Superior Service

Across the nation, people are heading out today to service to commemorate to MLK Holiday. Folks are building bookshelves, painting murals, gardening (or as a colleague of mine would say, “digging ditches”) and much more. They are helping non profit organizations be better. Or so we would think.

What would you think if I said the time that they are putting in may not make a difference at all?

Now, I know many would give me the side-eye for saying that, but it very well might be the case. Here’s why: study after study has shown that the best type of service project for a non-profit organization may, in fact, be those that don’t involve using your hands to make them better but those that involve using your noggin’.

I could bore you with stats, but I won’t. Instead, allow me to serve up a simple example:

You decide that for MLK Day you’ll lend a hand to the local soup kitchen. You spend the day sorting cans and sprucing up their pantry. At the end of a long day, you and the other volunteers are pretty satisfied.

Three months later, the soup kitchen’s pantry is back in disarray and the problem they had with their website – site exists.

My point: while hands-on service is a must, consider how you can serve an organization for the long-haul. Are you an IT whiz? Maybe you can donate a few hours of your time to an org that is having major web issues. Love marketing? Help a non-profit that doesn’t have a clue. In the end, they’ll be a lot better for it.

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