The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States has created a feeling of unity throughout the country, along with a much needed surge of optimism. Obama’s choice to designate Martin Luther King Day as a day of community service triggered altruistic acts and brought the country together in the name of helping others. On Monday, Obama spent time volunteering in the D.C. area, painting a shelter and making care packages for troops, proving to lead the country by example. The message remains clear, particularly now, volunteering really does make a difference. Nonprofits should maximize on this new call to duty to let communities know they need their help.
Monday’s call to serve may be over, but it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind and now is the time to keep people interested in helping your organization. The Chicago White Sox and Starbuck’s (by pairing with the HandsOn Network) are continuing Obama’s message. The White Sox launched a website where fans can work with players on various community service projects. After the inauguration on Tuesday Starbuck’s aired this ad, urging people to volunteer for 5 hours between 1/21/09 and 1/25/09, with the benefit of helping others and getting a free cup of coffee. As of this moment, people have pledged over 500,000 hours and there is still time for you to donate yours to a local charity. With these initiatives popping up, people are still eager to help.
As an organization, you should be capitalizing on this moment in time and make sure people are aware of your needs. Through USAService.org you can plan your own event and look for volunteer opportunities. The New Jersey Department of State website provides a great resource of community service projects in New Jersey, which your nonprofit should definitely be featured on as a method of garnering more volunteers.
Now that you have people who are interested in helping, be sure to know how to manage your volunteers to keep them coming back!
Originally Posted: January 22,2009 on NJ.com