Want to volunteer but don’t quite know where or how to volunteer? The Longhorn Center for Civic Engagement (LCCE) in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement can help. LCCE is partnering with GivePulse to provide an innovative social media platform that allows students, faculty, staff and community members to learn about volunteer efforts, connect with other volunteers and keep track of your time spent volunteering. By visiting https://www.givepulse.com/group/179, you can learn about the latest volunteer opportunities and sign up to volunteer.
GivePulse co-founder George Luc has been working with nonprofits for the past year to better understand the volunteer experience. He says the GivePulse platform is best explained by thinking about it as “Facebook for volunteering.” Students can friend and social network with others who are volunteering. “At the core, we want to make volunteering an even better experience,” said Luc. “As you register and volunteer for experiences, that information is tied to your volunteer profile. So if you volunteer with multiple organizations and have to complete the same information every time—here it is in one place.”
GivePulse also allows organizations to schedule volunteers for episodic or ongoing shifts and has an event management platform.
“GivePulse has created an ecosystem where volunteers are matched with causes,” said Yvonne Loya, director of the Longhorn Center for Civic Engagement. “It is an improvement over our old database of volunteer opportunities where students would sign up to volunteer but then LCCE would never hear anything about it. We never knew what kind of experiences students were having out in the community.”
Another benefit will occur in the future when GivePulse installs a review function so volunteers can provide feedback about their volunteer experience. “We will know which organizations provide a great volunteer experience. For those who don’t get good reviews, this provides opportunities for them to improve the volunteer experience. And LCCE can work with them on that,” explained Loya.
The review function will also enable volunteer coordinators to rate volunteers. “The two-way reviews will foster a sense of transparency for both to communicate their experiences together,” said Luc. In addition, GivePulse is creating a skill-based matching platform that algorithmically matches people to volunteer opportunities, events and causes.
Loya is also excited about the function which creates a timeline of hours volunteered so students have a way to verify their experiences for job applications and admission to graduate school.
The platform gives local nonprofits the substantial advantage of affiliating with LCCE and using the basic version of GivePulse at no cost. Through the partnership with LCCE, nonprofits of all sizes are able to recruit, engage, enroll and manage volunteers for free. More advanced versions of GivePulse are available at a cost as nonprofits leverage the system and their needs grow beyond the capabilities of the free version available through the LCCE affiliation.
“We are thrilled about our partnership with GivePulse and the potential of the platform for us and our affiliated organizations,” said Loya. “It may take a while for everyone to get used to the new system, but the benefits for all of us are huge.”