How to harness the helping habit—online

America’s Internet use has grown substantially in the last few years—at the rate of approximately 2 million new users a month—to the point where more than half the nation is now online. The Internet has become the place to go for all kinds of information and services. In fact, the power and convenience of this technology can even help you get involved in your community.

Now available online is information from thousands of nonprofit agencies around the nation that are looking for volunteers. Whether you want to support the arts, the environment or social issues, a nonprofit Web site called VolunteerMatch will help you connect with the right organization and opportunity. The site serves as a community network for both organizations in need of volunteers, and volunteers looking for organizations who can use their skills and experience. Any nonprofit or tax-exempt organization can list volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch.

Potential volunteers can quickly and easily perform a customized search to find something that fits their needs and interests, based upon how much time they want to devote and the type of cause they want to support. Simply enter your ZIP code to find local opportunities or search by interest, date and keyword. VolunteerMatch also makes it easy to search for opportunities that are kid and family friendly. Once an opportunity of choice is found, the interested volunteer simply clicks on it to contact the organization and get involved.

“Community organizations find the Web an easy and efficient way to connect with people who can support their efforts through volunteer activity,” says Jay Backstrand, president of VolunteerMatch. “Volunteers can find out if their skills meet an organization’s needs before they make contact, and it’s also a great way for organizations to get the word out about projects and special needs within a specific community.”

Nearly 25,000 community service organizations—including soup kitchens, schools, homeless shelters, government offices, etc.—supplement their volunteer recruitment efforts by collectively posting more than 30,000 volunteer opportunities. VolunteerMatch is made possible in part by generous contributions from national nonprofits, foundations and more than 20 corporate partners including AT&T Wireless, Dell, Microsoft and Nike.

To find volunteer opportunities in your area, or to learn more about VolunteerMatch, visit

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