Sign me up for updates. Sign up now

Donate Take Action
United Way Blog

Volunteers: Doing Good Behind the Scenes

Have you ever volunteered to clean up, spruce up or make repairs to a nonprofit organization’s facilities? Or assemble items that will be distributed in the future? Ever wonder if your effort really made a difference? If you answered yes, then wonder no more. Volunteers like you can make improvements or assemble materials that nonprofit organizations wouldn’t have the time or resources to do. This enables them to focus on the people they serve, so lives are impacted daily by this kind of volunteer work.

For example, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Depend, on United Way Day of Action United Ways were able to rally civic-minded individuals and organizations to provide much needed services and repairs to nonprofits that serve vulnerable populations. United Way of Tompkins County (Ithaca, NY) deployed about 60 volunteers from Cornell University, an architecture firm, the local school district and other organizations. Projects included landscaping and gardening at the Ithaca Children’s Garden; performing “Farmer for a Day” chores at Wood’s Earth Living Classroom; serving brunch to seniors poolside with the Greater Ithaca Activities Center; and undertaking trail maintenance and clean-up at Robert H. Treman State Park.

A bit further south, nearly 100 volunteers helped with 11 projects organized by United Way of Lancaster County (Lancaster, PA) for Day of Action. Volunteers prepared a Boys and Girls Club summer camp the week before 400 campers arrived; repackaged diapers for distribution to clients; and spruced up flower beds at nursing facilities. Other volunteers helped staff the Run, Ride, Walk & Scoot fundraiser for the Together Initiative, registering participants, running the rest-stops, and set up and clean up. 

And across the country, United Way of Yellowstone County (Billings, MT) recruited 50 volunteers to assemble “Glad You Are Here” bags, to be shared with 320 elementary school students the first week of school. The bags included a backpack tag with an attend school message, magnetic calendar with special school dates for parents and information cards about the importance of school attendance.

Volunteers of all ages participated in all these activities even though they may never see or know the name of someone who benefited from their work. As gratifying as it is to see the immediate impact of our volunteer effort, volunteers who chip in behind the scenes can take pride in knowing that they are making a contribution to the greater good. And, when they see or learn about the impact an organization has made, they can smile and know that volunteers like them probably helped make it happen.