Volunteers are vital to nonprofits, helping them keep up with the critical services they provide to their communities. According to the latest Volunteering and Civic Life in America report from the Corporation for National and Community Service, 62.6 million people in the United States volunteered in 2015, collectively donating 7.8 billion hours of their time to their communities – an estimated $184 billion worth of service.
As a small island nation with a population of a little more than 150,000 people, it is hard to imagine that NGOs in Curaçao have ever had trouble finding volunteers to support their causes. With a strong cultural standard of generosity, the citizens of Curacao are rarely without help in their time of need – but until recently, there was no formal infrastructure to connect volunteers looking for ways to give back and opportunities to serve.
Across America, 48.8 million live in households that face hunger on a regular basis – 13 million of those people are children. Food insecurity can have a significant impact on the health and general well-being of the families affected by it – especially children, as limited access to nutritional food can stunt growth and critical brain development. Community organizations everywhere are taking action to find solutions to this public health crisis – Volunteer Alexandria, a Points of Light affiliate, is one of these organizations.
Imagine creating a nationwide volunteer coordination program from scratch, with no formal statistics on how many people in the country volunteer and no existing network of nonprofits towards which to direct volunteers. This was the challenge faced by Voluntarios de Panamá, a Points of Light global affiliate.