Group or Corporate Opportunities
For groups seeking an activity we suggest contacting nonprofits directly to offer your services. A few helpful hints:
PLAN AHEAD. Give the nonprofit at least 60-90 days notice of your desire to volunteer. Not every nonprofit can accomodate large groups and need time to plan a worthwhile activity. Be sure to describe your group dynamics, such as ages, gender, physical abilities, time available, need for parking or a place to meet prior to or after the event.
ORGANIZE YOUR TEAMS: Many nonprofits, especially small ones may be "all volunteer" run, the better organized your group is in terms of sign in sheets, coming prepared in the proper clothing or with the proper tools, knowledge of what will be done, and when/where to show up must be coordinated. Make sure someone is in touch with the contact at the nonprofit to be sure everyone knows what to expect.
MANAGE EXPECTATIONS: Think through the type of activities that will have meaning for your group. Not everyone will feel fulfilled by an "ivy pull" or "litter patrol". Talk through why you are doing a group volunteer activity and what you want to get out of it. Not everyone will enjoy working a marathon, not everyone wants to be on the front lines. Volunteering is supposed to be fun. The nonprofit wants people to have fun and feel like they've made a difference. Before you go, get information about how what you'll be doing will impact the mission of the nonprofit you'll help.
BE HELPFUL: The nonprofit has taken the time to develop a task they need and depend on your group to do. Respect what they need to have done and do your best to accomplish as much as you can. While group activities are great bonding experiences for large groups, it's also a task that needs to be accomplished. Stay focused on the task, have a great time, but respect what needs to get done and try to do it as well as you can.
WHERE TO FIND ACTIVITIES: There are many local websites that list group volunteer activities including Hands On Portland (they also serve Vancouver), Volunteer Match, Just Serve, and Idealist to name a few.
HOLIDAY TIME: See item one! Plan ahead. Christmas is the highest demand time for groups to come in and do a day of service. It's a good idea to contact agencies at least 6-12 months in advance to be on their list to serve during the Christmas holiday season.
DAY OF SERVICE: There are several National Days of Service, but not all communities are set up to observe them or have coordinated activities. The most common days of service include September 11 and Martin Luther King's Birthday. Locally, a group called "Clark County Connects" hosts a city wide day of service the second Saturday of September. Hands on Portland and Just Serve are the best local sources to discover more about days of service in Clark County.