Doug Bolton knows Cincinnati. As the previous publisher of the Business Courier and market leader for Cushman & Wakefield, Bolton has spent much of his career gaining a deep knowledge of the Tristate. Now, he’s using that knowledge to help Cincinnati’s nonprofits as the new CEO of Cincinnati Cares.

“While my work as a journalist and leader over more than 30 years has given me a great view into the dynamics of Greater Cincinnati business, faith and government sectors, it has been my volunteer experiences with many organizations across our region and various sectors that link my past work to this new passion,” he says. We caught up with the busy Bolton to ask about his new career path and why volunteering is important to him and the region.

Over the past 20 years, you’ve led several businesses and worked in multiple industries. Why was now the time to join Cincinnati Cares?

I only had a cursory knowledge of the work Craig Young and his team at Inspiring Service were embarking on as I wrapped up my leadership role at Cushman & Wakefield. But the more I learned when I joined Inspiring Service as a consultant in the summer of 2018, the more I realized what a great opportunity this is for me to make a big difference in Greater Cincinnati, and potentially beyond. Volunteering is at the core of our responsibility of being a human. Most people want to and need to volunteer, and the work of volunteers impacts hundreds of thousands of people in this region who are in need. After spending 25 years in the media business and seven years running the Cincinnati-Dayton region for one of the world’s biggest commercial real estate services firms, the idea of building a new organization, working with the Young family and improving one of our region’s most important sectors carries a lot of appeal.

Could you introduce Cincinnati Cares for our readers?

Craig Young founded Inspiring Service two years ago out of concern for the health of our region’s volunteer ecosystem. After significant research and testing, the first initiative was the creation of a free communitywide volunteer guide. It is now our region’s most popular way for volunteers to find their way to help. This service is free to volunteers and the more than 500 nonprofits whose volunteer opportunities are kept updated through technology that is frictionless, password free and mobile friendly. While the platform is building hand-on volunteering, we’ve expanded into helping one of our community’s most pressing needs—connecting volunteer leaders to nonprofit boards and committees.

We will continue our innovation by connecting nonprofit leaders with prospective volunteers who want alternatives to board service—such as offering their skills, anything from web development to finance to legal—to nonprofits and the causes they care about. To take advantage of the success of the platform, the organization’s work in Cincinnati was rebranded as Cincinnati Cares, and this organization I now am CEO of will work on multiple initiatives aimed at increasing volunteerism here. Meanwhile, Inspiring Service will continue to serve as the parent organization.

What are your goals with the organization?

We want to inspire and empower people and organizations to engage in volunteering that improves and strengthens their community and themselves. In Cincinnati, our volunteer ecosystem is unhealthy, and without our work as the only 100 percent volunteer-focused organization and attracting more investment into the volunteer ecosystem, it will only get worse. Volunteer rates in Cincinnati have declined at twice the national rate and we are lagging peer communities. We hope to reverse these trends by helping all willing individuals find their way to help, working with businesses to improve their community engagement and strengthening the nonprofit sector’s engagement of volunteers.

If business or individuals want to get involved, what are their next steps?

Individuals can go to cincinnaticares.org, The site makes it easy to search by cause, by location, by type of volunteer work or some half-dozen other ways to help, giving the prospective volunteer an easy way to explore interests and the more than 1,200 volunteer opportunities showcased on the platform. The prospective volunteer can do further research on an organization from convenient links—or can express interest on the site, with a message sent to the nonprofit organization where the individual is seeking to connect. For businesses, we offer a suite of services, best viewed from in.cincinnaticares.org. Businesses can tap our expertise to accomplish more, better or reorganized community engagement across the entire nonprofit community.


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