It’s been decades since Congress designated MLK Day as a National Day of Service. In spite of the fact that I’ve worked in the non profit sector for most of that time, it only popped up on my radar a few years back. Maybe that’s because it took that long for philanthropy and volunteerism to “be cool” as Nicholas Kristof puts it here.
Whatever the reasoning, the MLK Day of Service is a great opportunity to involve children in the work of your organization, something I’ve written about before here. Besides the reasons I discussed then, here’s a few more reasons to try this approach:
- Three words: Search Engine Optimization. While more and more parents and schools are searching for ways to introduce their children to philanthropy and volunteerism (to build character but many think of it as a resume builder too), not many non profits are presenting these kinds of opportunities. What happens? A mom like me types in the words “volunteering with children on MLK Day of Service” and hardly anything pops up outside of a few large organizations. Create the opportunity, get the word out and YOU will pop up. There’s really no significant competition.
- You’ll get meaningful traffic to your site and hopefully convert these new visitors into volunteers. And you know what? Studies show that volunteers tend to give more than non volunteering donors.
- Media outlets searching for the feel good story on MLK Day will have a reason to highlight your work. Again, the competition here is limited.
- Best of all, you’ll be doing something good for the community you are in by offering meaningful volunteer opportunities to your constituents and at the same time hopefully getting some good work done that you wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do.
I found a range of family volunteer opportunities that are happening in my neck of the woods (Greenwich, CT), but the one I’d like to highlight is this one:
The Clay Center, a nearby arts organization is hosting a free clay bowl making workshop to raise awareness for local hunger organizations. They anticipate making 200 bowls which they will donate locally and also use at their upcoming fundraiser called, “Empty Bowls”.
There is just so much goodness in that! Riff off of this idea and create your own opportunities.
You might be thinking, great idea, but it’s too late for this MLK Day. Start planning now for next year, but also be aware that there are plenty of other “Days of Service” that you might consider launching a special volunteer effort around.
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