Is Your Company Making the Most of National Days of Service?

Is Your Company Making the Most of National Days of Service?

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Is your company making the most of National Days of Service? from @VM_Solutions #MLKDayOfService #volunteer
Thursday, January 7, 2016 - 5:45pm

There are two federally recognized National Days of Service in the United States. One is September 11th. The other is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (in 2016, it falls on January 18th).

Why do these holidays exist? According to the founders of 9/11 Day, “The goal of 9/11 Day is to keep alive the spirit of unity and compassion that arose in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, providing a positive, helpful way for people to annually remember and pay tribute to the 9/11 victims, and honor those that rose in service in response to the attacks.”

MLK Day of Service has a similar mission: “The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community.”

What do these two days have in common? Among other things, a few stand out to me: Remembrance. Community. Hope.

And, they’re both amazing opportunities to bring employees together for a common cause.

Many employers give MLK Day off as a holiday, which is wonderful. As an employer, you might be saying, “We can’t tell employees to what to do with their time off.” Which is true.

But MLK Day has a long history of day on, not a day off. You likely have many employees who would give back, if given the inspiration and resources. So what can you do? Send an email to your employees explaining the history of MLK Day of Service, and giving them options to volunteer. VolunteerMatch has a special search portal specifically for MLK Day opportunities you can point them to. Even better? Encourage them to form volunteer group(s) for those who’d like to give back together. And of course, encourage them to share their stories afterwards.

And if you don’t give MLK Day off, you can offer paid time off to those who want to spend the day volunteering.

Not enough time to get a plan together for MLK Day? Get started early in your planning of 9/11 Day of Service. We’ve got some tips laid out for you here.

In summary, National Days of Service are a unique way to bring your employees together and foster a sense of community and teamwork – not just amongst yourselves, but together with the rest of the United States. If you’re not giving them the option to give back on these federally recognized Days of Service, you’re missing a great opportunity.