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2021 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

116 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

8 keshlam.cat.nospam

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PMD does a great job providing high-impact volunteer opportunities!

2 avedalee

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Lori Tsuruda and PMD made all the difference in our corporate community involvement event. It can be a challenge identifying a project that a big group can work on but through Lori's leadership we were able to identify an activity that over 100 EMCers across the US and Canada participated in. Youth literacy was a theme we could all agree on and the team had a blast working on the literacy folder creation for Gifts to Give together. Lori and her team were collaborative from start to finish. Prior to the project she worked closely to provide guidance and recommendations on logistics and she was there when it was time for the big event day. A few months have now passed since our give back event and the team is still talking about the experience. Looking forward to working with PMD & Lori in the future!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for PMD since 2007. PMD is one of the few non-profits that understands how to work with volunteers effectively. Their organizing skills and attention to detail make every project a success for the organizations they help and a satisfying experience for the volunteers who do the work.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with 6 or 7 projects through PMD and it's always a ton of fun. They are very well run and extremely organized. No standing around and waiting to figure out what to do- everyone has something to do from beginning to end. I love the concept of "responsible volunteerism" and one-off volunteer projects because it's honestly difficult for many working families to commit to a long-term volunteer program without running the risk of letting someone down or feeling overwhelmed. Being able to pick a project and complete it within one day allows me to feel useful and important without worrying that I'm going to bite off more than I can chew and let an organization down. Great job, PMD!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I've volunteered on two projects through PMD in 2014 and have thoroughly enjoyed them both...Lori does an excellent job of planning the events and providing volunteers with all of the information that they need beforehand, both about the event itself and also about the organization you will be supporting with your efforts. This second part, learning about the organization a bit more, for me, helps make my volunteer experience more rewarding, knowing how my actions are contributing to the broader mission of the organization I'll be helping during my volunteering.

PMD events have often been at convenient times for me, compared to other opportunities I've found via other sources (e.g., VolunteerMatch, Boston Cares, etc.), so I've enjoyed not having to 'hunt' for opportunities to participate.

Keep up the great work Lori...looking forward to helping out again soon!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PMD is a terrifically well run organization. They allow people to make an impact in just one day, and then make as much of an impact as they want. The projects are very meaningful, and you know that they really do "make a difference." And it is a fun time too!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PMD is a well organized and sustainable non-profit organization using volunteer time and effort wisely and making sure the recipient organization benefits with a corresponding match of effort and volunteer activity. Volunteers learn, meet new people, are useful, and have fun! Being able to volunteer for a specific activity as your time permits (perhaps monthly, quarterly or annually) and as your interest allows is key to having a great experience for all involved.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Projects are well planned and clearly of benefit to both the charity and its individual recipients. A wide array of volunteer opportunities are available over the course of the year allowing PMD volunteers to select the type, time, and focus of their event. The Executive Director is an excellent organizer and project manager so everyone knows what is to be accomplished and what everyone is to do. The volunteers are interesting, capable people representing a spectrum of ages and experience. At the end of a project it seems that everyone had a good time, met some new people, and feels good about what they have done.

2 Carlos C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked as PMD project manager from early January till late May of this year, and I can definitely say that I had fun every step of the way! I really enjoyed the fact that the PMD sponsors a variety types of projects: from working with Legos to feeding the elderly! It was wonderful seeing that a lot of people in the community are eager to help give back in whatever way they can. It was my first year in Boston, and I'm glad part of that year was spent working with PMD and all the amazing volunteers.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful varied volunteer projects designed for the maximum satisfaction of the volunteer! When singles complain they have trouble meeting nice people, I recommend volunteering through PMD! There are ice breakers at the beginning of each project, then you work alongside other people who have given their time to do good, with no pressure to impress anyone. Or keep in contact unless you choose to exchange info. The projects are all for local charities that couldn't function without certain one-day or half-day projects done. It is very satisfying and interesting to sign up for different groups and tasks!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've served with PMD as both a project leader and as a volunteer. PMD's vision encompasses not only a fun and well organized volunteer experience, but also learning in a meaningful way about the charity's mission and activities. I've also met interesting people from all walks of life, and to try new experiences I would never have otherwise. Through PMD, I've painted huge Walk for Hunger signs (my favorite project!), assembled braille books, trimmed alien species from protected areas, and walked on a bog. And of course, the homemade cookies at the end of each project! :-)

PMD is also the rare agency that emphasizes safety and informed volunteerism. The PMD project leader has a HUGE backpack with a full first aid kit and other tools to meet contingencies. I once got something in my eye, and the project leader pulled out an eye wash kit. Amazing! Before a project, PMD will send detailed site directions and background information about the project and the charity.

I highly recommend PMD to volunteers, including those who are busy but still want to serve, those who are new to volunteering and trying to get to know what charities are out there, and those who like to try a variety of experiences, indoor and out. I am grateful to PMD and founder/executive director Lori Tsuruda for making such a valuable resource available!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Not knowing many people, PMD is a great way to get involved in the community and meet new people. There are a wide variety of projects each year. The groups PMD works with rely on volunteer help.

4 Melissa107

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love volunteering with PMD! You get a sense of really helping where the help is most needed. Not to mention the events are well organized and run, always making them successful for the volunteers as well as the client being served.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Working with PMD helped this non-profit conservation organization meet its ecological and community-involvement goals for 10 years! Their professionalism, organization and preparedness made the projects that much more effective and productive. Having experience working with other volunteers, I highly recommend PMD to other charities.

4 Piseth C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had been an intern for PMD for one academic year. It was a fantastic experience. I loved the fact that PMD truly made the difference. We, the volunteer, saw and felt the change (in a good way).

4 Nate W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to work with PMD throughout the summer of 2012, serving Lori in her office as we expanded our reach and in our actual projects. Through this work, I explored similar volunteer organizations in the Greater Boston area, and can say with confidence that PMD is an unique and extremely valuable organization. All PMD projects had a strong focus on real impacts with clients who benefited from them. Volunteers are provided with extensive information before the project to help understand the clients we serve, and the impacts we can make through volunteerism. The actual events are fun and productive, while still allowing space for socialization and getting-to-know other volunteers. Lori is approachable and receptive to feedback, too, so PMD constantly improves its service for volunteers and partners alike.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned about PMD this summer and have participated in a few volunteer projects for them since then. Each project has been a great experience for multiple reasons: First, I learned a lot about various charities in the greater Boston area that I never would have known about. I got to learn about parks/ponds, local festivals for children, shelters for elders, to name a few. Even though I've lived in Boston for 10 years now, PMD always introduced me to new places. I also met a lot of new people who were fellow volunteers and made friends. I also love how PMD projects are one time volunteer projects that don't require a long time commitment. It makes it easier for me to volunteer knowing that they projects are only one day. And most importantly, volunteering with PMD has been very rewarding! PMD makes sure to let their volunteers know why their work is so important and how they are making an impact. I always enjoy it when kids, parent, elders, and others come up to me and thank me for helping out. It really makes me feel that I'm giving back to my community.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned about PMD because they organize projects for the nonprofit I work for. They always do such a good job that a few years ago I started volunteering with them myself! There are so many reasons I like volunteering with PMD. One of the main reasons is the variety of projects they offer. So far this year, through PMD, I have helped the Prison Book Program send books and educational materials to prisoners who would otherwise have little or no access to such things; I have helped organize Lego DNA science kits that help Boston Public School students learn biology; I cleared brush at the Franklin Park to ready a new area for exhibit and then fed apples to two different kinds of donkeys and a miniature horse! and I helped out at a local Halloween carnival in a mostly low-income neighborhood - and all those projects are really just the tip of the iceberg. The projects are well organized, and I always feel that my time is well spent and that what I've done really makes a difference. And volunteers always get homemade cookies at the end of each project. What more can you want from a volunteer experience?

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

I found out about PMD at a volunteer fair, only knowing that I wanted to give back, not knowing with which organization. At the event and after meeting many different companies, I met the President of PMD and was quickly sold on PMD's mission and the welcoming culture. My first project I participated in was a gardening/landscaping project at a facility that helps families that cannot afford to pay bills/utilities and buy food, and helps them get on their feet; the tangible product that came out of our work was gratifying. The project was well-organized and ran on schedule. I was happy to join the board the further support the organization!

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering through PMD has been a fantastic experience for me. I have attended several projects and all have been very fulfilling. What I like most about volunteering with PMD is the diversity of the projects and people you are able to help. I have found it difficult to give to all different organizations of interest without spreading myself too thin; But with PMD, I am able to help many different causes with minimal commitment (1 day projects) so I can feel good about helping others and commit the time as I am able.