September 5, 2013
Content provided by: TechSoup
In early education, children learn the fundamentals of reading and writing in order to communicate, collaborate, and contribute in the world. But what if kids learned basic tech skills along with reading storybooks and taking spelling tests? And what if a person, regardless of age, could learn anything from typing to HTML to using an iPad without any cost or accessibility barriers? Libraries, nonprofits, and schools are already working hard to teach digital skills and competency, but they need support of the entire community to help people thrive in the technology age. (more…)
September 5, 2013
By Brad Jamison: contributing writer and founder of Good Citizen.
Back-to-school time is an annual reminder of the many service opportunities we have to help ensure kids have a fun and productive school year.
While I find great joy in doing all sorts of service, one of the things that delights me the most and provides enormous satisfaction is working with a nonprofit that benefits kids. In fact, last year, when I conducted Thirty Days of Service – 30 service projects with 30 organizations in 30 consecutive days – I spent nearly one-third of my time volunteering to help kids.
One of the most exhausting, yet rewarding, days of my thirty came when I volunteered with KaBOOM!. On that 90 degree day, I joined 200 others to build a new playground for the kids of an LA-area community. When we arrived at the site there was nothing to be seen other than a vacant space where an old dilapidated playground once stood and a sea of people eager to help. But, when we left there was a gorgeous, safe place for kids to play. It reminded me of the types of play space I was fortunate enough to grow up with, which is why I love doing these builds.
It is on a day like this, one when strangers come together with a common goal that I am reminded of the truth in one of my favorite quotes from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” On that day, we changed the world for the kids in this community.
Another thing I love about service is seeing the impact I have on the person I am helping. One place that happens for me, over and over, is at the Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood. I have been on the Board of the Club for more than four years, a role that brings me great joy and satisfaction. But, from time to time, I also volunteer with them in other ways.
During my Thirty Days of Service, I spent an afternoon helping kids with their homework in the Club’s learning center, which is where I visibly witnessed the impact I was having. I was sitting working with a young man struggling with his math assignment, something I could relate to, as I was never a superstar when it came to math. As I tried to help him, offering up various ways he could approach the equation, he grew more and more frustrated and was nearly begging me to just give him the answer. Not one to give in too easily to the charms of sweet kids, I kept working with him when suddenly something I said clicked with him and he was able to arrive at the correct answer. That little moment felt like magic for both of us!
Speaking of magic, the folks at Playworks might not be magicians, but they are experts at transforming schools by providing play and physical activity at recess and throughout the school day. I have seen firsthand how their hands-on approach helps build self-esteem in kids through play in a positive, supportive and non-threatening environment. As a kid who was frequently teased and picked last in gym, I know how intimidating the playground can be and I wish Playworks had been around for me. The day I served with Playworks, I wrote the following in my blog, “Many of life’s lessons are learned on the playground and I am thrilled that these kids, and kids at other Playworks schools, have an opportunity to learn those lessons in a safe and supportive environment. For the kids, it might seem like it’s just playtime, but we adults know it’s much more than that.”
So, whether it’s helping a teacher or kid, playing or instructing, there are so many ways to give to our next generation of leaders. I hope that during this back-to-school season, you will join me in pledging to find a way to serve this school year and help ensure a bright future for all.
About the author
Brad Jamison is a pro-social marketing expert, speaker, writer, producer, service advocate, philanthropist and founder of Good Citizen. A volunteer since he was 8, last year Brad conducted Thirty Days of Service – 30 service projects with 30 organizations in 30 consecutive days, for which he was honored with the Daily Point of Light Award, which recognizes the power of the individual to spark change and improve the world.
See Brad live:
Below is a video of Brad on day 28 of his service with Kaboom. For more videos, click here.
June 28, 2013
Let July 4th inspire you to do social good this year! In the spirit of appreciating your independence and challenging yourself to uphold the equality and patriotism of this day, here are some ways to give back to the community and to the country.
The Hugs Project
1. Show our troops some love.
What better way to give back this Independence Day than by honoring the men and women who have fought for our freedom? Take a moment to appreciate and thank our troops all around the world for their dedicated service to our country. Send a care package to a soldier stationed in the Middle East through The Hugs Project or donate your gently used mp3 players or monetary contributions to The Silver Star Families of America, which funds and assists injured, ill, and dying troops.
Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for Children
2. Spend some time with your family…and help out another family in need.
National holidays are times when the whole family can relax and enjoy time together. Take some time to appreciate your family members, and to understand that there are countless other families that are struggling to find stability in their lives. Lend a helping hand to these families today, whether by inviting your neighbors to a backyard barbecue or making a donation to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for Children, which helps military and veteran families find positive change in times of crisis.
Project on Government Oversight
3. Celebrate your independence.
We celebrate Independence Day to commemorate the freedoms, rights, and opportunities established by our Founding Fathers that we still enjoy to this day. This year, resolve to stay informed about the decisions our government is making for us and stand up for your liberties. Look into organizations like the Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan, independent nonprofit that champions government reform.
Civil War Trust
4. Educate yourself about the past to succeed in and inspire the future.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Mull over George Santayana’s words of wisdom while deciding how best to make a lasting impact this 4th of July. Preserve a vital part of America’s history with the Civil War Trust, an organization dedicated to preserving Civil War battlegrounds and educating the public about the important role these lands played in shaping our country. Support efforts to educate our next generation of leaders in a socially responsible way, such as Operation Understanding DC’s mission to build a community of young leaders who work to eradicate racism, anti-Semitism, and discrimination.
5. Volunteer to help with your local celebration.
Love the fireworks, parades, or picnics your town organizes every year for July 4th? This year start giving back at the local level and volunteer to help decorate, plan, or otherwise make your annual celebration a blast. Search your zip code on greatnonprofits.org to find charities and nonprofits close to home that may be hosting special Independence Day events or browse volunteermatch.com to find out what you can do to volunteer for your local festivities.
May 6, 2013
Did you know that your local Little League is a nonprofit?
You visit nonprofits more often than you might think. Have you been to a museum lately? How about services at your local church or synagogue? Or maybe your children play sports in Little League? Many public libraries are supported by nonprofit foundations and even some zoos and aquariums.
So, you’ve probably visited a nonprofit this week without even knowing it! GreatNonprofits lists every 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the country. That means your neighborhood place of worship, library, favorite museum and little league can all be reviewed on our site! Now is the time to write reviews about your local nonprofits. The easiest way to help nonprofits in your community get more attention and funding is to write a quick review today! Plus they could win a spot on our 2013 Top-Rated List. Start by searching by your zip code.
March 18, 2013
When was the last time you checked in on a neighbor? Been awhile? According to a new survey published in Atlantic Monthly, you aren’t alone.
The survey showed that, regardless of income level, the one community resource that most people felt they lacked was “kind, supportive neighbors.”
And community and environment can actually play a role in overall health and happiness.
How connected are you to your local community? Can you name a local nonprofit helping your community? See what happened when we asked some locals to name a nonprofit near them.
Find an organization in your community using our thousands of city pages. Start here with our zip code search. If you’ve spent time at a local nonprofit, share your story here by writing a review.
March 15, 2013
Feel like you don’t have the time to volunteer? A study published in Psychological Science revealed that doing something nice for others can actually give you a sense of having more time to spend.
When folks take the time to help someone else, they know it’s time well-spent. The study showed that when people feel like they’ve done something worthwhile with their time, however busy they may be, they also feel like they have more time.
Spending time on others actually gave subjects in the study more feelings of “time affluence” than actually having more free time. The study also compared feelings of time affluence after subjects simply wasted time or spent time on themselves. Doing for others won out.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your schedule, one of the most effective ways to feel like you have more time is to spend it helping others. Why not find a new place to volunteer near you?
Find a nonprofit that needs help near you. (We make it easy with our zip code search.)
Giving your time may just help you as much as your community.
March 5, 2013
Can you think of a local nonprofit in your city? Can you guess how many nonprofits are near you? We decided to do an experiment: we walked around our San Francisco Bay Area offices to find a few long-time locals. Could they name a single Bay Area nonprofit? Did they have an idea of how many nonprofits were in the area?
The results? Check them out below:
So, can you name a local nonprofit in your town? Use GreatNonprofits to find a local nonprofit!
If you’ve volunteered or donated to a nonprofit near you, have you written a review about that nonprofit to help others learn about it?
February 21, 2013
GreatNonprofits was recently highlighted in a Stanford Social Innovation Review article about why beneficiary voice is so important to the nonprofit sector. Written by Fay Twersky of the Hewlett Foundation and Phil Buchanan and Valerie Threlfall of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, the article discusses why the views and experiences of the people who benefit from social programs are often overlooked and underappreciated. These views are an invaluable source of insight into a program’s effectiveness.
In bypassing the beneficiary as a source of information and experience, we deprive ourselves of insights into how we might do better—insights that are uniquely grounded in the day-to-day experiences of the very people the programs are created for. In order to get these insights, GreatNonprofits provides a platform for clients served to tell their stories, both the the public and the organization that is providing services.
Read the full article here.
October 31, 2012
Superstorm Sandy has created chaos on the East Coast. Now you can help those affected begin the long and slow process of recovery and you can support those in need. Millions are still without electricity and transportation and many have homes under water and nowhere to go.
Check out these highly-rated national and local nonprofits helping Sandy victims. Your donation can help these nonprofits provide necessary food, shelter, health and medical aid. These organizations have been highly-rated by volunteers, donors and actual people helped by these charities. (more…)
October 19, 2012
Want to help get your local charities some well-deserved extra attention? Interested in promoting local giving in your own community? Join our national team of Local Ambassadors!
GreatNonprofits has launched our Get Local campaign for 2012 to encourage local giving this season. Sign up to be a Local Ambassador with us and you’ll get to spread the word in your city about the best charities around. It’s a volunteer position (we’re a nonprofit too!) with a 2-5 hour a week commitment. We’ll give you all the tools you’ll need. Here’s what you’ll do:
Tell others about amazing nonprofits in your city!
- Highlight outstanding nonprofits via the GreatNonprofits microsite for your city
- Use email and social media to spread the word
- Reach out to local newspapers and blogs and let them know about exemplary local nonprofits
Why do it?
- Get great experience reaching out to local media
- Manage the GreatNonprofits microsite for your city. People will see your name and photo!
- Be a major help to your local nonprofit community, enabling it to do more good
- Be part of a nationwide grassroots effort to showcase small, local nonprofits
Check out our available cities.
Sound good to you? Contact Jessica@greatnonprofits.org