How To Plan a Community Service Project

If you have been tasked with organizing a community service project within your workplace or organization, you probably need some basic advice to get things moving. Today’s article is just that: a rough outline of the things you’ll need to do to help ensure a successful project.

 

Gauge Interest in the Project

Excitement and enthusiasm are vital elements of any service or outreach initiative. If you can’t find enough people who want to work on your project, don’t try to force things forward. Step back and come up with another plan.

 

Offer A Few Options

Once you have a clear gauge of the type of project that appeals to the majority, offer a few options, and let your volunteers decide which one(s) most of them prefer. Make the decision based on overall interest and the most immediate need.

If, for example, your goal is urban renewal, what sort of project do you want to pursue? Will you spend a week cleaning up graffiti from public buildings? Will you adopt space in your local park to maintain? Will you organize a block party to facilitate tighter community bonds? Go with majority rule and start planning immediately.

 

Organize Your Team

Determine which of your team members will best fill the various roles in the planning and execution processes. If necessary, interview your volunteers to determine where they will fit in best. Keep it informal, but don’t be afraid to ask important questions.

 

Secure All Necessary Permits and Permissions

If there is any chance that your project will interfere with local businesses, it is necessary to reach out to those businesses and communicate what will be happening. Take any strong protests seriously and try to work out reasonable solutions. The response is bound to be very positive, and you might even get a few sponsors along the way.

Also, be sure that your activities won’t require special city permits. If it turns out, they will secure them. Above all, do your prep at this stage well ahead. Three months out is a good median, but shorter notice can also be worked out with a bit of finesse.

 

Follow the above advice at the planning stages, and your event will be set up well for success. When the day (or first day) of your event arrives, the confidence in your own good planning will be a huge motivator to the rest of your team.

 

Community Service Ideas For College-Bound Students

For some college students, community service will be a prerequisite for graduation. Others might enjoy volunteering. Regardless of the reason for their participation, community service opportunities for college students might include:

 

Campus Initiatives

Typically, numerous campus-based volunteer opportunities will be available. Common in-house activities can include anti-bullying campaigns and mental health counseling for students dealing with emotional, personal, or academic struggles.

 

Helping The Homeless Or Poor

Unfortunately, regardless of where a student attends college, there is a good chance that the city or town has homeless or impoverished people in need of assistance. Community organizations charged with helping struggling populations can typically benefit from eager and enthusiastic young people seeking to help their fellow man.

 

Working With The Elderly

Facilities housing persons of advanced age can usually be found in most communities. Working with elderly people can be quite rewarding for young people. Older individuals appreciate the time youthful persons take to spend with them. In turn, sage subjects can impart a great deal of wisdom that can benefit college students as they progress in their lives and careers.

 

Becoming Involved With Various Houses Of Worship

Houses of worship encompassing many religious denominations will often be found in a college student’s new community. Churches, synagogues, and mosques often oversee or sponsor a plethora of charitable endeavors and are always looking for eager volunteers to help perform various essential tasks.

 

Organizing Environmental Improvement Projects

Regardless of where people relocate, the environment always plays a vital part in their life. Dirty, damaged or tainted lands not only renders impacted locations aesthetically unpleasing but could ultimately threaten the health and safety of those who reside there. Therefore, many college students choose to participate in environmental improvement projects. One such simple effort is to gather a group of people to clean a public area such as a park.

 

Helping Young People

Many communities have a certain percentage of at-risk youths who could benefit from a college student’s influence. Some university students opt to join mentoring programs in which they spend a bit of time each week (or whenever the schedules of mentor and mentee permits) with youth in need. They provide advice, answer any questions they may have, and serve as their advocate.

 

Tips For Planning a Community Service Project for Your Office

Carl Turnley Planning a community Service project for your office

Community service projects are great incentives to help make a difference in the society while also winning the hearts of the locals. As a company, it is important to consider organizing an event where the company and its employees focus on giving back to society. The success of every corporate-organized community service project is dependent on how well-planned the entire event is. Here are some tips on what to focus on when planning for such a day for your office.

 

Choosing the Right Cause

As a company, you probably have existing social goals and values that you stand for. When organizing for a community service project, you should endeavor to choose a cause, that matches your internal objectives. For example, if your company appreciates and upholds the importance of environmental awareness, then you may choose a suitable project, such as cleaning the neighborhood and planting trees. Choosing the right project ensures that you fulfill what your company stands for.

 

Setting the Right Date

When setting a date for your company’s community service project, you should always try to select a day that is favorable for all workers associated with your company. Setting the right date ensures that most of your employees are available to dedicate their time to work on the community service project. Certain days of the week, such as Fridays and Saturdays, can work best. 

 

Gamifying the Project

Employees value community service projects because they get an opportunity to interact and work outside the office environment. To increase employees’ morale and ability to benefit from the project, you may choose to gamify the entire social event by setting different teams, which engage in small competitions.

 

Setting the logistics right

The success of a community service project is highly dependent on how well-planned it is. The logistical aspect of the planning process is perhaps the most challenging. To ease your work, you may have to allocate different responsibilities to different employees. Finding workers who are passionate about community service and giving them responsibilities to organize the project increases the chances of success.

When allocating additional responsibilities to the employees, it is important to leverage their passions and skills. For instance, allowing workers from the finance department to handle the project’s financial aspects enables them to put their skills to good use.

 

How Has Philanthropy Changed Over the Years?

carl-turnley-charity2During the last decade we have witnessed the beginning of a financial crisis occurring around the world as well as a recession that seems to be impending. This has started to cause a major drop in resources that could be available for both grant makers and grant seekers. Within these ten years we saw the first-ever smartphone appear and changed the way we seek information, communicate, and how we would eventually use it to give to others in need.

Ever since, it seems like technology has grown past what was originally thought of it, causing many impacts on charities and their administration, as well as their ability to fundraise one day and then create grants another day. With many natural disasters occurring and not to mention the economic, political, and social turmoil, there have also been big changes in communities and the way they organize and how donors now respond to the many needs. This is giving new light on the way giving and support occurs.

An Impactful Focus

Many grant makers have turned their focus toward an approach that is more strategic for their giving causes and guided by the effect that their impact will have on the support they give. With a high desire to have grant seekers set goals to achieve and present various programs but to also dedicate any resources to have programs evaluated so that results can be justified for continual investments.

Grant seekers have now begun to grow worried because of this and have expressed that they are no longer able to report on just the amount served but also what life changes occur because of it. This requires an increase in staff, resources, time, support, and expertise.

Relationships Changing

Generally speaking, the atmosphere between grant seekers and grant makers seem collaborative. This made it seem like the relationship was more personal and less formal which the grant makers and grant seekers appreciated more. This type of communication is welcomed by grant makers and they hope that it causes other relationships to be open so that a common goal can be easily achieved.

How Technology Has Played a Role

Both information sharing and education have a high ranking among issues that grant seekers and grant makers wish that will be improved by technology. Besides these, many online applications for grants, management systems, and grant reports and forms have minimal errors, have been time-saving, made communication easier, and have ensured that relationship quality is enriched.

 

Millennial Impact on Philanthropy

carl-turnley-charityStereotypes about millennials paint an entire generation as entitled and afraid of hard work, which may cause organizations to shy away from campaigning for donations from these young adults. However, it would be a mistake for companies to ignore this untapped market.

Despite the argument that the world left to millennials by previous generations is one that is economically unfair, millennials are still a generous generation. Millennials, born from approximately 1980 to 2000, will soon make the largest part of the American workforce, which will expand their buying power, and their philanthropic efforts don’t fall far behind. One survey found that 84% of this group has donated financially while 70% of millennials had given at least an hour to a charitable cause in 2014.

Baby Boomers and Generation X still donate more money per year than millennials donate, $732 and $1,212, respectively, compared to $481; however, the younger generation still manages to donate an impressive amount of money compared to their college debt and when considering the fact that fewer members of this group have achieved enough financial security to own a home and car. This fact stands in opposition to the idea that millennials are an entitled lot. Organizations that rely on donations, whether monetary or voluntary, would be remiss to overlook the time and money that millennials are so willing to offer despite the obstacles in their way.

However, companies must understand what motivates millennials to be generous. For starters, they prefer to hear a story rather than just the facts. Where millennials may not be able to donate money, they can offer their time, and organizations can take advantage of this by pressing the urgency of moving now. Finally, it’s important that messaging is simple. Millennials receive thousands of messages every day, and overcomplicating things will cause information to become lost in the fray.

As mobile banking and technology has changed the face of philanthropy, millennials have increased their donations. And as Baby Boomers leave the workforce and millennials find more stability and increased wages, their ability to continue to donate their time and money will only increase. Organizations that understand this potential can take advantage of it now and continue to build loyalty with philanthropists in the future.

Charity Trends: 2019

Charity is one of the transformative movements in our society today that helps make a huge impact people who are less advantaged. Philanthropists contribute heavily to facilitating the success of charity organizations and projects in general. Over the years, there has been a significant transformation in the manner in which charity organizations operate. This transformation is highly likely to shape the future of the entire charity industry in various ways henceforth. Here are certain trends that are highly expected to dominate the charity industry this year.

Increased giving

As the number of social causes for charity increase, so are the numbers of people willing to freely give to charity. The increased advocacy and appeal for help to eradicate social-economic challenges in the society are highly likely going to cause a major boost in the flow of funds towards charity. Statistics indicate, for instance, that there has been a 56% increase in charity donations between the year 2014 and 2017. In 2019, the increase is expected to be exponential.

Digitization of charity operations

With the digital age taking over most processes to facilitate efficiency in organizational processes in many workplaces, the charity institution at large is expected to be no exception. To say the least, operations in charity organizations are going to be digitized by the introduction of computers and the internet of things to enable the sharing of information.

The digitization of charity will enable virtually all charity operations to be conducted in a digital platform to enhance data sharing between the organizations and the well-wishers. The digital impact is also highly likely to impact the way people give. The introduction of fintech through mobile wallets is expected to cause more people to give more towards charity.

Boosted transparency

Charity organizations are anticipated to become more transparent, especially when it comes to investment and utilization. The transparency will become a key determinant in helping attract more philanthropists to channel their contributions to the organizations. In addition, donors will also increase their voice towards calling for transparency and accountability, especially when it comes to visualizing how their funds are being utilized. In that regard, a major trend is arising where charity organizations establish networks with their donors where any project undertaken gains support from donors.

Debunking Common Philanthropy Myths

Giving back to the community and donating to charities is great for the soul and even better for mankind. Many people make it a priority to be more philanthropic, however, others can be a little put off on the idea. They aren’t put off by helping a cause or making a difference, but mostly due to common myths or misconceptions. These are the common philanthropy myths that must be debunked:

Myth #1: Men Are More Philanthropic Than Women

One of the most common myths in philanthropy is that women are far less philanthropic than men. On the contrary, research has shown that women play a very powerful role in philanthropy. Nowadays, there are more and more women finding themselves in higher-paid positions and higher-level positions. Studies show more women are using their funds and earnings to become more philanthropic, completely debunking the myth that women are less philanthropic than men. 

Myth #2: Charities Are Only to Feed the Poor

While there are many nonprofits and charitable organizations dedicated to feeding the hungry, there are also far more organizations making a difference elsewhere. Charities can range from rescuing endangered animals, disaster relief, aiding abused and battered women, raising awareness of drunk driving dangers, and so much more. There are so many nonprofits changing the world and making a difference. 

Myth #3: Finding an Honest Charity is Easy

With so many charities out there to donate to, it’s a common belief that finding a good and honest charity is easy. In fact, finding the right charity can be quite difficult. It takes a lot of time and research to determine if a charity is not only utilizing the funds they receive from donors, but they’re also making the difference they said they would. Before forking over money, it’s important to take the time to properly research an organization and get an in-depth look at how the use their funds and what their track record from over the past few years looks like. 

Myth #4: Small Donations Don’t Make a Difference

Many people tend to believe that when they aren’t able to give a large amount, then they shouldn’t be giving at all. This is the most important myth to bust. In fact, it’s better to give a small donation than to not give at all. This is especially true in cases of urgent humanitarian aid and disaster relief, a flow of small gifts will surely save lives, stem catastrophe, and repair communities. Smaller donations also help build stronger and longer relationships between donors and organizations. Small donations lead to more overtime and eventually larger donations when a donor can afford to give more. 

Big Data’s Role in Nonprofits

Virtually every nonprofit starts off with an altruistic motive: combat poverty, fight inequalities, etc. While these are admirable goals, they tend to attract people with a heart for those causes, leaving the star players in terms of industry knowledge and expertise to make money in the commercial world simply because they generally pay better.

Still, there’s no reason why nonprofits can’t incorporate advanced metrics and data collection into their systems. By making a few small changes, they can become just as efficient as the big corporations who pay millions of dollars for the same impact.

Incorporate Big Data Into Fundraising

Big data is currently a $42 billion industry, and companies from all over the place are using it for one primary purpose: to make money. Even though the end goal of a nonprofit is not necessarily to generate revenue, there are still is a need for fundraising to keep the lights on and operations active.

Look for ways to fundraise that have a high ROI (Return On Investment). Use high-quality images and infographics, streamlining content, optimizing the site for mobile are all ways that nonprofits can increase their ROI. Furthermore, nonprofits should target executives and managers that have experience in big data areas, specifically CTO’s or marketing managers.

Make Changes to Current Operations

Once a nonprofit has assessed the data, it’s incumbent on them to implement that within their current infrastructure. Develop a team that is responsible for analyzing and using data, that way it doesn’t get stuck in the pipeline for a long period of time.

With nearly 1.5 million registered nonprofits in the United States today, it’s a virtual certainty that the data collection methods for nonprofits will only continue to increase. The only question is whether or not they’ll implement it.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

If a nonprofit wants to continue to grow, they’ll have to stay on the cutting edge of technological process, which means mastering the resources that are at hand and learning new techniques as they become available. Once a company begins to implement the resources that are already available, they’ll begin to see other opportunities that they can grow as well, while the competition remains stagnant. Nonprofits don’t exactly work against each other, but the better a nonprofit can position themselves financially, the more impact they can make.

Charitable NFL Athletes Doing Their Part off the Field

charitable-nfl-players

Being given such a huge platform is not commonly taken for granted by successful players in the National Football League. With such tremendous salaries and popularity, professional athletes often understand the impact they have on their communities, and do their part in helping others.

While the media and fans have been focusing on national anthem protests this past year, players all over the league have been helping their communities and donating their time and money to causes they are passionate about; something that has been, unfortunately, overshadowed by more political issues.

One of the first charitable acts we saw this season was that of Deshaun Watson donating his first ever NFL game check to victims of Hurricane Harvey. This was an incredibly selfless decision considering the fact that Watson is in his first ever season as an NFL quarterback, yet still understood the impact he could make by simply helping out people within his community. This is something that many NFL veterans have done as well, with the following being just a few of many.

Patrick Peterson

The shutdown cornerback of the Arizona Cardinals may be well known for his success on the field, but many fans may not know that he started the Foundation for Success, which aims to provide lower-income and inner city youths various resources in order to help them succeed in life.

Charles Johnson

The Carolina Panthers defensive end has been offering college scholarships to high school students attending his alma mater, Hawkinsville High School in Hawkinsville, Georgia. As if that wasn’t charitable enough, Johnson is active in the real estate market as well, having built affordable housing for seniors in Columbia and Rock Hill, South Carolina. He is also currently assisting with the convergence of an old Charlotte firehouse to a new restaurant; a $3.3 million project.

Chris Long

Following the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, Chris Long of the Philadelphia Eagles pledged to donate every single one of his game checks to high school scholarships in his hometown of Charlottesville, while also raising awareness for the atrocious acts that took place there. In addition to this, Long is working alongside the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia to help with scholarships for local middle school students, thereby promoting well-being and education among children.

J.J. Watt

 
Many people were made aware of J.J. Watt’s incredible fundraising attempts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, but few knew just how much he would raise. The Houston Texans defensive end raised an astonishing $37 million for victims of the hurricane, much of which came from fans around the country.

Non-Food Items You Can Donate to Food Banks

donating

It is a common misconception that food pantries only work to provide food to struggling families. People might assume that as long as someone is fed, they can thrive, but this is not the case. Everyone, including those who struggle financially, should be able to take care of basic needs beyond nutrition. Though many charitable organizations are called food banks or food pantries, their need goes beyond that of food. There are many things other than food that you can donate to food banks that will help them help others.

Toiletries

Hygiene is important for struggling families and can impact overall health, so donations of personal care items can be very helpful. These can include toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, or other personal items.

School supplies

Every child should have access to an education, no matter their home situation. Donations of school supplies can help a child be more successful in school and give a family one less thing to worry about. A reliable, sturdy backpack can make it easier for children to carry their items to and from school. Other supplies like writing utensils, notebooks, binders, and folders can be helpful as well.

Toys

It may seem that toys aren’t a necessity, but every child deserves to have some semblance of a normal childhood. Toy donations can help with this. They don’t have to be elaborate; a simple toy truck set or coloring book can bring joy to a child whose parents may not otherwise be able to afford these items.

Infant care items

Parents struggling financially have an added burden when trying to take care of an infant. Diapers, diaper rash cream, or other items specifically for infants can alleviate the burden on families.

Winter items

The winter months can be the hardest time for families who struggle financially, especially if they live in a place that lacks proper heating. Items like blankets, hats, and gloves can help keep someone warm. Opt for the warmest versions of these, like fleece- lined blankets or wool socks.

Gift cards

Everyone deserves to have some fun, so gift cards for specific activities or entertainment could be very helpful. Movie theater gift cards can allow for a bit of escape, and restaurant gift cards can give someone an opportunity to be treated for a night.

Books

Many food pantries are looking for book donations, as they not only offer an escape, but can help a person learn valuable lessons. Books donations for people of all ages can help alleviate this need.

 

If you have items to donate but aren’t sure if you should, it’s a good idea to contact your local food bank to find out what they’re looking for. It could be that they need a wide variety of items, or they may be looking for something specific. Though food items are always helpful, many overlook some other important needs of families who struggle with poverty.