Hello there! Scott McBride here, freshly returned from Fort Worth, Texas to Des Moines, Iowa to spread the good news that is VolunteerLocal. And I’ll tell you what – I’m pumped, y’all!
A graduate of Iowa State University, I’ve traversed an eclectic road to VolunteerLocal: a former electronic component sales guy, a forever camp counselor and even a receptionist (aka front desk attendant).
I’m a big fan of being literate and I love to read. I also love to cartoon, draw caricatures and illustrate. If you see me I’ll probably have ink on my fingers, just letting you know! I also enjoy cooking, spending time with my family and serving as a human jungle-gym for my two year-old nephew, Ben.
If you’d like a demo of VolunteerLocal or you have any questions about the functionality of the product, I’m your guy. You can shoot me an email at scott@volunteerlocal or call directly at (515) 608-4711. I look forward to working with you!
Some of us (we won’t name names) are old enough to remember when KISS came out with their hit song, “Detroit Rock City.” But Gene Simmons isn’t the only one that thinks Detroit rocks. As the lead singer says, “Get up, everybody’s gonna move their feet.” And that is exactly what our friends over at the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon have been doing.
In 1978 Neal Shine, the managing editor of the Detroit Free Press, watched the Falmouth Road Race and was overwhelmed by the event. He suggested that the newspaper sponsor a similar event in Detroit, where he knew such a race would benefit the city. And that was how things got (rock ‘n’) rolling, eventually growing into Michigan’s largest road race.
“We often like to refer to the third week in October as, ‘Detroit’s Marathon Weekend,’” says Leah Yanuszeski, Digital Director of the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon. “Meaning it’s not just an event for runners. It’s an event in Detroit, about Detroit, for Detroit.”
The marathon involves multiple distance events, including a marathon, half marathon, disabilities & relay divisions, 5k walk/run, and a Kids Fun Run. The course goes through many different neighborhoods, where residents come out to cheer and support the thousands of runners passing by. That foot traffic impacts the city economically, bringing in waves of athletes, family and friends to Detroit each year.
The all-encompassing event embraces participants not only from Michigan, but from across the globe. It also welcomes elite runners and casual walkers alike (it’s been called one of the 10 best events for first-time marathoners by Rodale Publishing). One of their secrets to managing that amount of activity? Volunteers.
Each year, the Detroit Marathon has over 3,500 of volunteers putting their best feet forward. And they’re all run through VolunteerLocal. “VolunteerLocal has kept our volunteer lists and information organized and handy,” says Yanuszeski. “It’s a great resource for our staff, and helps us to easily see how far along we are in recruiting volunteers each year.”
You might not be a fan of rock music, but few things rock harder than volunteers. Sign up to become a Detroit Marathon volunteer and get a free t-shirt, an invite to a post-race volunteer thank you party, plenty of free smiles and high-fives from the race participants, and more.
Photos courtesy of YouTube, Detroit Free Press, and Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series is a one-of-a-kind running festival experience. The concept behind this series began as a simple, fun idea: what if the race director could book live bands to perform along the course as runners passed? Perhaps the finish line, too?
The year was 1998 and the first Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon was born. It was an unforgettable experience, a huge hit amongst both runners and artists in San Diego, CA – and something that decidedly could be scaled and shared with other runners around the world. Today, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series produces 5k races, half-marathons and full marathons in more than 30 cities annually – including Las Vegas, Chicago, Nashville, Washington DC, Madrid and Mexico City. The finish line concerts feature hugely popular artists such as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Goo Goo Dolls and Train. We’d run a marathon to see those shows! Well, we’d try.
“While entertainment and the energy of a festival weekend define the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series experience, runners have raised more than $310 million for participating charities shows our heart and soul,” the website reads.
In addition to the impressive charitable component to each race, these events also rely heavily on the helping hands of local, community volunteers. For this, the team at Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon trusted VolunteerLocal.
The volunteer coordinator can easily manage multiple events at once – and with most of these marathons recruiting volunteers concurrently, the task of ensuring jobs and shifts are filled to capacity is almost nonexistent.
Interested in signing up to volunteer for an upcoming Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon? Peruse those opportunities here – and happy volunteering!
The subway is packed, the buses are full, and even the water ferries keel and tow with fired-up music lovers. They’re wearing purple lipstick and neon sunglasses, carrying LED hula-hoops and giant beach balls, gleefully interspersed between the usual pedestrian traffic. It’s an open invitation, a shock of color and vibrancy, a reminder that “you’re doing great.”
It’s festival season in the city that never sleeps – and Randall’s Island in Manhattan is host to the largest of them all: Governors Ball Music Festival.
Complete with four stages, 60+ musical acts, local food vendors and beer tents, mini golf and (why not?) a fun-sized Statue of Liberty, this massive gathering promises attendees the weekend of a lifetime and “an endless supply of high fives!” Governors Ball has become an annual urban celebration of music, sparkling lights and bodies in motion – and to make things even more magical, this event is produced in the heart of Manhattan.
“It’s awesome to have a festival in the middle of New York City,” says Sami Slovy, Volunteer Coordinator at Governors Ball NYC. “The line-up is extremely well curated and the festival always puts a huge focus on the attendee experience.”
Now heading into its seventh year, ‘Gov Ball’ (as it is affectionately coined) is a logistical feat that requires the administrative prowess of many talented staffers like Sami Slovy, in addition to approximately 500 volunteers – all of whom Slovy directly oversees.
“[VolunteerLocal] is a user-friendly, sophisticated software that was customizable for our needs at Governors Ball.” – Sami Slovy, Volunteer Coordinator at Governors Ball Music Festival in NYC
“Volunteers are critical to the festival,” explains Slovy. “They put so much in – they’re awesome. Our volunteers are extremely hard working, dedicated and motivated. They’re driven.”
She adds, “They want everybody to experience a great time at the festival.”
We can relate. Prior to VolunteerLocal, Slovy and her team at Governors Ball managed volunteers using several third party organizing tools. “It was very extensive and extremely tedious,” says Slovy. “We saved hours by switching to VolunteerLocal.”
Slovy leverages the credit card processing tool to collect application fees (and temporary deposits) from her volunteers at the time of registration. No usernames, no passwords, and a single-step signup process have kept her volunteers happy – and the on-site check-in/out tool keeps Slovy informed on-site.
We at VolunteerLocal are special fans of the Gov Ball Gives Back program – an initiative of the festival in conjunction with New York area nonprofits. This program provides an opportunity for New Yorkers to volunteer at local food banks, kitchens and public parks to earn their free GA ticket to the festival.
Volunteers receive a free t-shirt, ticket to the festival and a “rocking good time.” If that sounds like a good deal to you, the 2017 Gov Ball dates have been released – and the volunteer registration will go live next spring. Happy volunteering!
You might not know it, but a lot of great things have come out of Akron, Ohio. Oatmeal, the waffle ice cream cone, caramel corn, and the legendary hamburger are all said to have originated in the city. Even more impressive (and exponentially healthier): the Akron Marathon.
The Akron Marathon is a world-class race organization that puts on The Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series. The three races in the series are The National Interstate 8k & 1 mile, The Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k, and the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Relay. The race was founded by avid runners Steve and Jeannine Marks. While traveling the country for various races and marathons, they noticed the need for a marathon in their area. Akron had a lot to offer and the founders knew that the community would embrace the opportunity to come together on the race track.
The marathon is widely known for its devoted and encouraging supporters. “We would never be able to give our runners the race experience they’ve come to know and love without the support of our community,” says Katie Kline, Project Manager for the Akron Marathon. “People come out at 7am to cheer on runners they’ve never met in their life and never will.” With 13,000 runners, 2,000 volunteers, and over 100,000 spectators, the race is a way to unify the community, promote health and fitness, stimulate the local economy, and benefit charitable organizations.
Before using VolunteerLocal, that community was managed by using a volunteer platform that was a shoot off of Akron Marathon’s runner registration platform. The platform worked but wasn’t easy to navigate and didn’t allow for volunteers to see or update their registration. “Since moving to VolunteerLocal, we have gotten so much positive feedback from our volunteers on how easy it is to register and view their profiles,” says Kline. “As the main user of VolunteerLocal for our organization, I cannot say enough nice things. The system is user friendly and intuitive.”
“I’ve been amazed at how much time VolunteerLocal has saved me over the last two years. I would absolutely recommend this system to anyone who manages large groups of volunteers.”
As you’ve probably heard, our motto is happy volunteering. And that’s not just because we’re positive people (have you seen these hundred watt smiles?). We want to make volunteering as easy as possible for our volunteer coordinators and volunteers alike. That’s why we created our Happy Volunteering page, where vivacious volunteers can find nearby volunteer opportunities in their state.
Ready to have your events listed on our happy site? We’ve made that pretty easy, too. To get started, go to Account in your navigation bar, and select Organization Info. Hit the link to upload your logo, which will appear above your organization’s name on the Happy Volunteering page.
Now that you have your selfie in order, shoot us an email with a list of your live events, and their locations. We’ll assign them from our end to make sure they show up under the right state. When a volunteer clicks on your organization on the Happy Volunteering page, it will take them directly to your public landing page. You can list your events on your public landing page by going to Event Detail (under Events -> Your Events).
It’s as sweet and simple as that! Got questions, or want your events listed? Shoot Lucy an email at email@example.com, and get happy!
Regardless of how much you know about reggae music, you definitely know about Bob Marley. And I think we can all agree that he knew what he was talking about when he said, “One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright.” Which is exactly what the Calgary Reggae Festival is all about.
The Calgary Reggae Festival was created in October 2003, when six Calgarians came together with the same vision – to increase the awareness of reggae music in Western Canada, and to provide an avenue where those tunes could be heard. The Calgarians came from all different backgrounds, such as DJ’s, broadcasters, promoters, musicians and event planners. They’ve been working ever since to educate the general public about the unifying power of reggae music.
That power is no joke. Since its creation, reggae music has influenced a range of people, cultures and lifestyles. The Calgary Reggae Festival gives this community the opportunity to connect, learn about and enjoy live music while providing artists the chance to share and spread the love. And love they do spread – this year the organization is donating several admission tickets to newcomer families, in hopes of allowing individuals who may not otherwise have the ability or means to attend the festival.
Another way this festival helps spread cheer? By using VolunteerLocal, instead of those pesky spreadsheets. When you’re recruiting over 150 volunteers, manually entering application forms into Excel is a pretty loveless job. “VolunteerLocal has saved us time and has helped us to focus on engaging volunteers in more meaningful ways,” says Liz Kehler, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator of the Calgary Reggae Festival. “I love the Export function, the ability to communicate to all or just specific groups, the dashboard for a quick overview of stats – there’s too many to list, it really covers all our needs!”
“VolunteerLocal organized everything for me beautifully, which is really what you want as a volunteer coordinator,” says Kehler.
Ready to join the community? Register to work at the beer garden, sell raffle tickets, get silly in the kids zone and more and become a one love volunteer today.
There’s a saying that goes, “Your home(screen) is where your heart is.” Or something like that.
We are thrilled to announce that VolunteerLocal has a dashing new dashboard! You can now customize your homepage to your organization’s desire.
To get started, go to your dashboard and select the link to customize it. By choosing an event, you can pick what data points you would like to publish. Want a countdown for your big event? Need to see the number of filled shifts? Interested in watching your number of registered unique volunteers grow? Simply drag and drop each component into your event, and voila!
Keep your content customized and relevant. Got questions? Shoot Lucy an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy dashboarding!
There are many milestones in life – your first steps, your first kiss, your first time seeing Justin Bieber in concert (or so we’ve been told). But none can quite compare to the moment when you hit that million mile marker.
VolunteerLocal has officially had 1.2 MILLION unique volunteers use our platform. Whether they were registering to hand out water at a marathon, check wristbands at a music festival, or assist a local nonprofit, over one million individual people signed up to donate their time to important causes while using our system. That is a serious amount of helping hands!
We here at VolunteerLocal absolutely love being able to aid other organizations as they reach their own milestones, which wouldn’t be possible without the endless support of generous volunteers. Our motto is happy volunteers, because happy volunteers make the world a happier place.
So here’s to all the organizations who have supported us, and the volunteers who have supported them. Cheers to the next 1.2 million!