DALLAS, April 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Dallas' VolunteerNow™, one of the largest volunteer centers in the country, has played an integral part in delivering aid during the Flint, Michigan, water crisis. VolunteerNow was called upon by the Points of Light Foundation, the world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, to streamline the flow of individual and group volunteers and help local efforts be most effective in delivering water and supplies to area residents. Lisa Tatum, VolunteerNow's disaster manager, traveled to Flint in early March to support the substantial volunteer coordination efforts in place, as part of disaster response.
Tatum took with her VolunteerNow's proprietary volunteer-matching platform, VOLY.org. The 24/7 portal provides volunteers with access to thousands of volunteer opportunities. VOLY.org provides the ability to post volunteer opportunities, recruit volunteers and manage volunteers, including tracking their hours in the software. In Flint, it assists in the distribution of water and supplies that companies, individuals and organizations have been donating, by efficiently organizing volunteers who have arrived to help distribute them.
"We successfully trained the United Way of Genesee County staff to manage the Volunteer Reception Center and develop disaster plans with their local emergency management office," Tatum said. "Our greatest contribution was using VOLY.org to post more than 200 volunteer opportunities from more than a dozen local organizations. The system will eliminate the administrative burden on the local United Way and create a coordinated response."
"The donations and volunteer hours necessary to manage this crisis are staggering and we are more than happy to assist with both our knowledgeable staff and our unique technology," said CEO Tammy Richards. "We are also pleased to donate the continued use of VOLY.org to the local United Way in order to assist with the ongoing matching of individual and groups of volunteers with distribution efforts. This saves Flint money, time and additional resources needed to help its citizens recover."
"Lisa Tatum and VolunteerNow assisted us in connecting more organizations in the community to our volunteer network, enhanced accessibility to volunteer opportunities for individuals and allowed us more time to focus on communications with our partner organizations and volunteer groups," said Rachel Wenzlick, Volunteer Reception Center Coordinator for the United Way of Genesee County.
"Specifically, the VolunteerNow effort helped us transition from predominantly in-person scheduling to a more efficient system online," added AmeriCorps member Libby Cable, who serves as one of the Volunteer Reception Center's volunteer coordinators. "The organization's role was vital for many reasons and included training each individual managing the Volunteer Reception Center, as well as the implementation of flint.voly.org, which allowed us to outsource the scheduling of individuals and small groups. Volunteers are now able to browse and schedule themselves for opportunities online, which opened up more time for our staff to concentrate on coordinating large groups and water donations," Cable stated.
Tatum has been recognized for her outstanding service in disaster responses, which include Hurricane Sandy and North Texas tornadoes, among others. The week after her service in Flint, Tatum traveled to Washington, D.C., to be recognized by the American Red Cross for her efforts in leading the Diversity Leadership Council for the North Texas Region.
In 2015, VolunteerNow connected 40,000 volunteers who contributed more than 1.1 million volunteer hours to North Texas nonprofits. VolunteerNow also powers VOLY.org, an online volunteer-matching platform and a proprietary technology, to connect nonprofits - large and small - with the volunteer workforce needed to fulfill their missions. VolunteerNow's Voly in the Park, Dallas' only volunteerism festival, is a showcase of vibrant nonprofits in North Texas featuring more than 75 organizations, performances, interactive information and hands-on volunteer projects taking place on Saturday, June 4, at Klyde Warren Park.
VolunteerNow (formerly the Volunteer Center of North Texas) serves as the hub of volunteerism in North Texas. Last year, volunteers served 1.1 million hours, generating $28 million in economic impact for the region by connecting more than 40,000 volunteers annually to 2,200 local nonprofits. VOLY.org, powered by VolunteerNow, is the 24/7 connection between volunteers and local service opportunities. As a national thought leader in volunteerism and one of the largest volunteer centers in the country, VolunteerNow provides a wide range of programs and services that build capacity for nonprofits.