Frequently Asked Questions

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For Volunteers

Questions about what the Volunteer Center does
Questions about beginning my search for volunteer opportunities
Questions about finding specific volunteer opportunities
Questions about volunteer user accounts

For Organizations

Questions about registering with the Volunteer Center and being approved for Student Service Learning
Questions about my agency account
Questions about posting opportunities
Questions about obtaining volunteers
Questions about how else the Volunteer Center can help my organization - Publicity, Donations, Project examples

 

Volunteers

Questions about what the Volunteer Center does

What does the Volunteer Center do?
The Volunteer Center links people to volunteer opportunities with nonprofits and government agencies.  The Volunteer Center’s database is a great resource to find volunteer opportunities.  There are over 800 opportunities in our database.  We also support other great programs such as the Pro Bono Consultant Program, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), and Days of Service.

Can I have a volunteer come to my home or the home of a loved one for assistance?
No, the Volunteer Center does not assign volunteers to serve at private homes.  We are a resource for individuals to connect to organizations’ volunteer opportunities.

Call the Montgomery County’s information line for more on Montgomery County resources.  240-777-0311 or the Senior Resource line 240-777-3000

Where can I donate my furniture and other household items?
The Volunteer Center sends out a weekly newsletter with resource for registered agencies.  One of the things listed are donations such as furniture, air conditioners, medical equipment, and musical instruments.  If agencies are interested in your item they will call you directly to schedule a pick up.  If you would like to list items for donation send an email to volunteer@montgomerycountymd.gov with the following information:

  • A brief description of the item
  • The condition of the item (only items in good or excellent condition are included)
  • The city where the donation will be picked up
  • How the donor would like to be contacted (phone or e mail)

Click here for a list of other places that accept donations. Or here www.montgomerycountymd.gov/useitagain

I want to share my experience as a volunteer
We would love to hear your stories.  If you have a great volunteer success story with a picture to go with it, share it with us at Share Your Story.  If you or your organization planned a successful volunteer project that can be replicated, create a toolkit so that others can learn from you!  Go to our Toolkits page to begin.

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Questions about beginning my search for volunteer opportunities

How do I find volunteer opportunities?
From any page on our website you can use the Red Box to search for volunteer opportunities by keyword and/or location.  For more options use the Advanced Search option.

How do I know what opportunity is right for me?
Before you start searching for opportunities, there are a few questions to ask yourself.  How much time do I have? What are my interests?  What are my skills?  How far am I willing to drive? How much time do I have?

Once you have an idea about what you are looking for out of a volunteer experience start your search.  There are all kinds of opportunities and we want you to find the right match.  Opportunities range from one day to full time, youth to seniors, indoor to outdoor, from home to in the office, skilled to unskilled.  It all depends on what you are looking for.  If you are not getting the results you need using the keyword and area search use the Advance search option.

Click here to see our "Best Volunteer Fit" document to help guide you on your search.

Can someone assist me in finding a volunteer opportunity by phone, appointment or can I just drop in?
If you need assistance in using the database feel free to call us and make an appointment to speak to one of our Volunteer Matchers over the phone.  We are not able to schedule in person appointments.

Can I only find opportunities in Montgomery County?  What about D.C. and neighboring counties?
Most of our opportunities are for Montgomery County but there are also many for D.C.  and a few for neighboring counties.  Click here for information on other Volunteer Centers in Maryland.

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Questions about finding specific volunteer opportunities

How do I find Student Service Learning (SSL) opportunities? 
All volunteer opportunities which have been pre-approved to satisfy MCPS’s SSL requirement are posted on our database.  For quick identification, look for opportunities with a  medallion. Use the Red Box located on every page of our website.  Search by keyword or location.  Opportunities with the graduation cap medallion next to them are preapproved for SSL. 

How do I find specific volunteer opportunities? Long-term, short-term, one time, weekend, for groups, for under 14, for SSL, for specific languages etc.?
Click on Advanced Search on the Red Box on any page of our website.  You can also search our calendar for just one-time opportunities.  To find the calendar click on “Calendar” located in the Red Box on any page of our website. 

Are there opportunities that utilize my professional skills?
There are often opportunities to use professional skills while volunteering.  The Volunteer Center’s Pro Bono Program recruits professionals to volunteer with our registered agencies using their professional skills for short term projects that complete a specific goal.  Click here to check out our Pro Bono Consultant Program webpage.  You can also use the keyword search on our database to search for the particular skill you would like to use.

How do I find a volunteer opportunity appropriate for people that are retired and/or 55+?
Click here to check out our Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) program!  Join a national network of volunteers who are 55+.  When you join this free program you get assistance finding the ideal volunteer opportunity; free supplemental automobile, liability, and injury insurance while volunteering; a quarterly RSVP e-newsletter; and volunteer recognition.  Click here to see a current list of RSVP partner organizations.

Where can I find volunteer opportunities for my corporation?
Click here to go to out corporate volunteers page.  Get ideas for projects and links to current group opportunities.  Corporate volunteering is a great way to build teamwork and communication in your organizations and to reach out to others in your community.

I need hours fast either because my SSL requirement or court ordered service.
Check out our calendar for one-time opportunities. Also check out these two great organizations that can often use volunteers on short notice and for a short amount of time:

A Wider Circle – Needs help sorting furniture donations – 301-608-3504
9159 Brookville Rd # C Silver Spring, MD 20910

Interfaith Clothing Center – Needs help sorting clothes donations - 301-424-3796
751 Twinbrook Parkway, Rockville, MD 20851

I am a court ordered volunteer.  Are there opportunities for me?
There are many organizations that welcome assistance from court ordered volunteers.  You can search these opportunities in our database by using the advanced search option and checking the “court appointed” box.  Our calendar of events can also be a great place to look for one time opportunities.  Call these organizations to ask if they accept court ordered volunteers.  Also check out these two great organizations that can often use court ordered volunteers on short notice and for a limited about of time:

A Wider Circle – Needs help sorting furniture donations – 301-608-3504
9159 Brookville Rd # C Silver Spring, MD 20910

Interfaith Clothing Center – Needs help sorting clothes donations - 301-424-3796
751 Twinbrook Parkway, Rockville, MD 2085

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Questions about volunteer user accounts

Do I need to have a volunteer account to search for opportunities?  What are the benefits to having an account?
You do not need to have an account to search for opportunities, but there are benefits to having an account. 

  • Create a volunteer profile
  • Receive notifications about new opportunities based on your profile
  • Email an opportunity to a friend
  • Save searches
  • Comment on organizations

How do I set up an account on the database?
Choose the "Log In to Your Account" link under "For Volunteers" and then click “Not registered? Sign up now” and provide the required information.

How do I manage my volunteer account?
Once you sign up for an account set up your volunteer profile(s).  You can create multiple profiles.  You can also request email alerts to coincide with your profile(s).  The database will send you new opportunities to you that match your profile(s). 

Mark opportunities and organizations you like as favorites so you can find them easily later.  These can be seen from your account homepage on the bottom right hand side.  If you think an opportunity might be good for a friend, you can email it to them.  Once you have volunteered with an organization you can submit a reflection about your experience.

I forgot my username or password. How do I retrieve them?
Choose the "Log In to Your Account" link under "For Volunteers" and then click “Forgot your password?” where you’ll be prompted to enter your user name. Your password request will be processed and a new password will be forwarded to your email address. If you’ve forgotten your username, click “Forgot your user name?” and you’ll be prompted to enter your email address. Your user name will be forwarded to your email address. 

How can I keep up with the Volunteer Center?
The Volunteer Center is always promoting volunteer opportunities around the County.  Sign up to receive our monthly e-newsletter to stay up to date.  You can also friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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Organizations

Questions about registering with the Volunteer Center and being approved for Student Service Learning

Can only registered organizations post opportunities on the Volunteer Center website?
Yes, you must be registered with the Volunteer Center in order to post opportunities.

Why should I register with the Montgomery County Volunteer Center?
There are many reasons why you should register with the Volunteer Center. 

  • You will be able to expand your reach to people that are looking to volunteer in the community. 
  • You will be able to give students Student Service Learning hours. 
  • You will have access to volunteers with professional skills through our Pro Bono Program. 
  • Your organization and/or your volunteer opportunities can be featured in our monthly newsletter to volunteers. 
  • You will receive our weekly Donations Hotlink email that is filled with resources for agencies as well as a list of donations from individuals.

What kinds of organizations can register with the Volunteer Center?
There are three types of organizations that can register which are private nonprofits with tax exempt status from the IRS, government agencies and programs, and for-profit nursing homes and assisted living sites with opportunities that directly serve residents such as friendly visiting.

How do I become a registered organization?
You will need to attend an orientation, send in the Registration Agreement Forms, and create an account.  To create an account go to the agency login page (quickest path is in the bottom footer, click “Agency Login”.  Click “Click here to get started” to create your account.  Once you have completed these steps the Volunteer Center will review your information and approve your account.  Click here for details about the registration process.

How do I become approved for Student Service Learning (SSL)?
To be approved for SSL you must first register with the Volunteer Center.  *See previous question to learn how to become registered.  There is also an additional form you will need to fill out and your organization must send a copy of your liability insurance to the Volunteer Center.  Once you have completed all these steps you may post opportunities.  Each opportunity will be reviewed and approved by the MCPS SSL Coordinator before the public sees the opportunity.  Once the Coordinator approves the opportunity for Student Service Learning the   medallion will be assigned to your opportunity.  Click here for information about registering with the Volunteer Center and becoming SSL approved.  Click here for more information about Student Service Learning.

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Questions about my agency account

How do I log into my account?
Click on the "Register & Login" link under "For Nonprofits and Government" then click the Login button.  Type in the name of your organization and your password or click here.  

I don’t remember my password and/or username
Your user name is always the name of your organization.  If your organization name is long try just typing in the first word or two.  Sometimes the database will not recognize a very long name.  If you have forgotten your password click “Forget your password” on the Organization Login page.  Please note that all users at your organization have the same username and password.  Confirm that someone else in the office would not have changed it.  If you are still having problems please call the Volunteer Center for help at 240-777-2600.

How often do I have to update my account/opportunities?
You need to update your account and your opportunities once a year.  This is to ensure accurate information for volunteers.  If you do not update your account/opportunities it will become inactive.  The database will email you when it is time to update, but you may also update at anytime.

How often do I have to attend an orientation?
If your organization wants to stay approved for Student Service Learning (SSL) a representative from your organization must attend an orientation every three years.  If your organization does not need SSL approval you only need to attend the initial orientation.

How to manage volunteer referrals?
A volunteer referral is when a volunteer reaches out to about an opportunity you have posted.  They have either looked at your phone number or sent you an email.  They can send an email through their own private email address or they might send it through the database.  You can see these referrals on the referrals tab of your account.

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Questions about posting opportunities

How do I post an opportunity?
Log in to your account.  From the overview page use the drop down menu labeled “Select Action”.  Choose “Post an Opportunity”.  Fill out the information on each opportunity.   Those with an * are required.

I want my organization to be able to give our student volunteers Student Service Learning hours but we do not want to recruit additional volunteers.
Not a problem.  You will still need to follow all the steps to become approved for SSL.  When you are creating an account fill out the box “SSL NOT Recruiting”.  It is located in the General Information section.  You will need to describe the activities the students will be participating in.  If there are multiple activities, write up a general description of the type of work being done.  This information will be reviewed by the MCPS SSL Coordinator.  The Coordinator will give the SSL approval and then your organization will be assigned a  medallion.

On going opportunity versus a one time opportunity with one or multiple dates
There is a difference between an on going opportunity and an opportunity that has multiple dates.  An ongoing opportunity is on that a volunteer would do on a long term basis.  This is an opportunity without a specific start and end date.

A one time opportunity is a date specific opportunity.  It has a start and end date.  It might be a one day event or a multi day event.  List a multi date events as a date specific opportunity.   For example, your organization might be having a sports tournament which is on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  You do not need to enter each of these dates as a separate opportunity.  List this as date specific opportunity.  While creating the opportunity you will be able to list multiple dates.  These opportunities will appear on our calendar.

How do I get an opportunity to appear on your calendar?
Date specific opportunities appear on the calendar.  When creating your opportunity mark it as a date specific opportunity and indicate the specific date(s).  This will appear on our calendar.  

I posted a new opportunity why don’t I see it?
All new opportunities must be reviewed by Volunteer Center staff.  Once we have reviewed the opportunity it will be posted for volunteers to see.  If the opportunity needs approval for Student Service Learning hours (SSL), the MCPS-SSL Coordinator must approve the opportunity.  Once the Coordinator has approval the opportunity for SSL, your organization will be assigned a  medallion.  It does take a few hours for the system to post the opportunity once we have approved it.

I made a change to an existing opportunity why don’t I see it?
Changes are not updated instantly.  It will take a few hours for the opportunity to update.

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Questions about obtaining volunteers

How do volunteers find us?
Volunteers search our online database for opportunities.  When they see an opportunity they are interested in they can either send you an email through the database or call you directly.

Do you assign volunteers?  Do you screen volunteers?
In most cases we do not assign or screen volunteers.  Volunteers contact your organization directly in response to a potential opportunity.  You should do your own screening of volunteers.  The only times we match volunteers is for our Pro Bono Consultant Program and RSVP.

We are looking for volunteers with professional skills to help our organization.
The Pro Bono Consultant Program might be right for you!  This program matched skilled volunteers to work on projects for your organization.  Organizations must submit project proposals that are short term and have a set end date.  Pro Bono Consultants are interviewed by us to verify their experience and interests.  A meeting is set up between your organization and the Pro Bono Consultant to determine if both parties approve the match.

How do I get a Pro Bono volunteer?
First you must submit a Pro Bono project.  Our Pro Bono team might call you to discuss the projects and clarify any project details.  The Pro Bono team will try to match you with one of our volunteers.  Matches depend on what volunteers are currently with the program.  Many positions are in high demand and can be hard to fill such as a grant writer and a website designer.  Feel free to post the position in the Volunteer Center database to increase your chance of finding the right match.  Click here to find how to submit a project.

How do I become a Retired and Senior Volunteer Program partner organization?
First review the Memorandum of Understanding, then contact RSVP Director Kathleen Meaney Stobie at kathleen.stobie@montgomerycountymd.gov or 240-777-2612.  Click here to go to the RSVP page.

RSVP partner organizations are nonprofit organizations registered with the Volunteer Center that actively seek and support senior volunteers.  Based on guidelines from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), RSVP Programs may consider partners in any of the following Serve America Act Focus Areas:

  • Disaster Services
  • Economic Opportunity
  • Education
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Healthy Futures
  • Veterans and Military Families

We need a volunteer that with language skills to help on a short term basis.
The Language Bank might be able to help you.  A team of volunteers is available to assist with language needs.  These volunteers are for registered Volunteer Center organization and government offices.  They are not available for the general public.  They often work on translating documents or attending meetings with social workers to translate conversations.  Registered Volunteer Center agencies and government staff can access the list of volunteers.  Click here to go to the login page and request a username and password for the Language Bank program.

I need volunteers on short notice, can you help?
We know nonprofits are short staffed and SWAT is here to help.  Do you need volunteers on short notice for a quick project?  Our RSVP SWAT Team (Seniors with Available Time) might be right for you.  The SWAT Team might be able to help you with short term office related projects.  Send information on the Who, What, Where, When, and your contact information to Kathleen.Stobie@montgomerycountymd.gov and she will reach out to SWAT Team.  SWAT members will contact you directly if they are able to assist you.

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Questions about how else the Volunteer Center can help my organization

My organization would like to be a Featured Agency on the Volunteer Center's newsletter?
If you are interested in your organization and/or your volunteer opportunities being featured in our monthly newsletter please send an email to kathleen.stobie@montgomerycountymd.gov for consideration.

I am interested in receiving information about donations for my organization and our clients.
All of our registered agencies receive the weekly Volunteer Center Donations Hotlink.  This email lists donations of furniture, air conditioners, medical equipment, musical instruments, etc., as well as other resources for agencies such as grant information, nomination submission information, and up coming training seminars.  If you are interested in one of the donations, you are responsible for contacting the individual to arrange picking up the item from them and providing a receipt for tax purposes if desired.

I am looking for an example of a successful project.
Our toolkits are examples of successful projects.  Use these great examples to inspire your own projects.  We have examples of park clean up, donations drives, paper shredding events, and more!  If you have your own example you can share, add it to out toolkits so we can let others know!

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