Are you ready to change the world? While volunteering can sometimes be a thankless job, the reward of helping others yields great results! The wonderful thing about volunteering is anyone can do it. You don’t have to be a celebrity, have a ton of money or even dedicate hours and hours to it, you just need a heart to serve.
To honor all those who shared their gifts and gave time to local or national organizations, we offer you this salute during National Volunteer Week.
Here are three volunteer-driven activities that will not only enhance one’s life, but bring value to the organization he or she serves.
Walk or Run…Have Some Fun!
Go for a walk, take a run, grab your tennis and get ready to work up a sweat in the name of fun! Marathons and walks provide a sense of camaraderie among participants and can raise thousands of dollars for your cause. These types of events draws hundreds of cheering supporters on the sidelines and press and that can attract new volunteers!
What makes walks and marathons appealing is it offers a wealth of volunteer opportunities from event set up, registration and allows participants to turn to their network of friends, colleagues and solicit corporate sponsors. Organizations such as the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society have successfully taken their message of advocacy and community outreach to the streets by hosting yearly marathons.
Eat up the Increase in Awareness
Who knew eating out could be so rewarding? Another “tasty” method of increasing awareness for a cause while adding much needed donor dollars is cause worthy dining.
Charities such as charity: water and The Houston Food Bank added dining out with fantastic results. Houston Restaurant Week was established in 2003.
Now, 10 years later, it has evolved to Houston Restaurant Weeks, created and chaired by volunteer Cleverley Stone, this ever growing event is planned by volunteers and showcases Houston’s incredible array of fine restaurants to the fine dining crowd while raising money for the Houston Food Bank.
The idea is simple: diners aren’t solicited while dining and they can order from a menu created just for the food bank. Most, if not all, restaurants allow diners to eat lunch or dinner at deeply discounted prices all month long and 2012 had a surge in restaurants and patrons that helped the campaign raise more than $1,000,000.
Stop ’til you Drop or Text?
Most people spend money daily so why not donate a little to charity while you are at it?
St. Jude found a way to truly mobilized volunteers in a number of ways. Recognized internationally-for its pioneering work finding cures and saving children with life-threatening illnesses, St. Jude utilizes a multimedia approach to unite celebrities, media and corporate partners during the busy holiday season to raise awareness of the work they do all year.
In 2012, donations from online, mobile, and offline channels grew by 40 percent over the previous year, while online efforts alone grew by 63 percent. When customers shop at a participating store, they can donate on the spot to St. Jude when checking out and get the happy feeling of helping families in need.
So there you have it, three volunteer-led campaigns that not only created awareness, but brought in more volunteers and generated tons of earned media attention all in the name of creating a better world.
Volunteers are vital and can create numerous opportunities to share their strengths and most importantly, it puts volunteers in the driver’s seat. Thank you volunteers for all you do and for making the world a better place one volunteer at a time.
- Harvard University | Making large volunteer-driven projects sustainable