Sarah Petschonek, the brains behind Volunteer Odyssey, has come up with an innovative idea for Memphis:  the country’s first virtual volunteer fair. 

Here’s the press release about it:

It’s the first of its kind virtual volunteer fair and it’s officially available to Memphians.

Volunteer Odyssey announced Tuesday their online volunteer fair, Volio.

It started as an idea, after Volunteer Odyssey founder, Sarah Petschonek, noticed there wasn’t any easy way to get plugged in to volunteer opportunities in Memphis. Traditionally, a volunteer would attend an actual volunteer fair, visit tables and kiosks and sign up for e-mail lists.  But the engagement and return on investment for the non-profits just wasn’t there. People weren’t getting plugged in and connected with long term, meaningful volunteer experiences. Often because taking the first step is unfamiliar and full of uncertainty.

Volio provides a starting point: an interactive platform with immersive video tours transporting the volunteer straight to the source. Each video takes the volunteer straight to the non-profit, walking through the front door with a welcome from the volunteer coordinator.

Imagine hoping on a bike with the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry as they deliver food to the homeless, visiting a Habitat for Humanity house and welcoming a refugee family at Memphis International with World Relief Memphis. Perspective volunteers can experience that first hand through Volio. They can see and hear what makes each opportunity–one-of-a-kind.

“Volio puts Memphis on the map for innovation in volunteering. Not only is it the first of its kind in Memphis – it’s a landmark platform for the entire country,” said Dr. Petschonek “Volio launches with 5 featured non-profit organizations of Memphis: Habitat for Humanity, Urban Bicycle Food Ministry, Dorothy Day House of Hospitality, World Relief, and the Carpenter Art Garden.”

Volunteers who visit Volio will be able to contact non-profits directly.  Both Volunteer Odyssey and the non-profits can to track these interactions and keep record of how many people are volunteering in Memphis.

The platform was designed by Archer Malmo and is easy to navigate from your computer or your phone.

“Archer Malmo is proud to sponsor Volunteer Odyssey and their innovative approach to improving volunteerism. Their vision for a virtual volunteer fair inspired our team to create the brand and platform for Volio. We are excited to be part of the momentum at Volunteer Odyssey and look forward to more great things from them,” said Russ Williams, CEO at Archer Malmo.

Right now the site features Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis, Urban Bicycle Food Ministry, Dorothy Day House of Hospitality, World Relief Memphis and Carpenter Art Garden. Volio is available to non-profits on a subscription-based model. And offered free to users.

Non-Profit Partners:

  • Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis:
    “While people are most familiar with Memphis Habitat’s construction opportunities, we have many ways individuals can get involved to help support our mission to create sustainable homeownership opportunities for families in need. Volunteer Odyssey has helped us increase awareness of the variety of opportunities we have at Habitat, such as at the ReStore and in our volunteer hospitality program. We are excited to be a part of Volio and continue that awareness-raising effort.” – Dwayne Spencer
  • Urban Bicycle Food Ministry:  “Volunteer Odyssey has been an amazing asset to not only The Urban bicycle food ministry but to the community in general.  The volunteers they have referred to us continue to return week after week and they in turn bring friends and associates that are interested as well.” – Frank Rouse
  • Dorothy Day House of Hospitality:“Since beginning our work with Volunteer Odyssey, the Dorothy Day House has welcomed over 20 individual VO volunteers.  Some have continued their association with us and have even introduced others to our ministry to homeless families.  We are excited about the growth of Volunteer Odyssey and proud to be featured in Volio.” – Sister Maureen Griner, Executive Director
  • World Relief:  World Relief Memphis is honored to continue its partnership with Volunteer Odyssey. We have come to expect quality, dedicated volunteers who care for refugees living among us. Volio will help connect us to others in the city who love internationals.” – Steve Moses, Executive Director
  • Carpenter Art Garden: “Carpenter Art Garden is so thrilled to partner with Volunteer Odyssey and be featured on Volio. Through our association with Volunteer Odyssey we found our first full time employee as well as new volunteers, we are excited to begin recruiting new volunteers through Volio.” – Erin Harris

Volunteers who visit Volio will be able to contact non-profits directly that interest them.

For information on joining Volio, contact sarah@volunteerodyssey.com.

Volunteers interested in going to the virtual volunteer fair can visit: www.voliovolunteers.com.

About Volunteer Odyssey

The goal of Volunteer Odyssey is to connect volunteers with their ideal volunteer opportunities and to tell those stories. Volunteer Odyssey includes programs for Job Seekers, a Calendar of Volunteer Opportunities (www.volunteerodyssey.com/calendar), VolunCheers volunteer happy hour, and Corporate Volunteer Experiences.