Find and Support Your Local United Way

Author: Mei Cobb

Mei Cobb

Mei Cobb

Mei Cobb is Director, Volunteer & Employee Engagement at United Way Worldwide headquartered outside of Washington, DC.   United Way is a global network with a presence in 41 countries and has 1800 local organizations.  United Way advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, income and health. Prior to her work at United Way, Mei served as Senior Vice President for the Points of Light Foundation, founded in 1990 by former President George H.W. Bush.  Mei led all programming and was in charge of Infrastructure Development & Delivery Systems.  During her fifteen year tenure with the Foundation, her responsibilities included the development of and partnership with the 350 local affiliates of the Volunteer Center National Network.  In addition, her portfolio included corporate volunteering, youth and family volunteering, international and disaster volunteering.  Mei is also a partner with VIP GlobalNet and an international consultant and trainer on volunteering.  She is a strong advocate for the leadership role Volunteer Centers play to help impact serious social problems in local communities throughout the world.  She has consulted, designed and conducted training in 21 countries on 6 continents.  She most recently worked with the Emirates Foundation in the United Arab Emirates. Earlier in her career, Mei was Vice President, Volunteer Services at the United Way of San Diego County and worked at the United Way of Escambia County and the United Way of Greater Milwaukee.

Global Youth Service Day


The celebration of volunteering in April continues. Global Youth Service Day, held on April 17-19 this year, will mobilize and celebrate the millions of young people who improve their communities each day of the year through service.


Celebrate Volunteering in April


It is springtime in the U.S., the trees are budding and the flowers are blooming.  April is the perfect month to bring attention to volunteers and the new life they bring to their communities, whether through a yearlong commitment to national service, episodic volunteering, or  even microvolunteering.


From Tasmania: A New Take on the Value of Volunteering


Recently I’ve shared insights from new research on measuring volunteer impact, why episodic volunteers keep coming back, and employee motivations for volunteering. Another report, from Tasmania, Australia, offers an interesting take on the economic value of volunteering.


Cesar Chavez and Volunteering: Standing up for Others


At its core, volunteering means standing up for others. As the founder and president of the United Farm Workers of America, Cesar Chavez gave much of himself and his life to advocate for and to improve the lives of others. And so on March 31st, Cesar Chavez Day, we celebrate his birthday and honor his life and work by promoting service to the community. 


United Way Alternative Spring Break:  South Mississippi


Brett Johnson is a senior studying political science and communication at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. As a student leader preparing to graduate, he has opted to spend his senior spring break on the Magnolia Coast serving others as a part of United Way's Alternative Spring Break program in partnership with the United Way of South Mississippi . . . This is his story.


Looking for Work-Life Balance? Volunteer.


Feeling stressed, unhappy and like you have too much on your plate? Does the thought of volunteering seem impossible, given you don’t have a minute to spare? Consider this: working people who volunteer are happier with their work-life balance than those who don't volunteer.


Spending Saturday at the Mall, Volunteering


When Greater Twin Cities United Way was looking for a big way to spread the word about volunteering, the organization picked a Minnesota landmark where lots of people go: the Mall of America. On Valentine’s Day 2015, United Way was one of eight nonprofit organizations offering “speed volunteering” activities during the 10th annual HandsOn Twin Cities Volunteer Expo, which included more than 80 nonprofits gathered at the Mall of America promoting their work.


What Causes Episodic Volunteers to Keep Coming Back?


Understanding the motivations and satisfaction of episodic volunteers – those who volunteer on a periodic or recurring basis rather than in an ongoing capacity – is something we in the nonprofit community need to take the time to do really well. That’s the key takeaway from recent research that examines what leads episodic volunteers to return on a regular basis.


Measuring Volunteer Impact


When you volunteer, have you ever wondered if your service really made a difference beyond what you could see for yourself? Take heart; a recent study found that more than half of nonprofit organizations are exploring a range of ways to measure the value and impact of volunteer service.


Volunteers Decide to Go Read Across America


“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” So writes Dr. Seuss in Oh, The Places You’ll Go. On Read Across America Day, United Way volunteers have decided where to go to read this children’s classic: local child care centers and schools, to help build a nation of readers.


Taking a Closer Look at Employee Volunteering


Companies increasingly have organized volunteer programs to encourage their employees to volunteer in the community. We need more research that explores workplace volunteering, so United Way decided to contribute to a new study that takes a closer look at corporate volunteering programs and employee motivations for participating.


VISTA Volunteers: 50 Years of Taking on Poverty


What do more than 80 United Ways and the 36th President of the United States have in common?  A not-so-secret weapon for combating poverty: the AmeriCorps Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) program. President Lyndon B. Johnson initiated the VISTA program in 1965 as a domestic complement to the Peace Corps to combat poverty through national service.  Since then, the program has recruited and mobilized 190,000 full-time, year-long volunteers to serve with organizations on capacity-building projects addressing poverty.


Volunteers and Valentines


United Way Fox Cities recently combined volunteers and valentines to promote literacy among children and healthy eating for families at the Valentine’s Family Festival. The free, fun, family-oriented event is organized annually by United Way Fox Cities Emerging Leaders, a group of young adult volunteers committed to making a difference in the Menasha, Wisconsin area.


Youth & Volunteering: More Powerful Together


According to a recent Associated Press – GfK poll, volunteering was the only civic activity that adults under 30 were just as likely to rate as very important as older people. This is a positive sign for our immediate and long-term future, if we can continue to nurture volunteering and community engagement among young people.  Volunteering can bring about new experiences and genuine connections that can alter the way youth think about their world and approach problems, while honing their capacity to recognize the things they have in common with people who may seem very different from them.


Volunteer to Practice Random Acts of Kindness


With our call to Give, Advocate and Volunteer to improve conditions in our communities, United Way encourages acts of kindness every day. Random Acts of Kindness Week (February 9-15), however, is a great time to do good works in a spontaneous sort of way and to bolster our intention make volunteering and other more structured acts of kindness a regular part of our life throughout the year.


United Nations Volunteers: Recognizing the Role of Volunteers in Eradicating Poverty


Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, perfectly summed up the important role volunteers play in our world.  Volunteering, he said, “is a source of community strength, resilience, solidarity and social cohesion. It brings positive social change by fostering respect for diversity, equality and the participation of all. It is among society’s most vital assets.


Retirees Who Volunteer


Volunteers of all ages continue to inspire me. Whether they are teenagers helping to prepare tax returns or seniors sharing their time, experience and good will, people of all ages are finding that volunteering is part of an active, healthy and independent lifestyle.


Reimagining Service: A Springboard to Strategic Volunteer Engagement


Since 2009, Reimagining Service has sought to increase the impact of volunteers through new research and practices as well as initiatives that have changed the way the corporate, nonprofit and public sectors engage volunteers. The coalition has helped shift “the mindset of organizations and individuals regarding the value of volunteers” by highlighting “compelling data and exemplary organizations to demonstrate that strategic volunteer engagement is a cost-effective approach to building organizational capacity.”


EITC Awareness Day: Volunteers and Tax Returns


I recently learned about high school students who are volunteering to help prepare tax returns for people who are low-income, elderly, disabled or speak limited English. While many United Ways offer the opportunity for adults to participate in Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs, I am especially inspired by these students and want to share their story to promote EITC Awareness Day.


United Way Celebrates Volunteers in India


Throughout the world, volunteers make a difference by showing up, helping out and inspiring others to get involved. Volunteer events celebrating the contributions of volunteers, such as India’s second annual National Volunteering Week, held January 18-25, give United Ways and others a special opportunity to recognize the unique contributions volunteers give to their communities.


National Reading Day:  A Great Day to Read and Volunteer


Today is National Reading Day in the U.S. Before you curl up with your favorite magazine or a new book, remember how you learned to read and consider paying it forward to a young reader. National Reading Day aims to help Pre-K through third grade students develop the literacy skills they need to become lifelong learners. United Way and other nonprofit groups, schools, libraries, parents and volunteers participate in a variety of activities with younger readers on National Reading Day.


Volunteer on Martin Luther King Day: Now is Our Time to Change the World


“Now is our time to change the world. Selma is now.” said the actor and rapper Common upon accepting a 2015 Golden Globe award for a song from the film, “Selma.” The historical drama is based on the 1965 voting rights marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders. As we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King on January 19th, I hope that many will take those words to heart by volunteering, and make the holiday a day on, not just another day off.


5 Reasons to Celebrate Volunteer Mentors


January is National Mentoring Month in the U.S., a good time to celebrate all that volunteer mentors can do to help youth succeed. By making time to develop an ongoing relationship with at-risk youth, mentors can help children:

  1. Avoid using drugs or alcohol;
  2. Get better grades in school;
  3. Develop self-confidence;
  4. Trust their teachers; and
  5. Set goals and raise expectations.

Volunteering: A Path Upward for Disconnected Youth


Consider this: 5.6 million U.S. teens and young adults ages 16 to 24 are neither in school nor working. Many of these “disconnected youth” are simply cut off from education and career paths that could help them live a good life and make positive contributions to our society and our economy.


Employees Show Volunteering to be Part of Active, Healthy and Independent Living


United Way Day of Caring enables employees supporting United Way in communities around the world to engage in hands-on volunteering and to better understand how their service and financial contributions make a difference. United Way of Peel Region’s recent Day of Caring deployed hundreds of volunteers from more than 20 companies in Ontario, Canada to refurbish homes and nonprofits’ offices, pick up litter, plant trees, organize donations to charitable organizations, assemble craft kits, and more. The fact that employees in their twenties to those nearing retirement participated underscores United Way’s commitment to helping people include volunteering as part of an active, healthy lifestyle.


1 in 4 Americans Gives the Gift of Volunteering


The holiday season is a time of celebrations, special moments with family and friends, and of course, gift-giving. I think that one of the greatest gifts, any time of year, is service to others. So it was great to hear that volunteering and service to others continues to be a priority for millions of Americans.


Perspectives on Volunteering and Philanthropy from the Middle East


The Emirates Foundation Youth Philanthropy Summit 2014 was held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in early November and proved to be just as exciting and inspiring as the first summit held in 2013.  As I wrote then and found to be true again this year, it is so wonderful to meet and learn from people from around the world who are committed to volunteer engagement.


Help Wanted: Employers Who Hire National Service Volunteers


Looking to hire good people? Look to national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps, where some of our country’s best and brightest develop essential leadership and problem-solving skills. How to tap into this talented team? Become involved with the Employers of National Service, a federal initiative that promotes recruitment, hiring, and advancement opportunities for job seekers who have served in AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps. United Way is a charter member of the initiative and has joined more than 70 leading employers from the private, public and nonprofit sectors in this effort.  


International Volunteer Day:  A Global Celebration of Volunteers


In recent months I’ve enjoyed sharing news about volunteering from around the world:  Australia, Taiwan, and RomaniaInternational Volunteer Day (IVF), celebrated each year on December 5, is the perfect day to shine a spotlight one more time on inspiring volunteer engagement in places outside the U.S.


Volunteering May be the Key to Happiness and Health (Really!)


The good news keeps coming in: volunteering not only contributes to good physical health as we age, but also good mental health and happiness as well. A recent study, led by the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences, is the first to examine peer-reviewed evidence regarding the psychosocial health benefits of formal volunteering for older adults.


National Family Volunteer Day is Nov. 22


National Family Volunteer Day is held the Saturday before Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday season with giving and service. It is a great day to enjoy the benefits of family volunteering! Volunteering is a wonderful way for families to spend quality time together and expand their horizons by volunteering with and serving others. Volunteering is filled with “teachable moments,” and also provides a way for children to fulfill school community service requirements and develop leadership skills. Volunteering as a family can help inspire a lifetime of service and to being an active member of the community.


Romanians Boosting Employee Engagement Through Volunteering


I had the great opportunity to travel to Bucharest to attend the 10th annual conference of the HR Club, the association of human resource professionals from many of the largest companies throughout Romania. Some 450 Romanians attended, and those I met were very interested in  building employee volunteer programs that help attract, retain and motivate the best and the  brightest.


An International Day of Recognition for Volunteer Managers


November 5, 2014 marks the 15th annual celebration of International Volunteer Managers Day (IVMD). As I wrote in August, volunteer managers are essential to making sure that organized volunteer efforts are creating impact and a positive experience for the volunteer and beneficiary alike. United Way and others offer training and other support for volunteer managers throughout the year, and on November 5th, organizations around the world create special events to honor volunteer managers.


Exploring the Volunteer Landscape in Taiwan


Fresh back to the U.S. from a fantastic speaking and learning opportunity in Australia, I eagerly prepared for my next experience, this time in Taiwan. I traveled there at the invitation of Dr. Shin-shin Chen, from the Department of Social Work at Chaoyang University of Technology in Taichung City, Taiwan to present a series of lectures and workshops on United Way and Volunteer Engagement practices.


Cheers to Volunteers: Make A Difference Day


Volunteers across the U.S. will come together on October 25, 2014 with a common mission – to improve the lives of others. For more than 20 years, USA WEEKEND Magazine, in collaboration with Points of Light, has sponsored Make A Difference Day. Millions are expected to participate, making this the largest national day of community service in the U.S.


What’s Up with Volunteering Down Under?


In mid-September I traveled to the eastern seaboard of Australia, to meet with corporate and nonprofit representatives and talk about what’s new and what’s working in volunteering. Aside from spending lots of hours flying there and back, the experience was eye-opening and inspiring.


Want to Stay Active and Improve Your Health as You Grow Older? Volunteer!


Baby Boomers are living longer lives than their predecessors, but not necessarily healthier lives, according to a study that warns of rising health care costs. The oldest of the Boomers, nearing 70, are looking for ways to reverse this trend.


20 Years of Volunteering to Get Things Done for America


It is fitting that the day after the National Day of Service and Remembrance we will celebrate the power of volunteering in a wholly different way. September 12, 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, a strength of the volunteer movement in the United States.


Volunteer to Honor and Remember


9/11/14 marks the 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.  It is a day to remember and honor those who were lost, their families and the toll it took on all of us. It is the National Day of Service and Remembrance. I hope you will join millions of others on this day who are choosing to honor and remember through volunteer service.


Volunteer Managers: Worth the Investment


Engaging volunteers to help a child succeed in school, a family secure financial stability and a community embrace healthy habits will create a better life for all. United Way and nearly all charitable organizations rely on volunteers to help achieve our missions.  Volunteers are our most valuable asset.  Not only do they help advance the common good, they are goodwill ambassadors for our organizations and many also make financial contributions that sustain our work.


Celebrate Seniors.  Volunteer.


August 21 is National Senior Citizen Day. Created by President Reagan and Congress in 1988, the purpose of the day is to highlight ways to show gratitude to America’s senior citizens.  One way to show older adults that we appreciate their contributions to our society is to volunteer, either alongside them or through projects designed to make life better for them.


International Youth Day:  Youth Volunteering For Youth


International Youth Day (IYD) is observed each year on August 12. Endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999, IYD is an opportunity to draw attention to youth issues worldwide. This year’s theme focuses on “Youth and Mental Health” under the slogan of “Mental Health Matters.”


For a Good Life: Volunteer!


What’s a great way to help ensure healthy, active, and independent living throughout your life? Volunteering. Contributing to your family, peers and community by volunteering is important at every age. When individuals volunteer, they not only help their community but also experience better health in later years, whether in terms of greater longevity, higher levels of functioning or lower rates of depression.


Mandela Day:  A Day to Remember and Volunteer around the World


July 18 is the birthday of the late Nelson Mandela.  Across the globe, he will be remembered for his sacrifices for and leadership in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and his commitment to service.  Volunteers celebrate this legacy on “Mandela Day”, which was created in 2009 to inspire people to serve as he did and as he urged others to do. This year the call to serve on July 18 has inspired over 1,000 activities in 126 countries.  While the activities are as diverse as the volunteers, many of them will focus on this year’s theme of food security.


Tapping in to Next Generation Volunteers and Leaders


Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. What can we do to improve education in our communities? Pledging to become a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor is one way to help children and youth achieve their potential. Another is to tap into the energy of motivated teenagers and help them understand how to contribute to early grade education.


Passion for a Cause: Millennials Want to Work and Volunteer Together


Employers take note. One-third of millennials surveyed said that their companies’ volunteer policies affected their decision to apply for a job, 39 percent said that it influenced their decision to interview, and 55 percent said that such policies played into their decision to accept an offer.


How United Way Spells VOLUNTEER in Romania


Last month hundreds of United Ways across the U.S. and the world brought thousands of volunteers together in a worldwide Day of Action on June 21. 


VISTAs Rally Volunteers to Support Summer Learning


United Way has partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service to bring the talent and commitment of AmeriCorps VISTAs to United Way to help students across the country succeed in low-performing schools. Here’s the first of many updates about their great work.


Good News on Day of Action: United Way Sees Volunteering on the Rise


June 21 is the 7th annual United Way Day of Action, a day when people across the globe volunteer with United Way to make their corner of the world a better place for all.


Volunteers Teach and Learn to Help Improve Financial Stability


United Way Day of Action brings volunteers together throughout the world to help shore up the building blocks of a good life: Education, Income, and Health. Day of Action underscores that we are all connected and interdependent. We all win when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable, when people are healthy. More

Day of Action Mobilizes Volunteers to… Be Active


What better way to volunteer – and to work toward helping people live healthier lives -- than to be active on Day of Action? More

Volunteering, Service and Democracy


Volunteers have shaped the U.S. since its founding and continue to contribute to its protection and prosperity. Benjamin Franklin believed that citizen service was essential to our democracy and founded our country’s first volunteer fire agency. Clara Barton led volunteers to help the wounded in the Civil War and later created the American Red Cross. Jane Addams’ settlement house movement led to significant social reforms for the urban poor.


Volunteer and Celebrate Older Americans


Did you know that older adults are at a much higher risk of unintentional injury than the rest of the population? You can help seniors live more stable and healthier lives by volunteering with United Way throughout the year but especially in May, which is Older Americans Month. More

What Kind of Social Change Agent Are You?


When it comes to advancing the common good, are you a Purposeful Participant, a Social Change Spectator, or something else altogether? And if you work with volunteers, would you like to know more about Ultracommitted Change-Makers and others who are likely to get involved with your cause? More

Volunteer to Thank Teachers


Whether your teachers sparked an interest in something that turned into your career, inspired a lifelong love of reading, or encouraged you when you faltered, teachers deserve our appreciation every day. Here are a few ideas for saying thank you to teachers that you and other volunteers could consider doing during National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 5-9, 2014.


Volunteers Can Bring “Tears of Joy” During Tax Season


Preparing tax returns can be stressful, but for a special group of people, tax season is a joyful time of year. Free tax-preparation programs for eligible people rely on volunteers from January through “Tax Day” to help maximize tax benefits and incentives for families who could use a boost. More

Kids Volunteer to Change the World


You don't need to wait until you grow up to change the world. Children and teens are creating change every day by volunteering. On Global Youth Service Day, April 11-13, 2014, 800+ partners—United Ways, schools, youth organizations, nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations, volunteer and national service programs, government agencies, and other individuals—are coming together to activate young people to improve their communities.  More

United Way Celebrates National Volunteer Week


Volunteers are an essential part of United Way’s work to advance the common good. During National Volunteer Week, April 6-12, 2014, we celebrate hundreds of thousands of United Way volunteers across the U.S. Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week focuses national attention on the impact and power of volunteering and service as an integral aspect of our civic leadership. More

A Volunteer Reflects on Alternative Spring Break in Biloxi


In this final Alternative Spring Break blog post, Iowa State's Nick Kettelkamp shares his experience volunteering at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport, MS. More

A Volunteer Reflects on Alternative Spring Break


Molly Schlagel, a junior at Purdue University, recounts her experience as a volunteer with United Way of South Mississippi, during this year's Alternative Spring Break. More

Con Voluntarios, Sí Se Puede. With Volunteers, It Can Be Done.


Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers union and fought for the rights of voiceless and disenfranchised working men and women. U.S. cities and counties have declared March 31 a holiday in honor of this great American, and Cesar Chavez Day is an official state holiday in Arizona, California, Colorado and Texas. More

Reflections on Alternative Spring Break – Day 5


By Kara Collier, Purdue University: It’s hard to believe that the final day of work at United Way's Alternative Spring Break is already upon us; it’s a bittersweet feeling but we definitely went out with a bang today. Our group joined six other students at Habitat for Humanity to help them finish making a house for a family in need. More

Reflections from Alternative Spring Break - Day 4


As Alternative Spring Breaks wrap up across the country, students reflect on the various service projects they were a part of. In this blog post, Purdue's Kara Collier discusses her work at a local community garden in Biloxi, MS. More

Reflections from Alternative Spring Break - Day 3


Purdue University's Kara Collier shares her experience as a volunteer during Alternative Spring Break in Biloxi, Mississippi. More

Reflections from Alternative Spring Break – Day 2


Learn more about the power of United Way’s Alternative Spring Break in Biloxi, Mississippi from Stacey Kraucunas. Stacey is nineteen and from Connecticut. This is her story. More

Reflections from Alternative Spring Break - Biloxi, MS


Nearly two-dozen college students are in South Mississippi this week as part of United Way’s Alternative Spring Break Program. They came to provide families and individuals with opportunities for a better life, here is a story from one of the participants. More

The Volunteer Spirit in the Digital Age


When disaster strikes, people want to help. Whether they are near or far from the disaster site people want to do what they can. Many times there isn’t anything that can be done when you are far away. But that’s changing. More

Spring Break Alternatives: Have Fun While Giving Back


In some parts of the U.S., “spring break” conjures up images of swim suit-clad college students enjoying warm weather and getting away from it all. More and more students, however, are trading in their swim suits for tool belts and finding that giving back during spring break is just as fun. They have discovered United Way’s Alternative Spring Break. More

Celebrate International Women’s Day


International Women's Day (IWD), which has been observed since the early 1900s, is celebrated annually on March 8. This year, thousands of events are planned to inspire women, celebrate their achievements and identify ways to help create more women leaders. More

Looking on the Bright Side of the New Volunteering Data


While it is troubling that a new report indicates that Americans are volunteering less than they have in over a decade, it is reassuring that United Way’s most recent volunteer data show that we have experienced a 10-year growth in volunteers. More


Join United Way to Read Across America


“You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child." So said Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. It is clever phrasing for such an important task. Reading to children is one of the best things we can do to help them get on and stay on a path to a good life. More

Engaging Employee Volunteers


Civic engagement is on the rise in corporate America, according to the results of the 2013 The Civic 50 survey. More businesses are giving employees the opportunity to volunteer with community organizations and finding that it simultaneously increases their bottom line and employee satisfaction. More

Share the Love – Through Volunteering


This week is Random Acts of Kindness Week with Valentine’s Day on the 14th.  It’s a time to “share the love” and to step up our random acts of kindness.   I am all for candy, flowers, notes and cards, but I really love how United Way finds other ways to bring joy into people’s lives now and throughout the year.


Meet Me in St. Louis – or Anywhere—to Volunteer


Millions of Americans came together around the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in a day of service to honor the memory of Dr. King. United Way of Greater St. Louis, with support from Points of Light and the Corporation for National and Community Service, launched a series of activities both to honor Dr. King and to inspire a new commitment to serve among the citizens of St. Louis.

Photo courtesy of Saint Louis University Libraries 


Cheer for the Winning Team


Whether you’re going for the Broncos or Seahawks, love the game itself or just tune in for the commercials, the Super Bowl is an amazing event. An estimated 100 million people will watch the game this year. But I already know the winning team. More

EITC Awareness Day:  Helping Families Receive What They are Due


The IRS has declared that January 31 is EITC Awareness Day to help capture the attention of those eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit and motivate them to explore whether they qualify. More

India Celebrates First National Volunteering Week


In the U.S. we celebrate the spirit of volunteering throughout the year, such as during National Volunteer Week in April, United Way Day of Action on June 21, and the National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11.


Celebrate National Reading Day


National Reading Day is an annual event which celebrates and encourages reading by younger children and is celebrated in thousands of schools all around the United States. More

Not Just Another Day Off: A Call to Volunteer on the MLK Holiday


Hundreds of thousands of Americans will make January 20, 2014 a “day on” instead of a day off by volunteering through the annual Martin Luther King Day of Service.


January is National Mentoring Month


January is National Mentoring Month, but any time is a good time to remember an adult who made a difference in your life.  When you were younger, did a teacher, a coach, or another adult give you confidence to succeed? Or perhaps, once you started working, was it a colleague who took an interest in your success? Take a moment to thank them, especially on January 16, 2014, which is Thank Your Mentor Day.


National United Way Program Creating Impact through Volunteers


United Way issues the call early and often to everyone to “Volunteer” to promote education, income and health. United Way’s Education AmeriCorps VISTA Project is one example of how we also work with national partners and at the local level to make measurable progress in improving lives through volunteers that we train and support. More

Make a Resolution to Volunteer


Thinking about making resolutions for 2014? We all know that many people resolve to improve themselves (e.g., lose weight, eat better), so I was surprised to learn that a University of Scranton study found that one of the most common resolutions is “help others in their dreams.” More

Family Volunteering – Now and Throughout the Year


Some family holiday traditions include serving meals to the needy, donating and distributing gifts and other kinds of volunteering. Volunteering is a great way for families to spend more time together during the holidays and throughout the year. More

Exploring Volunteering and Youth Development 7,000 Miles from Home


Recently I participated in the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development’s first ever Philanthropy Summit in Abu Dhabi. The summit brought together philanthropic, corporate and government representatives to learn from each other and debate how to better channel our collective resources to advance the common good. More

Celebrate International Volunteer Day


December 5th is International Volunteer Day. Established in 1985 by the United Nations, International Volunteer Day is a chance to celebrate and thank volunteers worldwide, and increase awareness of the value of volunteers. More

Volunteering During the Holidays


The holiday season is here – and with it are opportunities to spend time with family, take days off from work and, often, a greater sense of wanting to help those in need. So the holidays should be a great time to volunteer, right? More

Volunteer to Make A Difference


For more than 20 years, USA WEEKEND Magazine has sponsored Make A Difference Day. Scheduled on Saturday, October 26, 2013, millions of volunteers from around the world will unite in a common mission to improve the lives of others. More

Volunteer Management & Feeding 1,000 More People Each Month


Research conducted by the TCC Group shows that organizations that strategically leverage volunteers outperform peer organizations on all measures of organizational capacity and have greater impact. These organizations, known as “service enterprises,” often deliver great results with fewer financial resources than peer organizations. More

Volunteer to be Prepared


September is National Preparedness Month in the United States. National Preparedness Month encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities. FEMA's Ready Campaign offers a wealth of information to help all of us prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters like hurricanes and other major storms, and potential terrorist attacks. More

On 9/11, Even the Smallest Act of Service


"Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11," said President Barack Obama on the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.


Around the World, Corporate Volunteers Make a Difference


Recently I wrote about how on July 18th each year, Mandela Day inspires volunteers throughout the world. A few days later, I became even more inspired when I learned how United Way’s partner in South Africa, Pietermaritzburg and District Community Chest, engaged companies in celebrating the international day of service honoring Nelson Mandela. More

What Are Employee Volunteer Programs?


It can be tough to plan a volunteer effort that benefits your employees. But, with the right partner, finding and executing meaningful volunteer opportunities that help achieve strategic business goals is easier than one might think. More

How to Find Places to Volunteer


Use these six steps to find the right volunteer opportunity. More

Five Great Reasons for High School Students to Volunteer


Is your teen looking for something to do this summer? Introduce them to community volunteer work. Whether they team up with friends or volunteer solo, they’ll gain new skills they can use in the future, learn more about what they enjoy doing and build stronger communities in the process. More

Volunteering Gets a Big Boost


United Way is always seeking ways to engage more volunteers. On July 15th President Barack Obama gave us and others in the volunteer sector reason to cheer when he not only honored former President George H.W. Bush for his exemplary lifetime of public service, but also issued a Presidential Memorandum aimed to expand national service. More

Mandela Day Inspires Volunteers throughout the World


Nelson Mandela once said, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead." More

Can Volunteering Help You with Your Job Search?


An email came across the other day with a subject line that read “Can Volunteering Help You with Your Job Search?” I knew that we all learn new skills through volunteering and certainly the connections we make can help lead us to future employment. But what I took as common knowledge hadn’t ever been proven, until now. More

7 Days to SERVE


Calling Corporate America! Looking for a way to energize employees and give back to your communities? Consider a day, or even a week, of employee volunteering. More

What to Do When You Are Looking for Volunteers


If you are part of a nonprofit organization or working on a community project, there is a good chance you spend a large percentage of your time looking for volunteers. As your organization expands, so does the need to find more volunteers. It's important to use every means possible to find people who are willing to join your mission. More

Happy National Volunteer Week!


National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate our friends, neighbors and colleagues who give of their time and talent to advance the common good. More

Corporate Volunteering:  The Civic 50


The Civic 50 is the nation's first comprehensive ranking of S&P 500 companies that best use their time, talent and resources to improve the quality of life in the communities where they do business. More

Family Volunteer Idea: Stone Soup


A hot pot of soup, steaming on the stove, is a welcome and nourishing sight during the harsh winter months. Holding a “Stone Soup” event – perhaps with family and friends – can help both social service organizations and the hungry in our midst. More

Volunteering – the Secret to a Long Life?


At age 96, Fred Egley is not your average volunteer. In addition to spearheading two World War II memorials in Norfolk, Nebraska, Fred has been an active volunteer with his church, from fundraising to painting the exterior when he was in his 80s. More

What are you doing for others?  Volunteer on the National Day of Service


As we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we recall his words, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'" More

The 10th Annual Carol D. Reiser Children’s Book Award


The Corporate Volunteer Council (CVC) of Atlanta recently announced the winner of the 2012 Carol D. Reiser Children’s Book Award at the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Decatur Book Festival. This festival is the largest independent book festival in the country. More

Young People + Volunteering = Bright Future


As of October 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 7.9% unemployment rate in the United States. The figure is much higher, however, for young men and women. I am optimistic, though, about young adults who are spending their early 20’s volunteering through Teach for America, VISTA, City Year, and other service organizations like them. And I am proud of United Way’s role in helping idealistic young people find a way to serve, improve their skills and in some cases, earn money for college or graduate school. More

There’s an App for That?


It’s easier than ever to give back.  United Ways in Iowa have launched a free app for iPhones, iPads, and iPods which allow users to map volunteer opportunities in the Cedar Rapids or Des Moines metro areas. More

November 5 is International Volunteer Managers Day


Volunteers should get lots of thanks and recognition.  They make time, show up and share of themselves all in the name of helping someone else.  Worldwide, volunteers are essential to improving the education, income and health of people in need, protecting the environment, advocating for social change, and more.


Here’s a question: Where do the candidates stand on promoting volunteering and national service?


I thought it was great that individuals were permitted to ask questions during the second presidential debates. One question to ask is where the candidates stand on promoting volunteer engagement through national service. More



OPPORTUNITY NATION WEEK OF ACTION (OCT. 8TH-15TH) - Fewer Americans are likely to earn a high school diploma than their parents, a distinction not shared by any other industrialized country. We know that when students drop out of school, communities suffer. About one quarter of all students – one million students a year, 3,000 a day – fail to graduate on time. It’s no wonder that our trust in the power of the American Dream is wavering.


What Would Gandhi Say?


October 2nd is a national holiday in India commemorating the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. It may have another designation soon, as Indian business, government and nonprofit leaders recently signed a petition to President Pranab Mukherjee to establish October 2nd as "National Volunteering Day".  These leaders recognize that India’s future depends on volunteers, whose time, minds and muscles can speed the pace of development in their country of more than one billion people.


Let’s Play


“Education.” Many of us automatically think “school” when we hear that word. But learning happens everywhere, especially for young children. And in our effort to cut the number of high school drop outs in half, United Way supports early childhood learning in diverse ways: through reading programs, book drives of course, but also in parks and on playgrounds. More

On 9/11, Do a Good Deed


The National Day of Service & Remembrance is observed on 9/11 each year. Last year more than 30 million people volunteered or found other ways to connect with their communities and loved ones on 9/11 Day. More

Labor Days of Action with United Way


In the United States, we celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday in September to recognize the economic and social contributions of working men and women. This Labor Day, I’d like to recognize two groups of union members who are volunteering in support of United Way initiatives. More

Be a Champion.  Serve the Community.


I like soccer, and I like RFK, but here’s what I really like: huge signs, visible from every angle in the stadium, that prominently display the core of D.C. United’s mission statement: WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS. SERVE THE COMMUNITY. More

High School Hoops Stars Give Back


On Friday, July 13th 2012 United Way had the pleasure of coordinating a service project for a great group of high school basketball players. The 10 young men were in the Washington, DC area to take part in Nike’s Global Challenge, an international tournament featuring the best high school players from around the world. More

Any Day is Volunteer Day


Nelson Mandela Day

July 18 is Nelson Mandela Day – when we’re asked to spend 67 minutes in service in honor of Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of fighting for human rights. The concept is the same as United Way’s Day of Action (June 21) and International Volunteer Day (December 5) and many other days United Ways participate in: choose a meaningful day and issue a call to volunteer on that day.


Life Changing Anniversaries


As I write this we’re expecting our 6th day of 100 degrees or warmer this summer – part of a nationwide heat wave. Appropriately enough, NBC Nightly News recently reported on the 110th anniversary of the air conditioner and how it “changed our lives forever.” More

Thanks, Dad (and other men who care about kids)!


Father’s Day is coming up. No doubt lots of kids will be going on a special outing with their dad, or creating gifts, or even giving their father the old stand-by gift, a necktie. But since so many children don’t have the means to celebrate like this with their fathers, United Way of Northern New Jersey hosts an annual gift drive. More

The Gift of Graduation


For lots of families like mine, it is graduation season. This can be such a joyful time for the students and their families alike. I am so proud and grateful that my son is graduating from high school and looking forward to attending college. I also am grateful that my son had not only my husband and me to help him work hard to succeed in school, but also wonderful teachers, coaches, and other adult mentors. More

Athletes and United Ways Making a Difference


Across the country athletes are applying their talents to improve their communities More

Celebrating Tax Season


For many, tax season is a chore and we are relieved that another April 15th has come and gone. For others, tax season is a time to celebrate the chance to help others. That’s right. For some United Way volunteers, January through mid-April is a time when they know that their volunteering is making a huge difference in the lives of struggling families. These volunteers signed up last fall to be part of the VITA program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), which helps low-income people receive the tax refunds they are due. More

A Week for the Strong


It’s National Volunteer Week in the U.S., April 15-21, 2012. This special week, established in 1974, is a time to celebrate, honor and thank millions of volunteers across the country for giving their time and talent to help so many. Volunteering is what makes our country strong. More

In Celebration of Women


Did you know that today is International Women’s Day and an official holiday in 27 countries? While we don’t officially observe International Women’s Day in the U.S., we do observe the achievements of women during the entire month of March, which is designated as Women’s History Month both here and in the United Kingdom. More

United Way and NIKE, Inc’s Elite Youth Basketball Partner to Promote Volunteering


United Way and NIKE, Inc's Elite Youth Basketball Department partner to promote volunteering – utilizing NIKE’s grassroots events throughout the spring and summer as a platform to engage youth across the country in reading, tutoring and mentoring activities. More

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! Happy Reading Everyone!


"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." From The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss. March 2nd marks the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Could there be a better day to celebrate the joys of childhood reading? And can you think of a better way to celebrate than to read to a child on that day?


Books and Encouragement


The Library of Congress recently named Walter Dean Myers its new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. The position was created to raise awareness of the importance of young people's literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of their lives. More


Take the pledge TODAY in honor of MLK Day!


United Way celebrates MLK Day by recruiting volunteer readers, tutors and mentors. More

A Tax Season to Look Forward to


Wouldn’t it be great to help families receive the tax benefits they are due? Many United Ways across the country offer the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, a successful, proven strategy that mobilizes and trains volunteers to provide free tax service to working individuals and their families. VITA assists taxpayers who are struggling to make ends meet by saving them the cost of tax preparation and helping them claim all tax credits for which they are eligible. More

Could there be a better gift than to know you’ve made a difference?


Make time this holiday season to volunteer with the ones you love – and resolve to make it a regular part of your life in the New Year! More

‘Tis the Season:  Holiday Giving, Advocating and Volunteering Ideas


As the holiday momentum picks up speed, we find more and more great ideas being generated for helping others.  Our colleagues at United Way of Anchorage have compiled a terrific guide that we want to share covering holiday giving, advocating and volunteering ideas.  These are just a few ways that you can give your time, talent and gifts during this holiday season.   More

The 12 Days of …….Caring!


Looking for ways to give back to your community this holiday season but don't know how? Having trouble finding the perfect holiday volunteer opportunity? This list of 12 Days of Caring was adapted from a list created by the Student Community Involvement Team at United Way of Larimer County Student Community Involvement Team at United Way of Larimer County as a way to encourage people to make giving back a part of their daily routine.  


United Way Worldwide Day of Action


Today, December 5th is United Way Worldwide Day of Action and was launched to galvanize volunteers and organizations worldwide around education, financial stability and health issues.  It connects the international network and aligns with the United Nations’ International Volunteer Day, which also occurs on December 5th each year.



How is volunteering impacting different societies around the world?


How is volunteering impacting different societies around the world?  What do we have in common with them? Find out the answer to this question and more on December 5 when the State of the World's Volunteerism report is launched.


Holidays Mean Time with Family ? and Time to Volunteer!


Family volunteering teaches positive values to children and can help create a new generation of dedicated volunteers and engaged citizens. More


Stay Young and Healthy, Volunteer


Research shows volunteering provides not only social benefits, but individual health benefits too. More


Autumn brings change, be part of the change


Fall is in the air and it's a great time to volunteer by yourself or with your family. Here's a few things to help you get started! More