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Volunteering: Prom Queen Status Continues

You can’t open a newspaper these days without reading a major article about the popularity of volunteering, whether it’s how to use it to find a new job, where to go for opportunities, or what the true impact of volunteers is. Here are a few observations and resources:

- The nonprofit NeighborWorks America has activated thousands of volunteers for its week-long NeighborWorks Week of community service events in more than 300 U.S. urban and rural areas. The organization, a leading trainer of community development professionals, also has launched a social media tool called LeadersforCommunities.org to enable virtual networking, job hunting, and information exchange among emerging and established community development leaders and volunteers. The tool aims to address the “crisis in leadership across the nonprofit industry and a lack of diversity in the leadership of the field.”

This site gets personal fast with its ever-changing slideshow of images (you can load yours up as well), its list of relevant blogs, news, events, and more.

- The United Kingdom just wrapped up its 25-year anniversary celebration of Volunteers Week, which ran June 1-7 and sought to “raise the profile” of volunteers and encourage others to join in. I especially like that the Web site enables visitors to share “thank you” stories that detail what volunteers actually accomplished. Why don’t more organizations do that? And this is the first time I’ve seen this number: According to TimeBank, a volunteering nonprofit in the UK, “73% of employers would employ a candidate with volunteering experience over one without.” That ought to inspire some folks to get out and give back.

- And finally, buzz continues to grow for the world’s largest gathering of volunteer and service leaders-- the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service in San Francisco June 22-24—which has the theme “Civic. Energy. Generation.” Co-hosted by Points of Light Institute and the Corporation for National and Community Service, the conference is running a steady stream of stories, news, retrospective videos, and insights on its Facebook page and Twitter.

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