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Day-By-Day Volunteering Guide

Each new day brings an opportunity to give back and do good. To help you fit service into your schedule, we’ve compiled ideas tailored to every day of the week. Refer back to this calendar of recommendations all year long for instant inspiration.

ONLY A MINUTE MONDAY

Mondays can be a bit manic. With many people getting back into the swing of work and organizing the week ahead, there are precious few minutes to spare. Here are some super-quick ideas for helping, even without leaving your home or office.

  • Make a donation. Which cause resonates with you? With a couple clicks of your mouse, you can contribute in a tangible way. Even just $5 can be a big help for many organizations. Be sure to do your due diligence to get the most from your contribution.
  • Sign a petition. Sometimes the difference between change and inaction is a matter of signatures. Sign a petition online and get your issue one step closer to resolution.
  • Share. Maybe it’s an article on social justice. Maybe it’s an important cause that needs funding. Whatever speaks to you, speak out on social media. Sharing can be a powerful tool in spreading the word, spreading awareness and raising funds. All it takes is a click.
  • Practice random acts of kindness. It takes only a second to smile. And sometimes a smile from a stranger on a bad day can really turn things around for someone else. Do something small for another today.

TWO-FOR-TUESDAY

When you have a friend to encourage you and keep you company, volunteering becomes even more fun. Make Tuesday your day to grab a friend—or two—and give back together.

  • Pitch in with school programs. It takes a lot to run a school, and a trusted pair of volunteers can lighten the load by engaging students in activities. Get in touch with a local elementary or middle school and ask if you and your friend can come in and host or help with an activity.
  • Help repair a home. Fixing things around the house isn’t just easier when there are two of you—it’s also safer. Visit your aging neighbors and ask if they need help around the house. From cleaning out the gutters to fixing a leaky faucet, your buddy will prove essential holding a flashlight or stabilizing your ladder.
  • Deliver meals and meds. If you have a car and a license, you can help deliver essentials to those without reliable transportation. You can transport food with Meals on Wheels or bring medicine to neighbors in need through Project Hope .
  • Show you care. Care packages are a great way to connect to someone far away while also providing them with necessary goods. A friend can help you brainstorm contents, go shopping, put it all together and package it up nicely for an active military member overseas or families in community shelters.
  • Pay a visit. Time, attention, stories and laughter are among the greatest gifts you can give and share—especially to anyone who may be experiencing loneliness. Take a friend to visit those in nearby homeless shelters, nursing homes or children’s hospitals.  

WORKPLACE WEDNESDAY

Could your office use a little team building excitement? Maybe you have specialized skills that could benefit those in need. In any case, you’ll do an excellent job of helping others with these hump day ideas.

  • Rally the troops. Work at an office? No matter the size of your organization, there is power in numbers. Organize a volunteer day so you can support a good cause and boost staff morale in a big way.
  • Share your knowledge. Is there a career fair happening near you? Or how about a career day at your child’s school? By showing up and sharing your wisdom, you can inspire young kids to get on a fulfilling path or open their eyes to new options.
  • Host a shadow day. Let a promising high school student in your community shadow you for a day at the office. Show him or her the ins and outs of your line of work and encourage them to pursue what interests them most.
  • Use your skills for good. Local nonprofits benefit greatly from skills-based volunteering. From accounting to carpentry to technology—and everything in between—ask organizations how you can apply your specialized talents to help their cause.
  • Contact local businesses for support. Help make charity fundraisers big successes by asking local businesses to donate goods or services as event sponsors. Offer them signage and other promotional mentions in exchange for their participation.

THRIVE THURSDAY

What do you think of when you hear the word "thrive”? Health? Wealth? Happiness? Use Thursday to help those around you thrive in all of these ways and more.

  • Feed the hungry. For some, having enough to eat is a challenge. Volunteer at a local homeless shelter and help serve or prepare a meal for those who are hungry in your community.
  • Coach. Kids need a healthy dose of physical activity to thrive. Sports satisfy this need while teaching important lessons about teamwork and cooperation. Check in with your local recreational and school teams to see if they are looking for extra hands.
  • Offer financial guidance. For many Americans, saving money and handling finances responsibly is a tall order—perhaps something they never learned. That’s why it’s important to teach kids before they’re on their own. You can also help struggling adults in your area make their financial future brighter with financial literacy and by helping them access public benefit programs.
  • Teach English. Depending on the cultural makeup of your area, you may have neighbors whose English language skills are preventing them from thriving, particularly when it comes to work or school. See if your local learning centers have any opportunities.
  • Lend a listening ear. Are you someone that others turn to in times of stress and turmoil? If you’re a good listener and enjoy empowering others to overcome personal strife, volunteer at a crisis hotline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or Crisis Call Center

FURRY FRIDAY

Your human neighbors aren’t the only ones who may need help. This Friday, lend a paw to your furry—and not so furry—friends at a local shelter or in your very own backyard.

  • Take a walk. Volunteer to walk a neighbor’s dog—or better yet, walk the dogs at a local shelter. Rescued dogs love all the attention they can get and need plenty of exercise.
  • Open your home. Love animals but you’re not ready for the commitment? Foster a pet, even if it’s only for a week. They’ll delight in having a safe home.
  • Feed birds. Set up a bird feeder to nourish your local flyers. But do it right. Research the typical food of your native species and see if your local shop carries it.
  • Come to the rescue. If you see an injured critter, there’s something you can do. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Information Directory is a great resource on what to do and who to contact.
  • Help a shelter. Your local animal shelter would probably appreciate help with many aspects of their daily operations.

SERVICE DAY SATURDAY

Saturday is full of opportunities for the entire family to give back in a big, fun way. Many major, all-day events take place on Saturdays. Find one near you and get involved!

  • Find a festival. Most towns host a festival, fair or other similar celebratory all-day affair. And it takes a village to put them together. Your help—whether handling check ins, handing out T-shirts or cleaning up afterwards—will be greatly appreciated.
  • Join the race. Charity races are great for raising funds and bringing a community together. How can you help? Assist racers with registration. Work on the set-up and clean-up committees. Pass out water along the course.
  • Hold a drive. Organize a food, book, school supply or coat drive in your area, and inspire your community members to give what they don’t need to those who are in need.
  • Farm. Local farms tend to raise the healthiest livestock and yield the cleanest, healthiest foods. Take the family on a drive through the country and volunteer at a farm harvesting produce, milking cows, raking plots or whatever is needed!

FUN IN THE SUNDAY

Spend your Sunday reconnecting with nature while improving your community—making it safer and more beautiful.

  • Clean a river. Take the day, gather a team and clean trash from your nearest river, pond or lake. If it’s chilly, you can clean the banks only, and make a game to see which team collects the most.
  • Get your hands dirty. Community gardens are great places to bring your neighbors together for a common, healthy cause. Find therapy in planting and trimming, and donate your next harvest to a local food bank or homeless shelter.
  • Blaze a trail. If you’re lucky, you live near a park. No matter the size, if it’s a place people roam, the space needs maintaining. Pack a picnic lunch and spend the afternoon clearing paths of debris or blazing new ones.
  • Assist rangers. State parks in particular need help from generous community members like you to maintain the health and safety of native plants and wildlife. Ask the park ranger how you can help, including conducting nesting surveys or managing natural resources.
  • Plant trees. Trees play a huge and vital role in our ecosystem. They provide oxygen, stabilize soil, support wildlife and much more. Spend a Sunday planting trees in your community. Just be sure to do it properly and safely—consult this guide for tips.

Don't let your resolutions fall by the wayside. Reinvigorate your promises to yourself while helping others and improving your community.

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