Doing It Right! United Way of the Wine Country (Santa Rosa, CA)

Many United Ways provide local residents the opportunity to volunteer in their community. Some United Ways offer a Day of Caring, where local residents can volunteer to complete a day-long project, generally for a local nonprofit organization. Other United Ways will connect people interested in volunteering to local nonprofit organizations that have volunteer opportunities through a Web site. But, few United Ways provide people an opportunity to volunteer directly for United Way. United Way of the Wine Country (Santa Rosa, California) has developed an effective way to recruit volunteers for their Schools of Hope program.

On their “Schools of Hope” page on their Web site, United Way of the Wine Country explains that Schools of Hope is an Early Grade Reading Initiative that helps children build the critical reading skills needed to succeed in school and life. They recruit, train, and place community volunteers in the schools as tutors. Under the Schools of Hope video, they invite people to “Click here to sign up to become a Schools of Hope tutor.”

At the bottom of this page, they have a link labeled “Tutor FAQ,” which opens up this page:

The Tutor FAQ page includes answers to a variety of questions about volunteering as a tutor. And, if that is not enough information about volunteering as a tutor, if you click on the link at the bottom labeled “Quick resources (click here for the full “resources” page):” you will see the following:

What are they doing right?

First, if you didn’t know what Schools of Hope is, or if you had only heard the name, United Way of the Wine Country’s “Schools of Hope” page clearly explains the need for Schools of Hope, what Schools of Hope is doing to help children read at grade level by the end of third grade, and the success of Schools of Hope. There is a seven-minute video on the page, which explains Schools of Hope, and includes interviews with children who have been helped, and with people who have volunteered as tutors. And, if you have questions, you can contact a United Way of the Wine Country staff person by telephone or e-mail.

Second, if you were interested in volunteering as a tutor, United Way of the Wine Country provides all the information you could possibly want to know about volunteering. Their “Schools of Hope Tutor FAQ” page answers questions about how much time is required, where the tutoring is done, what schools you can volunteer at, and if you need to be a teacher to volunteer. Their “Volunteer Resources” page includes information about Schools of Hope, a tutor manual, video training for tutors, and links to blogs about tutoring. United Way of the Wine Country gives anyone considering becoming a tutor the answers to all their questions and more.

Third, United Way of the Wine Country is recruiting people to volunteer directly at United Way, and is not passing people through to volunteer at other nonprofit organizations. If a person volunteers for Schools of Hope, then they have the opportunity to experience United Way directly. When a United Way passes a volunteer through to another nonprofit, that person does not have a United Way experience – they have an experience at the nonprofit organization where they volunteer. When someone volunteers directly for United Way, through a program like Schools of Hope, they gain an understanding of what United Way does, and will be more likely to support United Way by donating. For the younger generation, volunteering for United Way can lead to donating to United Way.

United Way of the Wine Country has a great opportunity for people to make a difference in their community by serving as a tutor in the Schools of Hope program. They make it easy for everyone to understand the Schools of Hope program, and about the opportunity to volunteer as a tutor. If your United Way is looking to attract volunteers for your program, take a look at how United Way of the Wine Country has attracted donors for their Schools of Hope program. United Way of the Wine Country, you are Doing It Right!