Volunteer center set to publish informational guide

Herald City Editor

The work of the Dubois County Volunteer Center project is continuing, with the upcoming publication of a guide that will list volunteer opportunities in the area.

The idea for the volunteer center, which connects area nonprofit groups and other organizations that use volunteers with local residents who are seeking opportunities to serve, originated last year among local nonprofit organizations.

Since then, Paige Stradtner has joined Tri-Cap to coordinate the effort and a 12-person, countywide advisory committee has been formed.

Earlier this year, Stradtner and others researched volunteering habits of Dubois County residents and asked the public whether a volunteer center would be used.
“In the first survey, a lot of people stated they would volunteer more if they didn’t have to make a long-term commitment or if they actually knew what opportunities were out there,” Stradtner said. “The most interesting discovery, though, was a majority of people stating they didn’t volunteer because they had never been asked.”
In a second survey, 77 percent of respondents said they would use a volunteer center and 91 percent said they saw a need for one.

“I think the need for encouraging volunteerism has become even more apparent recently in light of budget cuts taking place across all public services,” Stradtner said. “Just because the funding is no longer there, that doesn’t mean the need has gone away.”

The Volunteer Opportunities Guide will let potential volunteers know what needs they could help meet.

The guide, which will be made available free to the public, will list the volunteer needs of organizations, special events and projects that recruit help from the community.

“We hope that by putting information at people’s fingertips, it will encourage more people to get involved,” Stradtner said, noting that similar guides have boosted volunteering in other communities.

Listing in the publication is free for all Dubois County nonprofits. A $10 fee will be charged for out-of-county-based nonprofits, and a for-profit organization can be included for $25.

Listings for the guide are due to Stradtner by next Friday. Information may be called to her at 482-2233 or sent to her at paiges@tri-cap.net.

The center is working to set up a website to help residents keep up with new volunteer opportunities, and representatives continue to get the word out about their work by speaking at meetings of area civic groups. The committee also is working to come up with strategies to keep a volunteer center going after initial funding expires in September.

Stradtner continues to look for feedback on the project and encourages anyone with an interest in it to contact her.

Contact Martha Rasche at mrasche@dcherald.com.

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