The United Way of the Ouachitas is seeking volunteers to serve on community impact teams that will help the United Way board determine how to distribute the 2016 campaign funds.
Multiple teams of six to eight citizen volunteers, headed by an experienced volunteer or a board member, will review grant applications of nonprofit organizations seeking funding. Volunteers will review written grant proposals, agency audits and financial statements.
Training sessions for the volunteers will be available in late January and early February. Volunteers will begin reviewing applications in mid-February.
After individually reviewing the applications, each team will come together to discuss the different organizations and make site visits.
Jane Browning, executive director of United Way of the Ouachitas, said volunteers need to have time to participate in training, read applications, attend meetings and make site visits to the applying organizations from February through April.
Volunteers should also be willing to cooperate with team members and discuss the applications to determine who will receive funds, and need an interest in helping the community, she said.
Browning said volunteers will "help the organizations who do a great job get the money they deserve."
While United Way can print applications for volunteers, Browning said it is easier if they are comfortable with technology so that teams can share information electronically, but that technical expertise is not required.
Browning said United Way uses volunteers to review the applications because the organizations' funds come from, and are distributed across, the region they represent.
"It is extremely important the work we do is approved by the community," Browning said. "Volunteers are an essential part of United Way."
Browning said it does not matter whether a person has previously volunteered to serve with an impact team; they will try to make it easy for anyone to participate.
United Way of the Ouachitas serves the area around Hot Springs including Garland, Montgomery, Pike, Polk and parts of Clark, Hot Spring and Saline counties.
The organization recently held a half-day grant writing workshop for nonprofits, but Browning said anyone who missed the workshop can stop by the United Way office for one-on-one instruction on how to apply. Applications will be accepted through the end of January.
Anyone who wishes to volunteer for the impact teams must send a letter of application to Browning via email to [email protected], or by calling the office at 623-2505. They will accept volunteer applications through Jan. 27.
Grants will be awarded in July for a 12-month period.
"We hope we get a really good cadre of volunteers," Browning said.Local on 12/28/2016