Helping Power the Shared Harvest Fund myCovidMD Initiative
How a Student Loan Relief Organization Stepped Up During Covid-19 to Help Communities in Need
For this quarter's SignUp spotlight, we asked NanaEfua Afoh-Manin – MD, MPH, Founder & CMO of Shared Harvest Fund – to share her organization's story and her experience using the SignUp platform to make GOOD things happen during the coronavirus pandemic. Here's what she shared.
What would you like our readers to know about your organization?
Shared Harvest Fund is transforming social and economic liability of suffocating student loan debt into an asset class for social change – by creating volunteer opportunities in your own backyard and remotely in exchange for receiving loan forgiveness. The goal is to eliminate student loan debt one social good at a time! Now, with the organization's myCovidMD initiative, volunteers can work toward this goal while helping communities in need flatten the coronavirus curve.
It takes the compassion and conviction of beautiful every day people to help reduce the health inequities that have been in our country for centuries. The coronavirus pandemic has given all of us the unique opportunity to course correct and get it right. Through the Signup.com platform we have been able to mobilize almost 500 volunteers to fit precisely in the stations we needed them. myCovidMD has surpassed 2000+ tested through its pop-up free testing and tele-health community block parties and in the 3rd quarter the nonprofit will test 10,000 in South LA alone.
Explain how you recruit and coordinate your volunteers.
Everyone has a cause that they are willing to champion, but with the shackles of debt, many times it becomes difficult to volunteer when you are working 2-3 jobs. Thus, when the Covid national pandemic hit, we created a marketplace for individuals to barter their skills to help communities in need in exchange for student debt relief. Word of mouth is the biggest draw. People have been finding us through the nonprofit organizations they may be affiliated with and on social channels like instagram (#mycovidmd #sharedharvestfund).
Why did you decide to use SignUp?
Of all the volunteer management platforms, SignUp.com has provided the best user and super user experience. For us to be able to scale, our volunteers needed to be able to sign up to the specific stations and projects that they were going to complete when they arrived. This saves so much time in trying to organize the masses on the ground. We are able to hit the ground running. SignUp also does not require volunteers to go through this long frustrating process of registering, completing a profile, etc. – especially great since they already have signed up and received a background check from us. Volunteers simply sign up for their stations, sign their authorization form, and view their orientation webinar all at once!
What’s one piece of advice you have for volunteers or their leaders out there?
Keep it simple sweet. It takes time to figure out logistics and workflow, but it's so worth it for you in the long run. Also, love on your volunteers. They are priceless to your organization.
Join the movement to crush Covid-19 and support health equity and social justice by joining the mycovidmd.app community health partners task force. Sign up or donate at www.covidmd.org.