Motivation & Inspiration
Pin and share these messages of kindness, compassion, helping others, and peace! And make sure to follow our board on Pinterest!
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Pin and share these messages of kindness, compassion, helping others, and peace! And make sure to follow our board on Pinterest!
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With the season of thanks officially upon us, it’s time to coordinate real-world giving opportunities for your family. Check out 5 unique giving ideas below and start a new tradition with your family!
1. Halloween Candy Buy-Back: Sitting on pounds of Halloween candy well after the holiday? Sort and send it to Operation Gratitude to be shipped in care packages to troops overseas! They’ll accept donations up through 11/15. Directions, resources and outreach materials here.
2. Red Robin Royalty Program: Did you know that each time you dine at Red Robin, you could be giving back a percent of your check to your child’s school? Their unique royalty program that dolls out tons of surprises to members including free birthday burgers and exclusive savings also supports schools. Register your free account and start earning cash for your school today!
3. Adopt-a-Family: Give your family the opportunity to express true thanks this season by making the holidays brighter for another family. Connect with your church, temple or faith group – or search local nonprofits that organize Giving Tree events. Take the entire family shopping, wrap the gift together and have a conversation about giving and gratitude.
4. Give One, Get One: Turn a gift-giving tradition into a new family mantra – for each gift a child receives, they must return one. It can be to anybody – friend, family, pet, organization, teacher, etc. And it can be anything including gifts, time, compliments, a hug, you name it, let your child decide.
5. Giving on the Go: Family travel a large part of your holiday season? Seek out special opportunities for your family to give while you’re on the road! Stop at a Red Robin for dinner and donate money to your child’s school, learn more. Pack extra granola bars and water bottles to hand out to homeless people you pass on your trip. Or if getting together with extended family, plan an afternoon service project together like a neighborhood clean-up or family charity hot chocolate stand!
More about Red Robin Royalty: Give back 1% of your check to your child’s school everytime you dine at Red Robin! It’s easy to sign up and start earning today, click here. Plus, you’ll get bonus rewards and savings too, just for being a member! Get started
Did you know tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets?* If you're putting out the call for volunteers are twitter, use one of our free images below to capture extra attention and boost turnout! Right click each image to download, save and use on twitter when sharing your volunteer sign-ups and event news!
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Recruiting volunteers? Trying to engage new supports for your organization? Simply need more hands helping at school? Bookmark this list of 8 simple but innovative and time-saving communication tactics for reaching volunteers:
1. Tweet: A simple tweet can say a lot! If your community organization is looking for volunteers, strategic tweeting might do the trick. Utilize searchable hashtags like city names, events, etc. Check out, 8 Best Practices When Tweeting for Help.
2. Email: Whether in a letter-style email from your nonprofit leader or an eNewsletter full of content and volunteer opportunities, email is going to be one of your number one ways to reach current and potential volunteers at just the right time. Companies like Emma, MailChimp, Constant Contact, and iContact are great vendors to check out for more enhanced eMarketing capabilities.
3. Blog/Webpage: If your nonprofit has a website, make sure your volunteer webpage is doing everything it can for you! Post volunteer opportunities and sign-up links frequently, share volunteer testimonials, and encourage visitors to follow your group on social media. You never know, your next great volunteer leader might just be a google search away!
4. Online Sign-Ups: The easiest way to coordinate and communicate with volunteers is to schedule and remind them online! Planning a service project, an appreciation potluck, a carnival, festival or fundraiser? VolunteerSpot's free online sign-ups and scheduling tools are the answer for saving time and boosting participation! Try it out now
5. Facebook: Reach volunteers where they're at - on social media! Posting volunteer opportunities, nonprofit news, even feel good quotes and volunteer pictures is a great place to start in developing a communication highway on facebook. Check out Facebook for Volunteer Recruitment & Engagement.
6. Post online: Online resources like HandsonNetwork.org, VolunteerMatch.org and CreateTheGood.org let organizations and nonprofits post volunteer opportunities in an online database that anyone can access who is interest. Read more
7. Word of mouth: Few recommendations carry as much weight as someone telling a friend what an amazing time they had volunteering for your organization. If you're group is struggling to recruit new members, consider a "Bring a friend program" where current volunteers are encouraged to bring a friend or group with them to the next volunteer event. Organic, word-of-mouth buzz helps build a loyal base of supporters for years to come.
8. Like organizations: Network with similar organizations in your area to boost one another's visibility in the community. Partnering with another local cause or group can give you access to a whole new sect of volunteers and donors who have a record for giving back and supporting the community. Consider swapping emails to one another's lists, sharing booth expenses at the community festival or promoting one another on social media.
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Are you a super-volunteer? When your child's school, your community or your faith group needs help, are you the first to lend a hand? If you answered yes, then our friends at Cabot want to reward you with a 7-night all-expense paid cruise in November 2015! Enter now
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Since 2009, the farmer-owners of Cabot Creamery Cooperative have presented the Cabot Community Celebrity Award program to honor the achievements and contributions of volunteers from every part of our great nation.
The program continues in 2015 with an Eastern Caribbean Cruise that honors 39 new Community Celebrities. Departing the port of Miami on November 14, 2015 aboard Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Reflection, the Celebrities, their guests and Cabot staffers will embark on an 8-day/7-night all-expense-paid Caribbean journey of a lifetime.
Ports of call include beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and Philipsburg, St, Maarten, and returns to Miami on November 21.
Why does Cabot host the Community Celebrity Award cruise? It’s one of the unique ways that we spotlight those who serve others with little thought or regard for personal recognition. By partnering with AARP Create the Good, Points of Light HandsOn Network, and an ever growing list of highly-conscientious companies. Cabot is helping redefine what "true celebrity" really means. We believe "true celebrities" are those who make a difference in our communities because of their selfless contributions to others. Since 2009, we've found our celebrities as far away from Vermont as San Francisco, Houston and Orlando.
The farmer-owners of Cabot do this because we want more people to join us in recognizing and applauding the time and talent given to make our communities a better place. We appreciate the heart and drive it takes to do good for others. In recognizing their good deeds, we sincerely hope to inspire more people to contribute to their communities, and we want the notion of celebrity to evolve into recognition of selfless volunteerism. More info
Community Gardens grow so much more than food - they help neighborhoods and cities blossom, they nourish fruitful partnerships and help feed hungry tummies (and minds)! Dig in to these 8 unique ideas for your Community Garden this season:
1. Online Volunteer Scheduling: Use free online sign-ups with reminders to coordinate all your community garden helpers and CSA volunteers. Quick, intuitive scheduling tools make it easy for Garden organizers to recruit help; and 24/7 access from a computer or smartphone get more people involved and signing up. Plus, automated reminders and eCalendar syncing keep everyone on track! Get started today.
2. Garden Event Days: Integrate creative programming efforts into your Community Garden initiative this season! Whether it's a Family Fun Day at the garden where kids and parents get to help plant and water, or simply a Harvest event where community members can come help pick ripe fruits and veggies – it’ll be an event for everyone to enjoy!
3. Vertical Gardening: Short on space but long on plants? Try vertical gardening to add flourish and flare to your garden without plotting out another tract. Tomato and gourd plants do well in a vertical environment with the proper structure and care. Check out The Gardening Cook for ideas.
4. Rock Garden Signs: Add color and pizzazz to the variety of plants in your Community Garden by designating each with it's own painted rock detailing what type of plant or food it is. Encourage family volunteers and children to take part in this project - check out this great example from Lu Bird Baby.
5. Custom Flower Pots: Put more life into gardening by creating your own custom-made flowerpots. Lead a short art class before your attendees get started on planting. From different shapes to artwork, there are tons of ways to make your flowerpot your own. Here are some ideas to offer you some inspiration from Let the Children Play.
6. Garden Sanctuary: There’s no better way to create the perfect community space than to allow the actual community to contribute. Conjure up your perfect community garden for everyone to enjoy by calling members to help out. From stone walkways to custom flowerpots, your neighborhood will have the perfect spot! Check out The Inspired Room for tips.
7. Spread the Word: Trying to recruit garden helpers? Looking for plant donations? Connect with local organizations, restaurants and individuals in the community who could help boost your garden's productivity. Share your social handles for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with your current Garden group - and follow other groups and community leaders on theirs. Socialize your Garden events, post sign-up links on Twitter and Facebook.
8. Plant a Row for the Hungry: Add a special row of nutrient-rich veggies and fruits to your garden that is specifically designated for donating to a local homeless shelter or food bank. Coordinate volunteers to pick and deliver these goodies 2 or 3 times a month, and know where to take the special deliveries.
Training for a 5k? Try training to organize one! From managing tactical event details to recruiting and organizing volunteers and sponsors, coordinating an outdoor race or athletic fundraiser can really take the wind out of you. Stress less and save time finding all the help you need with free online sign-ups from VolunteerSpot!
24/7 access from a computer or mobile device makes signing up to help with this year's 5K or Fun Run a breeze, not to mention eCalendar syncing and automated email reminders! Volunteers and helpers will thank you for making it so easy to get involved.
Charity Race Sign-Up (Mobile View)
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Charity Race Sign-Up (Desktop View)
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In addition to intuitive and quick scheduling tools, volunteer coordinators have access to:
Posted at 03:30 AM in Fundraising Ideas, How 2 VolunteerSpot - Tips, Tricks and Technical, Online Sign Up Feature Friday, Tips for Non-Profits, Volunteer Action - Motivation and Coordination | Permalink
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As parents, we know those sunny summer months can quickly fill up with playdates, vacations and school-free fun for kids. Don’t forget the amazing opportunities kids have though, during the summer, to learn that they’re never too young to make a difference!
Just around the corner is the ultimate summer volunteer opportunity for families – Alex’s Lemonade Days! Started by childhood cancer fighter Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004) in 2004, Alex’s Lemonade Days began when Alex set her sights on raising $1 million to fight childhood cancer, including her own. Alex invited volunteers everywhere to help her by hosting their own lemonade stands and achieve her ambitious goal one dollar and one lemonade stand at a time. Through the help of these volunteers, Alex would reach her million dollar goal before losing her life to cancer in August of that year. Each June, the weekend before Father’s Day, Alex’s mission of raising $1 million returns through Alex’s Lemonade Days, when supporters everywhere contribute to a cure.
Here are 3 easy ways to get your kids involved with Alex’s Lemonade Days:
1. Host a Lemonade Stand: Join the Foundation bearing Alex’s name, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, and take part in Alex’s Lemonade Days, June 12 – 14, 2015 by hosting a lemonade stand in your community. In addition to having access to a member of the Foundation’s staff to help with any lemonade stand needs, Alex’s Lemonade Days participants also receive a limited edition box while supplies last. The box consists of materials to assist in the fundraising process including: an ALSF square banner, posters, stickers, temporary tattoos, a prepaid return envelope and so much more! More info here
2. Go Social: Follow Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation on facebook, and twitter, and make sure to use #LemonadeDays to join the movement on social media. On May 28 at 12pm ET, ALSF will also host a twitter party! Follow #LemonadeDays and join in the conversation! Whether you’re hosting a lemonade stand or simply taking part in a fundraising event, the hashtag #LemonadeDays helps spread the word and gets more people involved. You can pin #LemonadeDays on pinterest too, click here!
3. Learn more about childhood cancer: Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation helps raise money to fight childhood cancer and find a cure, as well as spread awareness about the number one disease killer of children under the age of 15 in the US - cancer in children occurs regularly, randomly and sparing no ethnic group, socioeconomic class, or geographic region. Childhood cancer extends to over a dozen types of cancers and a countless amount of subtypes. Just a few of these cancer types include: Ewing’s sarcoma, glioma, leukemia, lymphoma, medulloblastoma, neuroblastoma, osteosarcoma, retinoblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and Wilm’s tumor. Every day, approximately 250 kids around the world die from cancer, accounting for 91,250 losing their lives to the disease every year.
Help in the battle to end childhood cancer and honor Alex’s legacy by taking part in Alex’s Lemonade Days, June 12 – 14, 2015. Get involved today!
More about Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation:
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004). In 2000, 4-year-old Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of supporters across the country carrying on her legacy of hope. To date, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 charity, has raised more than $100MM toward fulfilling Alex’s dream of finding a cure, funding over 475 pediatric cancer research projects nationally. For more information on Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, visit AlexsLemonade.org.
Technorati Tags: alex's lemonade days, alex's lemonade days foundation, family volunteer ideas, family volunteering, kid volunteer ideas, lemonade days, lemonade days fundraiser, lemonade stand fundraiser, summer volunteer ideas
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Thanks to RewardVolunteers for this inspiring guest post. RewardVolunteers makes it easy to do GOOD, earn rewards and spread the word about helping others.
Shine a light on service this Summer with these creative and FUN volunteer ideas for kids of all ages!
K – 6 > You’re never too young to give back! We love these easy, kid-friendly ideas for helping others:
Teens > Encourage your teen to join their friends in planning a special service project over the Summer:
Youth/Adults > It’s easy to weave service into fun Summer events and activities you already have planned:
Get rewarded for all your GOOD work with RewardVolunteers! Reward Volunteers is a free, easy way to track the time you spend volunteering in your community and to earn rewards for your contributions. You can also amplify your good work on social media to spread the word and get friends involved. Prizes include vacations, cash, cruises and much more. Get started
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Volunteers give from the heart - but it never hurts to have a little incentive too, once in a while. Check out these easy 8 volunteer incentives that could help your school or nonprofit boost turnout today!
1. Food: Volunteers won't necessarily show up just for the food, but they sure will remember snacks and drinks were provided. Whether it's icey lemonade shared with volunteers during the hot festival hours, or coffee and donuts for an early morning volunteer project, simple food and beverage is a great way for volunteers to commune and bond, and shows your organization is putting in the extra effort.
2. Complimentary Access: Recruiting volunteers for a festival, conference, fair or concert series? Complimentary access, free admission and/or a chance to win tickets is a great way to encourage more folks to help out with your event.
3. Swag: It's almost commonplace, but a simple knick knack or token (think key chains and pens all the way up to reusable water bottles and t-shirts) are a fun way to incentivize volunteers. Ask a local vendor to donate them, or work 'volunteer swag bags' into the budget for your next big event.
4. Time-saving sign-ups and scheduling. Do your volunteers get bogged down in 'reply-all' emails and last-minute phone calls? The best way to encourage volunteers to get involved quick and easy is to streamline the scheduling process with free online sign-ups with reminders. Mobile, 24/7 access, eCalendar syncing, and automated email reminders make it easy for volunteers to stay on task and encourage them to return regularly to help out. Get started
6. Community Coupons: Promotions and coupons to local restaurants, movie theaters, retailers, you name it are a great way to both thank volunteers and encourage them to sign up to help in the first place. Connect with vendors in the region with a simple phone call asking if they are interested in supporting volunteers for your event.
7. Fundraising Goals: Fun volunteer and donor incentives include fundraising goals where a specific event or action will take place if a certain amount of money is raised. Duct-taping teachers and staff to walls is a favorite for elementary schools, while non-profits can shoot for pie-ing their founder in the face at the annual carnival or watching them shave their head for the charity.
8. Kudos: Knowing you're appreciated, and even publicly so, is great fuel for volunteers to return and stay loyal to your organization. Kudos as simple as shout-outs on facebook, twitter, and your group's website is an easy place to start. Tag your volunteers' social handles where possible, post photos and ask for their own testimonials and quotes to be shared too.
Whether you're getting in the spirit by giving back this week, or taking time to thank the volunteers in your life, have an awesome National Volunteer Week - here's to you!
Say thanks this National Volunteer Week with these 30 fun ideas!
Planning a special event for National Volunteer Week? Whether for a party or luncheon, free online sign-ups will save you (and your volunteers) time in getting coordinated for delicious fun!
Use VolunteerSpot's intuitive scheduling and communication tools to quickly set up what needs to be brought for the lunch and where you need participants; invite them to sign up 24/7 from their computer or smartphone, and rely on eCalendar syncing and automated reminders to keep everyone on track! Get started
See how easy it is to set-up your Appreciation Luncheon sign-up in this quick video:
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And don't miss these great Appreciation Potluck ideas:
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By: Jessie Lynn Olien, Co-Director of the Volunteer Program Assessment Service at UNC-Charlotte
Volunteers amplify the work your organization does – they can share the workload, raise awareness, and help your organization meet its mission. While volunteer programs are an essential part of many non-profit organizations, it takes time and effort to ensure these programs run effectively.
1. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
The first step in maintaining a successful volunteer program is understanding the health of your program. Knowing where you can, and should, improve allows you to access key resources and allocate them effectively. The Volunteer Program Assessment (VPA) uses a comprehensive and validated volunteer attitudes and engagement survey to assist organizational leaders in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of their volunteer program. With the help of grants, VPA offers scholarships for free assessment services. To learn more about VPA and apply for a free scholarship, visit http://www.vpa.uncc.edu
2. Get Organized
Great organization is key to a smooth-running volunteer program. VolunteerSpot's free online signups and volunteer calendars provide organizations with tools and software designed to optimize your volunteer program. Their free services include, but are not limited to, scheduling tools and wizards to plan shifts, donations, tasks and volunteer jobs, the ability to collect contributions from members and donors, automated reminders, mobile access, eCalendary syncing of volunteer jobs and streamlined communication tools. Take a free tour
3. Understand Your “Fit”
Who’s going to be effective in your organization? Before bringing volunteers into your program, you need to know what you value in your volunteers and then accordingly, communicate these desires to your potential volunteers. The Humane Society of the United States has great resources for helping you screen volunteer applicants and make decisions regarding who will be the best fit for your organization, click here.
4. Show You Care
Lastly, never forget to show your volunteers how much they mean to you! Create a culture of appreciation within your organization, where volunteers feel valued and informed. This goes beyond recognition events, awards, and gifts – it filters down to day-to-day efforts such as making sure volunteers are thanked for their work, in the loop regarding key issues, and treated with respect by paid staff. You can find great ideas for showing your appreciation at VolunteerMatch.org, click here.
About the Author:
Originally from Portland Oregon, Jessie Lynn Olien received her BA in Psychology from Michigan State University. She is currently a fourth-year doctoral student in the Organizational Science program at University of North Carolina Charlotte. In addition to her work as co-director and consultant with the Volunteer Program Assessment, Jessie also conducts research on non-profit management.
If you don't have a standing service project or volunteer opportunity already planned today, there are still ways to honor MLK's legacy with your family. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us that love and kindness will always triumph and always bring light to others - practice kindness and generosity today in helping others and giving back:
1. Donate to a cause your family cares about: If your family has a local non-profit or national cause that is close to your hearts, make a donation and talk with your kids about why it's important to support things we care about. Or send the kids on a mission to find all the loose change in the house and car to start a "Make Change" piggy bank (decorate a shoe box or coffee can). Plan on continuing to fill your Make Change bank over the months to then make a big donation at the end of the year.
2. Help out a neighbor: Is there an elderly neighbor down the street whom your kids could help? How about a new mom? Join your kids in baking a special treat, shoveling snow, raking leaves, cooking a meal or even delivering flowers to a neighbor who could use a hand or a pick-me-up. Let the kids brainstorm more random acts of kindness and write them down for doing the rest of the year.
3. Collect and contribute: Scour the house for gently used clothes, coats, blankets, toys, and books. Neatly box and bag them up and take your whole family to a donation center or local charity story to donate them. House cleaned out? Head to the grocery store with a list of items your local food bank is asking for (canned meats and vegetables, peanut butter, pasta, diapers, toiletries, etc) > shop with the kids and head straight to the food bank to donate the goods.
4. Write and Draw: Kindness in appreciation and saying thanks goes a long way. Whip out the construction paper, cards and markers and have the kids spend a couple hours writing thank you notes for local civil servants and non-profits; or have them draw pictures and cards for kids and elderly people in local hospitals and nursing homes.
5. Plan a service project: Perhaps the timing didn't work out for your family to serve together on MLK Day, but take the time today to plan a service project for the coming months. Whether it's an afternoon outing to volunteer at the food bank, connecting with a local no-kill animal shelter to schedule volunteer time, or simply planning your own neighborhood clean-up