State and local agencies can play a meaningful role in helping to strengthen our communities by encouraging individuals to share their time, talents and compassion with those in need. The following resource offers tips to government agencies looking for to encourage volunteer service locally.
Tips for Local and State Agencies
- Provide individuals with organizations that need volunteer assistance through the USA Freedom Corps Volunteer Network, the largest and most comprehensive clearinghouse of volunteer opportunities ever established. Through the USA Freedom Corps Volunteer Network, located at http://www.volunteer.gov, individuals may search among millions of opportunities with more than 60,000 organizations, including schools, places of worship, hospitals, shelters and other nonprofits. Users search by interests and geographic location such as zip code or state, to find volunteer opportunities in their hometowns, across the country, or around the world. You may link to the USA Freedom Corps Volunteer Network from your online resources or refer constituents to the web address and toll free phone service at 1-877-USA-CORPS.
- Post your own volunteer opportunities on the USA Freedom Corps Volunteer Network. If you are with a state or local government agency and would like to have your volunteer opportunities become part of the USA Freedom Corps Volunteer Network, click here.
- Encourage and engage citizen volunteers to support homeland security efforts through the newly created Citizen Corps programs and Citizen Corps Councils. Citizen Corps programs offer individual ways to get involved in public safety, public health, emergency response and disaster preparedness. Medical Reserve Corps units rely on the talent and experience of health professionals to help communities in case of emergencies. Locally, more than 300 councils are also in development to support the Volunteer Network. Neighborhood Watch programs provide opportunities for residents to work together to reduce crime and strengthen communities. Volunteers In Police Services (VIPS) trains volunteers to help police officers with administrative duties and important community events. For more information on these initiatives or how to start this program in your community, please visit http://www.citizencorps.gov.
- Create opportunities for America's young people to answer the call to service. The Students in Service to America guidebook, located online at http://www.volunteer.gov/for_educators/sista/index.asp, provides educators with guidance for creating service opportunities for young people that will enhance their academic experience and cultivate habits of service that will last for a lifetime.
- Recognize individuals for their commitment to service with the President's Volunteer Service Award. Administered by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, individuals, families and organizations may be recognized for their dedication and commitment to helping others through volunteer service. Click here for more information.
- Engage your State Service Commission or Corporation for National and Community Service state office to create up-to-date information on volunteer programs in your state or community. Work with them to find ways to engage your constituents in volunteer service. Visit http://www.nationalservice.gov for more information.
- Partner with community institutions – including businesses, faith-based institutions, schools, and nonprofit organizations – to help identify areas of need within your community and establish volunteer service programs to bring about positive change.
- Clarify policies regarding volunteer service among government employees, and help your employees understand available policies and programs relating to volunteer service within government service, such as opportunities for paid leave or flexible scheduling options, or agency-sponsored service events or activities.
- Participate in National Days of Service such as Make A Difference Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, and National Volunteer Week which together engage more than 20 million Americans with rewarding online service opportunities. Visit http://www.pointsoflight.org/programs/seasons/ for more information.