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National volunteer network aims high

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After formally joining forces last year, two of the country’s largest national volunteer organizations are planning to double the number of U.S. volunteers over the next five years and provide better supports for those helping out.

The Points of Light Foundation formally married its resources with the local infrastructure of the Volunteer Center National Network and is pledging to increase to 10.5 million from 5.25 million the number of volunteers it recruits and deploys.

“The agreement creates a much more unified, effective national system of mobilizing and managing volunteers,” Robert K. Goodwin, president and CEO of the foundation, says in a statement.

The group plans to reach its goal by increasing the effectiveness of volunteer managers, building the capacity of organizations to involve and deploy volunteers, and increasing the number of more effective volunteers.

About 340 volunteer centers have agreed to the new service guidelines stipulated by the foundation, including providing web-based search tools that match volunteers and opportunities, training for volunteer managers and activities that recognize volunteers and encourage service.

Together, the two entities offer services to about half the people in the U.S., the statement said.

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