Connecting Volunteers with Greenwich Nonprofits
By Susie Moore
If you’ve spent time in Greenwich, you’ve experienced Greenwich’s enthusiasm for volunteerism and community development. Even with hundreds of nonprofit organizations and community members committed to giving back, connecting the members of our community with the many service organizations has been an issue.
Friends Debra A McLaughlin, Hadley Mongell, Anne Silvey Franscioni, and Heather Woodbridge quickly realized there was no consolidated place to connect volunteers with opportunities.
“We were being asked by so many people, where do you volunteer? How do you get involved? Which organizations would be a good fit for me?” Woodbridge said.
Four women discovered a need in the community that was not being met. They teamed up and in less than 8 months, gave us a solution. Last week, McLaughlin, Mongell, Franscioni, and Woodbridge revolutionized the business of doing good with the launch of The Volunteer Service (TVS.) TVS is an online service that allows members to search for upcoming volunteer opportunities, sign up, and manage your service hours.
“We really want people to get involved in their community and not have any hurdles in the way. We want to make sure that people can volunteer when they want to volunteer, that organizations get the right exposure they need, and that everybody works to make this town and this community a better place,” Franscioni said.
TVS is tool for both local organizations and volunteers. It allows nonprofits to recruit quality volunteers and connects community members to countless opportunities.
The women behind TVS met through volunteering and on the boards of charitable organizations. They understood the ins and outs of the nonprofit sector and how to help people navigate the connections.
Franscioni describes her partnership with McLaughlin, Mongell, and Woodbridge as a dynamic relationship where everyone brings something different to the table.
“Each of us fills a different age group, demographic, age of kids, and working versus nonworking. We have such a great diversity among the four of us and that has really benefited us,” Franscioni said.
The founders’ broad insight into the world of volunteering helped them create their unique pricing model. The main component of their model is that it is and will always be free for charitable organizations to register with TVS. TVS provides a free service to nonprofits where they’re given exposure for their organizations and access to quality volunteers.
“We’re not going to charge the nonprofits. That’s something we were really adamant about from the beginning. We’ve all been involved in nonprofits. We all know how tight the budgets are. We know how every single dollar counts. We wanted to create a free tool for them,” Franscioni said.
The only price is the registration fee for volunteers, just enough to cover the maintenance of the website and preserve the service for the community. TVS is first and foremost a tool for doing good.
With the launch of the website, TVS is officially up and running. The partners of TVS started the process in January. By March, they were meeting with web designers, doing market research, creating advertisements and marketing materials, and reaching out to organizations in town. Today, the site is done and ready to head start a movement of giving (https://thevolunteerservice.com/).
“We are really excited to be able to give back to the community, create a useful tool and that really benefited everybody. Keep it local, something that is homegrown between these four women who had been involved in the community, saw this need, and really took it and ran with it,” Franscioni said.
The creators of TVS are now looking for nonprofit organizations to partner with and for members of the community to sign up. With the start of a new school year, this is the perfect time to register. Help your high school student gain community service hours. Come together as a family through philanthropy. Make new connections with like-minded people. Find fulfillment in your life through giving back.
There are many reasons to volunteer. Whatever that means for you, TVS can help you get there. Join the revolution of change. Join TVS and make a difference here in our town. For more information visit thevolunteerservice.com