Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Make the 25th MLK Day a Day "On" not "Off" for You and Your Organization

This year is the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Day. The theme for this year’s Day of Service is built around Dr. King’s quote, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'" Whether you are looking for something to volunteer at, want to sponsor a project at work that day or are a nonprofit with a project looking for volunteers a good place to start is the official MLK Day website. It is chock full of resources and links with information about where you can volunteer and register your project.

Here are some ideas I posted last year – with a couple of new ones…..

Not a Holiday for You – No problem! Easy ideas for Service on MLK Day – No Excuses
If MLK Day is a work day for you why not see if your employer is willing to sponsor an early quit for a group who volunteers at a local charity or lead a food or winter coat drive at your workplace. It is a good day for group activities and lots of nonprofits are prepared with one day or short time frame projects.

Or how about sponsoring a re-gifting opportunity. Ask co-workers to bring in a holiday gift they got and don’t really want and bring these new items to a shelter.

Nonprofits Take Action – Now!! Today! – MLK Day is January 17th!!!
If you are a nonprofit - right now – not tomorrow – register your projects available for MLK Day at serve.gov and at any local databases collecting projects such as your local Volunteer Center or United Way. This is a perfect opportunity to introduce your organization to new volunteers and supporters. The projects do not have to be elaborate. Onsite projects like painting a room, cleaning out and organizing closets are popular projects. Don’t pass up opportunities for after work groups to come for an hour or sponsor food or other drives at their workplace. Are you an arts group? Do you need some help working on making sets – a great after work project.

Need Professional Skills? List it in all the databases you can. Ask for help with your website, marketing materials or social media launch. Or how about resume writing and interview coaching at homeless shelters. Would a local beauty salon/barber be willing to sponsor haircuts and a blow dry for homeless mothers? Perhaps a plumber or electrician project is just waiting for the right person to come along and volunteer.

Don’t forget to market your volunteer opportunities….
Your website…facebook for starters.. Consider putting up signs so that current volunteers and passersby can see that you have volunteer opportunities available for individuals, families, work teams, organizational groups, etc. Be prepared that day to give people some information about your organization, get their contact information, and see if they’d be interested in volunteering in the future. How about name tags for existing volunteers with stickers identifying each of them as a “Gold Star Volunteer.” Or have your current volunteers lead the work projects.

It is free and easy to register your projects. You never know - the perfect person may show up on a cold winter morning and begin a lasting relationship. This opportunity is to good to pass up.

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