Vision:

A world where everyone can give and receive help through the power of community.

Introduction by Lotsa Helping Hands' CEO and Co-founder Hal Chapel

How may we tap the full potential of our community to us help stay put at home by overcoming the challenges of aging in place?

Lotsa Helping Hands (LHH) is a free, private and confidential online service. Unlike other Web-based social tools, when you create your community's LHH site, you may choose to invite family, friends and neighbors to become members. The shared online calendar enables members to schedule and sign up for tasks such as rides to medical appointments and errands like shopping, meals, visits and respite for family caregivers. It simplifies volunteering by empowering all members to give and receive with ease.

LHH is a great tool to coordinate and communicate plans with your community. If you can imagine an individual or group activity, LHH can help you accomplish it:

  • Post individual requests for help with appointments and tasks on your community's shared calendar.
  • Schedule, coordinate and manage tasks, appointments and events with all members of your community.
  • Offer to help by simply clicking on an appointment or task; then receive confirmation and reminders by email.
  • Communicate and share information using announcements, messages boards, well wishes and photo galleries.
  • Video chat with pre-approved family, friends and professional caregivers to provide ongoing connection and assessment.

All you need to get started is a Web browser and the desire to participate.

Lotsa Helping Hands offers free tools designed to make life easier for caregivers and volunteers. The hallmark of the service is the caregiver-focused help Calendar, which enables members to schedule and sign up for tasks that provide respite for the caregiver including meals for the family, rides to medical appointments, and visits. Members can also communicate with one another through message boards, post personal blogs, share photos, and send well wishes to the family. And Coordinators can safely store and retrieve vital information for the family – from medical and health records to financial and legal documents. Caregivers benefit from the gifts of much needed help, emotional support, and peace of mind, while volunteers find meaning in giving back to those in need. 

 

Understanding how Lotsa Helping Hands works 

 

Tools

Lotsa Helping Hands offers the most robust and easy-to-use tools and services available today to make life easier for caregivers, volunteers and those in need.

a. Calendar: Our easy to use help Calendar enables Members to schedule and sign up for tasks that provide respite for the caregiver including meals for the family, rides to medical appointments, and visits. Coordinators can post tasks that require help so volunteers can easily see what's needed. Regular reminders are sent to volunteers so that no one forgets their commitments.

b. Community Building Features: We understand that Members spend a lot of time in their Lotsa Communities so we've made our Community web sites easy to use and even easier to customize. Members can communicate with one another through Message Boards, post personal blogs, share photos, and send Well Wishes to the family.

c. Custom Sections: A powerful and efficient tool for caregivers, Custom Sections add a little something extra to your Community. Add a 'Donate' tab or a section for special recipes or a personal blog.

d. Photo Gallery: Your Photo Gallery in your Lotsa Community is the perfect place to share invaluable snapshots along your caregiving journey. Post or view personal photos in your Community and share a memory or milestone.

e. Message Boards: The Message Board is the best place to connect and keep up with members of your Community. Both Members and Coordinators can post anything they wish to share, or comment on a post and start a conversation.

f. Well Wishes: The soul of your caring Community, Well Wishes is the place to drop a line to say hello, post a prayer or let the family you are helping know that you're thinking about them.

g. Calendar Notes: Need to keep track of important dates or milestones? Add notes to your calendar to remind everyone of the important dates that you simply don't want to forget such as birthdays, anniversaries and more.

h. Events: Organize items in your help Calendar into Events. Easily coordinate events that require multiple volunteers or that span many days, such as a Fundraiser or clean-up day. Organizing, scheduling and volunteering has never been easier!

i. Vital Information Feature: Keep important information in one place. Use the Vital Information section to store details about medications, doctors, allergies, insurance, and anything else safely and securely. The Coordinator can make this information available to the entire Community or to select Members, such as the immediate family.

j. Groups and Permissions: For easier organization and enhanced privacy, put select Members into one group and adjust their privacy and permissions. Individual Members and/or Groups of Members may be granted different permissions forviewing and signing up for specific Activities, as well as permissions for viewing and posting to various Community Sections. Stay organized in your Community by sharing the right stuff with the right people.

k. Open Communities: Capture the power of your Community. Create or find an Open Community in a local town or neighborhood where people who need help can ask for it, and those who want to volunteer can jump in and offer their helping hands. Ask for help, volunteer, make a difference.

Excerpted from: Nonprofit Partner Marketing Tool Kit

 

Getting Started Is Easy — Here’s How It Works:

  1. Create a Community
    In just a few minutes, you, a friend or a family member can fill out a short form with some basic info about your private circle. You may want to assign or hire a Coordinator to create your Community. The Coordinator enters tasks that you need help with in an online Help Calendar. You can change any Member to a Coordinator and create as many Coordinators as you like to manage different activities.
  2. Invite Members who want to help
    Next, the Coordinator will enter the names and email addresses of family and friends you wish to be Members of your circle. Start with people who have expressed interest in helping. You can keep adding names once your community is created.
  3. Tell Members it’s a private community
    Members have to be invited to join your circle or request membership. Members receive a “welcome” email message about the community with sign-in information.
  4. Enter volunteer tasks
    Go to the “Administration Tab” in your community and begin listing the tasks to be done with the easy-to-use templates. This may include things like dinner on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights or rides to medical appointments on Tuesday mornings. Each Member can then volunteer to complete any of the tasks listed.
  5. Remind Members of their commitments
    Members are notified by email when new needs are posted. The system sends reminder emails to volunteers automatically, so no one forgets their commitments.
  6. Add more information to your community
    Now, you can add photos, create custom sections and add links to resources. Members can post well wishes, share announcements and send messages to you and your family.
  7. Community websites are private and secure
    Only the people who have been invited and approved as members may sign in and participate, share resources and communicate through group email, message boards and video chats.

 To learn more about how it works, please visit: Lotsa Helping Hands website.