When You Least Expect It… A 9-11 Day of Service Story

Some of our favorite stories to tell are those of unique and rewarding experiences had by volunteers and the nonprofits hosting them. Activate Good volunteer, Ken Dean, didn’t know what the day would bring when he signed up to photograph volunteers during Activate Good’s 9/11 Day of Service. Read on to find out the unexpected way his day unfolded: So… I wrapped up about five minutes early at the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle gardening project, and asked Mrs. Google how to get me to my next assignment.  The morning’s coffee was working its magic, so I swung into a McDonald’s for a brief, two-minute stop.  And then I was on my way.  I was so pleased to see that the Veterans Helping Veterans project was very close.  I actually pulled onto the street and started looking for the house about five minutes before my scheduled 10:15 arrival time. And as I looked up at what had to be the house, I saw a woman with an iPhone taking a group photo of about twenty or so folks, all dressed up for their day of volunteering.  My first thought was “That’s perfect!  Somebody is thinking and getting a photo before they start work.”  But not wanting to miss out on a chance while everybody was together, I rushed up and introduced myself and jokingly asked if I could get just a few more photos.  Everyone was in really great spirits, and happily obliged me. After a few minutes, I made my way up to the porch to see what the plan was for everybody.  I had to make sure that I knew where to position myself...

Why Aren’t More People Volunteering?

Guest blog by Volunteer Warrior If you were given 5 extra hours this week how would you spend them? Sleeping? Getting caught up on yard work?  Spending time with your family? What if you were given 10 or 20 extra hours? How about some “me” time? Or getting in an extra couple of workouts? Getting through that long Netflix queue maybe? Most people would not answer this question with volunteering. (Good for you if you did though!) Only about 25% of the US population volunteers each year. Of that 25%, some only volunteer once or twice, but a good portion of the volunteering population gives more than 15 hours of service (73.1%). So why is it that 75% of the population doesn’t volunteer a single time, but those that choose to volunteer keep coming back? Perhaps volunteers know something that others don’t.     Why aren’t more people volunteering? The main discussion around “Why aren’t more people volunteering?” regards a lack of time; I want to break this down to understand how we can each do our part to encourage volunteerism. Now, before we jump into discussion, it is important to acknowledge that certain populations do not have the privilege of being able to donate their time (that’s right, it is a privilege to volunteer!) However, for this discussion, my comments are directed toward those who do indeed have the abilities to volunteer but “choose” not to. To start this discussion let’s meet my imaginary friend Jenny. Me: “Jenny, why don’t you volunteer?” Jenny: “I would love to volunteer but I just don’t have the time.” Let’s also meet Dave. Me: “Dave, why don’t you volunteer?” Dave: “Oh I don’t know, I...

Volunteer Warrior – Activating Good!

Hi Reader, Welcome to my corner of the internet polygon. I’m Julia McLean and, like you, I am one of the restless people that David Bornstein calls “social entrepreneurs”. I know that you and I share this title because, if you are reading this, you are just as passionate as me about investigating the many ways we positively impact our communities, our larger society, and ourselves. It is exciting to be sharing my story with you today because, honestly, I’m just at the beginning. After 10 months with my project Volunteer Warrior, I still feel as though I am standing at the mouth of a dark dewy cave, using my narrow flashlight beam to take in the impossibly high, incredibly ornate ceilings. This is what it’s like to have a single person’s perspective trying to investigate the immense depth and scope of this crazy world of volunteerism and community engagement. Volunteer Warrior (VW) is a storytelling and research project that promotes volunteerism as a development tool and tries to understand the best practices for volunteer recruitment and engagement. VW started because I was completely new to my community. Like many others all over the world, I moved from the familiar to the new and ended up in a sea of people trying to figure out which way was up. I wanted to make new friends and to get to know the areas of my community that were outside of my daily commute. I wanted to learn to be a better me and I wanted to help others along the way. I wanted to make a difference and I wanted...

3 Steps to Turn your Volunteers into a Marketing Army

Guest blog by Abbie Cooke, VP of Chariot Creative, a North Carolina marketing and web design firm. Nonprofit marketing needs your attention. A little strategy can go a long way, and an entire team of volunteers can carry it further. From grassroots teams to multi- million dollar organizations, effective marketing is the top of the list of things in which to invest some resources. This is where supporters come from, where growth happens, where networks pool their resources to make one life-changing opportunity happen for an individual…or 10,000 individuals. You’ve got the passion for your cause and a great team. Now turn those volunteers into a marketing army by thinking in terms of strategy, consistency, and using the tools you’ve got to their full potential with these three steps. 1. Develop a Strategy, Polish It, Be Consistent You can’t fly by the seat of your pants when it comes to nonprofit marketing, and your volunteers can’t fly by the seat of your pants either. So first thing’s first: know your niche and develop a marketing strategy around that information. Evaluate who your audience/supporters currently are and who you want them to be. Fortunately, knowing your demographic is easier than ever thanks to some handy online tools. For example, Facebook lets you see what percentage of your followers are male or female, what age groups they fit into, etc. Many email marketing services, like MailChimp, give reports on who opens your newsletters and where they click within the email which gives a picture of what your audience responds to. There is a wealth of information at your fingertips! Use these...

Activating Good: A 2017 Volunteering Astrological Forecast!

  Activate Good volunteer extraordinaire and professional astrologer, Randy Wasserstrom, shares his insights in this fun guest blog on the Astrology of Activating Good in 2017! Read on for some inspiration for the New Year. ‘Activating Good’ is a two part process – inner kindness to oneself and outer service to others. This process is reflected in the astrological chart for 2017 which represents the characteristics, challenges and potentials of the coming topsy turvy year. One of the main characteristics of the new year (other than having a new President) will be revolution and change from old, traditional systems and structures that are no longer serving us well! This is an understatement! Our planet is struggling between fear and love with fear being a worldwide addiction as well as an inner struggle. Fear is also causing isolation, separation from others, discrimination and frustration. Love (as part of the activate good process), on the other hand, is all encompassing, generous, joyful and inclusive. Each of us has an opportunity to become a Light Bearer amidst the intense fear which could also be called darkness. This revolution then is an awakening of consciousness, coming in unpredictable lightning bolts both internally and globally. As the awakening occurs, more Light Bearers will emerge. To awaken is to face both the “light” and “dark” part of ourselves so that we can see our own suffering more clearly and learn to detach from it. Bringing light to the planet is no more than having love for all parts of ourselves. This is not an easy process, but is essential to meet the many crises in our...