tonyehn@GiveGab.com.

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#ImpactStories: TastySeconds is making every meal count

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Here at GiveGab, we’re always looking to highlight and connect people that are making a positive impact on the world. This week we didn’t need to look very far :) GiveGab’s very own Jed Shireman has co-founded a company with a delicious product and lofty goals.

Born from a playful passion for food, a respect for local farmers, and a vision of ending hunger in America, Tasty Seconds sells fun-finger foods at farmers markets to help feed the needy. With each sale, proceeds go directly towards purchasing produce from that day’s market to be donated to local pantries and soup kitchens. In one swoop Tasty Seconds supports local farmers and provides the needy with life-saving meals with real nutritional value. Remember that when you’re buying a tasty meal from them, you’re also buying seconds for someone who truly needs it.

Tasty Seconds’ debut item is pizza balls, scrumptious pockets of cheese, pepperoni, or veggies depending on your preference. And best of all, they’re gluten-free allowing even those with an allergy to enjoy them. But don’t fret, gluten eaters, these balls are just as tasty as the pizza we all know and love. Don’t believe us? If you’re in the Los Angeles-area, stop by the Motor Ave Farmers Market and try some.

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In its first year (July through December 2014) Tasty Seconds hopes to deliver at least 500 lbs of fresh, local produce to homeless shelters and soup kitchens throughout Los Angeles. Within its first three weeks over 70 pounds of produce from local growers has been delivered to the Los Angeles Mission, an organization that feeds 500 people a day.

Obviously the need for nutritious meals citywide is great and Tasty Seconds hopes to expand its impact. In a year’s time Tasty Secondsm hopes to host an event where its members actually prepare the food and volunteers serve the meals at a selected shelter or soup kitchen. If you are interested in learning about ways that you can help in this mission, please visit www.tastyseconds.com.

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Happy 4th! New challenge on GiveGab

Summer is finally here! Make sure to keep your GiveGab profile extra cool by earning our “In-Dependence Day” badge. 

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In-Dependence Day Badge: It may not be Independence Day where you live, but there are certainly organizations near you that depend on the generosity and good will of others to carry out their mission. Find one and lend a hand! Log hours during this time to earn this little firecracker of a badge. If lending a hand to an individual please use GiveGab Givers as the organization and in the comment box tell us how you helped out.

How do you earn your “In-Dependence Day” badge? Easy:

  1. Join the challenge.
  2. Volunteer and log your hours between now and July 18, 2014.
  3. The “In-Dependence Day” badge will appear in your trophy case!

Visit GiveGab and start logging hours now in celebration of our common bond!

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Donations: the gift of giving

We often talk about the benefits of volunteering—how it affects happiness and even your health. But we have yet to talk about the benefits of donating.

While donating may not be as “hands-on” as volunteering, giving money or goods is a valuable way to help an organization achieve their mission.  Without these much needed items, nonprofits would not be able to keep their doors open.

According to the Giving USA Foundation, 80-83% of households donated in 2012 which added up to a little more than $316 billion dollars. Whether these people are donating because they feel like they have to, they want to make a difference or simply because they want to get a tax credit, the results are the same for the individual and the benefitting organization.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of donations:

Donations are tax deductible

When you donate to a charitable organization or a non-profit group, the amount you donate is tax deductible.

Giving can improve your sense of well-being

Knowing that you’ve made a sacrifice to help others can give you a sense of purpose.

Giving lets you know you are making a difference

When you give to an organization that supports a cause that is important to you, you get to see your dollars go to work where it matters most.

Matching gifts

Many corporations will match your charitable donations, making your dollars go twice as far!

Setting a strong example

Donating goods and clothing is a great way to educate younger generations about the many people in our society who lack basic needs. 

Every little bit helps

Remember—even if you think that your gift will be small or insignificant, it will make an impact. Every dollar, item or even smile toward a good cause helps.

If you’d like to share stories about your giving, please send them to Tonyehn@GiveGab.com.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Barrett Anspach.

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New Challenge Live: “Props to Pops!”

Father’s Day is rapidly approaching, so make sure you do your gift and card shopping soon!

While you’re at it, sign up for the “Props to Pops!” challenge on GiveGab. Log some volunteer hours between now and June 15th in honor of all the dads out there and you’ll receive this glorious new badge:

How do you earn your “Props to Pops” badge? Easy:

  1. Join the challenge.
  2. Volunteer and log your hours between now and June 15, 2014.
  3. The “Props to Pops!” badge will appear in your trophy case!

GiveGab Challenges are stimulating experiences that allow you to engage with your community and earn badges. 

Looking to fill out your trophy case with even more shiny new badges? Keep an eye out for these coming attractions: “In-Dependence Day” & “Hot Fun in the Summertime” :)

Visit www.GiveGab.com and get started today!  

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Thanking and rewarding your volunteers

Many say that the reward for volunteers is in the volunteering itself. While this may be true, it is a good idea to find others ways of letting volunteers know that they are appreciated both publicly and privately.

Rewarding volunteers is all about retention!  If you want to have volunteers to reward you have to engage them first.  A few things to consider are:

  • Be sure to let your volunteers know you appreciate them.  This is not the same as rewarding them.  You need to let them know they are respected and appreciated on an ongoing basis.

  • Offer them meaningful volunteer opportunities.  Volunteers need to care about what they are doing and you should keep them engaged by offering different activities.

  • Constant communication.  Never leave your volunteers out there wondering what is going on. Even if you don’t have an upcoming event, you can stay in touch by sharing stories and updating them on your organizations impact.

Now, when it comes to rewarding your volunteers there are a few things to consider.

First and foremost: NOT EVERYONE LIKES TO BE REWARDED IN THE SAME WAY. Though we know this, we don’t always take this into account. Maybe as part of a volunteer application, you ask how they like to be rewarded. Some may want a thank you card, others like the incentivized rewards where if you raise X number of dollars you receive gifts at different levels, while still others may prefer a low-key gathering like a cookout where volunteers can invite friends and family. Regardless„ here’s a list of a few places that offer some interesting ideas for rewarding your hard-working volunteers:

txtMovies offers a way for you to give your volunteers a free movie ticket when they respond to a post event survey.  This way you are getting valuable feedback and giving a reward as well.

DIY enthusiasts should check out Pinterest for amazing volunteer appreciation ideas. The handmade approach always makes volunteers feel like you went that extra step.

VolunteerGifts.com has been helping nonprofit organizations since 1995.  Offering hundreds of items to suit any need, they promise to meet or beat anyone’s prices.

Whichever route you decide to go, just be sure you say “Thank You” honestly and often.  Your volunteers help to make your mission a reality.  Without them, your vision goes nowhere.  

Contact Tonyehn@GiveGab.com if you’d like to share your ideas with the community!

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How Understanding Your Volunteers Can Lead to Better Engagement

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that 2013 had the lowest volunteer rate since the study was first conducted in 2002.  With the 1.1% drop in volunteerism from last year, some may wonder if people are less motivated to give back. Others will conclude that the issue is not with the volunteers, but with how they’re being engaged.

Most volunteers say they volunteer simply because they were asked. Volunteer managers should not be afraid to ask for help, and to be specific about what they need from their volunteers.  

First, you should understand your volunteers’ motivation.  Are they volunteering because of an affiliation?  Maybe someone in their family has been diagnosed with cancer, or maybe they care deeply about the environment or homelessness.  Or maybe they want to share or develop a particular skill.  An accountant may want to use their financial skills to help someone with taxes or a dentist may donate time to a free medical clinic.  Knowing what your volunteers’ motivations are will better help you to assign them opportunities that peak their interest.

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Second, be sure to ask your volunteers about their availability and what time commitment they are willing to make.  For the most part, they are going to fall into two categories.  Some people are only interested in short-term or periodic commitments.  These people are best used for a one-day type activity; e.g. a position of responsibility for a one-time event such as registration desk or managing an auction.  Others want to make a long-term commitment by donating time to an ongoing project, such as tutoring youth or being a board member.

Once you have a general feel for volunteers’ interests, you need to make an investment in them.  Just like a new employee needs training, your volunteers need to have a clear understanding of your mission and vision.  These people will be the face and voice of your organization when they are interacting with their community, whether as a volunteer or a citizen.  Most importantly, you need to invest in understanding who they are and developing a relationship with them.  If you don’t take time to learn about their lives outside of volunteering, you could lose the perfect opportunity to engage them in some new activity that you may not otherwise have known would be appealing.

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In the next post, we’ll look at how to thank and reward volunteers for their service.  If you have stories you’d like to share about engaging volunteers, please send them to Tonyehn@GiveGab.com.  And be sure to list your volunteer opportunities at www.GiveGab.com!

 

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Earn the Mother’s Little Helper Badge for Your Trophy Case on GiveGab!

Join our latest Challenge, give a helping hand by volunteering now through May 21st, and be rewarded for your efforts with the Mother’s Little Helper badge from GiveGab.

GiveGab Challenges are stimulating experiences that allow you to engage with your community and earn badges.  Some will be right up your alley, while others may require you to develop skills that will prove useful in other areas of your life.

You have a mother, know a mother, or are a mother.  Whatever the case may be, this is the week to do something special to honor all of the mothers out out there.

How do you earn your badge? It’s simple.

  1. Join the challenge.
  2. Complete the steps.
  3. Volunteer and log your hours between May 7-21, 2014.
  4. The Mother’s Little Helper badge will appear in your trophy case!

Visit www.GiveGab.com and get started today!  Stay tuned for the upcoming Hot Fun in the Summertime Challenge in June and others throughout the year.

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Have a Bit of Wanderlust in Your Soul? Try Volunteering Abroad!

Giving something back while traveling abroad allows you to share your skills and knowledge, see new regions, learn new languages and live like a local.  If you’ve got the travel bug and can’t find a way to stop the fever, then this might be the cheapest and sometimes completely free option for you!  

There are thousands of organizations looking for help from travelers. Many ask for donations, though there are some that will let you stay for free.  Below are a few options and the causes they support.

WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming)

WWOOF offers opportunities in over 60 countries.  Usually you live with your host and are expected to join in the day to day activities. In most countries, the exchange is based on 4-6 hours help for a full day’s food and accommodation.

Conservation Volunteers

This organization offers opportunities to participate in projects to enhance the environment and natural heritage of Australia and New Zealand.  On these projects, you can volunteer for multiple days at a time. For residential programs involving an overnight stay, there are some small costs involved to cover transport, accommodation and meals, etc.

HF Holidays

HF Holidays operates walking and leisure activity holidays from 19 Country Houses in the UK and walking holidays in over 70 destinations overseas that require volunteer walking holiday leaders.  For a two week commitment they offer accommodations, travel expenses, training and more.

HelpX (Help Exchange)

HelpX is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.

EarthWatch Institute

EarthWatch Teen Expeditions are designed specifically for 15 to 18 year olds.  Teens work alongside experienced scientists at the cutting edge of conservation research, gaining first-hand knowledge of, and trying to find real and achievable solutions to, some of today’s most pressing environmental challenges.

If you have volunteer abroad opportunities, please post them to www.GiveGab.com or contact Tonyehn@GiveGab.com.

 

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The Future is Here…the New & Improved GiveGab!

For the past several months, the team at GiveGab has been working on a re-design of the website which we internally dubbed “R2D2” (short for Responsive Re-Design & Development).  We wanted to bring a better user experience to all our faithful volunteers and volunteer managers.  And we’re proud to announce, the future is (almost) here!

Before we launch the re-designed site later today, we wanted to give a sneak preview so you’re not too blown away on the day the fantabulous new site pops up on your screen.

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You’ll notice changes to the Gab, your Profile and overall navigation around the site…and we hope you’ll like them (because we know we do!)

Organization pages are also changing, to a clean new layout, with easy access to the information you need the most!

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Pages will automatically scale according to the size of the device you’re viewing them on…no more scrolling to get the complete picture!

Once you’ve had a chance to use the new site, we welcome your feedback.  We’re always working on improvements for the GiveGab universe.  Stay tuned to www.GiveGab.com for this life-changing experience (or just to see our new awesome website)!