As Global Volunteer Month moves along, making ripples of impact in communities around the world through volunteer efforts, we’re highlighting a few Points of Light Global Network affiliates who are positively impacting their communities through volunteer appreciation and other pathways to doing social good.
The Points of Light Global Network operates with a network of innovative volunteer-mobilizing organizations that serve more than 145 affiliates across 39 countries around the world. Together, we are inspiring, equipping and mobilizing more people to use their time, talent and resources to create positive change in their communities.
Hands On Atlanta is a member of the Points of Light Global Network, with a vision for Atlanta to be the most civically engaged and equitable community in the world. Hands On Atlanta mobilizes the Atlanta community to tackle the city’s most pressing needs.
We spoke with Tim Adkins, director of marketing and communications at Hands On Atlanta, to talk about the organization’s take on Global Volunteer Month and how they are celebrating it this year.
How is your organization recognizing Global Volunteer Month this year?
This year, we’re celebrating Global Volunteer Month with our Spring for Service campaign. On our blog and social channels, we’ll recognize 20 volunteers throughout the month with our Volunteer Spotlights and in addition, we’ll recognize five nonprofit partners.
We are also going to use the flurry of global and national days of service to mobilize the community to serve. We are promoting projects on Good Deeds Day, Earth Day, Global Youth Service Day, National Volunteer Week and other local events like 48in48.
The third and final piece is a fundraiser, led by a peer-to-peer giving campaign with a goal of raising $130,000.
How are you engaging with volunteers to inspire them to participate in community service activities?
The idea is to recognize individuals and add a call to action to join them. We want to inspire others to volunteer for a big day of service.
What resources or tools are you providing to volunteers to help them get involved in their community?
We regularly share between 25-50 volunteer opportunities a day on our platform. With our software, marketing tools and website, we’ve made finding a project as quick and easy as possible.
What impact has Global Volunteer Month had on your organization and the communities you serve?
Global Volunteer Month is a tool our organization leverages to recognize and mobilize volunteers, while also supporting our spring fundraising efforts. Because we’re a part of a bigger initiative, our bet is that volunteers are more inclined to get involved and act now instead of waiting for another time. For fundraising, we draw a very clear and direct narrative to our work – we use the spotlights to tell the story and the marquee events to share the need.
What role does volunteerism play in your organization’s overall mission and objectives?
Volunteering and service is 100% of our organization’s mission. We don’t exist without our volunteers or AmeriCorps members.
Share one success story of a volunteer (or a group of volunteers) in your community who have made a significant impact.
Our Civic Leadership Program is the best example of “service success” at Hands On Atlanta. It’s a pretty competitive process. To qualify, members must have served at least three times in the past year. Then, once accepted, fellows are paired with a nonprofit or school for 10 months, where they host at least one project per month.
They recruit volunteers, manage onsite and do all the follow-up and post-project work. They also attend quarterly leadership training workshops led by various community leaders and subject matter experts. The last piece of the program is the fundraising commitment. The program is free for fellows, but we ask they raise $500 for Hands On Atlanta.
Last year our Civic Fellows engaged close to 1,000 volunteers to serve over 2,600 hours across 10 different nonprofits and eight schools, raising over $13,000 for Hands On Atlanta. Our fellows go on to do great things, like this volunteer spotlight from former fellow — now Civic Leader — Capt. Aprille Moore.
What are some future plans for your organization to continue promoting volunteerism and civic engagement beyond Global Volunteer Month?
We’re looking to engage and recognize volunteers throughout the year, with another large focus and push during Hands On Atlanta Week in October and MLK Day in January.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone who’s looking to get more involved in their community through volunteerism?
Don’t wait! Dive in, experiment, learn what you like and don’t like, meet different organizations and you’ll find something that works well for you — while doing good along the way. It’ll become a lifestyle and a part of your weekly or monthly routine.
You’ll feel good, meet great people, learn about some of the challenges in the community, maybe explore new parts of town you haven’t been to and make a difference every time you serve.