With nearly 20,000 volunteers coming through their doors each year, the team at Focus: HOPE is skilled at recruiting help for its food delivery, neighborhood beautification and job training programs.
“Volunteerism has been rooted in Focus: HOPE since the very beginning,” said Khristi Miller, Volunteer and Community Outreach Manager for the nonprofit that’s been serving Detroit for 50 years. “But the people that know us are also the people who go to our website. So if you don’t know us, how do we reach you?
“That’s why we use United Way’s portal.”
When we launched our online volunteer portal, our goal was to help our partners like Focus: HOPE reach new audiences while also making it easier for volunteers to find meaningful ways to give back. The portal matches an individual’s skill sets with areas of interest. An accountant with a passion for preserving natural parks for the future might find an environmental group that needs an auditor. A writer who cares about education could volunteer as a grant writer for a tutoring center.
Creating a profile is easy. Once signed up, volunteers can receive updates on new opportunity matches, or, they can look through every offering to find both short and long-term projects. Corporate and community organizations can also use the portal to accommodate large groups that align with their values.
Focus: HOPE has a variety of volunteer positions available—from packing and delivering food boxes to clerical and custodial work to assisting teachers in its Center for Children.
Volunteering is also a great way to gain valuable work experience. Focus: HOPE partners with organizations like Jewish Vocational Services to give people who are homeless or jobless opportunities to learn office skills.
“It’s a give-give situation,” Khristi says. “You’re giving your time, so we want to make sure we’re giving something back.”
Khristi added that by working together, we can accomplish more.
“United Way’s portal helps organizations talk to each other, and also helps people who want to serve the community,” she says. “It connects people, and that’s the point.”