Nothing changes a community for the better like volunteering. Whether you’re organizing a food or clothing drive, securing the safety of your neighbors or cleaning up your streets, doing good connects you with others in meaningful ways. And it creates and cultivates a community that cares.
Involve others to increase your influence
The best things in life are enjoyed with others—and volunteering is no exception. In fact, involving others in volunteering can increase the positive effects you have on your neighbors and community as a whole.
Helping others in your community go green is a great, easy way to get the neighbors involved. Consider starting a community garden nearby or coordinating a river cleanup. Even a walking group can drastically improve the environment in your community, boosting air and water quality by reducing reliance on cars. Plus, it’s a great way to stay socially connected with friends.
If you really want to see the results pile up—literally!—then consider organizing a food, book or coat drive for local schools or shelters. The more people you involve, the more donations will tally up. Plus, you may be surprised at how many new friends you meet in the process.
And don’t forget the four-legged members of your community. There are plenty of ways to help the animals near you, too.
Strengthen your bonds to boost safety
Strong community bonds encourage more caring and open communication among people, which can improve safety for everyone.
One of the easiest ways to make your community safer is by organizing sidewalk and street surveys . Teaching others how to conduct “walkability” surveys—and then recommending improvements to your local representatives—can transform your community by encouraging more pedestrians and reducing vehicle pollution in the process. It can also spur social interaction among neighbors and empower community members to actively improve their surroundings.
Similarly, you can conduct safety surveys among your neighbors too. How safe do they feel day to day? Do they have ideas for improving safety? Develop a small set of questions, deliver them to those around you and take the results to your local community meetings.
Organizing a paper shredding gathering may sound odd, but it’s another simple way to improve your community’s safety. You can improve your neighbors’ peace of mind and protect them from financial fraud by disposing of everyone’s sensitive documents.
Connect with community members
Not only can volunteering with community members impact others, it can improve your life as well. Working with those around you can be a great way to meet new people and make friends, especially if you’re new to the community.
Post your email address and ideas to improve your community to local bulletin boards in community centers, schools, shelters, volunteer organizations, museums, places of worship—anywhere your neighbors gather. Consider starting a Meetup group to streamline the process, host a volunteer brainstorming session at your house—and make it a potluck—or organize a meeting in a local park. There are plenty of ways to make familiar faces of each of your neighbors while doing good!
Many hands make light work—especially when it comes to volunteering. Create the Good helps you find the help you need to make the most impact. Share and manage volunteer opportunities to get the word out to your community members. Also consider putting ads on Craigslist or in your local papers.
Building a caring community networkhas an immediate and lasting impact. You can help others through rough spots or figure out how older neighbors can remain in their homes. In turn, that network will then be there for you if you need the support in the future.