Chamber Revamps Volunteering

Chamber Revamps Volunteering

Volunteers are the lifeblood of many non-profits across the country, those who are willing to commit their time to accomplishing good for their community. In Kansas and McPherson County volunteering is as common as windy days. According to AmeriCorps Kansas ranks 8th in the country with a volunteer rate of 31.5%. Pair that rate with the number of non-profits that seek regular volunteers, and we should have everything covered, correct? Not exactly.

While there are lots of people who volunteer it does seem like organizations are looking for help now more than ever. What’s the solution to the issue? If you ask the McPherson Chamber of Commerce the answer is knowledge.

“There are so many people that want to get involved, but don’t know where to start.” Debbie Hawkinson, McPherson Chamber of Commerce Director said, “(And) we have a number of Chamber non-profits that are looking for volunteers.”

The Chamber staff recognized that there was a glaring issue with how people learn of volunteering opportunities in our communities and went looking for a solution. After finding a statewide platform that hadn’t had a McPherson County organization upload to it in years, the Chamber concluded that a more local solution was needed.

The plan was to add an additional page to the Chamber website that would allow for McPherson County non-profits to post their volunteering opportunities along with relevant dates and job expectations. The idea was to be like a job posting, not only giving those an easy understanding of their role, but more information on the type of volunteering. This was a huge focus for the Chamber staff who recognized that people would be more likely to volunteer if the opportunity matched their interests.

Following the Mastermind McPherson County Community Summit in July of 2023, the Chamber applied for a grant for the costs to program the page. The McPherson County Community Foundation awarded them $3,360 completely covering the development and some marketing costs. Fast forward to late April and the page is not only complete but already in use.

Hawkinson says that there have already been organizations that have connected with volunteers through the portal and that she hopes that this will encourage new people to get involved. Hawkinson also noted that she wanted this platform to show people just how many opportunities there are in the County.

“There’s lots of non-profits here in (the county) you may not think needs volunteers.” Hawkinson said.

The portal should be helpful especially to those organizations that have lots of seasonal or temporary opportunities by allowing them to have a listing that can be removed after completion. It should also be helpful to High School students that are seeking National Honor Society recognition as this portal can help expand the number of opportunities they are aware of.

Accounts only need to be made by organizations looking to post a listing and those listings require a brief explanation of the job, time/date, and location. All posts are reviewed by the Chamber staff to prevent spam posting.

This grant helps the Foundation address that need for leadership opportunity funding that was showcased in the Mastermind McPherson County survey from last year. Community members that volunteer will be more engaged with the needs of their home than those that do not.

The portal can be found on the Chambers webpage here: