Deploy your Forces: Gearing Up for 9/11 National Day of Service
So often, companies – especially smaller businesses – have the best of intentions about giving back in the community but they lack a formal program or the administrative capacity to make it happen. Engaging your employees through involvement in National Days of Service is a turnkey way to ensure that your team has an avenue to contribute meaningfully. The upcoming 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance is a primal and unifying focal point, and because there are so many resources and opportunities, it’s a great social responsibility building block.
September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance represents a culmination of efforts
“originally launched in 2002 by the 9/11 nonprofit MyGoodDeed with wide support by the 9/11 community and leading national service organizations. This effort first established the inspiring tradition of engaging in charitable service on 9/11 as an annual and forward-looking tribute to the 9/11 victims, survivors, and those who rose up in service in response to the attacks.”
Whether your organization already has plans to participate or is considering it, the following outreach and communication tips can help build enthusiasm and enhance the momentum of your volunteer efforts leading up to the event.
- Get Help Finding and Selecting an Existing Event – There are numerous umbrella organizations that coordinate service days and welcome participants. You can offer these opportunities to your employees, either as individual contributors or as something you can do as a team. Here in Orange County, CA, for example, OneOC sponsors county-wide service projects and toolkits that engage volunteers of all ages, as well as support our troops, veterans, and disaster preparedness, benefiting our American heroes. On the national stage, serve.gov and VolunteerMatch offer listings of 9/11 service opportunities.
- Try to Match Service to Your Mission –The September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance was established into law by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009 as a way of continuing the remarkable spirit of patriotism and compassion that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While all types of service are encouraged, service on 9/11 can meet a range of community needs including disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, health, and supporting veterans and military families. Consider these guidelines, and try to find a cause that fits with your team’s and your company’s social mission.
- Share Your Involvement; Build Interest – If there was a particular motivating force in deciding to participate in a 9/11 Day of Service, share it! Why did you and your team select this particular cause? Engage with your employees about it via intranet, internal emails and newsletters and invite their participation, both in the service and the discussion about it. Leading up to the event(s), do more than send out sign-up opportunities and reminders. Post tidbits about 9/11 on social media; no need to re-invent the wheel here….there’s an abundance of hashtags and groups to follow and share.
You can even get free stickers here.
- Tell Your Story – Share photos, post to social media channels, and enjoy the goodwill it generates. Plan ahead for this by asking an employee, family member or friend to “cover” the event as a photographer and/or reporter. Local schools or youth groups have many talented and eager volunteers who would love to participate and build their portfolios, and you benefit from them sharing about your involvement on their networks as well. (But be sure as a best practice to take a look at any materials anyone from outside generates and insist that anything posted is reviewed and approved.)
Being motivated to engage in worthy causes, create purpose and meaning within your organization and promote social welfare are outstanding goals. But finding ways to heighten the reach of that investment in resources and energy creates even more of an impact.