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Leaving Make a Difference Michiana

Posted on 8/18/2009 3:36:49 PM
Author: Dominic Go


Yesterday began my final week with Make a Difference Michiana.

I've learned a lot about the ins and outs of the non-profit sector and Make a Difference itself. I've learned a lot about specific non-profits that I've met with over the summer. I've learned a lot about advertising and website management. 

The list of things that I've learned could go on for pages, but what I've come to realize is that my personal gain is only really important to me. People don't want to read about that. Instead I've decided to write about the role of Make a Difference Michiana in our community and how that translates into real, tangible contributions to the community. 

Make a Difference Michiana does many things for the non-profit sector. It provides an easy, user friendly way to advertise and receive donations. It recruits and coordinates volunteers for various opportunities through the seven counties we serve. It networks together several non-profits who would not otherwise know about eachother. 

But what problem is MDM working to solve? One of the most ignored yet important, ongoing problems within the entire non-profit sector is the volunteer demo-graphic. It is widely accepted common knowledge that the vast majority of volunteers are over 50 years of age. R.S.V.P was formed especially to utilize this great resource. And while it is great, it won't last forever, and the needs of the community have not decreased.

 In a meeting I attended this summer, one of the other folks there was talking about ow volunteering used to be a social activity. Young adults would volunteer in order to meet and make new friends. However, as technology advanced techniques for recruiting did not. Unfortunately, volunteering has taken on a more utilitarian purpose. Young people will use it to boost their resume or application. While the service is still good, it does not have the permanence or connection that it use to. 

This is the problem MDM needs to address and in some ways already is. Right now it serves as a resource for the community to find opportunities. But in the future it will hopefully bring the opportunities to the community. There has always been a cultural divide between age groups and unfortunately volunteering became one of the differences. So in order to take a pro-active approach to solving this problem MDM has started re-evaluating its own techniques. 

 Make a Difference Day this year will hopefully prove to be one of the best. We are holding two competitions: one for Make a Difference High School of the Year and the other for the Make a Difference Business of the Year. This is only one of many new approaches MDM will be taking to once again make volunteering a social, meaningful thing to do. 

Make a Difference Michiana will play an integral role in the modernization and outreach of the non-profit sector.