How to Turn a Single Day of Service into Long-Lasting Impact

Ella Baker Throw Down for the TownI want to highlight a local single day of service that’s happening on August 13th that I think is incredibly innovative and a great example of how community-based organizations can make an impact in only one day.

The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights is an Oakland, Calif. based nonprofit that offers smart solutions and uplifting alternatives to violence and incarceration. The Center recognizes that the safest neighborhoods aren’t the ones with the most prisons and the most police – they’re the ones with the best schools, the cleanest environment, and the most opportunities for young people and working people.

Check out VolunteerMatch’s free webinar on hosting a single day of service. This is a concept that’s celebrated nationwide on Sept 11th.

Do you ever feel like there is a problem in your community but you do not know what to do about it? Are you a nonprofit that has an idea of how to make change but have a hard time finding volunteers to get involved?

The Ella Baker Center answers these questions in the form of “Throw Down for the Town: The Oakland Service Festival.” Rather than one organization deciding what is needed in the community, The Center is asking the community to host projects.

The diversity of people and needs in Oakland are evidenced by the more than 20 (and growing!) projects that people have registered to host on that one day. People can register a project or join an existing project.  This is smart and unique because it includes people who have the resources and drive to host as well as those who want to help but lack the ability to plan an event.

The work day will end with a solar-powered concert and free tacos! There is nothing like food to bring people together. And the truth is that community change is really sustained when relationships are built amongst the change makers. People will be able to connect with each other and continue the work completed beyond one single day of service.

I believe this event and others like it will have a long-lasting impact not just on the city of Oakland, but on the people who participate as volunteers. After all, this is why we do what we do at VolunteerMatch. We believe in the power of volunteerism to change communities.

Whether you are a nonprofit or a volunteer, I hope the “Throw Down for the Town” similarly inspires you to take action in your community!

Learn more about “Throw Down for the Town” on August 13th.

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4 thoughts on “How to Turn a Single Day of Service into Long-Lasting Impact

  1. Pingback: [topic today] How to Turn a Single Day of Service into Long-Lasting Impact - RINGAM

  2. Pingback: How to Turn a Single Day of Service into Long-Lasting Impact – Ella Baker Center Blog

  3. “People will be able to connect with each other and continue the work completed beyond one single day of service.”

    Only if *deliberate* actions are taken to make that happen! It won’t happen automatically. Names & contact info need to be captured, activities to build awareness by the volunteers regarding the causes they will support need to be planned and undertaken, post-event activities to get these volunteers further involved need to be planned *now* (not later), etc. One-time events – and microvolunteering online, for that matter – are nice, but to make them have any kind of real impact, there has to be a lot of strategies in place to turn these folks into longer-term supporters. It does *not* happen merely because people come together and have one feel-good experience. Don’t repeat the mistakes of NetAid, Live Aid, Live8, etc.

    • Very good point, Jayne! Thanks for adding and clarifying for our nonprofit audience. Indeed, it’s important to maintain open and communicative relationships with volunteers after a single day of service, in order to convert them into longer term, dedicated volunteers.

      But don’t you think that one day that brings the community together can make lasting change for things like community cohesion and cause awareness? Those are both important aspects of the impact a nonprofit has on a community.

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