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Tell me a little more about HandsOn Bay Area..

HandsOn Bay Area is a local San Francisco nonprofit, elevating fellow nonprofits and schools through impactful team-based volunteer events with participants from across the Bay Area. As a fee-for-service organization, we manage corporate social responsibility campaigns for Bay Area companies to lead high-quality volunteer events. We manage the entire volunteer cycle, handling communications, coordination, project design, and execution. Our goal is to relieve you of the volunteer burden, ensuring seamless support without all the extra work! Our team provides day-of leadership, aiming for a high-quality volunteer experience that fosters long-term partnerships with both volunteers and nonprofits.

Does this cost me anything to work with you? Free for nonprofits?

Absolutely not! We provide free support to community nonprofits, parks, and schools. Companies pay us a management fee to enhance the quality of volunteer experiences and alleviate the burden on your staff, ensuring these events meet your highest needs.

What type of projects do you do?

We do all types of projects! See this photo folder for examples of completed projects. Examples of in-person projects:

  • Indoor/outdoor mural painting
  • Blacktop Painting
  • Construction of benches, garden bed, picnic tables, etc.
  • Light landscaping and gardening
  • Cleaning and organizing

Examples of virtual/onsite projects:

  • Resume/LinkedIn reviews
  • Mock interviews
  • Career panels
  • Donatables

Can projects be customised?

Yes! Once a project has been confirmed, you will be assigned a HandsOn Bay Area project leader. They will collaborate with you to tailor your event and project(s) to meet your specific requirements. If there's a project not listed that you'd like to pursue, please contact our organization and we can assist you in defining its scope.

What type of donations do you donate?

We do all types of donations! Below are donatables we commonly provide:

  • Stuffed animals
  • No-sew Blankets
  • Superhero cape kits
  • Herb garden kits
  • Newborn onesies
  • Wellness journals
  • Hygiene Kits
  • Garden beds

How does it work - can you provide me with a few volunteers throughout the year when I need them?

Great question! Our model is team-based and that means that we focus on providing volunteer opportunities that are for groups/teams of usually 10 or more volunteers. We have a done-in-a-day model where we design the experiences to be completed entirely in a day. Depending on volunteer group requests, we can work with you to create multiple volunteer projects throughout the year!

We are a food bank/meal service provider/etc and have lots of shifts that could use volunteers. Is that something that you think volunteers would be interested in supporting?

Absolutely! We have teams always looking for a way to bond and work together to serve a meal, prepare boxes for food distribution, etc. They usually seek team-based experiences and prefer not to participate in public events. Would you be open to having teams committed to adopting certain shifts to help out? Are 3-4 weeks sufficient, or would you prefer a longer lead time, such as 6 weeks? We are flexible and committed to accommodating your preferences, and we'll keep this information on file to ensure that you are notified well in advance whenever a team expresses interest in volunteering. Read above if you are interested in being added to our Community Calendar.

This sounds too good to be true... Do these companies make financial contributions typically?

Great question! Each company has its unique approach to engagement. Some companies combine their volunteer efforts with a financial contribution, while others may not have this option. In the past, we have partnered with some companies that offer a per-hour donation opportunity for every participating volunteer. This contribution can be directly allocated to support your organization.We strongly encourage all volunteers to do this whenever the opportunity arises.

When will I know if this is going to happen?

Project confirmation involves a two-step process:

  • Step 1: Your HandsOn Bay Area contact will reach out with a volunteer opportunity they think is a good match for your organization. After confirming your availability and interest, the project details will be shared with the volunteering company.
  • Step 2: If your project is chosen by the company, your HandsOn representative will contact you for final confirmation. Once confirmed, we will start planning the event!
This process generally takes 2-3 weeks. We aim to provide at least 2 weeks before the event day to allow for planning, supply purchases, and volunteer communication.

Who do you work with?

We partner with a range of Bay Area companies, such as Levi Strauss, Google, Synopsys, Genentech, SAP, Dolby, Oportun, and others. We collaborate with these company’s social responsibility departments to coordinate both individual team days and company-wide volunteer initiatives.

Does HandsOn Bay Area give financial donations as a sponsor to support their agencies?

HandsOn Bay Area does not provide direct financial donations to supported agencies. Instead, we oversee project budgets from corporate partners to fund volunteer events. These budgets contribute to the success of projects and cover expenses for supplementary tools and project supplies, including but not limited to paint, mulch, plants, wood, etc.

We are not sure how virtual engagements can support our work right now. Which other ways can we receive support?

HandsOn provides various avenues for volunteers to support our partners. In addition to virtual engagements, volunteers have the option to engage in hands-on activities at partnering organizations (such as food distribution, gardening, painting, etc.) or to create donateables, which are delivered to the agency post-project (e.g., hygiene kits, blankets, stuffed animals, etc.). For additional examples, please refer to questions #3 and #5 above.

What forms are required for volunteer engagements?

HandsOn Bay Area has a waiver that volunteers sign before every event to attest that they are over 18 years of age, physically fit and prepared for the engagement, participating at their own risk, etc. plus a photo/video release if they choose. For minors, there is a separate form that guardians must fill out prior to minors joining any engagement. If a nonprofit, school, or park has their own waiver, HandsOn Bay Area is happy to provide joint waivers, or work with the agency to create a joint waiver.

What duties do HandsOn Project Leaders cover?

HandsOn Bay Area Project Leaders are connected to an agency contact after an event is scheduled. They will conduct a site visit, record details necessary for each project task’s success, purchase and provide all the tools needed for the event, handle volunteer communications, and handle all day-of event tasks and leading of volunteers.

Can HandsOn help with fundraising events?

HandsOn is able to provide volunteers to help with the set up, run-of-show, and tear down of fundraising events, but not groups or individuals who can participate in the fundraiser. Note that in order for a specific event to be chosen by a corporate partner, it must fit within the scope (region, date, time, etc.) of the corporate request. Due to this, it is less likely that the fundraising event details match those of the corporate request.

Are there any limitations to which nonprofits HandsOn can partner with?

We request our nonprofit partners meet the following requirements:

  • Is a registered 501(c)(3) organization, government agency, or school.
  • Does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital or veteran status, or the presence of a non-related medical condition or disability.
  • Will take responsibility for paying for required background checks or fingerprinting for volunteers.

Do you provide skill based volunteering?

While we do not require our volunteers to have special skills, our project leaders are skilled at directing and leading volunteers through projects that need construction, crafting, painting, etc. For our CommUNITY Calendar program, we request that the projects listed to not any special skills.

What's the difference between HandsOn and VolunteerMatch?

In our CommUNITY Calendar program, we assist nonprofit partners with recruiting volunteers for their events by mobilizing community volunteers in our system. The calendar is a closed system actively managed and maintained by a HandsOn Bay Area staff member. VolunteerMatch is an open system where listings can be managed by account holders.

What's your policy for project cancellations?

HandsOn understands that the unexpected happens, and requests that a cancellation, from either the corporate or community side, must be communicated as soon as possible. If poor weather is on the horizon, HandsOn staff will be watching to make a call within the week leading up to the event. If volunteer sign ups are low, HandsOn staff will be in consistent communication with the agency to ascertain if the event could still proceed. In the case an event is canceled, HandsOn will be in communication with all parties involved to determine if rescheduling is possible.

What's involved in preparing and planning for a project?

When an agency contact is connected with a HandsOn Bay Area Project Leader, there will be a site visit conducted for the project leader to retrieve details necessary for the project tasks to be completed. Depending on the tasks, the project leader will be in contact with the agency contact to decide on the wants and needs of the agency contact (paint color, wood type, mural design, etc.) to purchase before the event. Agency contact will need to be present day-of to let HandsOn staff and volunteers onsite. If there are any needs before day-of the event, the HandsOn Bay Area Project Leader will be in communication with the agency contact.

What are some examples of projects HandsOn is unable to support?

Projects that cannot be done-in-a-day (mentorship, ongoing tutoring, etc). Anything that is skills based or too technical (plumbing, coding, electrical, etc).

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