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Sam Davidson's blog

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Volunteerism as Fluff?

Woodrow brings up a great concern regarding my last post, wherein I call Bob Clement's idea for an office of volunteerism Washington fluff. He asks:

Sam - Seems to me that you, of all people, would be supportive of an office of volunteerism, anything to get the word out and coordinate opportunities to help our city and neighbors is a good thing. CoolPeopleCare is a very creative idea with a great mission but how will having a volunteer office in metro be "fluff"? Clement is the only candidate encouraging people to give back to the city of Nashville and providing them with a one stop place to find out how to do so, much like yourself. Are you afraid this might hurt your for-profit business that has a similar mission?

First of all Woodrow, thanks for the good words about CoolPeopleCare. We appreciate the positive feedback and are glad to know that we are making a difference in the community.

However, I feel like Clement's proposal shows that he is out of touch with Nashville. Hands on Nashville is one of the best Hands On chapters in the country and does a tremendous job of matching people with opportunities, or needs with resources, as Clement suggests in his video. There are also great corporate citizens in Nashville that serve the community. I feel like Clement's proposed position will spend taxpayer money (for staffing, etc.) where it's not needed most. No, not every need is met (or can be met) by HON. But an office promoting similar opportunities is not the solution to meeting every need in the city.

In short, his proposal is redundant.

Yes, I like to promote giving back and civic engagement, and I hope Nashville's next mayor will champion such causes and volunteer himself on a regular basis. But, an office of volunteerism will not conflict with CoolPeopleCare's business model. Listing volunteer opportunities generates no revenue for us. We list all events for free. So, Clement can set up all the offices he wants - it won't affect our bottom line. If nothing else, CoolPeopleCare and this office would work together to further promote opportunities in the city to make a difference.

In Nashville, the city with more nonprofits per capita than any other, the nonprofit sector does a fine job of engaging people and meeting needs. Yes, support is needed from the entire community, both the public and private sector. But, the city government does not need to step in here.