Posts Tagged ‘volunteer’

Volunteer to Provide Free Rides to the Polls on Election Day

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov 4, 2008.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov 4, 2008.

The Minnesota Participation Project (MPP) is a “nonpartisan nonprofit voter mobilization program” sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.

MPP will be offering free rides to the polls on Election Day, November 4! We will have six accessible vans and several other vehicles throughout the metro area, ready to give free rides. We’re looking for folks to volunteer to drive the accessible vans and receive the necessary training to do so, as well as folks willing to drive their own vehicles.

If you would like to request a ride, volunteer, or for more information, call 1-877-NOV-2008 (1-877-668-2008) or send an email to Please share the rides phone number and begin scheduling rides now!

MPP has a ton of info and some pretty neat tools for helping get folks registered to vote and get folks to the polls to do so. Like Voter Reg-in-a-Box which allows you to register people to vote at your nonprofit or community event (and training to go with it).

Step 1, cut a hole in the box.

Three Lessons from the Twin Cities’ Response to the RNC Unrest

Watching the last few days of unrest in the Twin Cities surrounding the Republican National Convention unfold, a few things have made themselves evident to me in a way that I’d heard of and thought a little about but never personally witnessed before.

  1. Law enforcement may be hurting more than they are helping.
  2. Our local independent media’s coverage has been a good complement to the traditional media’s coverage.
  3. Volunteer opportunities abound.


City of Minneapolis Needs Bicycle Count Volunteers on Sept 9

The city of Minneapolis is conducting its second annual bike and pedestrian count. [last year’s report (pdf)]

They need volunteers to click the counter button (or record a bunch of hashmarks on paper or however they do that) in 2-hour shifts, starting at midnight on Tuesday, 9/9. That’s Monday night/Tuesday morning. Counting will take place for all 24 hours of Tuesday and again from 4-6pm on Wednesday, 9/10, in multiple places around the city.

So open shifts will be:

Those interested in volunteering may contact Shaun Murphy at or 612.275.5128. Please leave your e-mail address, phone number, a preferred day and time slot, and if desired, a neighborhood where you would like to volunteer. Since these counts are city-wide, we will do our best to place volunteers in convenient locations.

They’re looking for about 100 volunteers. Extra people are needed during the 4-6pm rush hours.

This is important because, while the state of biking in the Twin Cities is already pretty good, data like this helps make it better.

These important counts will begin to establish trend lines showing the impact of biking and walking on Minneapolis streets and trails. The counts will also measure the impact of several bike lane and path improvements…. 24-hour counts will help to establish new knowledge about non-motorized travel during the evening and nighttime hours.

The city is partnering with Transit for Livable Communities on this. TLC will also be conducting a count on these same days and is also in need of volunteers, according to the email I got from the city of Minneapolis, but I can’t find anything about it on their website.

P.S. Volunteers are also needed for the “Freewheelin’ & Bikes Belong” bike share program during the RNC. (pdf)

[Bicycling in Minneapolis]


i was thinking explains the Harrington Household Index (HHI) for local grocery prices, from the point of view of someone who loves a good ethnic market.

Ponedaddy’s Pound has good things to say about Minneapolis Public Schools. One of ’em, anyway. That would be Cityview in North Minneapolis.

Two items on Northwest Airlines’ nickel-and-diming: News Cut is brainstorming ways to work around the new luggage checking fees. Aaron Landry explains why he’s breaking up with Worldperks.

On the Radar rounds up some of the plentiful free entertainment options in Minneapolis over the next week.

MinnPost says that the Trust for Public Land says St. Paul parks are awesome.

Altered Esthetics is having its first ever Arty Garage Sale this Saturday.

Car Free Family says “[t]he Northeast Parade was as toxic as usual.”

Two upcoming NRP-sponsored workshops: “Neighborhood Volunteer Training” on July 16 and “Walking your way to a safer neighborhood” on July 17.

Why I think more people aren’t volunteering for the RNC: the volunteer application

08goplogo.jpgThe 2008 Republican National Convention aims to recruit 10,000 volunteers who will be needed to help with:

  • Welcoming delegates at airports and hotels
  • Assisting with transportation logistics
  • Working with security teams
  • Supporting convention operations at the Xcel Energy Center
  • Providing guest services and other hosting activities at CivicFest in the Minneapolis Convention Center

According to the PiPress today, they are still 6,000 short of their goal of 10,000.

After filling out the volunteer application, I think I know why.

When I saw MNSpeak’s link to this story a few minutes ago, I turned to my wife and said, “Umm…did you ever re-sign up to register for the RNC, honey?” You see, we actually signed up to volunteer on September 17, 2007, but apparently that application didn’t pass muster.

This is from the e-mail I got from the RNC on May 1:

The 2008 Minneapolis Saint Paul Host Committee recently launched a new volunteer application at and are requesting you fill out this application in addition to the one you previously completed.

In addition to the one you previously completed?!? DAMN IT!

“I forwarded you the link to submit the new application,” she tells me, “but you should know it took me like 20 minutes.”

Great. Super. I’m still rolling my eyes. I understand background checks and security clearance are important, but seriously — 20 minutes? No wonder they’re shy volunteers. Anyone in Generation X or Y probably won’t make it past the 3-4 minute mark.

But I pushed forward, knowing there was a red clipboard out there somewhere with a big “My Name is Greg” nametag temporarily stuck on it just for me.

Here are my observations in filling out the application:

  • The password has to be 8 characters, have a capital letter, at least one numeral AND a special character. It’s really overkill. I have maybe 3-4 passwords I use as general rule, and none of them include a special character. Are you like me and just add an exclamation mark to an old standby password in this situation? It’s like my password is shouting. Password1234! But really, that exclamation point is guaranteeing I won’t remember it if I ever need it again, will have to reset the password by remembering what I put for my secret profile password I’ll need in case I forget the first password, which always forces me to chose which of my cats is the favorite (so I use a made-up pet name [that yes, I sometimes forget]).
  • 3. I am conversational in the following languages (this one doesn’t include English)
  • 4. I am fluent in the following languages” (this one doesn’t doesn’t include English, either. Seems pretty self-limiting considering our large immigrant population).
  • 5. Computer skills:
    1. None
    2. Can use standard programs and the Internet
    3. Advanced User: Proficient in Microsoft Excel
    (I’m glad to see an “Advanced User” means you can work a spreadsheet or maybe even tackle one of those fancy =AVERAGE(IF((A1:A60>=Low) *(A1:A60<=High),A1:A60) kind of formulas)
  • 8. Experience with the elderly:
    1. None
    2. Some: Have assisted elderly friends or family members
    3. Expert: Professional counselor or therapist for the aged
    (I wish there was a blank for, “Hate being stuck behind them on 394 in the left lane with left blinker on” or maybe “Please don’t stick me working with an old person who makes insensitive racial jokes, likes to smack me on the back and/or complain about gas prices.” And who has ZERO experience with the elderly, really? We’ve all seen them on TV, at least.)
  • 14. Driver license number
    (If they have your social security number, wouldn’t they have access to your driver’s license? I had to get off the couch and dig for my wallet in the other room. Then I decided to get a drink and next thing you know I’m surfing YouTube “jump style” videos.

Yes! It says it saved my progress so far, and now I’m into the “Referral section.” Time to get up, stretch, find my laptop’s power cord and maybe pick a new iTunes mix.

  • 1. Which group referred you to the Minneapolis Saint Paul 2008 Convention? (I wrote “the internet” — which is probably my favorite group ever).

At this point I got to rate how much I would like to help with certain tasks:

  • 4. Airport welcome desk:
    1. Ideal
    2. Would not mind
    3. Acceptable
    4. Would not prefer
    5. Undesirable

At this point I stopped to ask my wife what she put down for all of these luxurious choices. She stopped what she was doing and tried to remember. You see, we don’t really need to do the same things, but for babysitter and only owning one car reasons, we don’t really want to be downtown and the airport at the same time. We debated event staffing vs. office vs. airports for awhile. She would’ve logged into her account to see what she put down, but SHE COULDN’T REMEMBER HER PASSWORD! (please note the explanation mark).

Then I had the privilege of going date-by-date from August 16 through September 5 to give them availability morning, afternoon, evening or not available. But first I had to get up and find my calendar, then sync back up with the wife. Turns out I’m going up to Lake of the Woods to fish over Labor Day Weekend, but there wasn’t a blank for me to tell them that’s why I couldn’t make it for the RNC kick-off. I hope McCain will understand. Fishing is definitely a conservative pastime, right?

Finally, I was at the last page and ready to hit FINISH. Oh look, there’s finally a link to the Privacy Policy to see how all of my information will be used. Of course, most people don’t ever read these, but I skimmed it just for giggles. Turns out, I really don’t like that they automatically sell your information to third parties:

(i) We may share your First Tier Information with the Committee on Arrangements for the 2008 Republican National Convention (“COA”), a committee of the Republican National Committee and with selected partners and/or third parties to provide you with information about events and opportunities that might be of interest to you and also would provide you with system information or information about similar events, political candidates or the like; however, the application will allow you to opt-out of having your First Tier Information shared with selected partners and/or third parties other than the COA…

That’s pretty crappy. Most web forms these days have a couple checkboxes for this kind of opt-in list-selling. Looks like I’m going to be on all sorts of mailing lists for the next year or so. Hooray.

Overall, the application took me about 40 minutes to fill out whilst blogging it, watching YouTube, Twittering and generally giving way to my ADHD whims. The average person will probably breeze through the application. And they should. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, after all.

Fill out your application here. And be sure to tell them you LOVE the elderly. I have a feeling not many people are “Experts.”

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