by Sarah Einselen Pharos-Tribune
---- — A localized volunteer matching database has several nonprofit organizations signed on after the system went live recently.
Get Connected, a website hosted by United Way of Cass County, works like a social media site, with organizations posting information and volunteer opportunities to their mini webpages and current or potential volunteers creating profiles showing their volunteer interests and availability.
Volunteers may search the organizations’ opportunities and register for whichever ones interest them.
At least 13 nonprofit organizations — most of them United Way member organizations — and one for-profit establishment with volunteer opportunities have created Get Connected pages.
“If Cole Hardwood wanted to do a volunteer project, they could, even though they’re a for-profit,” said Lita Rouser, director of impact strategies and community investment at United Way.
The Get Connected login page is linked from the United Way site at www.unitedwayofcasscounty.org. Click on “Volunteer — Get Connected” at the right.
Now that several organizations have completed the initial sign-on process, Rouser said United Way is encouraging board members at the organizations to create Get Connected profiles.
“We would want them at full capacity,” Rouser said, meaning the agency’s employees, board members and volunteers would all be registered on Get Connected.
So far, 44 United Way employees, organization employees and board members had signed on as of Tuesday.
Those with profiles may include their personal contact information, but it would be visible only to administrators of volunteering opportunities, Rouser said, to allow them to follow up once someone signs up.
Big Brothers Big Sisters, one of the United Way-affiliated organizations that has registered on Get Connected, is recruiting its volunteer board members to sign up now.
“I think that having volunteers be able to see everything in one spot of what our actual need is, that will be beneficial,” said April Zartman, executive director of BBBS. “They can also see what United Way has going on, and other United Way agencies.”
“There might be something out there that somebody needs that you don’t realize,” explained Zartman.