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10 Ways to Make a Difference by Sunday

by Larkin G.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
-Martin Luther King Jr.

Many are inspired to volunteer during the holidays. But needs are not one-day events. They are ever present and on going. True service is year-round. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., one of history’s most inspiring servant leaders, here are 10 ways you can make a difference by the end of the weekend. The only question is, will you?

10 Ways to Make a Difference Before Sunday

1. Use your voice: Find a local nonprofit on twitter and RT their posts. Free tools like Twitter are a critical way that nonprofits, especially local ones, spread the word to their supporters.
• Action Tips: Use Search.twitter. It can help you find nonprofits to follow. Use the terms nonprofit and your city name.

2. Pro-bono work: Nonprofits do a lot of good with few resources. They always need skilled volunteer help. Are you a CPA? Offer to help with finances. Do you take great photos? Offer to take pictures at an event. Not sure what to help with? Find a charity and visit with their Volunteer Coordinator, they will find the perfect place for you. I always did.
• Action tips: Visit Charity Navigator to find a nonprofit in your area that can use your help

3. Turn passion into action: Passionate about a cause? Find a local organization that’s working on it and get involved today.
• Action Tip: Websites Volunteer Match and All for Good will match your area of interest and location with a nonprofit

4. Clean out your house! Donate the winter clothes you haven’t worn to a local homeless shelter. If you didn’t wear it last winter and haven’t this winter, you’re not gonna, so give it to someone who will appreciate it.
• Action Tips: Search Volunteer Match

5. Collect: Work in an office? Hold a food drive. Just put a box in a common area to collect caned goods and drop them off at a local shelter or food pantry. November and December are great months for nonprofits because everyone is extremely generous during the holidays but nonprofits experience a huge drop off in donations during January and February.
• Action Tips: Find food bank in your area here

6. Charity starts at home: Brighten your co-workers day. Get up a bit early and stop in at your local coffee/donut shop and pick up donuts for the office.
• Action Tip: Obviously if you work at a mega corporation, this would be mega pricey. If that’s the case just grab donuts for your cubby buddy or the team you work with.

7. Donate: There is no such thing as a small donation. Your $10 combines with someone else’s $10, and another person’s $5, and so forth. That is how change happens.
• Action Tips: Visit Charity Navigator’s donation guide for smart donation strategies. You can also look up nonprofits and make sure they are in good standing with the IRS.

8. Get your company involved! Set up a day of service for your office. (OK this may take longer to set up but its still worthwhile)
• Action Tips: Websites like Causecast can help you set up and manage workplace volunteering.
• Another option is contacting your local United Way or HandsOn Network. Both organizations have experience setting up large volunteer days and can recommend nonprofits that need volunteers.

9. Micro-Volunteering: Love all things technology? Think you don’t have the time to volunteer? Try micro-volunteering!
• Action Tips: Sites like Sparked take in projects that can be completed collaboratively and entirely online. They break up these large projects into separate tasks that can be completed by different individuals. The organizations get their work done much more efficiently.

10. ….Your turn! How will YOU make a difference before this Sunday?

My personal philosophy is to never ask someone to do something unless I’m willing to do it myself. Here are some of the ways I’m inspired to serve in my local community:

Making Faces: Junior League Volunteer Day at a local elementary school

Hard labor! Painting at a local group home

Using my skills! Mingling at a local YP event, where I served on the board of directors


To learn more from or connect with Larkin, follow her on Twitter — @LarkinGrant
You can also follow the rest of The Millennial Chat Team here.

If it wasn’t a New Year Resolution already, how did MLK Day change your outlook on volunteering?
Let’s keep adding to this list… comment below… maybe we can get 100 ways to make a difference by 2013?
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