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United Way Plays Matchmaker With New Volunteer Web Site

Volunteer Santa Barbara County connects residents looking for opportunities with groups in need of help.

United Way of Santa Barbara County

has launched an interactive, countywide volunteer Web site where residents can find volunteer opportunities at local nonprofit, school, faith-based, service and government organizations.

With the help of founding sponsors

First 5 of Santa Barbara County, The Orfalea Fund and, United Way presents Volunteer Santa Barbara County at


The site is similar to Web-based dating services. Organizations post their volunteer needs, and residents specify their interests based on criteria such as areas of interest, types of skills, time of day or year available and more. After a resident enters his or her criteria, the Web site offers the best volunteer opportunity matches. Participating organizations will be able to update their needs on a continual basis, and volunteers can be notified by e-mail of updated or new opportunities that match their interests. 

“Until now, Santa Barbara County hasn’t had an Internet resource where community members and organizations needing volunteers can connect,” said Paul Didier, president and CEO of United Way of Santa Barbara County. “With Volunteer Santa Barbara County, all of Santa Barbara County will now be able to choose from a variety of volunteer opportunities that fit their interests – and serve our community’s needs – right from the comfort of their own homes.” 

The Web site also features Board Connections, which lists board of directors opportunities, and Product Connections, where organizations can list items they need and users can list items they wish to donate. A special financial donation page allows residents to support programs and services that address specific issues such as poverty, health, housing and domestic violence, or that are within a geographic area, such as the South Coast or the Santa Ynez Valley. 

Through an agreement with

, all organizations that post opportunities on Volunteer Santa Barbara County also will have their activities posted on all 32 Tixity calendars, located in newspapers, on the radio and through other media. features more than 600 volunteer opportunities with more than 170 organizations. By July, United Way of Santa Barbara County hopes to average 15,000 visits a month. Individuals and organizations also may nominate outstanding volunteers for recognition as a Volunteer of the Week.

In April, California first lady

Maria Shriver

recognized United Way of Santa Barbara County for the positive impact of its volunteer programs on the community.

Marjorie Wass is a senior account representative for SurfMedia Communications.

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