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When was the last time you gave back to your community? Today’s economy has made it difficult for both the employed and employers to find time to help those in need, as resources seem to be limited — especially for strapped nonprofits and government agencies. The lack of resources available for these agencies to utilize technology to find volunteers has only aggravated this problem until now, which has started a vicious cycle of people who need volunteers, and people who want to volunteer, but a lack of ability for these entities to easily find each other.

A new startup called GoVoluntr — part of the newest class of 500 Startups — is hoping to bridge that gap by creating a social network that connects volunteers with other volunteers and social causes, helps nonprofits source volunteers, and allows businesses to promote their brand by building a volunteer program. GoVoluntr uses game mechanics, rewards, and branding to achieve this mission, leveraging the types of gratification that both individuals and brands seem to crave so much these days. Right now, dozens of nonprofits in the Bay Area are using GoVoluntr to track the activity of their volunteers.

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