Volutneers for Make A Difference Day

National Make A Difference Day volunteers help clean up a park in this 2008 photo. (U.S. Army photo by Bob McElroy, via Flickr)

The only requirement for celebrating Make A Difference Day — coming up this Saturday, Oct. 25 — is to make a difference. It’s as simple as that!
Make A Difference Day is the perfect opportunity to come together with employees, coworkers, neighbors and friends to share gratitude and make a difference wherever needed.

The power of gratitude in action

Participating in Make A Difference Day can be as elaborate as coordinated efforts to clean up a beach, as spontaneous as helping someone carry their groceries to their car, or as simple as writing a short “thank you” note to someone you appreciate.
Initiated in 1990 by USA Weekend Magazine, Make A Difference Day is held the fourth Saturday in October. It’s the most encompassing national day of helping others, a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. It doesn’t matter how, where or who. Everyone can participate! According to USA Weekend, at least 3 million people nationwide participated in Make A Difference Day by 2009.
Look around your workplace or in the neighborhood where your company is located. Where is help needed? Start simple or aim big — either way, you’re making a difference.
The important thing is that you act. Too often, our good intentions for gratitude fall by the wayside amidst hectic schedules and a culture that doesn’t consistently value reflection, selflessness and sharing real emotions.
[Tweet “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone. — Gladys Bronwyn Stern”] According to counselor and life coach Laura Trice, telling someone “thank you” or asking for gratitude when you need it can make us feel vulnerable.
Her three-minute TED Talk on remembering to say “thank you” is an essential first step toward learning open communication about gratitude. Asking others for their appreciation takes bravery, she says, because the underlying message is, I’m telling you where I’m insecure. I’m telling you where I need help.
When you help the needy or share appreciation with those who have expressed a need for it, make sure to honor their vulnerability. Those who resist gratitude may need it the most.

how helping others builds a happy workplace

Helping others isn’t just good for the people you help. Volunteerism also benefits volunteers, and not with a fleeting sense of accomplishment. It has a lasting impact.
Mark Snyder, a psychologist who has studied the effects of volunteerism, says there’s a link between overall health and helping others. He’s quoted in the chapter “Why Helping Others Makes Us Happy” in the U.S. News ebook How to Live to 100.
“People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being and happiness,” Snyder told U.S. News. “All of these things go up as their feelings of social connectedness goes up, which in reality, it does. It also improves their health and even their longevity.”
Research shows that even when people help others out of self-interest, it’s still beneficial to all involved.
Volunteering also helps build a connected, engaged workforce. Employer-supported volunteer programs provide numerous benefits, according to TLNT. Here are just a few of these workplace benefits:
More trust. When employees see senior executives in jeans and t-shirts on a Saturday morning, working side-by-side with everyone else, it builds the workforce’s sense of trust and cooperation.
Better teams. Employees boost group communication skills and team-working skills through volunteering.
Higher motivation and retention. An employer-supported volunteer program engages employees and improves their perception of their workplace and the company.
TLNT’s Ron Thomas writes that employer-supported volunteering “is continuing its rapid rise up the business agenda.”
“Through a volunteering program a business can make a real difference to communities in which it operates. The reputation of the business will benefit and everyone involved will be making a difference. All of which can have a positive impact on profits,” he says.
Make A Difference Day is just one day a year, but it can inspire sustained, daily acts of sharing gratitude and helping others. Celebrate this year with the goal of making Make A Difference Day every day.
For an in-depth guide to building a vibrant, everyday culture of workplace gratitude, download our FREE eBook,  “Transforming Your Workplace with Gratitude.” You’ll be amazed at how easy it is!

Transforming Your Workplace with Gratitude

About gThankYou, LLC
Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.
gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.
gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Contact: Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
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