Sneak Peak at Aliso Viejo's New $37,000 Website

Aimed at connecting volunteers with jobs, it will launch Wednesday night.

Ever want to do some good in your community? Help out a church? A school? A nonprofit? Or maybe you're looking for a few good volunteers.

Aliso Viejo is launching a website to connect volunteers with jobs Wednesday at 7 p.m. The new site, Aliso Viejo Exchange, features postings from some of the city's 36 agencies, six schools and seven churches.

AVX was built for $37,000 by We the Creative of Newport Beach. The city will pay another $1,000 a month for ongoing site maintenance.

The city approved up to $50,000 for the site in Jan. 2012. Following routine public bidding for the contract, preparation began on AVX nine months ago, Councilman Phil Tsunoda said.

Tsunoda said he came up with the idea after a cubscout den mother approached him looking for ways her scouts could volunteer.

"The city's only role in this is to put the entities in touch with the people who want to volunteer," he said. "If I were a stay-at-home mom or stay-at-home dad with time to kill—this is a one-stop shop for opportunities."

Groups or individuals seeking volunteers create an account that is then vetted by city staff. Once approved, they post the volunteer job along with a photo.

Whether the organization seeking volunteers is a church, business, individual or nonprofit doesn't matter, Tsunoda said: "We're not the qualifiers of how this conversation goes." 

We the Creative will track usership through Google Analytics, Chief of Staff Kenneth Lim said.

Tsunoda said he wasn't chiefly concerned about how many visits the site receives.

"I think the non-scientific scorecard will be the Boys and Girls Club saying, 'Yes, we think the website has been helping," he said.

Tsunoda said he found other volunteer sites "boring and bureaucratic." He wanted a site that engages its users and makes it easy for them to volunteer.

AVX will have buttons for Facebook and Twitter to make it simpler to post volunteer jobs on those sites.

During a sneak-peak Monday morning, the site featured over 600 volunteer jobs. At 5 p.m. Tuesday, prior to the site's official launch, there were 428 jobs posted.

Corrine K January 16, 2013 at 03:10 PM
$37,000! Our city is spending $37,000 PLUS A THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH and this councilman isn't concerned about how many visits the site receives?
Kathleen K January 16, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Frivolous! This cost is about the equivalent of a part-time employee, maybe even a full-time employee. These types of expenditures should be made based on more that a friend of a councilmen asking for something, and their success should be based on more than a "Non-scientific scorecard."
Brownabouttown January 16, 2013 at 04:13 PM
Councilman Tsunoda came up with the idea? Probably by looking at the dozens of web sites that do the exact same thing. The difference being that those don't waste taxpayer's money. They are FREE!
Capo Parent Too January 16, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Yes there are other websites out there, I get it. I also love the idea of encouraging people to donate their time and energy to their city. It builds community, etc. We have it, we should use it so that money doesn't go wasted!
MayMom January 16, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Volunteering is a great thing. I do it myself. I don't think schools will be using it though mostly due to the strict volunteer requirements. I hope this is worth the money being invested. Wouldn't it be easier to have a bulletin board at the City office where volunteer opportunities could be posted. As an at home mom, I really don't have "time to kill" with all the other volunteer, sports and carpooling I already do.
Mindful January 16, 2013 at 07:17 PM
For the money that was spent, Aliso Viejo could donate a thousand dollars each month to a different charity and we would all still be ahead. Volunteers don't need to get to a web site that the city owns...we go to the organization we want to volunteer for. And to your point, May Mom, I also do not have "time to kill" sitting around hoping for someone to direct me to some activity. The image that our city council seems to have of stay at home moms is insulting.
Johnny Utah January 16, 2013 at 10:56 PM
I like the AV app on my iphone.
MayMom January 17, 2013 at 03:16 PM
I agree Mindful, we will find ways to volunteer without needing this site. If somebody is motivated enough to volunteer, they will look for what they want. I hope there is enough traffic to this site to make it worth the cost. $1,000 a month would go a long way to help with schools or organizations that are in need of money. I go back to the question of the crossing guard recently. That was safety at a small cost but was fought. Plus, will the volunteers be background checked and fingerprinted like many volunteer positions require. There are many questions still out there.
Tony January 17, 2013 at 05:25 PM
Wow...just wow! Something smells here... If you really want to appeal to volunteers, how about finding a few to develop this website, for free. There's is certainly plenty of web development talent right here in Aliso Viejo. And $1000/mo to host is absurd! ...this needs to be investigated!
CSmith January 17, 2013 at 06:23 PM
The site looks like a shoddily assembled template, with stock images and boilerplate content. With nine months of preparation, $37,000 spent, and a $15,000 per year maintenance contract set up, perhaps somebody could have been sent out to take some actual images around Aliso Viejo to use for the site.
busy mom January 17, 2013 at 10:18 PM
What a huge waste of money!, I am very disappointed in our city leadership for approving this expenditure!
Fred Garvin January 18, 2013 at 12:48 AM
If I understand this correct, ONE mother says there's no place to find volunteer opportunities for her scout pack. So Mr. Tsunoda decides, and convinces the other council members, to spend $50K to help this ONE scout pack and MAYBE others. There are no checks and balances to see if the sight is successful since there is no way to tell how many people are signing up. Yet if a community asks for a crossing guard to be added to the school to help ensure the safety of students, we are told it's not in the budget and the city needs to conduct studies. What kind of a study was conducted to see if this volunteer match was necessary enough to spend $50,000 immediately. And now we are being told there won't be a study to see if it is even worth the cost. I know Mr. Chun and Mr. Munzing had nothing to do with this decission but I surely hope they read the comments posted to see what the community really thinks. As for Mr. Phillips and Ms. Cave, don't lose sight that Mr. Garcia probably lost the election because he didn't listen to the community. He was out for his own agenda as is Mr. Tsunoda. As for Mr. Tsunoda, he lead the charge to spend over $1 million to add lights for the little league and now spends $50 thousand to help a scout pack. I'm disgusted.
Present Parent January 18, 2013 at 01:35 AM
"If I were a stay-at-home mom or stay-at-home dad with time to kill—this is a one-stop shop for opportunities." Completely insulting to those who have chosen to make raising their children and tending to their homes a full-time job. Time to kill...ha! Thank you for exposing your ignorance and disrespect Councilman Tsunoda -- let's hope the voters remember this.
busy mom January 18, 2013 at 04:36 AM
Between this and the expensive Lip Dub done over the summer, our city must have money to burn! There are so many better ways to spend our money!


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