Volunteers are needed for more than just major events and disasters like the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina that serve as a call to arms. When there is no major need reported in the news, potential volunteers may not be aware of opportunities available to put their skills and passions to work. Even though the benefits to communities and for volunteers are well-documented, volunteering has declined over the past 10 years.
GozAround is an online network that promotes volunteerism by helping individuals connect with the service opportunities they care about. By making the process fast, easy and engaging, the creators of GozAround aim to increase the positive effect of volunteerism for both volunteers and the people and organizations they help.
Most people who volunteer feel a strong sense of satisfaction in giving back to their community or simply knowing they’ve helped someone else. But the benefits go beyond positive feelings. Volunteering also brings together people who might not encounter each other in their daily lives but who can bond over shared interests and shared commitment to a cause. Forming these connections strengthens communities and lessens feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Volunteering can also be a way to learn new skills. For example, volunteers can learn carpentry skills by helping to build houses for an organization like Habitat For Humanity and prospective teachers can practice working with students by teaching English as a Second Language. College students who are looking ahead to the job market can build their resumes and make valuable career connections. Demonstrating a willingness to contribute to the community can make a job applicant stand out, and volunteering can even lead to a paid position in a non-profit organization.
Finding the Right Opportunities
People get the most benefit from volunteering, and are most likely to volunteer, when they work for a cause they care about and do that work within the limits of their time and abilities. That’s why GozAround is specifically designed to help people connect with meaningful volunteer opportunities that fit their interests and schedule. For volunteers who are concerned with social issues, like immigrants’ rights, for example, GozAround can tailor their feed to highlight opportunities that address those issues. For volunteers who can’t commit to a regular schedule, the website can connect them to one-time opportunities that might take no more than a few minutes to complete. Requests for help can come from big non-profit organizations or from the neighbor down the street who needs help with a bill or the local art teacher who needs donations of old magazines.
Using the Site
Once they sign up with their email address, GozAround users can browse volunteer opportunities on the website, they can post requests for help, and they can receive notifications by email alerting them when new opportunities are available. GozAround lets users track their hours and connect with other volunteers in a social-networking format. Volunteers can also share their experiences and rally support for a cause or organization. The tracking feature is not only a record of service performed or donations given, it’s also a means of recognizing volunteers for their good work. As volunteer hours accumulate, users rack up points that increase their ranking on the site. Users can also set goals for how many hours they want to volunteer.
Benefits for Businesses
Volunteerism is a core value for a growing number of businesses, and GozAround provides tools that help companies and their employees track the positive effect they are making on the communities where they do business. By encouraging employees to choose the causes and needs that are closest to their hearts and to ask for help from their coworkers, businesses can foster a spirit of volunteerism that feels meaningful and not like an added obligation.
GozAround aims to be the go-to network for social good, where volunteers can connect with others, find the best opportunities to give back, and focus on the things they truly care about.