What happens when you bring together 100 volunteers for a few hours of do-gooding and a celebratory round of drinks? An awesome (and productive) Saturday! Volunteering Untapped PHL (VU-PHL) is designed to habitualize volunteering for young people in Philly, fostering community connectedness and launching a lifelong love of civic engagement.
This simple yet brilliant concept is imported from Baltimore: on the second Saturday of the month, we volunteer with a nonprofit organization for 3 hours, then host an afterparty at a nearby bar. The nonprofits we volunteer with are diverse in their size, cause, and needs to keep events impactful and unique.
VU-PHL makes it so volunteers only need to “sign up and show up” for the events—things like water, tools, and materials are all provided. That plus the draw of networking and socializing makes it easy to come back each month.
Our friends in Baltimore are attracting 200 plus volunteers each event—a number we hope to approach by the end of our first year. With this critical mass of volunteer hours, we will be able to:
1. Expand the range of feasible projects for a given organization—either by scale (huge project) or efficiency (many small projects in one day)
2. Engage both lifelong Philadelphia residents and recent transplants in the communities they share
3. Make volunteering a habit that sticks with this crucial group, who can further build Philly’s nonprofit ecosystem
In addition to the nearly 2,000 volunteer hours—or roughly $25,000 worth of volunteer labor—we’ll be developing future community leaders. We strive to connect them with people they might not meet if they move to NY or DC before truly engaging with a city that gives them so much.
We’re dedicated to establishing a diverse and talented group that has the capacity and desire to make the city a better place, but can’t make it to the soup kitchen at 11AM on a Tuesday. With your help, we will reach nearly 800 of those folks by year end. We’ll drink to that.
Funded by Philadelphia, PA (May 2017)