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VolunteerMatch is an American nonprofit organization, best known for its web services, that aims to strengthen communities by making it easier for people to find good causes. The organization also partners with businesses to provide tools and services to help companies, brands, campuses and government successfully manage volunteer programs and support corporate social responsibility initiatives. VolunteerMatch works with a broad range of clients in technology, manufacturing, packaged goods, financial services and other industries, and since its launch in 1998 the organization has won several awards for its innovative approach to social change, its social impact, and its sustainable business model.
VolunteerMatch is free to use by individuals. Nonprofit organizations may elect a free basic account; a premium account called Community Leader; or Preferred Partnership which includes a bundle of enterprise tools for regional and national nonprofit organizations with multiple chapters. Products and services for companies, schools, and multi-chapter nonprofits are administered under its VolunteerMatch Solutions sub-brand.
On September 7, 2009 VolunteerMatch introduced a live map that displays search activity in its network in real-time, and on March 15, 2010 it launched VolunteerMatch for iPhone. Also in 2010 it updated its free Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for non-commercial use to increase accessibility to their volunteer network. In June 2011, VolunteerMatch Solutions introduced pure consulting services to help businesses and organizations launch or grow volunteer engagement programs.
Inspired by the potential of the web and the success of NetDay, VolunteerMatch.org was launched on April 20, 1998 as a merger between Impact Online, Inc. (a California nonprofit organization started by MBAs Mark Benning, Joanne Ernst, Steve Glikbarg, and Cindy Shove) and Volunteer America (a project co-founded by Jay Backstrand and Craig Jacoby). Today the organization is called Impact Online, Inc., dba VolunteerMatch. Its early growth was helped by attention from the mainstream media (particularly around the topic of virtual volunteering) and its success in competitions sponsored by industry and academic institutions. In 1998, it was a final selection for inclusion in the Smithsonian Institution Permanent Research Collection and was featured in an article in USA Today. In 1999 it was promoted by Oprah Winfrey on her show.
The organization's growth has also been spurred by an increased interest in disaster-related volunteering and service following natural and man-made disasters, including the September 11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Following Hurricane Katrina, it began a partnership with the American Red Cross to integrate VolunteerMatch Solutions with the Red Cross volunteer opportunity search system, a relationship which still exists.
In 2005 the organization launched an initiative to promote older adult skilled volunteering. With initial funding from The Atlantic Philanthropies, it conducted research in 2006 that was published the following year as a report, Great Expectations: Boomers and the Future of Volunteering. On June 27, 2008, Boomer Volunteer Engagement: Collaborate Today, Thrive Tomorrow, a step-by-step guide for nonprofits to engage older adults and skilled volunteers, was co-published with the JFFixler Group.
VolunteerMatch reached one million volunteer connections on January 9, 2003; two million on March 16, 2005; three million on June 5, 2007; and four million on March 13, 2009. In 2009 it helped thousands of Americans participate in the first September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. As part of National Volunteer Week on April 16, 2010, UnitedHealth and VolunteerMatch released research on the health benefits of volunteering. On June 8, 2010, Ben & Jerry's released two ice cream flavors—Berry Voluntary and Brownie Chew Gooder—to promote Scoop It Forward, a partnership with Target and Ben & Jerry’s aimed at encouraging consumers to volunteer at education-related nonprofits. December 31, 2010 marked the first time that mission-related revenue covered 100 percent of VolunteerMatch’s annual costs. In September 2011, it listed 71,652 active volunteer opportunities from over 79,920 nonprofit organizations.
The organization announced it had generated seven million volunteer connections on July 11, 2013 in a press release announcement about its recommendations engine, the first ever for volunteer engagement.
Awards and presidential support
In 1999 VolunteerMatch was awarded the Socially Responsible Award from the MIT Sloan School of Management eCommerce. It received a Macworld Web Award in 2000, and in 2001 it received two Webby Awards in the categories of Services and Activism. In 2008 it was voted "Best .Org Web Site" at the annual People’s Choice Awards during the Nonprofit Technology Conference in New Orleans.
VolunteerMatch.org has been cited by three U.S. Presidents as a useful resource for civic engagement. During an August 31, 2002 radio address eight months after the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush said, "The response to the call to service has been strong. VolunteerMatch, a group that matches volunteers to charities on the USA Freedom Corps web page, reports that referrals have increased by more than 70 percent over last year." In GIVING: How Each of Us Can Change the World, President Bill Clinton cited VolunteerMatch as a resource for "Giving Time." And in a January 1, 2008 platform statement on service and volunteering, President Barack Obama wrote, "Technology can help. Existing sites like USAFreedomCorps.gov and VolunteerMatch.org represent a good start."
- http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/top10/article/0,30583,1686204_1686305_1691178,00.html "50 Top 10 Lists of 2007"], TIME
- VolunteerMatch.org Volunteers Getting Started page
- VolunteerMatch.org Nonprofit Services page
- VolunteerMatch Solutions page
- VolunteerMatch Live Map
- VolunteerMatch Services
- VolunteerMatch Releases New APIs to Expand Access to Volunteer Network
- Volunteering is CSR blog
- Carnegie Corporation of New York (2008). "Carnegie Results, Fall 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-05. Page 1
- VolunteerMatch (2009). "VolunteerMatch 2008 Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-05.[dead link] Page 10
- American Red Cross Volunteer page
- VolunteerMatch (2007). "Great Expectations: Boomers and the Future of Volunteering" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-05.[dead link] Pages 1-55
- Jill Friedman Fixler (2008). "Boomer Volunteer Engagement: Collaborate Today, Thrive Tomorrow". Retrieved 2011-10-05. Front Matter, Pages 17, 18
- VolunteerMatch.org History
- VolunteerMatch Press Release
- UnitedHealthcare and VolunteerMatch (2010). "Volunteering and Your Health: How Giving Back Benefits Everyone" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-05. Page 1
- VolunteerMatch Scoop it Forward
- VolunteerMatch History
- VolunteerMatch About page
- Groundbreaking Recommendations Engine from VolunteerMatch Makes Finding the Perfect Volunteer Opportunity Easier, July 11, 2013
- Webby Awards 2001 Nominees and Winners
- VolunteerMatch 'Best .Org Web Site' at 2008 Nonprofit Technology Conference
- Presidential Radio Address - 31 August 2002
- Bill Clinton (2007). "GIVING: How Each of Us Can Change the World". Retrieved 2010-04-05. Page 218
- Barack Obama (2008). "Helping All Americans Serve Their Country" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-05. Page 3