The Louisiana Marathon


Baton Rouge: a playful, lively city, known by many for it’s dazzling performing artists, rich cultural traditions and colorful nightlife. It’s also home to the annual Louisiana Marathon, an event that brings together a unique blend of sporting enthusiasts and local francophones – all in an effort to celebrate a passion for running alongside the vibrant culture of their community. That’s why they call it the Louisiana “Running Festival.”

Now in it’s fourth year, the Louisiana Marathon offers up a little something for everybody: runners can choose from a 5K, quarter marathon, half marathon, full marathon and even a kids marathon (for the little gunners of the pack)!

The Marathon course follows a scenic river trail through downtown Baton Rouge, weaving past University Lakes, the Louisiana State University campus and historic river town neighborhoods. Spectators, runners and volunteers alike can enjoy local food, beverages and live music at the finish line. Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Of course, an event of this magnitude requires the helping hands of many community volunteers. Those interested can sign-up individually, or as a member of a charity group. Volunteers will receive a “Race Krewe” t-shirt, an early-bird discount to register for any race next year at The Louisiana Marathon, and a discount to this year’s Pastalaya dinner. Spots are still available online – sign-up today and #GEAUXRUNLA!

Des Moines Social Club



Before you commit your New Year’s Eve festivities to the standard song-and-dance (you know the drill – champagne, sequins, kisses and confetti), consider this: live music, visual artists, art installations, decor, food, comedians, and aerial acrobats. Intrigued? It’s all going down on December 31st at the Des Moines Social Club’s New Year’s Eve Bash – and it’s one party you don’t want to miss. This year’s theme is ‘Bash to the Future.’

“Volunteers, after all, are the reason we can do any of the things that we do!” – Mickey Davis, Program Manager at the Des Moines Social Club

“We had always thought of doing a Back to the Future themed NYE, and this year seemed like the perfect time to do it,” says Mickey Davis, Program Manager at the Social Club. “As we started planning, we moved a little bit away from throwing a party based on the movie and instead are planning a party that showcases music, art, and decor in the past, present, and future.”

Attendees of this year’s event will find items based on the years 1965, 2015, and 2065 throughout the event.

The Des Moines Social Club (DMSC) is a multifaceted nonprofit arts organization that exists to create unprecedented community engagement through the arts. “More than anything else, the Social Club acts as a resource for new and developing artists to not only experience other art but also show the things they may be working on,” says Davis. “Incorporating both classes and performance, we hope to encourage artists to continue to develop their craft.”

The New Year’s Eve Bash, says Davis, “is almost a microcosm of all of that.” Through the many mediums of artistic expression which will be on display at the event, the Social Club hopes to provide a snapshot of what’s happening in Des Moines, both socially and artistically. If you’d like to get involved as a volunteer, you can sign-up today through VolunteerLocal.

Photo credit: Des Moines Juice Magazine

“VolunteerLcoal has been a great resource both in recruiting and managing volunteers,” says Davis. “Things change pretty quickly in the run-up to big events, so being able to talk to my volunteers in such an easy manner has been crucial in making sure we’re as prepared as possible for these big events.”

Davis adds, “Volunteers, after all, are the reason we can do any of the things that we do!”

The Santos Great Bike Ride for Charity



The Santos Great Bike Ride for Charity is one of Perth, Western Australia’s premier cycling events. Celebrating 10 years in 2014, the ride has 3 routes, a 10km family Ride, 53km Challenge Ride and 96km Ultimate Ride taking in the beautiful Swan River. It was started by the Rotary Club of Perth as a fundraising ride for St John of God Health Care and more recently St John of God Horizon House project.

The St John of God Foundation works to raise funds in response to identified needs of people and communities which are not met by traditional means or government funding. The Foundation contributes to many hospital developments in local communities and to Social Outreach services and cancer research.

“VolunteerLocal has been fantastic in helping to manage our [300] volunteers.” – Claire Levett, Campaign Coordinator at the St John of God Foundation

One of these initiatives is the St John of God Horizon House, which provides accommodation, care and intensive support to young people aged 16 to 22 who are vulnerable, homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“The most recent house that we opened provides support to homeless pregnant girls,” says Claire Levett, Campaign Coordinator for the St John of God Foundation. Residents are supported during pregnancy, preparing for childbirth and in the months following childbirth until they are able to find stable, independent living arrangements. Levett adds, “In two years, we have seen the birth of 39 babies.”

Each year, The Santos Great Bike Ride is a tremendous opportunity for the St John of God Foundation to raise awareness about the important services they provide, while bringing together the community for a day of fun and fitness. With over 4,000 participants and 300 volunteers, it’s no easy undertaking.

“Last year was the first time using VolunteerLocal and it has made my job so much easier,” says Levett. “Before, we had hard copy forms that people would send back and we would allocate their role. Now, volunteers can select the exact role and time they would like, saving on confusion and database entry.” Less time managing individual volunteer schedules and more time advocating for services and programs to assist at-risk youth in Western Australia? What a ride!

Des Moines Music Coalition



Whether it’s a soulful woman’s crystalline croon as her hands dance across the keys of a wurlitzer piano, or the lyrical honesty of a frantically poetic acoustic guitar player, his heart illuminated in the yellow glow – there is something about live music that electrifies the night.

Artists like these live among us – and sometimes, they are hidden in plain sight. But thanks to the Des Moines Music Coalition (DMMC), an organization focused on cultivating and supporting Iowa’s music economy, performers in central Iowa have plenty of opportunities to showcase their hard work. One of these events is right around the corner: DMMC’s Little BIG Fest, an annual music festival which features roots, singer-songwriters, bluegrass, jam, world, blues, jazz, and soul music in Des Moines.

“VolunteerLocal makes it so easy to organize an event.” – Christopher Ford, Program Manager at the Des Moines Music Coalition

Angela Lee, Becky Migas and Jillian Sievel are three of the volunteers behind the 2012 Little Big Fest. Photo Credit: Des Moines CityView

“Little BIG Fest contributes to a growing culture of support for local artists,” says Christopher Ford, Program Manager at the Des Moines Music Coalition. “It’s an opportunity for people to come together to celebrate some of the great music that’s being created in our community and to show love for those individuals who are creating our culture.”

The festival traditionally takes place in November, with its location changing from year-to-year. “As with all DMMC events, local bands are heavily featured,” says Ford. “Though bands from around the U.S. also perform at the event.”

While the location, date and line-up may change each year, one thing never does: happy volunteers. If you’re looking for a free pass to see and hear some local talent, or perhaps just to feel a few of those invariably awesome “altruistic-fuzzies,” sign-up for one of the last remaining shifts at this year’s Little BIG Fest on November 20th and 21st.

Variety, the Children’s Charity

Sign up to Volunteer at the Beer, Wine & Food Expo!


Variety, the Children’s Charity is nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the lives of underprivileged, at-risk and special needs children throughout Iowa. Although this organization coordinates a number of “fun”draising events throughout the year (including Telethons, golf tournaments and an annual Black Tie Dinner), Variety is perhaps known best for their Bikes For Kids program, which awards qualified children with a brand new bike, lock and helmet (plus some training on bike safety and maintenance!).

This Friday, community members and advocates have another opportunity to support the great work that Variety does for at-risk children across Iowa. The upcoming Beer, Wine & Food Expo, presented by Hy-Vee, has partnered with Variety to produce an event for the uniquely altruistic, yet cuisine-savvy Iowans across the state.

“The Expo will be a melting pot for culinary enthusiasts throughout the Midwest, offering the opportunity to discover the latest cooking techniques from local and regional culinary experts,” says Tiffany Egli, the Director of Activities at Variety.

“A portion of the event’s proceeds will be donated to Variety, the Children’s Charity.” – Tiffany Egli, Director of Activities at Variety, the Children’s Charity

In addition to the palate-refining, culinary expo, this event will also feature a VIP Shopping Experience on Saturday from 11am-1pm – tailored to the serious wine/beer connoisseur. Attendees for this event will get to sip some fancy wine, chat with chefs and local craft brewers, and learn a few tips to brighten up that Wednesday night casserole – all while supporting a great cause.

“Our success for this (and all our events) would NOT be possible without our dedicated volunteers,” says Egli. “Volunteering for Variety is the difference you make in a child’s life.”


Love #ScaryVolunteering?

If you’re volunteering at a Haunted House this Halloween, VolunteerLocal invites you to show us your scary side – and you might just win $100. To enter the VolunteerLocal #ScaryVolunteering costume contest, simply:

1. Snap a photo of your ghoulish get-up and post it to Twitter with the hashtag #ScaryVolunteering.


2. We’ll pick the $100 cash prize winner on November 3rd. We’ll also feature your Haunted House on our website the following week.


Costumes will be judged on creativity, scare-factor, and hideousess (for starters).

Snap it, tag it, and win a cool hundo ($100).

Good luck, Scary Volunteers!


Denver County Fair

Like many things in Colorado, the Denver County Fair isn’t what you might expect.

Artist Mark Penner-Howell

Fair organizers take this enduring, all-American summer ritual for a spin – innovating on timeless fair traditions and building new exhibitions to surprise and delight. Look past the long-adored livestock judging, food trucks, local artists and carnival rides, and you’ll find a ‘Kitten Pavilion,’ the ‘hippiest’ homemade goods, and (new in 2014) the ‘World’s First Pot Pavilion’ at the Denver County Fair.

“Groundbreaking…unconventional…craziest county fair in America,” the website reads. “We hear it all the time! It’s how we roll in Denver – a city founded by pioneers.”

Copyright: Denver County Fair

The Denver County Fair, re-established in 2011, capitalizes on a burgeoning creative class in Denver, Colorado – folks working to establish their city as a harmonious crossroads between the traditional and progressive. Just look at the recently unveiled 2015 County Fair Poster (yes, that is a robot next to a tomato above a unicorn).

It’s all part of the County Fair’s mission, which seeks to identify Denver’s unique character and reflect it back to the community. “Not so different,” says Kristy King, Volunteer Coordinator at the Denver County Fair, “from that of Historic Denver, one of the nation’s premier historic preservation organizations.” A fact that has not gone unrecognized by those leading the selection process for Historic Denver’s annual Dinner and Awards Program. In 2013, the Denver County Fair was awarded the Community Preservation Award by Historic Denver.

Photo credit: Left Hand Brewing Company

King, who coordinates over 200 volunteers for this annual celebration of all-things Denver County, is a proud participant in helping to make every fair-goer’s experience unforgettable. She’s also a big believer in keeping volunteer management simple, streamlined, and efficient. “VolunteerLocal is a fantastic volunteer management solution!” she says. “I was able to convince (wasn’t hard) the fair leadership to upgrade to the Discover Plan ($200). Thanks again for your time and help!”

Keeping pace with Denver: VolunteerLocal is the hip and innovative solution to the old practice of spreadsheets, paper waivers and phone-trees.

Oklahoma State University – OSU Up Close

Copyright: The Breakfast Club

Selecting the right college after high school is a big decision. These days, students have a lot to consider: private or public? Two-year or four-year? Close to home or far away? These factors play a large role in helping collegiate hopefuls determine the perfect fit for their post-secondary education.

Oftentimes, once the choice has been narrowed down to three or four options, the research moves beyond pen and paper as many students sign-up for a guided campus tour of each contending school.

At Oklahoma State University, administrators, faculty and staff understand the gravity of this decision – and encouraging high-school students to visit their campus provides OK State an opportunity to show off what sets the ‘Cowboy’ experience apart. They’ve created a program called OSU Up Close, and it’s a sneak-peek inside campus life and OSU academics. Future Cowboys can visit a lab, sit-in on a class and meet with current students and faculty working in their areas of interest.

“Our group has found VolunteerLocal very simple and easy to use. We have received a lot of positive feedback and even users who are technologically challenged (aren’t we all?) have enjoyed it. It has also greatly reduced the amount of time needed to manage registrants who want to volunteer for Welcome Week.” – Megan Horton, OSU Communications

Photo Credit: Oklahoma State University

OSU Up Close requires the helping hands of student and faculty volunteers – from ‘Bus Greeters’ to ‘Wayfinders’ and, of course, ‘College Session Assistants’ to help represent each college of study at Oklahoma State. The University even provides bus transportation to campus for OSU Up Close from a number of Oklahoma communities. Students, faculty and alumni make wonderful volunteers for these events. They are the best representatives and biggest advocates for Oklahoma State University – and OSU Up Close gives prospective students a chance to test-drive the college experience of a lifetime.

Happy Volunteering – and Go Cowboys!

Georgia Southern University

How do you help over 2,000 new and returning students move into the residence halls in just eight hours? With volunteers, of course!

Copyright: Georgia Southern University

At Georgia Southern University, they call it ‘Operation Move-In’ – and it’s earned the namesake: the coordination and execution of this operation takes planning, a staff of dedicated coordinators and, of course, many helping hands.

“It’s a HUGE tradition at our University that is almost entirely volunteer-driven,” says Vickie Shaw, Assistant Director of Administrative Services (and Volunteer Coordinator for Operation Move-In) at Georgia Southern University. “Without our volunteers, it wouldn’t be possible!”

Copyright: Georgia Southern University

This year’s Operation Move-In leveraged the help of over 900 volunteers to get the job done. Using VolunteerLocal’s customizable registration form builder, the staff at Georgia Southern University were able to segment their volunteer sign-up pages by groups: Community Organizations, Faculty/Staff and Student Volunteers. This enabled Shaw and her team to collect data unique to each respective group – including Eagle ID numbers, prior experience at Operation Move-In, organization names and contact information for supervisors and/or department heads.

“Our staff was very excited and mostly sat with their chins agape at how robust VolunteerLocal is.” – Vickie Shaw, Assistant Director of Administrative Services at Georgia Southern University

Copyright: Georgia Southern University

Getting students efficiently and quickly checked-in and settled into the residence halls allows them to focus on enjoying the other social, educational and interactive Welcome Week events planned by the Georgia Southern administrative staff. Operation Move-In is a True Blue Tradition that celebrates the spirit of volunteerism and empowers students and faculty alike to take part in making the Georgia Southern experience a positive one.

Happy Volunteering – and Go Eagles!

University of Iowa – On Iowa!

You’ve been accepted. Now what?

Going to college can be terrifying and exhilarating all at once. In late August, new students arrive in droves – with bags, boxes, expectations and frazzled parents. Campus maps and freshly minted student ID’s in-hand, these bright-eyed initiates quickly find themselves surrounded by coolly intimidating upper-classmen and no-nonsense professors who won’t accept ‘getting lost’ as a valid excuse for tardiness. College can be an abrupt immersion into a completely foreign environment: new rules, new classrooms, a new school mascot and – perhaps most jarring of all – a strange new roommate.

Copyright: the University of Iowa

At the University of Iowa, however, first-year and transfer students are given a warm welcome to help alleviate those new-school-blues. This introductory, week-long celebration includes campus tours, goal-setting workshops, tools to succeed in the classroom and a pep-rally themed run-down on Hawkeye traditions. It’s called On Iowa! and it culminates in a Convocation Ceremony on the Pentacrest, followed by dinner with UI President Sally Mason at the Block Party on her front lawn. Completing the On Iowa! new student orientation includes committing to the IOWA Challenge, which tasks students with embodying five Hawkeye principals: Excel, Stretch, Engage, Choose and Serve. Did we mention the free t-shirts?

“Three cheers for VolunteerLocal!” – Kate Sojka, Director of New Student Programs, Office of Retention at the University of Iowa

Copyright: University of Iowa

On Iowa! requires the helping hands of over 650 volunteers each year – and with VolunteerLocal’s customized registration form, the volunteer coordinators for this event can collect data unique to Iowa’s campus volunteer recruitment, including student organization names, student ID numbers and ‘Squad Colors.’ Branded integration into the University of Iowa’s website design makes the sign-up process seamless for student volunteers, and the Group Signup feature allows On Iowa! volunteers to bring friends along for the experience.

Happy Volunteering – and Go Hawks!