Sunday, December 13, 2009

Karen Bantuveris, CEO of, shares tips with PTA Radio

The local PTA is just one of many organizations that depends on volunteer service for its very continued existence, and thus could benefit from using VolunteerSpot. From coordinating major events to daily carpools, CEO Karen Bantuveris offers suggestions on PTA Radio.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A new way to manage volunteers

One of the most time-consuming jobs that non-profit organizers come across is arranging for volunteers to help keep their agencies running.

Whether it is trying to recruit more people to volunteer their time or to manage and communicate those who already do, the task is so large that many organizations have created a full-time staff position to fulfill it.

However, a new site, VolunteerSpot, is trying to change that.

This free website,, provides a simple online portal for volunteers and volunteer organizers to coordinate coverage for anything from staffing a table at an event to serving lunch at the soup kitchen.

Coordinators simply use an online calendar to create opportunities, post descriptions, even items required, and then enters the email addresses of their current volunteer base.

Then, each volunteer receives an email to create an account, a quick and painless process, to have access to that same calendar. With the click of a mouse, volunteers can sign up for the activities they can cover, and can also see who else has already done so.

But VolunteerSpot doesn't stop there. In an effort to avoid the often tiring task of sending reminders to volunteers who signed up to play a vital role in the day's operations, the site sends automatic reminders.

Whether the site is used for college campus programs to increase follow-through with volunteer commitments or traditional non-profit agencies, VolunteerSpot has the potential to save a great deal of time and frustration to redirect energies towards what really matters - serving those in need.

Friday, December 11, 2009

New York Times reports rise in number of families depending on food stamps

In a November 28 feature, The New York Times reported a rise in Food Stamp usage across the country, along with the decline of the traditional "stigma" of participating in the tax-supported program.

The program is reported to grow by about 20,000 clients per day, as 1 in 4 children and 1 in 8 Americans depend on food stamps for survival.

And not only are the numbers rising, but the range of those receiving benefits is also becoming more diverse, encompassing not just the "chronically poor," but also the newly jobless.

On the local level, non-profit agencies continue in their efforts to increase food stamp enrollment. In New Jersey, it is estimated that just about 60 percent of those eligible for benefits are actually participating in the program.

While some organizations already provide food stamp enrollment programs for their clients, others will benefit from a pilot program beginning in January, which will send laptops and volunteers around to agencies across Mercer County to provide on-site enrollment for clients who are eligible.

Click here for full coverage in The New York Times.
Click here for an interactive map of food stamp usage across the country.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The November figures are in: American unemployment rate falls

The Washington Post recently reported that the unemployment rate fell to 10 percent, down from 10.2 percent in October.

Though the difference is slight, the updated figure has created some hope that the worst of the economic recession has passed.

Click here for the Post's coverage.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

GuideStar predicts another tough year for non-profits

A troubled economy generally affects the non-profit industry in an adverse fashion, and the current times are no exception.

"I continue to believe that 2010 will be challenging for nonprofits," said Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of GuideStar, citing results of a recent survey to some of its member agencies.

GuideStar is an organization that monitors the non-profit sector and collects both fiscal and practical information about individual non-profit agencies that is made available to the public.

Click here to learn more about GuideStar and its research.