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Friday, December 3, 2021

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It’s important to give both time and money to the community. With work, family and other commitments time can be harder to donate, and it’s easy to never get around to volunteering at organizations that need your help.

Thankfully, Indy Do Day makes it easy for people who normally struggle to find time to volunteer by doing so through their jobs during the work day. 

“Indy Do Day makes sure there’s no barriers for anyone,” Zack Conner, co-chair of Indy Do Day, said. 

In 2018, 15,000 volunteers worked nearly 60,000 hours and provided $1.4 million worth of free labor to nonprofits over a three-day period, Conner said. The sixth annual Indy Do Day is Sept. 26-29, and Conner is expecting similar results as thousands of volunteers have new opportunities to serve organizations in the city. 

People can volunteer for Indy Do Day in one of two ways. Employers such as Eli Lilly and Co. and Salesforce give employees part or all of the day off to volunteer for a nonprofit of the company’s choosing. Individuals who want to volunteer outside work hours can find and select an opportunity at indydoday.com.

Nonprofits who partner with Indy Do Day will not only get volunteers for service projects but also exposure as visitors to the site learn about organizations they may not have known about. 

The Rotary Club of Indianapolis, which sponsors Indy Do Day, also provides participating nonprofits with marketing services such as creating press releases and social media coverage. During the event, a media street team will visit different Indy Do Day projects to create promotional social media content to highlight the nonprofit.

“(Indy Do Day) is an easy, free marketing tool,” Conner said. 

Indy Parks is offering volunteer opportunities at Spades, DeQuincy, Barton, Ellenberger and Ridenour parks. Volunteers will paint, remove weeds and pick up trash. 

“You get to leave a place better than you found it,” Dominic Cornett, senior manager of partnerships at Indy Parks, said. “With 211 parks in Indy Parks it’s really a tough job keeping everything maintained and beautified, but you certainly will get self-gratification as soon as you walk away from the projects we’re offering.”

Near East Area Renewal’s (NEAR) Caulk of the Town event offers a different opportunity for those who want to spend time outside. One hundred and twenty volunteers will weatherize 50 homes on the near east side. They will use caulk guns to seal the edges around windows to prevent drafts. A home that is sealed properly means homeowners use less energy to heat or cool the house, resulting in less expensive utility bills. In addition, volunteers may clean gutters and do light yard work.

“Utility costs is probably the second highest expense for a lot of neighbors, if not the first,” Renee Davis, a housing advocate at NEAR, said. “With proper weatherization we are able to help them save at least 15% on their ongoing utility costs.”

While nonprofits will receive labor and exposure from Indy Do Day, the volunteers will receive something as well. Not only will volunteers feel warm and fuzzy inside, but volunteering is one of the best ways for people to get to know their neighborhood and city, Davis said. 

 “It takes them off the beaten path of the restaurants and entertainment tracts of the neighborhood and puts them in front of a neighbor,” Davis said. “It gets them on a street where they normally wouldn’t find themselves unless they were visiting someone. The best way to learn a neighborhood is through its neighbors, so that’s what they’re going to get.”

Contact staff writer Ben Lashar at 317-762-7848. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminLashar.

Get your volunteer on!

To see a full list of volunteer opportunities or involve your organization in Indy Do Day, visit indydoday.org.

 

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