Beyond National Volunteer Month: Sustaining Engagement

By Ann Echols
May, 2024


Centre County Gazette - April 30, 2024

By ANN ECHOLS/Volunteer Centre County

As April comes to a close, the emphasis on promoting volunteerism may wane, but this shouldn’t stop actual volunteer engagement. Motivation to volunteer should increase after April.

Nonprofits often ramp up their activities after April because the weather warms up. So, outdoor activities like community clean-ups, youth camps, gardening and yard projects, events and fundraisers need the energy and enthusiasm volunteers and supporters can bring.

Ways to easily boost community impact are easier to achieve during spring and summer. You can leverage nonprofits’ needs for small groups of volunteers by using their opportunities as a reason to get together with friends and family.

Giving back while having fun and feeling good about a shared experience enhances bonding. Want to get to know someone better but not sure how? Invite them and others to volunteer. The opportunity of working together may give rise to talking about issues and common interests. Simple things like walking dogs, taking water samples or helping clean up can create fun memories while serving great causes.

Or, if you are doing some spring cleaning and home improvements, consider donating your goods to nonprofits in need. Several volunteer community partners take home goods, furnishings and even used building materials. Other community partners may be looking for nice items to offer in a fundraising auction. Used books, gardening tools, towels for pet bedding: these items can help local nonprofits.

And, what about upcoming birthday parties? Host a giving-back party. Collect CATA coins, paper towels, toilet paper or individually wrapped snacks or ask everyone to donate towards a larger item like a projector that is needed by a local community partner. Community partners have online wish lists too, which makes giving super simple. Create boxes for children in the hospital or note cards for soldiers in need of support from their homeland. These good deeds bring a sense of satisfaction and happiness to those involved.

Still not feeling philanthropic? That’s okay! There are still plenty of ways to support local nonprofits. Attend their events. These fun and engaging events, festivals and fundraisers need lots of attendees, so why not go? Giving back can be in the form of attendance, which shows support. And, if you can’t attend, simply advocate for the causes you believe in and offer encouragement.

Help spread the word about the nonprofits’ good works, service and happenings in Centre County. Word of mouth is great advertising for any organization. There are plenty of ways to help make Centre County better for everyone.

Volunteer Centre County is an online portal (website and app) that makes looking for ways to give non-monetarily in Centre County simple. It is a one-stop place where over 95 local charities’ needs for volunteers and donated goods are promoted.

If you do desire to give monetarily, Centre Gives will soon be here. Centre Gives is Centre Foundation’s 36-hour online giving event that begins at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8, and ends at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 9.

Centre County is a remarkable place where attention to doing good for others is prioritized.