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Volunteer organization launches new Web site


February 25, 2008

Volunteer Information and Referral Services at Arizona State University is a one-stop shop for charities looking for volunteers, organizations searching for volunteer group activities and people contemplating ways to connect to a cause.

It’s also the most comprehensive volunteer Web site in the Valley, says Pit Lucking, coordinator of Volunteer Information and Referral Services, part of Academic Community Engagement Services in University College at ASU. The site can be found at volunteer.asu.edu/onlineResources.html.

“Our organization is strictly information and referral,” Lucking adds.

The organization celebrated the launch of the new Web site at an event Feb. 25. Kathleen Ingley, Arizona Republic editorial writer and former Peace Corps volunteer, spoke at the event about the importance of volunteering. Ingley cited the pivotal role that volunteers play in battling buffelgrass, a species that threatens the Sonoran Desert by overwhelming native plants.

“It forms thick, highly flammable clumps that can fuel ferocious fires that permanently destroy desert vegetation,” Ingley says. Real progress against buffelgrass was realized only when a single person organized monthly volunteer “buffel whacking” sessions, she adds.

The incredible impact of volunteers is realized through such efforts. Those who are interested in volunteering will be able to use the new Volunteer Information and Referral Services Web site to easily match people to organizations in need of volunteers.

Unveiling the new Web site will introduce users to an innovative partnership with VolunteerMatch, a company that is providing the search engine that will match volunteers with opportunities. The partnership boosts the number of available agencies from 440 to about 1,000, Lucking says. VolunteerMatch represents a network of community service organizations that host millions of visitors to its site each year. It is utilized as an Internet recruiting tool for thousands of nonprofit organizations.

“The Lodestar Foundation made the new Web site possible by paying for the services of VolunteerMatch,” Lucking says.

The new site includes features that enable volunteers to track the number of hours they work. ASU alumni can log on and insert their volunteer hours to be eligible for presidential awards for volunteerism.

People who are looking for volunteer opportunities can search by proximity to their home and the type of work they’re interested in. Agencies can post volunteer needs from one-time events to long-term needs.

“Agencies can go in and update information,” Lucking says.

The launch of the Web site will also give various agencies with different focuses from faith to education to mingle.

“This is a great networking opportunity for all of the agencies that are working to make the community a better place,” Lucking says.