Help me help them help others!
January 17, 2010 12:00 PM   Subscribe

How to (well) organize and motivate strangers to get together to do monthly charity* work and better their community... as a fun social event. Thoughts? *(Not one specific charity, we'd rotate.)

Okay, so one of my goals for the new year is to use my LA site to encourage people to do more good stuff for their community and make their surroundings a better place. And then I thought... well, maybe I should even take it further and encourage other people to do good stuff *together* with me! Soooo I'm thinking of arranging a once a month (more if it's popular and goes well) event to spend focusing on helping out different charities around town.

Has anyone here ever mobilized strangers this way? I'd like it to grow and be something people want to do whenever they can. What should I be thinking of to make this work that I might not know about? Anything? What's the best way to approach this so that it's a great experience for everyone involved especially including the charities?

All suggestions welcomed. Thanks! :)
posted by miss lynnster to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
"Single Volunteers" is a group that does this. There is a San Diego chapter (and there may be an LA chapter, I didn't google that much).

I know about SV because a friend of mine started a chapter in Central Florida and had a great time organizing things. If I recall correctly, she had help getting started from other chapters.

SV is sort of singles-centric, but the idea can be adapted to be couples- and families-inclusive. Good luck in this and it's great that you want to be so involved!
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 12:12 PM on January 17, 2010

You may want to check out One Brick. They emphasize the social aspect more than any other volunteer organization I've seen.

Corporate volunteer projects are sometimes composed of a collection of near-strangers within the company, not necessarily a close-knit team-building event. also has a number of groups that operate this way.
posted by tantivy at 1:37 PM on January 17, 2010

Hands on Bay Area kind of does this as well - I like how well organized it is.
posted by anitanita at 2:15 PM on January 17, 2010

Response by poster: I did some volunteering with One Brick once, actually.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:12 PM on January 17, 2010

People Making a Difference (PMD) is a Boston based non-profit that focuses on self-contained "one-off" volunteer events. As a participant to many of their events I can say that it's really satisfying and one of the keys is they do a good job of selecting projects that are accomplishable within the time frame of a single session—things like cooking a meal at senior citizens center, doing trail maintenance at a park, or helping to paint a school. (And not things like stuffing envelopes)

They work with a large host of different charities and organizations throughout the year to do different events, and they also work with corporate employers to coordinate volunteer events as team-building exercises. It's a really well run organization that fills the gap of making volunteer opportunities accessible and simple, and if you wanted an organization to model your efforts after they would be a great choice.
posted by dyslexictraveler at 12:04 PM on January 18, 2010

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