How to Make the Most of MLK Day of Service at Your Nonprofit

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Updated 1/5/17 for relevancy.

On Monday, January 16, 2017, many people in the U.S. have a day off work. Why? It’s MLK Day, the National Holiday to honor the courage and service of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK Day of ServiceRather than take a day off, however, many are choosing a day on as a way to honor Martin Luther King’s legacy. They’re choosing to spend MLK Day in service to their neighbors and their communities.

As a nonprofit organization committed to community service, how can you attract these people to your mission on January 16th? We have a few suggestions.

Be Prepared

MLK Day volunteers are not necessarily looking for a long-term volunteer commitment (although some may be!). Think of a project that your organization needs help with that can be completed in a day – including any necessary training. And if you offer these types of volunteer opportunities on a regular basis, prepare the staff and other resources necessary to accommodate an influx of volunteers on January 16th.

Add Your MLK Day Opportunities to VolunteerMatch

Adding a new post to VolunteerMatch brings your listing to the top of the search results. But that’s not all. If you include phrases such as “MLK”, “MLK Day” and “Martin Luther King”, your post gets populated into a special page promoted to people looking to volunteer on MLK Day. Your post will also show up to people searching volunteer opportunities on that specific day, rather than a flexible opportunity. More visibility = more prospective volunteers.

Follow Up Immediately

[pullquote]”Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” – Martin Luther King, Jr.[/pullquote]As soon as someone reaches out to you via VolunteerMatch expressing interesting in volunteering on MLK Day, get back to them. Don’t wait until you have a group and send out a mass email. With less than two weeks until January 18th, people want to get their plans set. Time spent sitting on prospective volunteer requests can equal lost volunteers who have taken their good intentions elsewhere.

Keep in Touch

Remember – volunteers not only want to help, they want to see the impact of their actions. Show them the impact they’ve had – both day of, and by following up with them in the future. If they had a great experience with you, they’re more likely to volunteer again, or even donate to your organization in the future.

And let’s not forget the reason for the day.

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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