Keen to Help is a nonprofit online platform that is reinventing how people volunteer by bringing the community service sector into the digital age.
Along with three-quarters of college students (Son, 2020), my partner and I have felt a decline in our mental health during the COVID-19 lockdowns. To get out of the house, we chose to explore volunteering as an outlet. However, we soon realized that the volunteer signup process was no easy task…
We found that most nonprofits' current system to attract volunteers has not kept up with available technology. The problem with the volunteer signup process has to do with a lack of communication across digital channels. The issue is two-fold:
1) On the volunteer side, many students don't have enough information and time to volunteer or more importantly, nobody asked them to. The time we spent searching for organizations, finding the right point of contact, and sending an email to a volunteer coordinator left us frustrated and disillusioned with our mission to volunteer.
2) On the nonprofit side, many organizations don't have the budget for digital ads, are overwhelmed with other priorities, or have difficulties screening volunteers. This results in a significant disadvantage for local nonprofit and charitable organizations that are in more need of volunteers than internationally recognized charities such as the Red Cross.
OUR SOLUTION. Keen to Help, a platform designed to facilitate the volunteer signup process and make community service more FUN, ACCESSIBLE, & STRESS-FREE.
OUR VISION. To bridge socioeconomic gaps across North America by making volunteering a universally accessible activity.
HOW KEEN TO HELP WORKS?
Our platform facilitates the volunteer signup process at every stage:
1) Fun & Verified Profile Building: Our volunteers create their profiles detailing past volunteer experience. Such information is used by nonprofits to properly screen volunteer applicants.
2) Efficient Volunteer Matching Software: Once volunteers create a profile with their experience, they can search for a range of nonprofits in their local area and filter for the causes they are interested in volunteering for (homelessness, youth outreach, food banks, to name a few). Volunteers can then signup to volunteer through customized signup forms directly on Keen to Help.
3) Hours Verification: After volunteering, Keeners can then have their community service hours verified and track by filling out a simple form. Once the community service coordinator verifies these hours, they are added to the volunteer's profile.
4) Social Networking Features: To keep volunteers engaged, Keen to Help allows Keeners to post about their experience on an activity feed and blog, add friends to pursue volunteer opportunities together, create private groups, and send direct messages!
HOW YOU CAN MEASURE OUR SOCIAL IMPACT.
1) #Number of Volunteers Matched: Keen to Help will report annually how many volunteers were able to find community service opportunities via our platform.
2) #Number of Hours Verified: Every hour of volunteering contributes $27 equivalent value to GDP (The Conference Board of Canada, 2018).
3) Qualitative Feedback: Publishing monthly surveys to our volunteers and nonprofits to gauge how Keen to Help has benefited them and how we can do better.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP.
We need your support to further build and improve this platform to change how students, adults, parents, schools, and communities volunteer to stay engaged with their local communities.
Keen to Help is currently live and operational in the Greater Toronto Area and Montreal. However, we have big plans and little funding. Our goal is to expand across Canada by the end of 2022 and begin our entry into select U.S. cities. However, with a four-person team, we are overwhelmed. To make volunteering a universally accessible activity across North America, we need funding to:
1) Develop and maintain our website and mobile application ($5,000+ annual maintenance costs).
2) Expand our team to target more nonprofits, charities, schools interested in adopting our platform, and volunteers.
3) Advertise our services.
4) Purchase AWS Cloud to use and store data and continue to improve our services.
We sincerely thank you for your consideration to serve as a donor for Keen to Help. As a donor, you serve as an advocate for your community's betterment by helping us reach our $10,000 goal.
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