Summertime in my office only means one thing: time to start planning for the United Way Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring. June 1 hits and suddenly the phone calls and the emails start. “When is the Day of Caring?” [September 23rd] “When do we register our projects?” [Registration begins the end of June]. “Can my team volunteer on the Day?” [Sure thing, just contact me and I’ll add you to the registration email].
I is absolutely my favorite part of my job. Connecting thousands of volunteers (okay, last year it was 2,500) with over 100 nonprofit agencies and schools to make a meaningful difference in our community. You read that right – 2,500 volunteers on ONE DAY, out there making a difference in our communities (that’s about 2% of the Charlottesville/Albemarle population volunteering at one time!).
Impressive, right? Oh, absolutely. We’ve enjoyed tremendous growth and enthusiasm by our volunteers. However, with that growth comes growing pains. My greatest challenge each summer is to make sure that we have enough high impact, quality projects for all of those volunteers. Our ultimate goal while planning the Day of Caring is that someone (or hopefully lots of people!) will have a wonderful time volunteering and they will continue to do so throughout the year.
With my “challenge” in mind, I’m on a mission to get the word out there that project registration is just around the corner. Now is the time for nonprofit agency and school staff (in Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson) to start thinking about their projects for September. Beyond that, if you are a board member, a volunteer, or an advocate for an agency or school, please take a moment to forward this blog to the nonprofits you work with. The Day of Caring is an excellent opportunity for a nonprofit to introduce itself to a new group of people and businesses who may be inspired to volunteer with an organization year-round, or become donors.
I spent some time on the air with Joe Thomas of WCHV 1260 AM and 94.1 FM this morning, describing the kinds of activities that nonprofits can have done in September. (I brought along our summer intern, Ladi Smith, pictured here with me and Joe). The ever-popular painting and landscaping projects are always welcomed. But there are so many other ways that volunteers can help you. They want to prepare your direct mail pieces; assist with special event activities; plan a recognition event for your regular long-term volunteers; interact with your clients. The sky is the limit. If you have an unmet need, volunteers can tackle it. Visit our website at www.DayOfCaring.info or download our Project Development Toolkit to help generate ideas. My intern, Brandon Oliver, and I are available to meet at your agency or school to help you identify projects. And, keep a lookout on our blog. Soon we will be kicking off our Day of Caring Blog Marathon to help get the word out about registration. If you have a story to share, we welcome guest bloggers. Just email me.
Many thanks to Joe Thomas for giving me time during our Live United segment on his morning show, Jay James at WINA for recording our new Day of Caring PSA and Ali Rothschild at Charlottesville Newsplex for developing our new Day of Caring ad that will start airing in a few weeks. We couldn’t do it without our media partners.
Posted by Shaele Wood.
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