Cause & Effect: Team Giving
As co-workers, Cynthia Woods and Trudy Harris began discussing the need for a simple connection to make their company’s volunteer coordination program more effective. They came up with a big idea: matching nonprofits’ volunteer needs with individuals looking to get involved in their community—and ultimately co-founded Newcastle-based Team Giving, their own successful nonprofit doing just that.
“We saw a lot of missed opportunities between volunteers and positions available and wanted to bridge the gap,” says Woods. “We don’t replace staff,” adds Harris. “We complement what’s already being done in whatever capacity we’re needed.” Team Giving recently adopted a new mission: Connect volunteers. Empower nonprofits. Strengthen communities.
The organization provides three types of services: helping individuals find fulfilling volunteer work, helping nonprofits fill their volunteer needs, and helping businesses meet their employees’ needs to give back to their communities. They don’t charge to match individuals and nonprofits, but serving corporations can be fee-based depending on the size of the event.
Since Team Giving opened its doors in February 2016, they’ve coordinated more than 9,500 volunteer hours, including helping local students meet their schools’ community service requirements. Their website lists dozens of organizations in the region as partners, including Stand Up Placer, The Gathering Inn, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, Sacramento Kings Foundation, and KidsFirst. Among its recent successes are SMUD Cares, a designated volunteer day where employees assisted with landscaping and repairs at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Sacramento, and Cristo Rey High School’s work-study program where Team Giving found spots for many of the students to fulfill their community service hours. The nonprofit’s recurrent needs include volunteers to pack food boxes, mentor kids, plan events, maintain facilities, and more.
In addition to Team Giving’s matching services, they also give presentations about volunteerism, elaborating on such topics as generational differences between volunteers, volunteer recruitment tips, youth volunteering, and how to engage millennials (Hint: You have five seconds to grab their attention). What’s more, both women are completing training from the Points of Light Foundation, an international organization dedicated to volunteer service. Once certified, Team Giving will be designated as a Service Enterprise Hub for the region and authorized to train others on how to effectively manage and retain volunteers to help their own organizations achieve their mission.
The easiest way to connect with Team Giving is through their website—where visitors can peruse an interactive calendar with countless volunteer opportunities and the number of positions to be filled, and nonprofits and businesses can request volunteer coordination services or presentations. No inquiry is too difficult or too small, says Woods. “We’re very hands-on. If someone doesn’t see something that fits their schedule, we’ll work with them one on one.” teamgiving.org; 916-824-2118
by Linda Holderness // photos by DANTE FONTANA