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News

Find news you can use on a variety of topics; opportunities to raise money, changes in postage rates; statistics and facts that impact volunteer programs; and more.

~ May 2008 ~

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IssueLab –New Resource for Nonprofits, Volunteer Administrators, Journalists

Do you need facts on volunteerism?  Interested in the state of volunteering in the UK?  There is a new resource on the Internet.
         IssueLab is an online publishing forum for nonprofit and volunteerism research and it is free. The mission of the site is to archive, distribute and promote the extensive and diverse body of work being produced by the third sector.  There are links to reports on what boomers want from volunteering to the health benefits of community service.

Each year billions of charitable dollars are spent on nonprofit research, research which journalists, policy analysts, legislators, students, activists, and grant makers all rely on to effectively addresses complex social issues. Despite the widespread interest in this work and the billions of dollars spent each year to produce it, most nonprofit research remains unpublished, hard to find, underexposed, or archived in issue-specific information silos.

IssueLab is not just an online archive. Efforts of the organization are split between aggregating research on social issues and pushing that research back out to other online communities and end-users. The goal is to mainstream nonprofit and volunteerism research so that users who may not know anything about nonprofits can learn from the unique perspective of organizations that study social issues.

The April issue of IssueLab featured a new section on volunteerism with many resources useful to the manager of volunteers.  Nancy Macduff, Publisher/Editor of Volunteer Today, was the guest editor for the issue. http://www.issuelab.org/home


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Volunteering and the Happiness Factor

A new study reported in the March 21 issue of Science, shows a direct connection between prosocial activities; donating money, holding the door open for a disabled person, or spending an afternoon volunteering, and increases in happiness for the giver.  632 people were asked about their incomes and what was spent on specific items.  Another survey asked about the spending of bonuses or windfalls.  In both cases people who spent a large percentage on “prosocial activities” were significantly happier with their decisions than when they only paid bills or splurged on themselves. 
         One notable finding is that most people predicted, incorrectly, that spending money on themselves would increase their happiness.  Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, of the University of British Columbia, author of the study, urged nonprofit organizations to publicize this finding.  “It’s worth letting potential donors (or volunteers) know about these results because so many staff assume that most people recognize the potential emotional benefits of giving.  But that does not seem to be the case.”

Source:  Chronicle of Philanthropy, April 3, 2008, pg. 14.


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Google Offers Free Site To Help Nonprofits

Google, the Internet search company, has opened a free portal for nonprofit organizations that explains how to adopt Google features and software for charitable work.  The available tools include an email program, mapping software, blog software, tools to analyze Internet traffic, and a grants search engine.   All are free to nonprofits.
         The company has included a video tutorial for the nontechnical folks.  There are instructions on how to set up accounts and how to link to outside groups.  For more information:  http://www.google.com/nonprofits


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Immigration Training Resource Available

Some programs need to train volunteers on the immigrant experience in the US before the individual begins their assignments.  It is important for the volunteer to understand the choices a person must make, dealing with detention or deportation, or trying for citizenship.  A new free video game is aimed at helping people understand the illegal immigrant experience.  Breakthrough, a NY based human rights organization has created I Can End Deportation (ICED).
         The game allows players to choose from one of five characters each from a different country.  The player walks through the life of the young immigrant, while trying to obtain citizenship and avoid detention or deportation. 

         The creators of the game decided to use a game environment because “it makes those ideas around immigration policy seem more accessible and concrete.”  To play the game:  http://www.breakthrough.tv
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