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The complete cycle of community service

by The NonProfit Times - October 21, 2013

Being part of the nonprofit sector is about service, in many places and in a wide variety of ways.

Richard Goldsmith helped to start a community service project through HandsOn Atlanta, which grew and was replicated as the Discovery Program. Goldsmith recruited volunteers as tutors and mentors for children in low-performing elementary schools in Georgia. He has been doing it for 20 years, long enough for the original children who were tutored and mentored to serve now as tutors and mentors themselves.

In the book “Be The Change” by the Points of Light, Goldsmith offers tips on starting a successful community service project.

  • Dive in headfirst. To help, just go out there and find out a community’s needs. Then, get started and worry about the details later.
  • Make sure to create a program that the organizers/leaders can commit to and that others can commit to. Goldsmith writes that he’s certain the program has been so successful is that volunteers are asked for a time commitment of 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and nothing more. That fits into many people’s schedules.
  • Be organized. That’s how to keep volunteers. Goldsmith said he makes sure that volunteers show up at 10 a.m. and that they are gone no later than 12:05 p.m.


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