Category Archives: Volunteerism

Host a voting party to select your favorite stories of service during the Strobel Awards!

Each year, Hands On Nashville celebrates Middle Tennessee’s outstanding volunteers through the Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards. More than 140 nominations have been narrowed down to 21 finalists, and now it’s time for you to weigh in!  

You can help ensure these inspiring stories are seen widely by hosting a voting party for friends, family, or colleagues. Act fast because voting closes on June 15!

How to host a voting party in three easy steps: 

1) Schedule a 30-minute event (virtual or in person, but you will need tech to vote) with your guests. This is plenty of time to read all of the great stories, vote for your favorite volunteer in each category, and share on social media. Here is some language to use in the invite if you’d like: Join me for a voting party! Let’s get inspired by Nashville’s amazing volunteers and help them win $1,000 to donate to the charity of their choice. You can also win a $250 Target gift card! Here is the voting page if you want a sneak peak!  

2) During the event, encourage participants to share their favorite stories, favorite volunteers, and favorite agencies. This should be a fun, inspiring, high-energy voting party. Ask if guests have their own inspiring stories to share.   

3) Reserve the last 5 to 10 minutes to ensure that all participants vote for one finalist in each category and then share their excitement/choice on social media — being sure to tag @HONashville. Consider posting a “group photo” from your voting party, too! 

Things to remember: 

  • You can vote for your favorite volunteer once/day from now through June 15. 
  • Each vote automatically enters you into a drawing to win a $250 Target gift card.  
  • The award recipient in each category will receive $1,000 to donate to the nonprofit agency of their choice! 
  • The lucky gift card winner and the Strobel Award recipients will be announced on July 1.

Join us in improving mental health awareness!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and our partner at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has spent the month sharing some amazing resources we would like to pass on to you.

DID YOU KNOW:

  • Previously 1 in 5 people in any given year could have a diagnosable mental health condition. With COVID-19 that is now 1 in three.
  • Youth have been hit disproportionately. With 74 percent of 18-24 years-olds polled by the CDC, reporting an increase in anxiety of depression.
  • Unpaid caregivers of adults reported a 33 percent increase in adverse mental health conditions and an increase suicidal ideation.
  • People having thoughts of self-harm, or are having difficulty with interruptive and persistent thoughts that are interfering with the ability to work, go to school, or maintain relationships, can call the 24-hour TN Mental Health Crisis Line at 855-274-7471.
  • Contact NAMI Davidson County’s weekday Helpline for information on local mental health resources and free evidenced-based, peer-led support groups for people with mental health issues, and their family members at 615-891-4724 or go to namidavidson.org for information.

Hands On Nashville is very fortunate to partner with multiple organizations who specialize in mental health services. If you would like to volunteer with one of our mental health partners, click here.

Happy National Volunteer Week!

It’s National Volunteer Week! And while Hands On Nashville celebrates volunteers every day of the year, we want to mark this occasion by sharing a very special and sincere THANK YOU with the volunteers who have given so much of themselves to help their neighbors.

“We are living in a moment that calls for hope and light and love.  Hope for our futures, light to see our way forward, and love for one another.  Volunteers provide all three.  Service — the act of looking out for one another — is part of who we are as a Nation.  Our commitment to service reflects our understanding that we can best meet our challenges when we join together.  This week, we recognize the enduring contributions of our Nation’s volunteers and encourage more Americans to join their ranks.”

Read more from the Presidential Proclamation on National Volunteer Week 2021 here.

And visit hon.org to find a volunteer project!

    

Have fun — and make a difference — at work through volunteering

Jan. 29 is National Fun at Work Day, and while it can sometimes be hard to think about “fun” and “work” in the same sentence, there’s never been a better time to find creative ways to engage and bond with your co-workers.  

One of the most fun and fulfilling team-building exercises is volunteering!  

Robert Half survey found that 61% of U.S. workers believe that taking part in charitable activities outside work makes them feel better and allows them to be more effective on the job. Many companies have responded to this by offering paid volunteer time for their employees, or by organizing volunteer projects for employees. Volunteering is a fantastic way to foster communication and trust within an employee team — and it has the incredible benefit of strengthening the community. 

“It felt good to be able to do something for someone else during the pandemic. Teachers do so much for their students, so it was important to me to be able to give back to them and let them know how much they mean to us.” — Debbie M., volunteer with Ingram Content Group 

COVID-19 has made it difficult for large employee groups to gather for many types of volunteer projects. That’s why Hands On Nashville’s corporate engagement team works hard to curate safe and creative volunteer project options for companies wanting to engage their employees in service. 

In 2020, employee volunteers assembled more than 5,000 care kits for seniors, students, individuals experiencing homelessness, teachers, and veterans. Those kits could be assembled and personalized at home, and many employees enjoyed including their own families in the fun. 

Other employee volunteers in 2020 took part in safe and socially distanced tree plantings, or done-in-a-day tech projects that strengthened local nonprofits’ core functions. 

This year, when thinking about making work more fun — and meaningful — what could that mean for your team? 

If you’re interested in learning more about volunteer projects for your company, we’d love to hear from you! 

2020 volunteerism by the numbers

In spite of — and because of — all the challenges of 2020, Nashville volunteers made a strong showing in 2020. The numbers below reflect a community that shows up for its neighbors. We are grateful for you. See you in 2021!  

OVERVIEW 

Volunteers who signed up to serve: 52,000+ 

New hon.org volunteer registrations: 34,000+ 

Projects on the calendar: 6,600+ 

Virtual or remote projects: 440+ 

New long-term or flexibly scheduled projects: 160+ 

Economic value volunteers created for community partners: $2.29 million 

SKILLS-BASED AND LONG-TERM SERVICE 

• HON placed 23 AmeriCorps members at 13 local nonprofits for a yearlong term of service. 

• HON’s GeekCause volunteers completed 24 tech projects, which saved our community partners $169,773

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT 

• The corporate engagement team enlisted 1,265 volunteers who donated 6,100+ hours of their time to support 13 local nonprofits. 

• Several employee teams utilized new at-home and kit-based project models to create 5,000+ care packages for teachers, students, veterans, individuals experiencing homelessness, and seniors. Those at-home projects allowed many to engage their families in their volunteer activities.

DISASTER RESPONSE   

• Individuals who signed up to help with disaster relief: 35,000+ 

• Individuals who volunteered at a disaster-relief project (some many times): 11,200+  

• Disaster-relief projects completed since March: 2,300+ 

Five ways to make a difference in 2021

What a year it’s been. It’s hard to imagine what life will look like after such a chaotic and challenging 2020. We know one thing for sure: Nashville’s needs aren’t going away just because the calendar flips over to 2021. Volunteers will still be needed. They’re the gift that keeps on giving to the community all year long.  

So, what can you do? 

Here are five easy ways to make a difference in 2021: 

1. Commit to volunteer 3 hours per month 

It’s so easy through hon.org! Sign up to volunteer with more than 200 local organizations. Fly solo or serve as a family or team, find an in-person or virtual project, enjoy an outdoors project, or even select a project where you can utilize your creative or technical skills.   

2. Donate to empower other volunteers 

Independent Sector says volunteer time is valuable: It’s worth $27.20 per hour! That means volunteers who donate three hours of their time each month are essentially donating $81.80 monthly to the organization they help. So maybe your schedule is packed and there’s no time to volunteer. Can you commit to donate $81.80 each month — the equivalent of three hours of volunteering? Any amount helps HON cultivate active volunteers. Click here to set up your sustaining donation now

3. Give while you shop  

Add Hands On Nashville to your Amazon Smile account. It’s totally free and allows your regularly scheduled shopping to benefit the community automatically. 

4. Use your paid volunteer hours if you have them 

Many companies offer paid time off for their employees to volunteer. Don’t let this benefit go to waste! If your company doesn’t already offer paid volunteer time, ask if that’s something they’d be willing to implement in the future! Or maybe even ask your boss if your colleagues could volunteer as a teambuilding exercise. Need ideas on where to go and what to do? That’s why HON is here! 

5. Like, share, and comment on HON’s social media posts

Every time you engage with one of our posts, it increases our reach on social. And when our reach on social grows, we are able to recruit more volunteers and meet more critical needs in the community. Stop doom scrolling and get inspired! Check us out on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn.

Boosting volunteerism is easy no matter your budget

Did you know that charitable giving is good for your health? At the end of a difficult year, we could all use that immune system boost. The good news is it’s easier than ever spread the love for your favorite organizations no matter what your budget looks like. Here are three super easy ways you can show support for HON and our mission to meet needs through volunteerism: 

1. Set it (a sustaining donation) and forget it  
Don’t get us wrong — one-time donations are fantastic! But did you know you can set up a monthly, quarterly, or annual donation to HON? Sustaining donations help HON plan our budget for maximum impact. No gift is too small — even a $5 sustaining monthly gift makes a big difference to us. 

2. Start a fundraiser on Facebook or Instagram  
There’s power in numbers! Use this link to set up a fundraiser for HON on Facebook. Or, in Instagram stories, go to the sticker menu and select the “donation” icon. Search for “HONashville.” When you post a story with the HON donation sticker, your followers will be able to donate with just a couple of taps!  

3. Like, share, and comment on HON’s social media posts
Every time you engage with one of our posts, it increases our reach on social. And when our reach on social grows, we are able to recruit more volunteers and meet more critical needs in the community. So YES, Virginia, spending all that time on social media really CAN do some good! Check us out on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn.