September 9, 2013
Businesses and nonprofit organizations often join forces to form a mutually beneficial relationship, and now, these partnerships can incentivize volunteers to take part in events put on local nonprofits. Recently launched in Portland, Ore., SwapServe uses a Web-based strategy to lead volunteers toward small companies where they can agree to donate a few hours of their day at a nonprofit to receive a free or discounted product or service.
Nonprofits can get more volunteers
While nonprofits may prefer when people donate their time out of the goodness of their heart, these organizations will definitely take any of the help they can get. Through SwapServe, local businesses in Portland are giving away free goods and service to motivate residents to volunteer at nonprofits throughout the city. By being introduced to new volunteers, nonprofits can hope that these people will want to participate in future events and maybe even become regular contributors, according to Nonprofit Quarterly.
Businesses supply volunteers, get more customers
Companies that use SwapServe can demonstrate how they are socially responsible, but they are also using the service to get more traffic at their locations. Derek Keepers, founder of SwapServe, told Portland ABC affiliate KATU that firms and nonprofits are both truly able to benefit from his service.
"It's a great way to give back, but it's also a legit advertising model," Keepers said. "Everybody who volunteers is going to come and get their free stuff, so you're basically paying a couple of bucks to get somebody through the door."
Nonprofits can't rely solely on SwapServe
The SwapServe model is a great way for volunteers to learn about local organizations, but nonprofits that take part in the service still need to focus on getting people to contribute to their events. The volunteers gained from SwapServe often have limited skill sets, and an article for Nolo, a website that provides legal advice, stated nonprofits need to truly demonstrate how thankful they are that people are taking the time to contribute to their organization. To do this, nonprofit decision-makers must stress to their team the importance of having volunteer appreciation events, during which the organization can show its appreciation to the people who are continually donating their time.
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