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2019 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

95 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.

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

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.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I volunteered with this energetic bunch over in East Boston. The job was very rewarding because I was able to see the difference my work made. It was additionally rewarding because the park ranger gave us an education in a variety of plants and wildlife which was indigenous to the area. The group appears to do a variety of settings some indoors and some outdoors like the East Boston experience. I would recommend this group to my friends and family.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I really appreciate the volunteer service provided by People Making a Difference at Fresh Pond Reservation in Cambridge. PMD does its homework with me to make sure that I have a substantial project that will engage the skills and abilities of its volunteers, help them to understand how the work is meaningful to the reservation and introduce first timer volunteers with the resources the reservation has to offer them on subsequent visits. PMD preps volunteers with information about the project and the place they will be working as well as a list of expectations. Volunteers show up on time and ready to work. This groups stays with me for 3-5 hours so we get to know each other as we work together and I can get quite a bit done for my time investment working. They are the best group I work with!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It was ver well organized and the experience is unforgettable.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Over the years, we have looked for opportunities to contribute that fit into our already busy schedules. PMD makes that easy! We were pleased to discover multiple options for participation. We've volunteered only once so far, but intend to return. The project was very well organized and those who participated were terrific. Seems there are quite a variety of ways to make a difference for very interesting organizations!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

People Making a Difference has been a great resource to meet my need for contributing without having to make an ongoing commitment. The projects are always very well organized, and I've learned about some really interesting organizations and issues affecting my community.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PMD offers great experiences and the satisfaction of making a difference.

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 love both the flexibility and the structure I have when volunteering with PMD. I get to pick the nonprofit I will help and the date I wish to volunteer. PMD provides me with the tools, directions, and information to learn about the group I am helping while performing a needed task. I always meet great people and have fun on PMD projects.

Previous Stories
4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I volunteer with PMD, I am always surprised how quickly the volunteers become a team. Although we don't know each other when the project begins, we soon learn, laugh and work effectively together. There is always the right equipment and a plan to provide meaningful help to a local non-profit. i feel good about the work I am doing and am very comfortable with my fellow volunteers.

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!