It’s hard to believe that the first month of 2014 is almost behind us. As with every new year, it’s important to take the natural opportunity to look back and consider our areas of growth as an organization, the lessons we learned, and which goals we should set for the coming year.
During the month of December, Elder Law of Michigan embarked on a volunteer campaign called “31 Days of Giving.”Not only was this a chance for us to give back to our community during the holiday season, but it was also a way to engage with other organizations and learn about the many available services out there to help our clients. By volunteering at numerous organizations and learning about the services in our community that help older adults, we now have a wider knowledge base we can use to better serve our clients by providing them with the information and resources they need.
Looking back on this campaign, there were areas in which we had success, and areas that we can improve on in the coming years. Overall, 19 of our staff members participated in the 2013 “31 Days of Giving” campaign. As an organization, we volunteered at 18 different sites and donated over 75 hours of our time. Although we did not complete the full 31 days (our final total was 17), we feel confident that this volunteer campaign had positive impacts both on our organization and those that hosted us as volunteers. We intend to do similar campaigns like this in the future, and will look back on this first experience as a jumping-off point.
Our staff came away with many fresh perspectives due to their volunteer experiences, and made some great personal connections along the way. Each person that participated in the “31 Days of Giving” was also asked to write a small blog post detailing the organization they volunteered at and what they gained from their experience. It became quickly apparent that these volunteer experiences were having dramatically positive impacts on our staff. Not only did they feel good volunteering, but many of them were able to see the tangible effects of their donated time.
The “31 Days” campaign was not perfect, nor did we expect it to be. Our intent was to use this campaign to give back to our community and become a more knowledgeable organization. We hope that those that participated in this campaign, both our staff and the volunteer sites, will look back on this experience as one of growth, learning, and mutual support for the older adults in our communities.