Activate Good: Inspiring Action Through Innovative Volunteer Engagement

Apr 3, 2024

Global Volunteer Month is a time to celebrate the power of volunteers to make a positive impact within communities worldwide. Points of Light is shining a light on Activate Good, a Points of Light Global Network affiliate making waves in the Triangle region of North Carolina.

Activate Good is focused on improving the community through various volunteer-driven projects. They see a future where everyone uses their inherent power to make a difference locally. We spoke with Rose Thompson, senior programs manager at Activate Good, to get her perspective on their new Learn and Serve model and all the innovative ways they’re inspiring volunteerism.

Tell us about a project or initiative you’re working on that’s making a big impact on your community.

In 2023, Activate Good launched a new model for volunteer engagement: The Learn and Serve. Learn and Serve is a new approach that aims to transform volunteering into a vehicle for greater civic participation and empowerment. The Learn and Serve model deepens engagement and understanding while challenging volunteers to take what they’ve learned to the next level through repeat participation, outreach and advocacy.

As the Triangle region’s Points of Light Affiliate, Activate Good is working to evolve and incorporate the Points of Light Civic Circle® framework and these findings into our programs and throughout our organization. Our Learn and Serve model is one of the ways we are doing this.

In 2023, Learn and Serve projects facilitated more than 2,000 hours of learning and engagement. We surveyed participants, and as a result of participating in a Learn and Serve:

  • 89% plan to volunteer more in the next year.
  • 93%better understand how people different from them in the community might feel.
  • 91% feel closer to their community.
  • 98% better understand the needs in our community.
  • 50% plan to engage in other civic actions.

Explore Activate Good’s 2023 Impact Report

“As I look back on 2023, what strikes me most is the dedication of our amazing Staff, Board members, and volunteers in ensuring that our community will always have people who have its back,” said Amber Smith, founder and executive director of Activate Good. “With a small but mighty team and limited resources, we somehow managed to break our own records, facilitating over 20,000 volunteer sign ups through last year. We built capacity for hundreds of organizations and schools and activated community members to start or grow on their personal journey to become lifelong changemakers.”

Tell us about an upcoming special event or milestone that your organization is celebrating.

Our visionary founder and executive director, Amber Smith, is departing our organization after nearly 20 years of being its driving force. We are hosting a farewell fundraiser in her honor, and the new executive director will be a part of that event on April 30.

How are you recognizing and thanking volunteers for their contributions?

We host an annual event in November to show gratitude to our project leaders, sponsors, donors, etc. called Thanks(for)Giving! We also have recognized volunteers with the Daily Point of Light Award (in years past) and the PVSA (in 2023), and we host The Civic 50.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone who’s looking to get more involved in their community through civic engagement?

We believe we all have a responsibility to work towards a better world, and we hope you’ll join us on a journey of transformation.

Points of Light

We are champions of civic engagement with a mission to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world.