Looking to give back? Annual volunteer expo goes virtual for Dec. 3 event amid pandemic

Community members looking for a way to give back have to look no further than a Dec. 3 virtual expo.

The Leadership Collier Foundation of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Collier County and the Community Foundation of Collier County opted to take the seventh iteration of their annual volunteer expo online due to COVID-19 concerns.

Amanda Beights, senior director of leadership programs with the chamber, said that there is still a need for volunteers during the pandemic.

“It’s been challenging for nonprofits and organizations in general this year to understand how to work with volunteers in the traditional sense,” she said.

Volunteers with Habitat for Humanity pose for a picture.

In years past, the event has drawn more than 300 attendees and about 60 organizations seeking volunteers. This year, the event will feature about 35 organizations, and Beights said she expects closer to 200 attendees.

Some of the organizations attending include Better Together, Naples Senior Center and Valerie’s House, among others. The expo will be held through the Hopin platform where attendees can choose which virtual room they’d like to drop by to obtain resources.

Spencer Smith, vice president of programs for the United Way, said one of the goals of this year’s expo is to carry the momentum of previous years.

“I think that a lot of people are struggling, and that’s no secret,” Smith said. “It’s going to really help nonprofit organizations to continue to meet their quota and program goals by having that support from the volunteer base.”

A screenshot of the virtual expo platform.

Typically, Beights said, the volunteer expo draws recent graduates of the Leadership Collier Foundation, professionals, and the kind of person “who goes above and beyond their daily jobs and responsibilities and makes a difference in Collier County.”

“I think every organization is looking at their needs very differently this year, no matter who you are, because everything has changed dramatically,” she said. “It would be worth anyone’s time to take another look at what’s going on now, because I believe, certainly, that every organization has shifted in what their needs look like this year.”

Smith said that money only goes so far, and that the event could be an educational opportunity to cut through the narrative that, because Naples is so wealthy, there isn’t a need in the community.

“There’s only so many dollars that can go to a nonprofit organization. There is a very generous population here in Collier County, but there’s only so many donated dollars that can go to each organization,” he said.

“Those dollars are competitive. In order to be competitive, you have to be competitive with your bottom line … Volunteers really do help an organization run effectively.”

What: Virtual 2020 Volunteer Expo

When: 3-6 p.m. Dec. 3

Details: napleschamber.org

By Admin | Dec 08, 2020 | Resources

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