Second Regional Fair Connects Willing Volunteers with Nonprofits

An event to allow more than 50 regional nonprofit organizations to connect with motivated, willing volunteers is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 26 in Springdale.

The Northwest Arkansas Regional Volunteer Fair runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26 at Tyson Foods corporate office, 2200 Don Tyson Parkway. The event targets skills-based individuals interested in becoming volunteers to support nonprofit organizations.

“We know many of our region’s companies place a high value on their employees becoming active volunteers,” said Jill Darling, President of the United Way of Northwest Arkansas. “We know and companies know the experience of volunteering to help a nonprofit organization engages employees in a new way, and we believe those employees’ positive experiences as volunteers ultimately benefit the companies as well.

“We appreciate Tyson Foods allowing us to make it easy for their associates to attend by having this event on the company’s campus, but the fair is open to those who work elsewhere who want to learn more about volunteering in Northwest Arkansas, too.”

The NWA Leadership Council, which organized this year’s event, put on the first regional volunteer fair in May 2012 in Rogers.

The Northwest Arkansas Council worked with many community organizations and hundreds of individuals to create the Greater Northwest Arkansas Development Strategy, a five-year blueprint for regional success unveiled in 2011. Later that same year, the NWA Leadership Council formed to implement the leadership-related goals in the strategy. Among the strategy’s objectives is to “develop the next generation of leadership in Northwest Arkansas by promoting citizen engagement, volunteerism, and leadership training.”

The United Way of Northwest Arkansas works throughout the year to connect volunteers with nonprofit groups on a daily based. The Northwest Arkansas Volunteer Center (www.volunteernwa.org) provides the opportunity to make those connections at any time.

The volunteer fair creates a different, face-to-face experience, allowing individuals who may not know the type of help each nonprofit organization needs. The fair allows attendees to ask questions of each nonprofit and to determine which one is the best fit.

“Volunteers are more likely to keep volunteering if they have good experiences from the beginning,” Darling said. “By allowing potential volunteers to talk directly with nonprofit organizations, we increase the possibility that volunteers can find that perfect fit right from the start.”