You can help make Austin ‘All For Good’

Published 9:46 am Saturday, July 29, 2017

Vision 2020’s Community Pride and Spirit committee has accomplished a lot over the years.  When you look at things like the Community Home Improvement Project, the Peer Power Partners mentoring program, or the recent outdoor movie event at Freedom Fest, it’s easy to see the impact these volunteers have had throughout Austin.

The committee’s mission from the beginning has been to foster “service, support and mentorship programs geared towards improving the quality of life and opportunities for all citizens.”  While all of the projects, programs, and events they’ve developed are great for their own unique reasons, the committee has never lost sight of their broader vision.

This vision goes beyond “did we help someone today” to something like “how can we ensure that even more people can be helped in the future?”  How do we help Austin, as a community, grow each day a little better than the one before?  It’s a bit like the old “teach a man to fish” parable.  We can come up with as many new and exciting ideas as we want, but real change will ultimately come from inspiring more people to get involved in those programs and to sustain them over time.

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It is with those goals in mind that the committee partnered with the United Way of Mower County to research ways of getting more people interested and involved in community service.  What motivates someone to volunteer?  When people live increasingly busy lives with work, family, and other obligations, how do you encourage them to give back and spend time helping others?

Although there are a variety of complicated answers to those questions (not to mention they are different for just about every person), a surprisingly simple challenge rose to the top.  For many folks, even those who are excited about volunteering, it can be hard to learn about what opportunities are out there.  Many organizations don’t have the time or staff to keep their websites updated as needs change, and it’s not always easy for potential volunteers to find time to call or visit those places in person.

Thanks to this input, the Pride and Spirit committee determined that finding an easier and better way to advertise volunteer opportunities could go a long way toward making Austin a better community in the long run.  After some additional digging, they discovered an online tool called “All For Good,” a free resource that people across the country are using to post, promote, and connect with volunteer opportunities.

The idea is simple: encourage everyone (organizations and individuals) in a community to utilize this central hub to streamline the volunteer search experience.  In doing so, individuals can see a much larger sample of opportunities at one time, making it easier for them to determine what they are passionate about and what might fit their schedule.  By encouraging more people to use the site, organizations will then have access to a much broader pool of potential volunteers than they might have had before.  It’s a win for everyone, and the entire community benefits.

To get started, just visit to set up an account and search the listings.  Right now you can already find things to do with the United Way, Salvation Army, Austin Aspires, and Mower Refreshed, just to name a few, and this list will certainly grow as the committee continues to reach out to other organizations in town.  If you work or volunteer for an organization already, we  encourage you to post as many opportunities as you can for others to find.

We hope that you fill find the site to be user-friendly and a useful tool as you explore how you would like to give back to the community.  The United Way and the Pride and Spirit committee can answer any questions you might have, and offer tips for getting the most out of the site.  Please give me a call anytime at 507-437-3448 and I can direct you to to the right place.

As we all seek to make Austin a better place to live, work, and play for everyone, increasing volunteerism will make that ride smoother and certainly more fun for everyone!  It’s never too late to get involved.  There are so many wonderful organizations that could use your time, effort, and expertise, and now with All For Good there is an easy way to find them.