Tag: volunteering

July 4th – Who Protects American History, Freedom and Landscapes?

Comment (1) July 2, 2013

“America is another word for opportunity.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

This Independence Day, take the opportunity to thank those who dedicate themselves to the preservation of our nations history, freedom, and the American spirit.

From our soldiers and their families, to our local museums, each and every day there are individuals who serve our country. You can see them in your community. Check out the list of nonprofits who preserve America’s history and serve it’s citizens. There are lots of great organizations out there to give your hats off to this July 4th – which ones have we missed? Add your favorites below! Or better yet, write a review about them so that everyone will see it when they search.

1. National Parks Conservation Association, Washington, DC

Mission: To protect and enhance America’s National Park System for current and future generations.

“I cannot imagine my life without the Parks that I have been fortunate enough to visit in my 65 years. Seeing all the natural beauty preserved by our forefathers is the basis of my spirituality & my sense of purpose. I believe saving these lands may be one of our greatest accomplishments so far.”

2. National Military Family Association, Alexandria, VA

NMFA is the only national charity educating, informing and representing the evolving needs of families of all the military services.

“The National Military Family Association is a wonderful organization that seems to have a very positive impact in the military community. I feel good knowing my donation is being used in so many great ways!”

3. National Relief Charities, Sherman, TX

Mission: To help Native American people improve the quality of their lives by providing opportunities for them to bring about positive changes in their communities.

“Our native friends greatly appreciate what we do with the NRC – the food boxes and food bags we give out on a regular basis truly helped them in their daily needs.”

4. National Women’s History Museum, Alexandria, VA

This educational institution is dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and celebrating the diverse historic contributions of women, and integrating this rich heritage fully into our nation’s history.

“The National Women’s History Museum has opened not only my eyes to the hundreds of thousands of women who have made our Nation great through their contributions, large and small, and their accomplishments in every field of endeavor but also those of girls, boys, tenagers, college students and the general public…women and men alike.”

5. The Project on Government Oversight, Washington, DC

Through investigations, POGO aims to promote good government reforms and a more effective, accountable, open and ethical federal government.

“POGO makes exhaustive efforts to research and monitor government programs, disseminate their findings to the public, and serve the public as advocates.”

6. The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, Washington, DC

Through chapters all across the country, ACS educates lawyers, law students, decision makers and the public about the Constitution and its importance for the lives of real people.

“Taking seriously the idea that an educated public is essential to a well-functioning democracy, the ACS provides educational and support networks to help disseminate an historically honest interpretation of the Constitution and its role as America’s founding document.”

7. Sergeant York Patriotic Foundation, Cookeville, TN

SYPF serves to continue historical research, provide education opportunities and increase sustainable heritage tourism to Sgt. York State Park.

“As an educator, I feel it is important for students to know where they have come from and about the people who have risked their lives for our great freedoms. The Sgt. York Patriotic Foundation’s goal is to inform people about Stg. Alvin C. York’s great accomplishments and to use the school he built to help educate our students with vocational skills essential to our economy.”

8. Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Kodak, TN

Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park helps to preserve and protect one of America’s greatest natural treasures by raising funds and awareness, and providing volunteers for need projects.

“The Friends of the Smokies organization is by far one of the greatest organizations related to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The FOTS staff are some of the most passionate and dedicated folks I know, and I have proudly volunteered alongside them with much enthusiasm and pride.”

9. Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society, Gig Harbor, WA

Mission: To create opportunities to experience the Gig Harbor community heritage by collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the area.

“The Harbor History Museum is a jewel. Visitors can expect to be wow-ed by the displays and artifacts which are part of the permanent gallery. The museum honors the contributions and stories of a wide range of early settlers who together shaped Greater Gig Harbor.”

10. Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science,            Tallahassee, FL

The museum encourages people to reach their full potential and contribute to a better sense of community, purpose and place by inspiring them to care for their natural world and value the role of history in their lives.

“…I have maintained my membership over all these years to help support the museum – our richest cultural resource. The museum is thriving with educational experiences, wonderful events, great people and acres of beautiful preserved land and native animals. I feel at peace when there – enjoying the outdoors, the exhibits, the farm or the many other offerings…”

How will you celebrate this Independence Day? Consider volunteering at a great nonprofits that serve America! Read about more volunteer opportunities here.

Making An Impact Makes Us Happy

Comment (1) June 20, 2013

Gandhi once said that, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

An interesting new study written about by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Center shows that this isn’t just a popular inspirational quote.

A student gave study participants  $5 and one of two notes; one indicating that they could spend the money on their own bills on one indicating that they could give the money away to charity or to help someone else. Other participants were given more money, $20. Regardless of the amount of money, people who gave the money away felt happy about it, while those who could use the money for expenses did not feel an increase in happiness, and those who had more to give, felt more happiness.

Regardless of income level, giving made folks happy.

Despite these, well, ‘happy’ findings, research also shows that not every giving situation gives people happiness. Here are some tips from Berkeley on how to make donating a happy experience for all involved.

Perhaps most importantly, making a measurable impact matters quite a bit to donors. Donors that can connect the money they give to its impact, feel best about their gifts. Having client reviews on GreatNonprofits.org is one of the best and most direct ways to showcase your impact. Who better to tell the story of your programs than those directly benefiting from them? Additionally, GreatNonprofits offers a “Results” space on every nonprofit profile for charities to chronicle concrete achievements for donors.

Need tips on how to solicit reviews?

Other tips included not cornering a donor into giving and making the donation feel forced or obligated, and helping make a connection for your donors to the person or cause that they are supporting.

Nonprofits, what tips have you found helpful during fundraising?






Help Out Your Neighbors; It’s Good For You

Leave a Comment 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.


Giving Time Gives You Time Also

Leave a Comment 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.

Take the Local Nonprofit Challenge!

Comments (2) 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:
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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?

Top 5 Romantic Ways to Give Back

Comments (5) February 8, 2013

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, there’s no better time to show your local nonprofits some love. Want to make it a date? We’ve got some great, romantic ways to give back:

Go for a romantic walk–with a shelter dog: Many homeless puppies and dogs in animal shelters spend the bulk of their time in cages. Sign up to spend some time walking dogs together at a shelter.

Donate to your valentine’s favorite charity: Can’t volunteer together? Give your partner a gift card with money to put toward any charity he/she likes, or, make a donation in your partner’s name to a favorite cause. Find charity gift cards at JustGive.

Cook for those in need: Not into the packed restaurant scene on Valentine’s Day? What about cooking a wholesome, hot meal for those in need in your neighborhood instead? Sign up together to cook or distribute food to the needy for a night.

Get the kids involved, or volunteer to help kids in need:  Do your kids love making valentines? Why not deliver some to an elderly home? Or, do you both love working with kids? Volunteer together to mentor children in need.

Build something together: Work on a project together; it could be helping out at a Habitat for Humanity site, getting your hands in the dirt planting trees or helping school kids make art projects. Get creative!

Do you plan on volunteering this Valentines Day? Let us know how in the comments.

5 Historical Figures who were Famous Volunteers

Comments (2) January 31, 2013

The idea of volunteerism has been around for a long time, even the word “volunteer” has been in use since the 1700s.  We know you love to help out and lend a hand with nonprofits near you, but we bet you didn’t know that these historical figures were big volunteers too!

Ben Franklin – He created bifocals and was one of America’s Founding Fathers, but did you know he also created the very first volunteer fire department? You’ve likely heard Franklin’s famous quote, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Franklin brought together a group of 30 men in 1736 to form the Union Fire Company to prevent massive fires in Philadelphia.


Be an Ambassador for Local Nonprofits in Your City!

Comments (4) 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


What Your Kids Get Out of Giving Back

Comments (3) October 3, 2012

The concepts of sharing time and giving to those in need are a part of the learning curve in a child’s life, but why are these ideas so important for kids to learn?

In his book, Giving back: A guide to Volunteering and Donation for Families and Individuals, Stephen P. Ketchpel tells us:

  • Giving back empowers a child, making them more independent.
  • Volunteering as a family, together as a group, leads to stronger family ties.
  • And, the earlier a child participates in this experience, the more he/she enjoys and makes it a part of his/her whole life.


Top 10 Volunteer Opportunities in Boston

Comments (5) September 4, 2012

Want to volunteer or intern at a great Boston non-profit? Whether you’re new to Boston and want to learn about the city’s charities, trying to change up your routine with some local charity work, or just want to volunteer or intern at a neighborhood non-profit, everyone knows that the best way to find the right place for you is from the people who’ve been there!

Here’s a list of volunteers’ and interns’ favorite Boston charities. Every non-profit on this list earned has an overall score of 4 or greater out of 5 on GreatNonprofits.org, and must have been reviewed by at least 10 volunteers. If your favorite Boston non-profit or volunteer gig is missing, find it on GreatNonprofits.org, write a positive review, and show your co-volunteers how to start adding reviews and get it on the list! (more…)

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