Give back in the Big Apple: Service Day 2015

By Clint Demeritt

With The DMA Nonprofit Federation putting on its annual New York Nonprofit Conference Aug. 4-5, early bird attendees have the chance to make a positive impact on the New York community.

Once again, the Nonprofit Federation is offering a Service Day on Aug. 3, the day before the conference starts. There are two amazing community service projects attendees can get involved in that day. There are even a few things you can do to make an impact if you don’t arrive into town early.

First, the DMA is encouraging all attendees to bring school supplies to donate to aspiring students involved with the Women’s Prison Association. The conference will also donate leftover backpacks and encourages attendees to “regift” their backpacks to these hardworking students.

The WPA is one of the organizations attendees can volunteer for, and it’s the second time the support network is participating. The organization works with women at all stages of the criminal justice system. They get involved to promote alternatives to incarceration and empower women in the community to make positive changes in their lives to avoid arrest or incarceration altogether.

The WPA also provides resources to women who are incarcerated to plan for life after release. The program also provides tools to help those women build the lives they want for themselves in the community.

Conference-goers will help the WPA with daily activities and administrative duties.

The other organization is The Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen. The organization is the largest emergency feeding program in New York City and ranks as the biggest soup kitchen out of Episcopal Churches nationally.

Not only does the kitchen serve more than 1,200 meals every weekday, but the church also offers counseling and referral services to help guests “break the cycle of hunger, poverty and despair.”

The Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen relies heavily on volunteers, so attendees can really make a difference. The organization is looking for at least 10 volunteers to help with cleaning the kitchen and dining areas, along with food preparation and a few other tasks.

There are benefits to helping out these organizations beyond those warm and fuzzy feelings of giving something back. A lot can be learned from seeing how these organizations operate. Since they’re located in New York, these are some of the biggest service networks in the country. Seeing how these organizations function in such a large urban area should give you a few new ideas to apply to your organization.

“This represents a natural alliance between giving back and an event for nonprofit fundraisers,” says Kim Walker, director for direct marketing of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the chair of the Nonprofit Community Service Projects, when they launched service day in 2014. “The whole nonprofit community gives back for a living, so it’s a natural fit that at this conference. We give people a chance to give back while they network and get ideas from each other’s success.”

You can sign up to volunteer and find out more about these organizations through the DMA Service Day page.

This article is brought to you by the DMA Nonprofit Federation. Click here to register for the 2015 New York Nonprofit Conference.