To find information about volunteering, go to vineyard.lds.org
It started small and took off like a rocket. First, there were 100 volunteers, then 1,000; 5,000; 10,000 and then more. The goal by the end of 2011 was 10,000 but more than 20,000 volunteers have signed up. They come from every walk of life in more than 50 countries around the world, including Russia, Brazil, Canada, China, Africa, Thailand, Mongolia, the United States and the Philippines. Their common desire is to serve the Lord and provide service. They are dedicating their time and talents bit by bit through "service in the Vineyard." Doctrine and Covenants 58:27 aptly sums up their work: "Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness."
The Vineyard is a website launched by the Church in early 2011 that brings together members from across the earth to provide service on Church projects using a computer or mobile device. The Church News ran an article after the launch of the site on April 23, 2011. At that time, just more than 10,000 people had signed up. Today there are more than 20,000. "It's amazing to see how quickly it has grown despite the limited outreach. Most people are finding us due to word of mouth," said Joe Jatip, international program manager for the Vineyard.
What makes the website attractive to volunteers is the convenience and limited amount of time needed to serve. Volunteers range in age from 12 to over 70. To begin serving, volunteers need a computer or iPad and an Internet connection. Even members who are ill or homebound can provide service in the Vineyard. Volunteers are not required to be tech savvy; all that is needed is desire. There is no required time length to serve. Do as much or as little as possible. The tagline for the site is "Got 5 minutes? Why not serve?" Brad Baker, director of human resources for the Vineyard, said, "People are able to serve 10 to 30 minutes a day from their office or home. Volunteers can jump on during a lunch break and help. We have beehives and deacons helping out as well as missionaries."
The service opportunities on the website are broken down into small bits called tasks. More than 600,000 tasks have been completed since the site opened and more projects have been added since the last Church News report on the Vineyard and more will be added in the future. Jennifer Anderson, community outreach specialist for the Vineyard, said, "One of the current projects being worked on is the translation of the Teachings of the Living Prophets institute manual. It is being translated into 31 languages."
Here is a list of current service opportunities with descriptions:
Comparing text — A volunteer compares plain text to text that already exists in a publication and determines if the text and punctuation match or if anything has been altered or omitted.
Identify page breaks — In this activity, a volunteer compares a page published by the Church to a plain text document and indicates where the page breaks occur.
Match text — A volunteer is required to find plain text within a page of a Church publication.
Add image search words — The most popular task among volunteers, this requires a person to look at images and type words that would be used to search for the image.
Contribute photos — Volunteers are encouraged to upload their own photos (with required release documents) to be reviewed for possible inclusion in an online library. Photos could be used in Church magazines, brochures, posters, blogs, videos and websites and in members' blogs, lessons, websites, videos and other media.
Translate documents — Using the Lingotek Collaborative Translation Platform, volunteers work with other volunteers to translate Church content into a certain language. Volunteers are presented with content and asked to either vote on the translation done by other volunteers or to write their own translation.
Other opportunities — A list of additional service and donation opportunities is available at the Vineyard with brief descriptions and links to other Church websites.
Paul Urzagaste, a member of the Church in Utah, appeared in a Mormon Message about the Vineyard. He found out about the Vineyard at the beginning of choir practice one day. He jumped online and began to serve whenever he had time. He said, "The Vineyard is a place where anyone from anywhere can go and serve. Even though I am just one person, I know that will impact a lot of people."
The Church-related projects completed by volunteers on the Vineyard would require years to complete without their help. Through the selfless sacrifice of volunteers completing Vineyard tasks, the work of the Lord's Church can move forward in areas that do not have enough resources. To find information about volunteering, go to vineyard.lds.org. The vineyard also created a Facebook account that has more than 2,000 fans. You can go to the page and click on the "like" link at facebook.com/HelpingInTheVineyard.