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Do It

Commit 1 Percent of Your Time to Service This Year


We can do better than good. Together, we can be great.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, "Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve." In honor of MLK Day and President Obama's National Day of Service, we're challenging you to commit yourself to service. Spend one percent of your work hours this year (that's 20 hours) changing a small corner of your world for the better. However you choose to give back, this year you can be great. Click "Do It" below to take the pledge, and let's dig in!

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  • Todd Tyrtle

    I volunteer weekly with a local adult literacy centre and also volunteer for various charity events.

    One suggestion I have is that volunteering is almost always fun with more people. Last December a few local improvisers and I volunteered for a turkey drive - encouraging folks at a grocery store to buy turkeys for a food bank. We had so much fun that we set up an informal group that signs up together for these sorts of events, volunteers as a group at places like food banks and have just started doing things like park cleanups. As a group we do the thing we set out to do but try to pair it up with something fun - the park cleanup, for example will have a campfire and snacks at the end (those who want to come to that but can't make the cleanup can bring a canned good for the food bank instead). Often, it seems, the people stopping people from doing volunteer work is simply inertia and not knowing what's out there. Bring the event opportunities to them and they'll come. Make it fun and even more will.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    I've dedicated my time to organization Honeylove this year. They're trying to legalize urban beekeeping in LA and they are members of the GOOD 100! These are photos from our recent event! I got to table and educate people about bees!

  • Ladyfilosopher

    I volunteer at a Rape Crisis centre in England. I started on the call line and have moved into the area of counselling survivors.

  • Sue Ann Sterkowicz Kainz

    I volunteer as a crisis interventionist on Common Ground's (Oakland County, MI, USA) crisis telephone line. I know that I get much more through my volunteering than any of our callers, because I am contributing to mental wellness while fortifying my own.

    • Jelena Woehr

      I felt that way as a victim advocate (that I was getting more out of it than the people I responded to) until I met an adult who had been helped by a victim advocate in his childhood. That really drove home how important crisis intervention is. You are doing more for others than you know! Enjoy the benefits to your own mental wellness too, of course.

  • Rhea Alexander

    I volunteer in my local public elementary school in NYC with both the Lego Robotics program and the organic farming and gardening initiative. Both program enrich the education of our community's children to think out of the box. The theme for our Lego Robotics Challenge this year is Disaster Blasters, where we discuss weather and super storms, developing ideas for before, during and after a super storm. We have kindergardeners thru 3rd graders and 4-5 working on making the world a safer more collaborative place. For the urban farming project we have both a roof and ground level garden where we plant, nurture and harvest, taking some of the harvest into the cafeteria to learn about where our food comes from and how to eat healthier. This inspires children to think about their eating habits, see alternatives, then make changes and develop choice. It also connects urban kids to the earth in fun engaging ways.

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      That's amazing Rhea! I would love to see links of pictures if you have any!

  • Sovanna Pouv

    I'm currently a board member for a Cambodian Arts preservation program in Lowell, MA known as Angkor Dance Troupe - My focus is marketing and design and my current project is to help redesign a new website. Excited!

  • Sam Randazzo

    I volunteer at 826LA, a tutoring center for kids that promotes creative writing through free workshops, field trips, in-school programs and after school tutoring. It's super-fun and the students inspire me with their imaginations on a daily basis.

  • landers

    I've been volunteering with Yes Scotland with regard to our Independence referendum next year, it's working out to a bit more than 2 hours a week but it's a great way to meet new people in my community. Would also like to get more involved with some of the environmental and social campaigning work the local Quaker community is involved in!!

  • Armando Garma

    I've been a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York for almost three years now and it has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The lessons taught equal in number and importance as the lessons I've learned. If any of you are looking for a worthwhile cause, I highly recommend mentoring.

  • Andrew Peluso

    I am a part of Rotary Club in Orangevale, CA (Nor Cal) and volunteer as a counselor for a week long youth leadership camp in Euegene, OR and in Sacramento, CA. I went as a camper to the one in OR and the camp, known as RYLA (Rotaty Youth Leadership Academy), changed my life! The week long camps are life changing for the students who attend and touch on deep personal growth as well as tangible leadership tools and skills. The camps are without a doubt my favorite time of year!

  • Joshua Radas

    I just signed up with Helping Hands within my local community. I am scheduled to go read to troubled youth tomorrow and also am intending to volunteer at a local garden for low income residents in the neighborhood. I found this orginzation in my locality with Check it out if you are looking for opportunities!

  • Mary Tabata

    Last week I went with my Rotary group to prepare and serve dinner at a homeless youth drop-in center in Venice, CA. These are mostly teenage kids who are homeless and/or living in very poor circumstances. It was an eye-opener to be sure.

  • seabreezn

    Excellant idea add on I find that "being in the moment " gives everyone ample oppurtunity to help others ..I wouldn't call it "charitable " , more so as "part of daily life ". EX: Your in traffic flow to a red light , you see someone trying to get out of their driveway or attempting to cross the St.= Stop your car and give access , your heading for a red light anyway ! Your standing in line at the Grocer's an notice someone with a large cart filled / or a person having difficulty getting their food to the conveyor = Offer a hand , your waiting an might as well put that time to good use ..See someone looking put-together be it a great hair cut , clothes etc ..compliment them and for heavens sake if it's a good cut find out who the stylist is ! Most people are very open to the unexpected kindness of others ...Aye , give it a shot and see for yourself ...

  • gimme5

    Do your charity work in your profession. Devote just 5-6 hours a month for this cause. If you don't have a profession, become a peer educator. A BIBLICAL QUOTE: Save one person and you save the world. Devote yourself to one person who needs help and show him/her loving-kindness. What a word or is it two?

  • Patty Golsteijn

    I just set up my own program where I help young self-employed people who have just started out and/or are now feeling stuck and overwhelmed by everything they have to do. I'll be talking to them once a week and help them with whatever they need that week (obviously not doing the work for them, but help with connections, advice, take care of themselves, etc.).

  • Valerie Rhodes

    I've pledge to about %70 percent... I'm going to Kenya today to do just that... please check out my project and consider joining. We need to be part of a change that brings light to the dark and love to where there is hate. Let's show Kenya some love in these difficult times!

  • Deirdra Harris Glover

    I've been building community experiences and resources for our Unitarian Universalist community in Jackson, MS. Group dynamics are always interesting, but it's worth it to let something bloom within you and share it with others.

  • Cathy Caplener

    I keep explaining to people how we need to build tribes and find leaders to lead those tribes. As a community we are a ONE and therefore have the power to make a difference in our world and for the lives of others. Giving back is so simple and the ROI is huge. This is why I help Causes. They do not have the funds to hire someone at my level. I can help Causes build a communication campaign quickly and effectively so they can run off on their own and use their own voices. Helping is taking action to get others to take action.

  • Valerie Rhodes

    Devoting three months of service in Africa, 6 months here in the US... The more people get involved, the bigger the impact. I'm leaving for Kenya in two days, yes Kenya, despite what's happening there now, I've made this commitment to the people there. Will you help me make a difference without leaving the comfort of your home?
    check it out here:
    And like it here:

  • Sprite

    I want to develop a hands-on, age-appropriate, worldwide human and humane education program based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration of Animal Rights. It would require assistance from many groups in all corners of the globe. Its purpose would be to teach children respect of themselves, other beings and the planet by making them aware of the rights of humans and animals. From preschool through the 12th grade, students would grow to understand how we all are related and dependent on each other. I welcome anyone's feedback and ideas.

  • tyler

    What is President Obama's National Day of Service? Wasn't that the 9/11 day of service? Don't think CNCS has a President Obama service day... yet.

  • marvinlzinn

    Yes, this is s good start. The more selfish we become, the worse the world will be.

    But I heard the best option from a man who came from Barbados and works only for God. In none of the meetings is money ever collected or any place to put it. He was sent to tell us about Jesus Christ. On that topic, Jesus was a servant from the day he was born until he died. We should all be like this. If we all served each other instead of ourselves there would be no war or hatred anywhere.

  • DonieceS

    It's amazing to think of how much we could accomplish if everyone would just take a little of their time to make a difference in this world.

  • Urszula Lipsztajn

    giving lots of love to this year. feels so awesome!

  • Grace Morgan

    Would like to give a small percentage of my time each week to our local food shelf - volunteering where ever they need me!

  • JanetCooperNelson

    Engagement that offers face-to-face, hand-to-hand contact with the person/situation that requires needs help--that is, nearer than most kinds of fund raising or Board governance, correlates directly and positively to increasing empathy for the anguish and dilemma you wish to change. As we work to serve-- may we all risk getting closer.

  • mochart

    I chair (volunteer post) a community outreach committee for an association I belong to (ASQ). We promote involving our members in their communities with local businesses, non-profits and charities to promote quality and good citizenship via various event types: Executive Roundtables, Quality/Lean events for non-profits, charity drives. We meet every other week for the last 3 years and we are now starting a webchat to get more involvement. Google+ webchat will be on September 12 8:00pm EST - if you would like to learn share what else we can do please join us.

  • Beth Hoff

    Volunteer at your local food bank. It is rewarding!

  • elena.nichol

    Helping at an after school program for refugee kids, hopefully building bicycles, volunteering at church

  • beautykat

    I'll be leading two volunteer teams this summer with Habitat for Humanity (Alaska) and the Fuller Center for Housing (India). I still have spots left if any one wants to get out of their comfort zone and do some fabulous service work with good peeps!
    OR donate!



  • Andy G

    One of the ways I am giving back is working hard to fund-raise as well as participate in a Make-A-Wish rafting event. I have a team of nine people who will spend a total of 44 hours out on a raft on a lake in New Hampshire, two people on the raft at a time, with other teams on their rafts. It's a pretty cool event, check out our page here:

    And if you're feeling extra awesome today, you could even Donate! That would be super cool of you! The kids would greatly appreciate it!

  • Computers for a Cause

    Having trouble thinking about a way you can give back? Check out Computers for a Cause! We are a nonprofit that repurposes E-Waste such as computers to donate to low income family's, veterans, schools, nonprofits in need, free of charge! Instead of storing your inoperable or outdated electronics in the attic, donate them to Computers for a Cause and make your 1% pledge count.

    For additional information:

  • watso

    i am 50% pro bono. i help humanity raise it's consciousness through websites that post information from the higher dimensions

  • Historygal

    This coming week I begin working with a client who has a brain injury. He wants to write a book and needs someone to help him organize it. I am a freelance writer and editor so this is right up my alley. I'm really looking forward to learning his story and helping him get it finished

  • Nisha Vida

    I'm at about 80% pro bono right now. It's definitely not 'sustainable' in the sense that I soon need to transition into earning more $$$, but the impact that I have seen my own efforts have on the world around me is worth beyond what any amount of money could compensate me for.

  • Jules Shapiro

    I am neck deep into this one. Everyday I do more work for, I am firmly committed to Chronically Awesome is 99% of my life. Are you looking for a GOOD cause that needs your help? Visit today. A young foundation in need of your help. Especially seeking graphic designers, health bloggers, artists willing to donate a piece for the upcoming art auction.

  • Dan Cunningham

    Great idea! I'm in! is a great way to micro-volunteer your skills and abilities to charities - especially for tech / design people!

  • Sharon Hougham

    Everyday in our home we RECYCLE all containers, from groceries and toiletries, all paper, newspaper, cardboard, metal from canned food, soft drink cans and batteries
    We are trying to preserve the environment for our children's children! :-)

  • Leigh Evanson

    I've been acting as an afterschool tutor for 826 DC once a week (2.5 hours). It's so much fun to meet these kids who are such characters, to watch them grow and change (even week to week) and succeed. I'll be doing it again in the fall, too!

  • Pennies of Time

    My young boys and I complete a service act each day. Sometimes it takes 15 minutes and other times we get caught up on the work and spend over an hour serving. It has been awesome for my boys and our family!

  • douglas.heady

    They say the optimal amount of time to contribute outside of normal work is at least 100 hours a year with a maximum at 1000 hours. The best return to you personal life balance and energy is the minimum at 100. Read the excellent book Give and Take for more about these studies. Here's to my 100 hour commitment this year!

  • mahva.jones

    I help already as a volunteer for an organization that provides affordable housing and services to people afflicted with HIV/AIDS. Have been doing this for the past five years, and have been involved with AIDS work since I was a teenager in New York.

  • sheriberry

    I volunteer with CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) in my county. CASA is a non-profit organization that recruits volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court.

    I also give blood every 56 days :)

    • mcooksey7

      Thanks, I just signed up with CASA. This is something I am very interested in.

  • Justin Threlkeld

    My wife and I have been working with a local non-profit for sexually abused girls in our area. My one percent is going to developing an identity and a communication platform for this fantastic organization.

    • Dolly Parikh

      Hi Justin, this is amazing. Keep it up. Please feel free to reach out to ask for help and would love to hear your success story.

  • Niels Jansen

    Totally agree :-)

    In case you don't know 1%CLUB yet: is a platform that connects people with smart ideas with people, money and knowledge around the world.

    We strongly belief in the power of the crowd. If everybody shares a little, together we can get a lot done. In other words, when we all participate in a small way, the effects will be massive. For all of us.

    Nice to meet you.

    • Dan Cunningham

      Niels - in case you don't know, the link is down. It only works for me without the www. Sounds amazing though!

  • TreePeople

    TreePeople will gladly give you your 1%! We welcome volunteers on a one-time or continuing basis--to plant trees, restore mountain habitat, photograph our events... If you live in the Los Angeles area, time spent with us is time spent in service to your city and its citizens. Please take a look at our calendar when you're seeking volunteer opportunities:

  • Sarah Salpeter

    There are so many great ways we can give back using our talents and gifts - but if we realize that we are the ones who are really receiving we wouldn't call it "giving back". If we understand how much we really received we would think 1% is not enough - we would find ways to do even more! One of the programs I've been involved with over the years is Junior Achievement - I think every school/class would benefit from this curriculum. Here's a link to the program -

  • Justine Elizabeth

    If you're looking for something to do check out BALLE ( and join your local Localist movement. You never know what kind of amazing neighbors and local organizations you'll get to meet!

  • lafrancememanque

    Love this idea, I go at this from multiple angles. If you have a hard time identifying places to get involved with look on There are lots of people looking for volunteers for great causes! For example in PDX, I'm part of a group that is called the "Volunteer Vixens". Great people and an awesome way to spend your time. :-)

  • Chris Gregory

    I don't bother keeping count of hours anymore. I'm unable to commit to just one organizations goals and tend to be less patient with getting things going when I focus on just one. I don't know what you would say I do. I do a little bit of everything. My ADHD gets the best of me most of the time as I have 4 or 5 projects up in the air at a time. I work with local congregations to help organize combined community efforts of which can be continued as an annual event without my help after the first time. I work with local and state organizations to help create awareness of current programs in the community I live in, take the first steps towards starting something new in the community (composting program, green expo, battery recycling), and mostly just helping the community connect. I've served on a local PTO and my 10 yo daughter and I will soon be starting a county-wide comprehensive waste audit while working with a local waste hauler in hopes to have their 6 acres of land permitted for composting and up and running by the end of the year. We hold monthly Ethical eating workshops (for vegans, vegetarians, and ethical eaters) and run a small Equal Exchange store out of our congregation while helping create awareness about the unethical and unfair work environments for food products. The point of listing all of this isn't for show-and-tell, it's to show one thing. I'm not part of any big organization, so I never have any particular people I can call on for a project. I am just one person. But we are all ants on a giant ant hill and there are lots of people (other ants) who will always help work towards a goal as long as you can provide clear set goals, how you plan on accomplishing it, and a set timeline....we can do anything as long as we work together. All we need to do is reach out to our community for help and it will come.

  • jill.piacitelli.5

    Break Away has a pledge card with 20 specific ideas that we just launched with our GOOD Maker grant winnings. Kind of like bingo - if you get the card and then send it back, you have a chance to win the funds back for your own community project. Go here:

  • Ragnar Poulsen

    Great stuff, but is there any specific ideas on how to do this?

    • Casey Caplowe

      Hey Ragnar, we'll be posting ideas and inspiration for this throughout the year. If you follow the "Service" topic, that's one good way to keep up with it:

      Also, we're may try sending everyone who's clicked Do It on this a monthly email to highlight some of the better ideas and resources to help everyone follow through.

  • Audrey Bellis

    I absolutely commit to this and more. I currently sit on the advisory board to Catholic Charities LA- San Pedro Region, and just joined the Emerging Leaders with United Way of Greater Los Angeles. Volunteering and committing time out of each week to my community has not only been fulfilling mentally/spiritually, but it has been eye opening, humbling, and brought a sense of community in my life with a group of the most impressive people I have ever known. It's a commitment to live/work/play/support/ and regrow our community not just as a "neighborhood" but to support our neighbors in compassionate ways as people.

  • pullano333

    I was just talking with a bilingual volunteer that helps interpret for Spanish speaking parents in SF public schools through the San Francisco Education Fund's School Volunteers program ( and she made an awesome point. She said volunteering is a great way to repay debts to the community. She immigrated here with no money and didn't speak English. She said people were extremely generous to her and helped her succeed. Now she volunteers to try to pay forward the kindness done for her long ago.

  • graceadams830

    HELL NO!!! I did that three or four times over last year--very low level back office clerical work--but needed to be done. I must have done nearly twenty hours already this year. Why pledge?

  • bittin duggan

    Wow what a few amazing weeks and days!
    The 2013 Point in Time Homeless Person's Count
    - We did it!
    ORCCA, Neighbors in Need Coalition, Occupy Southern Oregon Coast, am amazing volunteers - community members (working at businesses, living in homes, under bridges, in shelters and with friend...and more).
    United we are together - Namaste, B
    It is only going to get better for all of us.
    We'll start planning 6 months in advance......exhausted - grateful - inspired

  • Renee Hill

    I currently serve our community as an Alzheimer's facilitator. There is much need and little help. Visit the Alzheimer's organization for more information. You don't have to do it alone!

  • amanda.brock

    This is great! For those in the San Francisco Bay Area or New York City: Spark, a network of young professionals dedicated to improving the lives of women around the world, offers great opportunities for volunteering, including leadership positions. Check us out:

  • Sarah Wise

    I love this! As a long standing volunteer with the LA Conservancy, I've been able to work as much or as little as you want or can. There are so many great groups out there that can fulfill your specific passion.

  • nwade

    For a meaningful but short-term volunteer experience, check out Spark ( to find out how to mentor a middle school student at your workplace and help them make the school to career connection. Coincidentally, the commitment each session is two hours a week for ten weeks, totaling the 1% time commitment suggested in this article. Spark is looking for mentors in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia in all career fields now!

  • khvanzant

    This is a great way to get involved in community and transform your life at the same time. Most people get involved to help someone else only to find out that the relationships that are build are mutually beneficial!

  • connie.hayek

    For anyone with an interest in foster care, here are 101 Ways 2 Get Involved Foster Care . Some are big, some are small. Some are low cost, some are no cost (other than time).
    A study in one state found that 80% of inmates had been in foster care. Former foster kids who have been successful as adults have reported that the biggest factor in their success was one caring adult.
    You could be that one caring adult!

  • Ross Meredith

    This is the group I have been involved with the past couple months. I have completed two events and look forward to doing more year-round. The website is currently under construction; however, the page has links to Facebook pages.

  • lauren.mathis.14

    If anyone pledging for this is a yoga teacher I can direct you to a beautiful opportunity to volunteer for a public school yoga program through World Y.O.G.A. Project. We ask a commitment of 6 hours for the spring session. One hour per week for six weeks so we can provide a school that wouldn't ordinarily have the exposure or funds, free yoga for the students! I can say from experience it's incredibly rewarding. Email me at if you are interested!!

  • ResidentGeekUK

    Not my work time unfortunately, but I do dedicate a minimum of 3 hours every week to teaching young people to play music.

  • Omaat .org

    We're volunteering our time doing face-to-face fundraising for charities who can't afford to hire people to do it. It's a hell of a lot more fun randomly sending a charity a check as opposed to be wrapping up in a contract to fund raise for them.

  • Mindy Nguyen

    Great idea, and it's so simple! Need to get more people to join in on this.

  • amy rigg

    It's hard to do good civic things while living in the forest - we donate our time by cleaning the litter up on our road from our place up to the corner ♥

    • Chris Gregory

      Lots of people love coming to the forest for nature workshops. Just a suggestion....bring them to you. I've been to mud adobe, nature learning, and Earth-centered festivals out in the middle of the woods. Most donate a part of the money they bring in to a charity.

  • MItchel Alexis Quek

    This Sunday - every 20th is a special day for us- my partner and I decided to take this day to distribute food and goodies to the old folks -mostly living alone- so they can celebrate and enjoy Chinese New Year too.

    I am permanent volunteer at a Singapore based social enterprise: Daughters Of Tomorrow (DOT) - The purpose is to provide meaningful work to women in the 3rd World - creating sustainable livelihoods (so they can provide education for their children and put food on the table). Apart from working full time, most of my mind's time is spent on DOT.

    It's really nice to know we can all contribute meaningfully -in small ways- to other human beings.