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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

People Making a Difference (PMD)

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Economic Development, Philanthropy, Voluntarism Promotion

Mission: People Making a Difference® (PMD) seeks to create a world in which people and businesses are socially aware and engaged in their communities such that they approach volunteerism by learning about problems and needs, becoming familiar with local charities that are working to address them, volunteering, and providing other needed resources to make a difference. Our vision is for everyone to be able to volunteer productively a few days a year so that together we make a real difference throughout the year while learning important things along the way.

Results: During the past 26 years, PMD has engaged more than 9,300 volunteers in nearly 1,300 service projects helping 142 community-based charities. In 2012, we moved our physical office and tools to a permanent location in Randolph, but we still serve Greater Boston.

Target demographics: motivated people volunteer to help the neediest, community-based charities in organized groups

Direct beneficiaries per year: 750 people volunteer for 52+ PMD-organized service projects assisting 24+ community-based charities and thousands of their clients in 16+ communities in Greater Boston.

Geographic areas served: Greater Boston

Programs: organizing one-time, hands-on volunteer projects for individuals, partnerships with businesses to promote effective community involvement, and training and assistance to nonprofit leaders seeking quality volunteer management.

Community Stories

85 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PMD provides a wonderful outlet for those who want to volunteer but can't commit to doing so on a regular schedule, and/or who have not selected (or do not want to narrow themselves to) a single specific cause. And it provides a wonderful resource for organizations which need a burst of reliable manpower for a specific task. It can also be a great way to learn about organizations operating in the area, and the causes they support. if you *are* shopping around for a longer-term volunteering gig.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I appreciate PMD especially for advertising a wide variety of service opportunities in the area. There are projects for every type of volunteer and a range of time commitments. It gives everyone a chance to contribute however they want.

2 Janice23

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with this group for over 15 years now. Each project is very well organized so volunteers will be fulfilled and satisfied that their work was needed, and that the project lasted just long enough to keep it enjoyable rather than overtiring. I love the opportunity to do self-contained projects for a variety of charities and events. I've painted route signs for walkathons, run activities and face-painted for family fun days, given out books at literacy fairs, staffed science competitions between HS teams, sorted seeds for free gardens, planted flowers at the zoo, and much more!

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This nonprofit offers extremely welk-organized projects that are designed to bring maximum satisfaction to the volunteers as well as clearly benefit the charity served. Projects are just long enough, just demanding enough, and have a clear finished product. Icebreaker a are always a part, to help volunteers get comfortable with each other, and leaders pass out fresh bajed cookies during the wrap up.

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2

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a PMD volunteer and board member for many years, I remain a huge fan of the manifold contributions PMD makes to serving those in need in the greater Boston community. PMD volunteer service projects fill genuine needs in a host of charitable areas with heart, efficiency, and valued results. Every single PMD service project makes a meaningful difference not only to those directly and indirectly served but also to the participating PMD volunteers, whose time and dedication is always respected and appreciated.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with PMD for many years and the projects are always very organized. Once you get to the project site, the plan for the day is explained and everyone is given clear instructions so a lot gets done over the course of the day. One of the things I love about volunteering with PMD is that often I get to interact with the community I am serving and learn more about them. Being able to see how the project impacts people is a priceless experience that is often missing from other community service opportunities.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

People making a difference is a grass roots organization providing volunteers and organizations with a positive experience.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For many years, People Making A Difference has provided motivated, energetic volunteers for our volunteer work days at Spy Pond Park. They willingly do whatever is needed including enhancing the view of visitors by trimming hedges bordering the pond, cutting back invasive plants that crowd out flowers and bushes in our planting beds and planting new ferns, bushes and plants. In addition to this important work, we always welcome their enthusiasm, camaraderie and work ethic along with the expertise and careful organization of their leader, Lori Tsuruda. Lally Stowell, Volunteer Coordinator, Friends of Spy Pond Park

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

People Making a Difference seems like a simple kind of nonprofit--small good-works for many many community projects, but they are cumulative, and this nonprofit has earned its stars for many years, run by the incredibly smart, incredibly dedicated and professional Lori Tsuruda. The work PMD does really does make a great difference. And without that work, the agencies it helps would survive, but not anywhere near as well. This nonprofit deserves more than 5 starts. Bravo to PMD.

2 Vicki X.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PMD's projects are always well-planned and well-executed. It fills a vital role in connecting volunteers with organizations who might not have the resources to run volunteer recruitment . Great for people looking to explore the city more while giving back to their community.

2 Bill120

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with PMD is always a positive experience. Well organized, we are always presented the bigger picture of what we are contributing to, and the difference we are actually making. The events range a wide variation of opportunities from helping to bind braille children's picture books to sorting seeds for community gardens to preparing and packaging food to delivered to people homebound by illness to constructing chemistry and DNA kits from Legos to be used in classrooms. Always interesting, fun and rewarding - I always check the calendar for future events.

I've received the President's Volunteer Service Award several years running - PMD was key in getting me volunteering as a life choice. And I'm thankful.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

PMD is a local, grass roots non-profit that works in and around greater Boston, MA. This organization is perfect for individuals or groups seeking to lend a helping hand on one-time volunteer projects. Service projects range from traditional volunteering at a shelter or park, to helping run the annual Blue Lobster Bowl (as part of the MIT Sea Grant program)!

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Andy and I am a Board Member and frequent volunteer with People Making a Difference (PMD). I've been affiliated with PMD for the past two years and can whole-heartedly say that there is no other, grass-roots, local, volunteering/service organizations quite like PMD. PMD's primary mission is to connect people who want to help local charities that need volunteer assistance but lack the resources to do so effectively. I've personally witness the hard work and dedication of our Executive Director and volunteers time and time again- from assembling braille books for blind children at Boston's National Braille Press, to making no-sew fleece blankets on Summer Street for Boston's homeless. The work that PMD's volunteers selflessly perform is vital to the Greater Boston community. It’s clear to me that PMD's ultimate power lies in leveraging everyday people (like myself) to perform extraordinary differences in our community- hands down one of Boston Best local non-profits. Andy

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering for PMD I know that they have vetted the non profit I'll help so I can get in there and really make a contribution and not waste my time. Host agencies are prepared for the number of people coming, provide a substantial project to work on with plenty of tools and leaders that stay with you and tell you how what you'll do with them matters to their agency and who some of the people are that will benefit. It's about task and relationship. They also provide opportunities to get to know the other volunteers while the project runs which is great if you're new to the area or you want to expand your network. I like that the projects are one time events at different agencies so there's lots of variety in tasks, locations, times and dates. They also use evaluation sheets at the end of each project to get immediate feedback on the volunteer's experience. I can't ask for more!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Terrific organization - adds real value to both volunteers and to the organizations it help. Adds may hours of valuable work and does it on a shoestring. A "best-in-class" operation.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PMD has done a number of projects which support STEM activities for youth. By far, my favorite is the assembly of special LEGO kits used as manipulatives to teach public school students about DNA and related concepts.

2 John357

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If you're a non-profit who needs people to complete a key project, look to PMD. They'll gather volunteers, arrange for supplies, and organize everything.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was initially drawn to PMD when I read the mission statement; it just makes sense. I love knowing that my time is being used to meet needs expressed by organizations doing great things. Furthermore, I get to work with a variety of people and organizations -- from cooking for elders, to assembling Braille books, to putting together lego-science kits. Lori, the founder, attends every PMD event and ensures they are running smoothly, everyone knows what is happening, and our time is being used productively. Her positive energy is infectious and working with the diverse group PMD attracts is always a joy. I always leave tired and proud of the work we accomplished.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PMD lives up to it's name - every volunteer opportunity is a time to really make a difference for the organization and for the lives of people in Boston. Too often "volunteering" especially in a corporate program, can mean that you are just showing up and doing "make work" - that is never the case with PMD, where they have clearly worked with each organization to make sure volunteer efforts go where they are truly needed.

2 JEFerry

Volunteer

Rating: 5

People Making a Difference (PMD) is a stunning example of a well-run nonprofit. Their concept of providing volunteers for one-off projects is an outstanding idea, matching up a community's needs to people who are willing to complete tasks to solve those needs. Signing up is incredibly easy. Each project had clearly defined start and stop times, as well as detailed descriptions so one knows what to expect.

I was also introduced to other nonprofits and organizations I would have otherwise never encountered. All the projects on which I helped directly impacted individuals in the community. The variety of projects, too, is amazing and all of them hands-on activities. Some of my projects were: putting together Braille books; cooking, serving and sharing a meal with at risk/lonely elderly residents; clearing invasive, non-native plants at both Belle Isle Marsh and Walden Pond; building trails in the City of Lynn; sorting and folding donated clothes at St. Francis House; preparing and serving meals at Pine Street Inn and the Women's Lunch Place; packaging books for prisoners. And those just skim the surface!

The projects are all well defined and well run, with instructions from the project manager at the start and time to introduce ourselves. I met loads of interesting people, from MIT students to 90 year-olds. I tried new recipes , found new places in the greater Boston area and learned how to handle a mattock - so, while I was donating my time, I was also learning.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I travel a lot for work, but still like to contribute to the community in which I live and PMD makes that incredibly easy. On my own, I wouldn't have had time to seek out the variety of volunteer opportunities they offer, and all for other organizations! The projects I've participated in have allowed me to work outdoors on trails, cook and share Thanksgiving dinner with the elderly, put together Braille books, paint signs and faces, and sort clothes for the homeless. All volunteer project managers have been well organized and knowledgeable - the different teams interesting, diverse and fun. PMD and Lori are treasures!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The volunteers at PMD painted signs for Brookwood Community Farm. They were colorful and fun and appeiciated by all who visit the farm

3 Phil21

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with PMD in various forms since 1992. I started out as a volunteer while in college and participated ~5-10 projects every academic year in conjunction with my Circle K club. After graduating and remaining in the area, I remained affiliated with the organization because its service mission--to help other charities in need, responsibly--leaving an organization better than it was before the event. Sadly, this cannot be said of all organizations. PMD promotes responsible volunteerism and this is good for charitable organizations that lack the infrastructure to have their own in-house volunteer programs. Unfortunately for PMD, the term "responsible volunteerism" isn't sexy and isn't the first thing that comes to mind as a goal for volunteers. That is, until they've had some experiences under their belt and can compare the difference, People Making a Difference, really makes.

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with PMD for a number of years and have volunteered for a variety of projects.
PMD has a penchant for starting and ending projects on time and communicating well about the charities that are served by serving on their projects.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've volunteered with PMD since 2008 - everything from cleaning a zoo to making fleece blankets. This is an organization that enables people who want to get involved with their community but do not have the time commitment for long-term projects. The projects are fun and all the people involved (the founder of PMD, event organizers, volunteers, etc.) are always passionate about each project, even though they are short 3-5 hour one-time events.