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A Message from Our Friends at Volunteer Odyssey

Like each of you, our minds are on the safety and future of everyone around us. We need your help updating and evaluating volunteer information so we can connect volunteers to you. As you know, things are changing quickly – sometimes by the hour. We’re including the most up-to-date information on our COVID-19 page, which also includes additional resources.

First and foremost, our focus is health and safety for you, your volunteers, and our community. To do that, we’re asking for your help. Here’s what you need to know and here’s what we’re asking of you:

What you need to know:

  • In light of Mayor Strickland’s Safer-At-Home order, we will only be promoting in-person volunteer opportunities if: a) that are considered essential services: food, shelter, or emergency medical and b) if they follow CDC guidelines for safety hygiene and social distancing.
  • We strongly urge you to consider cancelling volunteer opportunities that fall outside of these categories so we can slow the spread. We appreciate your patience as we try to balance the risks and benefits of volunteering in person during this time. If you have suggestions or feedback, please let us know.
  • We’ve heard from some of you that well-meaning volunteers are complaining about response times and/or are pushing for opportunities that you don’t have right now. Please don’t feel obligated to create opportunities to keep volunteers happy. Focus on the opportunities that are most needed for your organization. If you are overwhelmed right now with questions, consider adding an auto-responder to your email that explains you’re trying to keep up and will get back to them asap.
  • We’ll include the most up-to-date information, on our COVID-19 page
  • Please reach out if you have any questions, feedback, need a pep talk, or if we can be a thought partner to you. You can email, call, or text me 901-308-4496 or Nikole (, cc’d here).

What we’re asking of you:

1. Determine which opportunities to continue, cancel, or convert to virtual. We have included some questions below that will help your organization determine which service projects to prioritize.

    • Do the benefits of having volunteers outweigh the risks?
    • What can you do to mitigate risk and exposure to volunteers, clients, and staff?
    • Could this be postponed without creating more risk?
    • Can this be moved to a virtual or remote volunteer opportunity?
    • For more resources and guidelines, visit our COVID-19 response page

2. Update your organization’s opportunities on Volunteer Odyssey’s Platform:

    • Please review your published opportunities to make sure everything is current.
    • If you have an in-person event that can be cancelled, please message the volunteers to let them know and cancel the event. (How to message users | How to cancel events)
    • Depending on your project, you may want to hide or unpublish the event for now so that you can reinstate it in the future. (How to Hide Events)
    • Please email Nikole ( with any questions about how best to do this.

3. Brainstorm potential virtual and/or remote service projects:
We have seen a surge in requests and searches for virtual and remote volunteer opportunities. Are there opportunities for volunteers to help you from a distance?


    • Making meals for drop off
    • Sending messages of support
    • Graphic Design
    • Social Media
    • Proofreading
    • Data Entry
    • Virtual Tutoring
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Google Analytics

4. Post virtual and/or remote service projects on Volunteer Odyssey’s Platform: Our platform is a central point to recruit and connect with volunteers. Here’s what you need to know:

    • We encourage that remote and/or virtual service projects be set up on our platform as an ‘Open Opportunity’ with a clear description of the volunteer activity and point of contact. (There may be exceptions, please contact Nikole with questions.)
    • Please notify Nikole ( when the remote volunteer opportunity is live on the platform so we can share on our website, social media, and our media partners.
    • We will promote your opportunities through our partnerships with I Love Memphis, cityCURRENT, and other partners.

We know these are unprecedented times and are working to make sure you’re getting the support and resources you need. We are available to answer any and all questions you may have.

Thank you for all that you do to help our community especially during this difficult time. We are grateful for you.

We will get through this, and as we do, Memphis needs you as much as ever.

Thank you!
Sarah & Nikole