November 19, 2013
Most of us reach a point in our careers where we need a new challenge. A little change once in a while spices up our lives and motivates our work. What better way to introduce change than to inspire change by serving on a nonprofit board? Nonprofit board members witness the social impact of their great causes while also offering advice, oversight and support. Read on to learn about an array of benefits that come with serving on a nonprofit board.
November 12, 2013
Typhoon Haiyan has left millions of families and children in need in the Philippines. As many as 2.5 million people require assistance. (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.
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 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.
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.
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
June 8, 2012
Want to instill the values of compassion, kindness and giving in your kids? Teach them to have a positive impact in their community and the world; check out these ideas.
1. Join a Community Cleanup
Too much time in front of videogames and not enough time outside? Find a nonprofit organizing a beach, creek or park cleanup in your area. Spend some quality time outside while teaching kids to take pride in their community and local environment. Check out ACTERRA. Find environmental nonprofits in your area.
2. Walk to Fight Disease
Get some exercise and make some new friends by walking to increase awareness and raise funds for research and treatment. If your child is too young to walk a few miles, you could push him or her in a stroller. Find health organizations in your area.
3. Find a Toy Drive
Teach generosity. Many organizations hold toy drives for needy children. Got some unused toys that your kids aren’t going to use? Find a donation location in your neighborhood. While you’re at it, clean out the closets and then check out our number 8 recommendation.