RSVP+ ND is a national organization under the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS). RSVP+ Southern Valley in Fargo, North Dakota, is a member of the organization, but it's very unique. The "+" symbol indicates that it serves volunteers of all ages, not just seniors or retired individuals. As such, RSVP+ Southern Valley has been sponsored by North Dakota State University (NDSU) Distance & Continuing Education (DCE) since July 2003.
Like RSVP locations in other states, RSVP+ ND specializes in placing volunteers with agencies and organizations that need them. Its mission is to "enhance personal growth, develop leadership skills and meet critical community needs through meaningful volunteer service opportunities." From the Veterans Affairs hospital to the local Sheriff's Department and a variety of nonprofit organizations in between, RSVP+ Southern Valley connects volunteers to volunteer opportunities.
Linda Nelson, Director, has been with RSVP+ Southern Valley for 22 years. She describes it as a matching process. "First we go out and register nonprofits and federal agencies," she says. "Then we find out what their volunteer needs are, all the while recruiting new volunteers into the program."
Linda and her team serve nine counties out of the Fargo office. The majority are still in Cass and Clay counties, where the program began in 1972. Altogether, RSVP+ Southern Valley has 1,321 registered volunteers. In 2012 they recorded 136,949 service hours in the nine counties.
It's a lot of work to manage so many volunteers and "a lot of personal interviews with volunteers," notes Linda. There are many college students, but the majority of volunteers are still 55 or older. The longest-serving volunteer has been there for more than 32 years; one of the volunteers is just over 90 years old.
RSVP+ Southern Valley had been using 4imprint® before realizing there was a grant opportunity available. They applied for and received the one by one® donation and chose to use it for pens with their new blue and orange logo design. "We have booths at different conferences and events," explains Linda, "And we always have pens."
Emblazoned on the pens is their motto: Do good.