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Make a Difference Day

Updated on October 7, 2018
Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She lives happily in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.

Toiletries like these can be bought at a discount with coupons and donated to a local homeless shelter or Women's Center for Make a Difference Day.
Toiletries like these can be bought at a discount with coupons and donated to a local homeless shelter or Women's Center for Make a Difference Day. | Source

United State's National Day of Doing Good

"Make a Difference Day" is the nation's leading day of volunteer service. Called the United States' "National Day of Doing Good" it was started more than 20 years ago, in 1992 by USA Weekend magazine and the Points of Light Foundation. USA Weekend is one of the inserts that may or may not be in your Sunday paper. It is supported by the Newman's Own Company.

The basic premise of Make a Difference Day is to motivate people in every community across the country to get involved in a volunteer activity all on the same day. Make a Difference Day takes place on the fourth Saturday of October every year.

Although the date changes from year to year, it is always on that fourth Saturday. But if for religious reasons, a group can't volunteer on that Saturday, the next day is approved for them to complete their Make a Difference Day project.

Volunteer Projects that Make a Difference

People can volunteer as individuals or in groups. The following is a list of types of projects that have been done in the past:

* Cleaning neighborhoods, parks or beaches

* Helping the elderly through home improvements or healthcare

* Building, weatherizing or repairing homes for low-income community members

* Helping soldiers by preparing care packages to send overseas, or helping their families here in the U.S, with home repairs/improvements

* Collecting coats and supplies for kids in foster care

* Collecting school supplies for low-income children/schools

* Collecting food for the needy or soup kitchen donations/volunteering

* Collecting toiletries to donate to local homeless shelters

Developing a Make a Difference Day Project

Each year, ten projects annually are selected to win a $10,000 prize for their charity. The Newman's Own Company donates the money for these prizes. To qualify for the prize money, an individual or group must register their project in advance on the Make a Difference Day website. When registering, the following information must be supplied:

1) Name of organizer, town, and state

2) Name of the project chosen

3) Number of volunteers involved

4) Number of volunteer hours expected to complete the project

5) Number of projects that are involved on that day

6) Number of volunteer leaders

7) A description of the number and type of people impacted by the project ( elderly, youth, homeless, military,etc.)

After the event takes place, go back to the registration page and update information about how the event went and how successful it was so your project could be entered into the running to win $10,000.

At the Make a Difference Day website, you can download a starter kit complete with ideas for projects, marketing tools, and suggestions on how to recruit volunteers.

If you don't want to start your own project, you can go to the website, click on the search for a project link, and insert your zip code. The site allows you to look at Make A Difference Day projects in a radius of 5 to 100 miles from your town.

Get Started Now

Since Make a Difference Day is always the fourth Saturday in October each year, in 2018 it is scheduled for October 27th. I challenge you to start planning now to make a difference in the lives of others on our nation's National Day of Doing Good.

You can do this with a group of other people, or just plan a smaller project and do it on your own.

What will you do to make a difference on Make a Difference Day this year? Please leave your comments below about what you have done in the past, or what you plan to do this year on Make a Difference Day.

Here's a 2017 Youtube video about how Make a Difference Day was first created and some ideas of projects others have done...

Make a Difference Day

Have you ever participated in a Make a Difference Day before?

See results

© 2012 Karen Hellier


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