How to Set up a Volunteer Opportunity in Less than a Month: Part One

Planning a company-wide volunteer event is a challenge in and of itself. In less than a month? Almost unheard of. GDG is currently planning a company-wide volunteer day, and we want to walk you through the ups and downs of the planning process so you don’t make the same mistakes we do.

Why a volunteer event you may ask?

Well, as we sat down with our friends at Silicon Harbor Reality Show to plan the upcoming filming of the pilot, we thought what better way to showcase Good Done Great than through a volunteer opportunity! The kicker was this event needed to be planned in less than a month! Eek!

But, breaking down the to-do list into digestible pieces makes the planning process much easier.

PART ONE: THE IDEA

Our past volunteer events included trash pick-ups and gaming marathons, so we knew we wanted to create a volunteer opportunity which expanded our cause areas while providing a fun, engaging, and impactful event for all parties involved.

Earl Bridges, GDG’s President and idea man, has always wanted to play bubble soccer. This activity seemed to be the perfect opportunity to spend an afternoon with underprivileged youth while having a good laugh at our colleagues.

GDG Tip: Think big! If you shoot for the moon, your volunteer event will be a huge success!

PART TWO: THE NON-PROFIT PARTNER

Selecting a non-profit partner is the easiest part in planning your volunteer day as there are many great non-profit organizations. Our first thought was to contact Boys and Girls Clubs, but after performing a bit of research, we found out much to our surprise that Boys and Girls Clubs of Charleston closed in 2011.

A colleague of mine mentioned his previous work volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters. After speaking with their staff and meeting their sprawling campus, we determined they were the perfect fit.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Carolina Youth Development Center matches deserving children with adults for one-on-one mentoring which includes eating out, tutoring, exercising, and attending sporting events. After 18 months of mentoring, research shows that children that participate in the program are:

  • 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
  • 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
  • 52% less likely to skip school
  • 37% less likely to skip class
  • 33% less likely to hit someone

With their proven track record of improving the lives of 8,000 children in the Lowcountry, we knew they would be the perfect partner for our volunteer day.

GDG TIP: Survey your colleagues! Ask them which organizations they may have volunteered with in the past for a cause which hits close to home.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters

PART THREE: FIND A LOCATION

One of the more difficult aspects of planning a volunteer event is location. Not everyone has a huge green backyard to host a soccer tournament, so seeking out a local park or community soccer stadium is the only way to accommodate the event. Fortunately, Big Brothers Big Sisters has a beautiful, green campus with a shaded soccer field.

We are still considering other options including a local park close to GDG’s HQ and our local soccer team.

Bottom Line: We have our hopes on using a local soccer stadium, but we are still in the process of confirming a location.

GDG Tip: Options, options, and more options! You can’t depend upon one location to be available the day of your event especially during the busy summer months, so make sure you have at least three options available.

PART FOUR: GAIN SPONSORS

As a growing start-up, we can’t do it all quite yet, so we need support from the community. If you’re growing too, you may need support in the form of food, amenities, or just general sponsorships or donations.

We are reaching out to local businesses to receive support in the form of volunteers, food donations, and general donations. Not only is this a great way to communicate their brand but also offer a fun-filled afternoon for well-deserving youth.

This can prove to be a challenge as sponsorships are difficult to obtain- many companies do not offer community support or don’t see the value in donating.

GDG Tip: To prevent unresponsive or disinterested sponsors, clearly communicate the benefits of the sponsorship and how this will benefit your non-profit partner. If they can visualize how their support will benefit the nonprofit, they will be much more likely to donate.

We are only 27 days away from our big volunteer day, and there is still so much left to do! Keep following our story on the blog as we plan the best volunteer event ever!