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November 22, 2021 – Though the pandemic initially curtailed some local volunteer opportunities, the need for volunteers is greater now than ever. This was echoed by local nonprofit organizations at a recent Community Support Network of Nevada County Partner Meeting, where attendees shared:

  • “Volunteer enrollment is our largest barrier, especially male volunteers.”
  • “COVID-19 has made recruiting volunteers and staff challenging.”
  • “[We are experiencing] difficulty finding volunteers who will serve as mentors.”

One way that our community facilitates the important connection between volunteers and grateful community service organizations is through the Connecting Point Volunteer Hub. The Volunteer Hub is a free online portal launched just over two years ago to connect community members with volunteering opportunities at eligible nonprofit organizations serving Nevada County.

“As the pandemic began, half of my friends said they wanted to get a puppy and the other half wanted to help people. The Volunteer Hub can actually help people do both! You can foster a puppy or find another volunteer position to help our community,” says Volunteer Liaison and 211 Connecting Point Resource Specialist Susan Sanford.

Prospective volunteers may search the Volunteer Hub by organization, type of volunteer opportunity, distance, or areas of interest. For example, one might peruse opportunities under the categories of animals, arts and culture, kids and families, seniors and people with disabilities, environment, advocacy and human rights, homelessness, hunger, education, and more.

According to Sanford, over 1,000 direct connections have been made through the Volunteer Hub between 70 registered organizations and 620 registered volunteers since its inception.

Nevada County has a long history of volunteerism. The Volunteer Hub is funded by the County of Nevada, whose leaders recognize the vital role that volunteers play in our community and take this action to support it.

“It seems a natural fit for Connecting Point to help connect volunteers and organizations since 211 already offers a broad array of local information and referral services,” Sanford says.

Over 100 positions are currently posted, including holiday food distributions with the Food Bank of Nevada County and Interfaith Food Ministry, volunteer mediators, docent positions at various organizations, and citizen science outdoor monitoring projects.

From the 2019 volunteer party

If an organization would like to add their volunteer opportunities to the Volunteer Hub, they can register on the Volunteer Hub website at connectingpoint.org, then post and easily update their listings whenever needed.

Prospective volunteers can visit ConnectingPoint.org to review more than 100 opportunities currently available on Volunteer Hub, or dial 2-1-1 with any questions.

Opportunities are available for any ages (though must match appropriately to a given volunteer opportunity). Volunteers can sign up for volunteer roles through the hub, or they may reach out directly after finding a match that interests them on the Volunteer Hub.

“Our community is really eager to lend a hand. We have a huge desire to help each other,” says Sanford. “It always feels great to hear from community members who want to offer their time and talents, and to help local organizations find the volunteers they need.”

We are grateful for the amazing community members who help others through challenging times in a meaningful way. Whether you contribute to local and national service organizations, help neighbors in need, or volunteer with a local agency – your efforts are appreciated.

To share how you have been impacted by philanthropy, as a donor, volunteer, or recipient of services, email info@cnlsierra.com, and you could be featured in a future article.

This series of articles is provided by the Center for Nonprofit Leadership – itself a 501c3 nonprofit.  CNL strengthens the nonprofit community to fully realize its potential.  We are a resource center for organizations and individuals. Nonprofit staffs and boards, through workshops and networking, are empowered to fulfill their missions and become stronger and more effective.  To learn more visit cnlsierra.org