No doubt you’ve heard of the Butterfly Effect. In simple terms, this means that a small act can create a major impact. That’s how we like to think of Make a Difference Day. On October 22, 2022, people around the country (and even the world) will commit to volunteer work, acts of kindness, mentorship, and more.

There’s no need to join the effort alone, either. Rally your team and commit to a cause that you all are passionate about–the more the merrier. Offering opportunities for volunteering to your team can lead to stronger employee engagement, morale, and empathy.

Not sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled a list of seven ways your team can lead the charge on Make a Difference Day.

7 Ways to Make a Difference at Work

1. Support a Local, National, or Global Cause

While traveling to a disaster zone or even to a different country to volunteer is admirable, it isn’t possible for everyone. Look no further than in your local community. You can count on numerous local and national causes that likely need an extra pair of hands or your donation even more.

Consider reaching out to your town’s local chapter or version of one of the following causes:

  • Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization
  • Soup kitchens
  • The Boys’ and Girls’ Club
  • Domestic violence shelters
  • Elderly care homes
  • Homeless shelters
  • After-school programs for underprivileged kids
  • Local library volunteering
  • Fund a local classroom with supplies
  • Military veteran volunteer programs
  • Tree planting, litter collecting, & other environmental causes

If you want a service-based activity that everyone can do in the office, Tools for Schools would be more up your charitable alley. Ensuring kids at your local school have the supplies they need to excel is a way to give back and invest in their future.

If you want to get your team especially hyped, we recommend incorporating an element of surprise into your give-back equation. The Do Good Bus is one way to do that. Your team will hop on a bus and, together, you all will go to a surprise location to make a difference.

2. Put Your Skills to Good Use by Mentoring

No doubt, there’s diverse talent on your team. From technical hard skills to valuable soft skills, your team has a lot to offer the community. Mentoring can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved. Chances are, you will learn a lot from them too.

Here are a few mentoring ideas that could make a huge impact in your community:

  • Offer resume and/or cover letter review sessions at your local library.
  • Take on a young intern (or two), let them shadow you, and learn essential workplace skills.
  • Good at accounting? Consider hosting a financial literacy workshop at your local community center.
  • Have natural leaders on your team? Encourage them to mentor at-risk youth who may need a positive role model.

3. Create a Little Free Pantry in Your Neighborhood

Have you ever seen a miniature house-like structure on stilts at a street corner or in front of a place of worship? Chances are it’s a Little Free Pantry. Here’s how it works–the pantry contains non-perishable food and personal products for anyone who needs them. No questions asked. The pantry remains unlocked, so not only can those in need benefit, but anyone in the community can donate/restock the pantry at any time.

Not sure what to include in your Little Free Pantry? We suggest reaching out to your local homeless shelter or soup kitchen to determine which items might be in high demand. In the meantime, here’s a list we’ve put together to get your team’s Little Free Pantry going:

  • Soups with pop-tops
  • Canned beans
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned meat
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Bottled water
  • Snacks, such as crackers, peanuts, etc.
  • Female hygiene products
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Warm socks

You’ve also probably seen the other little house structures, Little Free Libraries. With our Little Team Library, your team will do just that and create a permanent neighborhood book exchange in the community while having fun and making connections.

4. Commit to Acts of Kindness

You can inspire change in small ways. For instance, see someone who is having a bad day? Offer a compliment. Witness a single parent struggling with their kids at a local diner? Tell your server you’d like to cover their bill, too. In line at a fast-food drive-thru? Pay for the order of the car behind you. A small act of kindness can go a long way, and even inspire the recipient to pay it forward–causing a chain reaction towards even more change.

5. Spread the Word and Commit Long-term

While Make a Difference Day only lasts for 24 hours, it’s essential to commit to making a difference all year long. A simple way to give back is to raise awareness of this cause. Your enthusiasm could be contagious and that’s a great thing. 

Take a look at a few simple ways you can spread the word about Make a Difference Day and get more people to join in the effort:

  • Allocate space on your company’s website that gives details about how you plan to spend Make a Difference Day.
  • Circulate flyers or simple posters around town announcing the date, time, location, and other logistics.
  • Contact your local activist groups and combine forces.
  • Invite your employees to bring their families along, and offer incentives for soliciting volunteers.

6. Donate to a Cause (or Two)

Not everyone has the time or energy to engage in hands-on volunteering. No problem! Find a local charity or cause that you can donate money or other resources. Some organizations experience funding issues, and a lack of resources can inhibit their ability to make a difference.

Besides making a monetary donation, take a look at a few creative ways to give back with what you already have on hand:

  • Host a company-wide yard sale, inviting families to bring their unwanted items. At the end of the day, 100% of the proceeds can go to a charity you all agree to support.
  • Loan out your conference room or some other large space in your office to a local charity or cause.
  • If you can’t volunteer on October 22nd, commit to a different date later in the year.

7. Focus on Underserved Communities

People from marginalized and/or impoverished backgrounds, children, and the elderly are often the most in need of an extra hand–or simply deserving of an experience many of us have taken for granted. 

For example, The Charity Bike Build is one way to help local kids in need experience a basic pillar of childhood–the joy of owning and riding a bike. No matter how you choose to spend Make a Difference Day, choose a cause or group of people you feel might benefit the most.

Ready to Create Change on Make a Difference Day?

When your team bands together on Make a Difference Day, one thing is certain–your collective action will serve as a beacon of light for those you help. 

It’s important to seek input from your team about causes they are passionate about. Or, if everyone prefers a more organized approach, offering them a variety of charitable activities to choose from can save everyone time and energy. That way you all can focus on what’s most important–making a difference.

Anna Webber

Team Contributor

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