New DAV volunteer platform will rely on your participation
In February, DAV launched its new, innovative platform for volunteerism— www.volunteerforveterans.org—but in order for it to be a success, the work is just beginning.
The site is designed to be a web-based community that makes it easy for individuals to give back by crowdsourcing volunteer opportunities through a searchable online database. Anyone in the United States can sign up and volunteer for our nation’s veterans and caregivers. On the flipside, any veteran in need of assistance can also sign up and create opportunities for the volunteers who have registered.
“We need an outpouring of contributions from our members and volunteers to help drive and direct traffic to the site,” said Barry Jesinoski, executive director of DAV National Headquarters. “Our members know the needs in their communities better than anyone, so Volunteer for Veterans really places the control in their hands to engage local volunteers and veterans who want to get involved.”
Since February, DAV National Headquarters, departments and chapters around the country have begun populating the site with volunteers and volunteer opportunities.
“We are commonly approached by veterans asking for assistance in areas that don’t fall directly into our traditional service programs. We’re also asked by volunteers how they can get involved and help,” said DAV National Voluntary Services Director John Kleindienst. “Volunteer for veterans is the total volunteer package. There is something for everyone, and it has the potential to help many, many veterans and for years to come.”
However, Kleindienst said, DAV needs local chapter and department leadership to help grow the site to reach its potential.
Volunteer opportunities are based on location. Once a volunteer inputs their ZIP code into the search bar, a map will show all the volunteer opportunities available in that area. To protect privacy, the pin on the map doesn’t identify a veteran’s or caregiver’s exact address. Instead, it will pinpoint opportunities based on the proximity of prospective volunteers.
“We encourage our members and volunteers to visit their local media outlets to share information about the new site,” Kleindienst said. “We would also encourage them to spread the word via their department, chapter or even personal social media platforms. Volunteer for Veterans will be as successful as the time, energy and effort we put into it. Our fellow veterans deserve that much.”
Volunteer hours are tracked and state-level DAV departments are automatically credited for completed activities through the Local Veterans Assistance Program.
“This platform creates an opportunity for our member-leaders in their communities to do a world of good by making the public aware of individuals and events where people can give back,” said DAV National Membership Director Doug Wells. “For the platform to reach its potential, we need our members’ interaction and to create a community of support.”
Visit www.volunteerforveterans.org to learn more, create a profile, nominate a veteran you know for assistance and volunteer. Be sure to check back often, as the site will update continuously with new information and could take time to spread to less-populated areas and suburbs.