Wired volunteers – Volunteer pool grows 250 percent

Using the Web as a matchmaking tool, Impact Online recruited more than 110,000 volunteers for nonprofit groups in the last three months of 1999, nearly doubling its efforts from the same period a year earlier.

The value to participating nonprofits of the volunteers’ work, plus recruitment costs, totaled $9.4 million.

Impact Online, which uses its Volunteermatch Web site to enlist volunteers, said the increase resulted from a volunteer pool that grew 250 percent from a year earlier.

“I never imagined we’d receive the quantity and quality of volunteers that we have,” says Catriona Rayl, recruitment director for the Boston-based EF Foundation for Foreign Study.

This year, she expects Volunteermatch to find half of the 3,000 families she will recruit to host foreign students.

Public recognition from Oprah Winfrey fueled Volunteermatch’s growth, as did promotion partnerships with the AOL Foundation and Ivillage.

Launched in 1998, Volunteermatch — the largest free public service Web site to match volunteers with opportunities throughout the U.S. – coordinates assistance for causes ranging from disaster assistance to

endangered animals. 

Would-be volunteers can learn about opportunities in their area by entering their zip code at the Web site.  They then are connected by e-mail to participating nonprofits, which are given a free Web page on the site.

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