Make A Difference Day — celebrated tomorrow, Oct. 24 — is a great opportunity to engage your employees in the community and the workplace.
Started more than two decades ago by the USA TODAY Weekender magazine, Make A Difference Day has a simple goal: to improve lives. That simple goal has grown Make A Difference Day into the nation’s largest day of community service. It’s now a USA TODAY/Gannett and TEGNA initiative with sponsorship from Points of Light, Newman’s Own and NBC News!
Employees today want opportunities to give back to the community alongside their coworkers. In fact, as we recently covered in “Trends in Team Motivation: A Culture of Giving Back,” the up-and-coming generation of prospective employees are seeking out companies that value workplace volunteerism!
Volunteering together with your team on Make A Difference Day fosters employee engagement, builds goodwill with the community and, most importantly, makes a difference in the lives of others!
Even a few hours of volunteering — stocking shelves at a food bank or weeding a flower bed — will make a difference.
That’s the beauty of Make A Difference Day. It puts good intentions into action, even on a small scale. Read on for workplace resources and inspiration to plan a Make A Difference Day project with your team.
6 Tips for Your ‘Make A Difference Day’ Celebration
No need to start from scratch! Plenty of resources already exist to help company leaders and administrators organize Make A Difference Day activities.
1. Read the Mission Statement
First things first: familiarize yourself with the Make A Difference Day mission:
No matter who you are or where you’re from, everyone has the power to do something that improves the life of another. Whether it’s starting a project that helps one person, or working on one that benefits a whole community, every contribution makes a difference.
- Facilitate a blood drive
- Help non-native English speakers navigate the college application process
- Collect donated business suits for local veterans
- Pull invasive plants from a local park
- Rebuild flood-damaged homes
- Read to children at a public library event for childhood literacy
- Support an animal rescue and find homes for abandoned cats and dogs
3. Start A Project/Find A Project
The USA TODAY website for Make A Difference Day makes it easy to start a project or find an existing one. To find organizations seeking volunteers for Make A Difference Day, simply search by ZIP code or organization name! You’ll find projects that satisfy a wide range of interests and causes.
4. Register Your Project for a Chance to Win
Be sure to register your project with the Make A Difference Day organization! Each year, a panel of judges from the Gannett Foundation and Newman’s Own award grants totaling $140,000 to 14 honorees. Winners can use their grant money to expand their Make a Difference Day projects or donate it to a charity of their choice.
(Read the official rules and enter the awards process here.)
5. Engage with #MMDay on Social Media
Follow Make A Difference Day on Twitter and Facebook. Use the hashtag #MMDay when sharing updates and photos from your company’s volunteer project on social media. Whenever appropriate, encourage employees to share #MMDay updates with their personal networks as well.
6. Reflect and Share Your #MMDay Gratitude with Employees!
After your project is completed, be sure to reflect together and thank your team for participating. Consider passing out small gifts or award certificates to all participants as a gesture of appreciation. The Make A Difference organization offers downloadable award certificates and other helpful downloads for volunteer leaders on its resources page.
Above all, have fun with your Make A Difference Day project! Take advantage of the opportunity to enrich your employees’ workplace experience and build a culture of giving back.
Learn more about harnessing the power of workplace gratitude in our popular free eBook, “Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude.” Click the image below and start transforming your workplace today!
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