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Record Attendance at the Blaine House Conference on Volunteerism

October 15th, 2009

From the White House to the boardrooms of the top television networks, the value of volunteering has seen a surge of national attention this year.  Locally, volunteering continues to be important issue as evidenced by the record number of attendees at this year’s Blaine House Conference on Volunteerism.  In its 22nd year, this year’s conference had 310 registrants and focused on current and applicable best practices for Maine’s volunteers and managers of volunteers.

Governor Baldacci kicked off the conference held at the University of Maine-Orono campus on Tuesday, October 13. This year’s conference drew a wide range of attendees including AmeriCorps volunteers and state wide non-profit managers and volunteers.  The topics were well suited for this diverse group and ranged from social media techniques, volunteer recruitment, and management strategies to working with youth and developing philanthropic partnerships.

In addition to numerous local presenters, this year’s Keynote speaker was Martin J. Cowling, president of People First: Total Solutions.  Cowling has 20 years experience as a not-for-profit leader and volunteer manager and, in his keynote, stressed the many ways that the face of volunteering has changed.  For example, layoffs and recessions have created a large number of folks looking to volunteer as a way to stay active while building their skills and their resume.  Likewise, during a recession, organizations are relying on volunteers, now more than ever, to assist with events and/or day to day functions and activities.  He also touched on the current and relevant topic of social media, pointing out that not only are sites like Facebook and Twitter changing the way we communicate with each other but it is playing a huge role in attracting young people to get involved and volunteer.

To see pictures and video from the conference visit This year’s sponsors included Time Warner Cable, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Bodewell Center for Service and Volunteerism, and the Maine Commission for Community Service. 

The Maine Commission for Community Service builds capacity and sustainability in Maine\'s volunteer sector by funding service programs, developing volunteer managers, raising awareness, and encouraging an ethic of service. To learn more about the Maine Commission for Community Service visit our web-site at