A sea of yellow shirts made its way around Manchester as the New Hampshire Meltwater office volunteered for a day with a local organization, Families in Transition. When the volunteer committee first started planning this day, we never imagined how smoothly it would go, or how much fun we’d have! Impacting our local community, strengthening team bonds, and having fun! All in a day’s work.
In this post we are sharing how this event unfolded, and what your office or team can do to organize a volunteering day of your own.
How we helped our local Community
We started the morning with plenty of hearty breakfast burritos and fresh fruit. Afterwards we had a “kickoff” meeting where we finalized teams, reviewed each team’s responsibilities for the day, and finally took a group picture on the roof of our building.
Thereafter, the three teams split up to go their separate ways: OutFITters Unlimited, New Horizons, and Family Place.
Team One at OutFITters Unlimited (a thrift store whose proceeds fund the organization) was in charge of sorting through incoming donations for the store. They dug through and organized clothes, household goods, CDs, DVDs, books, and even Halloween costumes. A volunteer organizer at the store said they’d never seen their clothes bins so empty after we were done! The team moved on to help in the retail area, removing goods that had been on the shelves beyond an expiration period, and rearranging goods moved by customers.
Team Two at New Horizons also did their share of moving and organizing goods for the well-known soup kitchen. Dozens of boxes of toiletry donations were sorted and inventoried in preparation for distribution to people in need. Some of the team worked the food line to hand out fruits, vegetables and baked goods collected from local grocery stores while other members filled plates in the kitchen with food grown from the organization’s greenhouse. They also built take-home food boxes to be handed out over the coming week.
Team Three at Family Place, a shelter and headquarters for family and children (including Manchester’s only emergency shelter), attacked the daunting task of clearing out the location’s basement. Shelves were full of pantry items, baby food and formula, diapers, paper towels, cleaning supplies, toiletries, other random knick knacks, household goods, toys, and donations that had been stored down there. Without elevators, the team successfully emptied out the area and coordinated transfer of the goods to some of the organization’s other locations.
All teams finished out the day strong, and left the day with smiles and sweat, feelings of accomplishment and pride, and hearts full.
Recommendations for organizing a Volunteering Day
If your office or team wants to organize a volunteer day, here are some tips:
- Keep critical office functions running. Ensure that critical functions in your office remain staffed, but otherwise open the volunteer activity to all members of your office.
- Align charity work to number of volunteers, & be flexible. Pick a charity that has the right amount of work for your volunteers. Many organizations may not be able to utilize a large number of volunteers at a single location and single day. Be willing to divide volunteers across a few different locations.
- Have fun and focus on the goal: helping your local community!
Other Useful Tips
- Randomize volunteer teams! This definitely helps promote relationships across usual team boundaries.
- Get matching shirts! Having our yellow shirts really helped the Meltwater volunteers stand out, and helped strengthen identity in us.
- Schedule a group breakfast and wrap-up. The breakfast kickoff really helped set the tone for the day, and one of the retro comments we heard was a group wrap-up would be better if it was planned officially.
- Bring your own water and snacks. Especially if there is a lot of manual labor involved.
All in all, we hope reading this inspires you to coordinate a volunteer day for your company, office, or team. If you have any questions about how the New Hampshire Meltwater volunteers planned their day, please reach out!