4th Quarter - October - 2023 Newsletter
This newsletter is accompanied by 5-minute survey: https://forms.gle/MgoNobUNEKRNhaNv9
YOUR INSIGHTS ARE CRITICAL TO HOW WE PRIORITIZE OUR RESOURCES.
27 Community Partners have joined since our last newsletter in February 2023!
Dyslexia Reading Center
Sock & Buskin Theatre Company
Center for Alternatives in Community Justice
Partnership for Penns Valley Library Services
The Salvation Army of Centre County
Rising Hope Therapeutic Riding Center
Centre Volunteers in Medicine
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Columbus Chapel & Boal Mansion Museum
Downtown State College Improvement District
Bellefonte Cemetery Association: Union Cemetery
Out of the Cold
Centre Film Festival
Think We, not Me Food Growing Program
Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra
Jana Marie Foundation
Juniata Valley Council Boy Scouts of America
Soroptimist International of Centre County
Moshannon Creek Watershed Association
Nittany Valley Symphony
Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA
Central Pennsylvania SCORE
The Makery of Central PA
Downtown Bellefonte, Inc.
Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy Association
We are 75 Community Partners Strong!
The Most Popular Requests for Volunteers Recently Has Been for …
PAINTING for Out of the Cold!
BELL RINGING for The Salvation Army!
What we have observed and good things to know….
We have observed that people like to volunteer when they know what they will be doing is fairly simple and they have confidence that they can do it, and know that it is something that they can do in a few hours on a day of their choice.
Many people prefer volunteer activities that they can do in their spare time on their schedule. Painting and bell ringing offer just this.
Ongoing, long-term volunteer options are great, too! Remember, sharing both types of opportunities reaches a greater audience.
Know that website and app visitors can always click the APPLY button on the posted volunteer opportunity and their contact information comes to Volunteer Center County’s Admin. It is then forwarded to the Volunteer Point Person on file for the Community Partner.
Thank You to All Who Donated to Volunteer Centre County at Centre Gives in May 2023!
We received $11,161.06 from Centre Gives - thank you! The Volunteer Centre County platform runs solely on private donations and is a free community service for Centre County.
To donate, please consider the options listed here: https://volunteercentrecounty.org/donate
Volunteer Centre County Board Meeting Updates
On August 7th, 2023 our Board of Directors met.
We voted to expand the criteria for becoming a Community Partner to allow:
Organizations that offer significant services to Centre County even though their location may not be directly in Centre County.
Nonprofits other than IRC 501(c)(3) charities may be Community Partners (subject to Board review).
Things We Need From You, Our Community Partners
1. PLEASE ACCEPT CALLS FROM ALYSSA or ANN
Alyssa Johnson is our administrative assistant who has been making monthly calls to each Community Partner asking how we can help them with posts, and questions about the Volunteer Centre County website and app. Alyssa started working for us in February. Please welcome Alyssa when she reaches out!
2. PLEASE FOLLOW OUR FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM PAGES.
3. PLEASE CONSIDER ADDING info@VolunteerCentreCounty.org TO YOUR ORGANIZATION’S NEWSLETTER LIST.
4. PLEASE LET US KNOW THE HASHTAGS YOUR ORGANIZATION PREFERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS
We use #VolunteerCentreCounty.
5. KNOW THAT WE REVISED OUR LEGAL CONDITIONS.
USING VOLUNTEER CENTRE COUNTY’S PLATFORMS IMPLY AGREEMENT WITH THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS (which mostly ensure the privacy of emails and data).
Let us know if you have any questions or concerns. https://volunteercentrecounty.org/privacy-policy-and-terms-of-use
6. POST A WISH LIST OF NEEDS FOR DONATED GOODS FOR GIVING TUESDAY
Giving Tuesday is November 28, 2023.
Please consider posting an AMAZON wish list as a need for donated goods.
Of course, you may also post a list directly to the website of donated goods that your organization seeks as well.
We will be pushing this on social media and in the State College Borough Newsletter.
7. PLEASE POST HOLIDAY VOLUNTEER NEEDS AND SPECIAL EVENT VOLUNTEER NEEDS.
Please let us know if your organization has any special holiday volunteer needs so that we can post them for everyone to see.
We have many opportunities to promote ways for people to give back over the next couple of months so having needs posted will be a great help.
8. PLEASE ADD VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES FOR HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE YOUTH/YOUNG ADULTS
Ann Echols met with 130 Delta Program students and 100 Penn State Smeal College of Business Sapphire Program students at the 2nd Annual Nonprofit Symposium in April and was invited back to speak with the new class of Sapphire students in late September 2023.
The Delta students are each required to do around 30 hours of volunteering a year (Volunteer Centre County is on their website: https://www.scasd.org/Page/13327).
College students are also needing volunteer hours for their service organizations, and other groups, in addition to their own motivation to give back.
Volunteer Centre County is also working with several staff at Penn State regarding student involvement options.
Please select the age option when posting for volunteers because there are many people ages 13-17 and 18-25 looking to volunteer.
PLEASE, PLEASE. PLEASE post volunteer opportunities that are easy for young people to accomplish!
Providing opportunities for student involvement is more likely to result in them being committed to volunteering later in their life as well, and we all seek long-term loyal volunteers. Please consider this an investment. Growing and developing young people to appreciate nonprofits and the work that they do to help society prosper is priceless.
9. PLEASE CONSIDER SUBMITTING A JUNTO APPLICATION
The application is attached to the email version of this newsletter.
LEADERSHIP is calling for Junto proposals for the Community Leadership Program Class of 2024.
Each year, LEADERSHIP’s new CLP class is divided into small groups of 6-8 adults called Juntos. Each Junto is responsible for developing and executing a community-based project for a local charity. Charities are invited to submit projects for consideration. The project criteria are: (1) 6-8 adults can complete it in 24 hours, (2) any dollar amount needed is provided by the organization or raised by the Junto. Leadership Centre County does not provide funding.
Volunteer Centre County is managing the application process for LEADERSHIP this year.
This application is due on November 15, 2023.
Please email the completed application to email@example.com.
A committee, many from LEADERSHIP’s Board, will review all applications by Dec. 1st. You will be notified if your organization’s project is chosen by Dec. 31, 2023.
Juntos will have time on Jan. 10th to discuss plans for completing the project. Work will be carried out on the projects Feb. – May 2024. Each Junto group will prepare a final presentation of their group’s project for the class graduation on June 5th, 2024.
Please contact Ann Echols at (814) 308-5052 if you have any questions.
Examples of past Junto projects:
building raised garden beds
developing a social media plan with training
painting and fixing up a room
creating a development plan for how to fundraise in an organization’s anniversary year
collecting items for a silent auction
We will be posting some educational information about accepting Court-Ordered Volunteer Service in an upcoming blog.
We will be asking at that time if anyone would like to meet in person to discuss court-ordered service further. Stay tuned.
Many volunteers come to the Volunteer Centre County website and app seeking to do service because of a court order.
Most of these cases tend to involve students who have participated in underage drinking or an infraction for which this is their first time, but these students often tend to be very helpful to the charities who have reported feedback on having them as volunteers.
Platform and Advertising Updates
The design and development of the website and app (stage 1) is now complete. We are currently performing minor tweaks.
The Volunteer Management System is now in place for Community Partners to use. This system operates on referral. A Community Partner must go to their portal on the Volunteer Centre County website and enter an individual volunteer’s email address. This volunteer will be invited to set up an account. The individual volunteer’s account can be accessed via the app or the website. Individual volunteers who have accounts can enter tasks and hours for one or more Community Partners. They can download a spreadsheet of all of their volunteer work for their own reporting. The Community Partners can also download a spreadsheet of all of their volunteers’ activities and hours as well. This service is free.
Community Partners are encouraged to access their portals on the website (these portals are not available through the app) to submit requests for volunteers and requests for donated goods.
“Spread the Word” updates, news, events, fundraisers, etc. are to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. These will be posted to the app and website (on the app’s opening page, under the website’s Blog tab, and on the Community Partner’s page on the website).
The stress test results came in showing that our website can handle significant capacity and its performance is excellent. The longest load time recorded is 3 seconds, which was observed on the Home page. The average load time for all pages is 1.5 seconds. Our website complies with the very strict requirements demanded by our Cyber Insurance Policy.
We added a filter for Court-Ordered Services. We will be posting resources in future Blogs for handling volunteers who are required to do community service by law.
Social media is up and running for our posts of Community Partners’ needs and happenings.
PLEASE FOLLOW our Instagram and Facebook pages! https://www.facebook.com/volunteercentrecounty/ - https://www.instagram.com/volunteercentrecounty/ And, share your Facebook page with us so that we can follow your organization! When your posts appear on our feed, we can like your posts, helping to amplify your organization’s needs and good works!
Every single request for volunteers, request for donated goods, and “Spread the Word” write-up is posted to Volunteer Centre County’s Facebook and Instagram page as well as to other groups’ pages in Centre County. To promote fairness to all, we apply a uniform appearance to all social media posts for Community Partners.
Paid and unpaid advertising is Stage 2 on our growth trajectory.
Now that we have designed, developed, and launched our website and app (stage 1), we are ready to ramp up advertising to bring greater attention to Centre County residents so that they can more easily know where to go to give back.
Advertising and Promotions of Volunteer Centre County so far this year:
IN PERSON: Centre Gives Fest 2023 at Talleyrand Park
PSU STUDENT INVOLVEMENT FAIR (we tried - we went in ‘22. In ‘23 we were accepted then outside orgs were turned away)
ROSE COLOGNE DINNER: sponsored
LEADERSHIP CENTRE COUNTY: sponsored a full tuition scholarship (Junto Groups use Volunteer Centre County for project ideas)
PRINT: Town and Gown August Issue (paid and unpaid)
PRINT: Centre County Gazette: Grange Fair and People’s Festival (paid)
Instagram and FB: Paid Meta Ads.
PRINT: all PSU Home Game Football booklets (paid)
PRINT: Brochures available at the West College Ave. Waffle Shop
ELECTRONIC: Collaborated with JustServ - we appear on their platform
ELECTRONIC: 2023 CCCHS Human Services Guide (unpaid, we are a member)
ELECTRONIC: State College Borough Newsletter (July, August, September)
ELECTRONIC: We are on the Delta Program’s volunteer website: https://www.scasd.org/Page/13327
TV: WTAJ (unpaid)
Advertising considerations for 2024 (we will be seeking input from all Community Partners on their preferences):
IN PERSON: Centre Gives Fest 2024 (TBA)
PRINT: Brochures at the West College Ave. Waffle Shop (keep stock updated, print trifold as needed)
PRINT: Monthly Town and Gown Magazine (paid)
ELECTRONIC: Meta Adv - Increase our paid budget
ELECTRONIC: State College Borough Newsletter (free) — subscribe today to receive the newsletter directly to your inbox each month! https://www.statecollegepa.us/770/State-College-Municipal-Newsletter
ELECTRONIC: 2024 CCCHS Human Services Guide (unpaid, we are a member) including Helping Hands posts in the CDT
COMMUNITY PARTNERS — PLEASE ADD OUR WIDGET TO YOUR ORGANIZATION’S WEBSITE (available through your Community Partner portal on the website. The widget connects to your organization’s Community Partner’s page on the Volunteer Centre County website — Free, and boosts SEO!)
More to come…
This newsletter is accompanied by a 5-minute survey: https://forms.gle/MgoNobUNEKRNhaNv9
Your organization’s input is greatly appreciated!
Thanks for reading. Please reach out if you need us to post for your organization, help with accessing your organization’s portal, or with any other questions or volunteer needs that you may have.
Our next newsletter will come out during the 1st quarter of 2024.
P. O. Box 92
Port Matilda, PA 16870
Building connections to serve the needs of volunteers and nonprofits in Centre County.