Landscaping/Beautification Project

Impact Area

Help Neighbors in NeedImprove Environment

Volunteer Group Name & URL

BDO USA, LLP

Organization Served & URL

National Center for Children and Families

Project Goal/Description

A group of people work together in a variety of tasks to create a pathway through a forest for families at a homeless shelter to go for peace and relaxation. The project involves taking out old plants, preparing flower beds for winter, and generally beautifying the campus.

Timeline for Planning

  • Set date months before project
  • Publicize within the company about 2 months in advance
  • Repeat requests for employee signup
  • Coordinator needs to work with NCCF staff to organize logistics and publicize what volunteers should bring, and what to wear

 

How Many Volunteers

About 15 to 20 people who work for the firm. The firm has a coordinator who leads the project. New people are encouraged to coordinate as it’s a good way to develop management skills.

How Was This Publicized to Recruit Volunteers?

The project is sponsored by BDO Seidman, a global accounting firm. They have been doing the project since 2003.

Required Facilities, Materials & Expenses

Facilities/Space: All work is done at the site, NCCF. Some landscaping tools are used, but it’s mostly work done by hand.
Project supplies: Expenses are minimal.  Food is donated. Company provides shirts with the firm logo on it. NCCF provided all tools.
Publicity:

Challenges

-The weather. The event takes place rain or shine. The rain poses a challenge but there is a backup plan that involves more indoor work, such as stuffing envelopes, and less mulching and other outdoor work. -Having a job for each volunteer. “If people show up and don’t know what to do, it’s a disaster,” says BDO coordinator Mark Edward. If NCCF staff members have tasks ready, it may facilitate the project.

Group Type

Business

Strategic Priority Addressed

Healthy & Sustainable CommunitiesVital living for all our residents

Result

The NCCF campus looks much better by the end of the project. For the volunteers, “it’s a big morale booster,” explains Mark Edward. It creates a lot of goodwill among employees who volunteer.

Special Points of Interest

  • Networking opportunities when chatting with other volunteers
  • Good icebreaker for new employees or people who don’t know each other
  • Spouses and children of employees are welcome so it’s a way to have family time
  • Recognition in the community for work done
  • Food is donated and served on site by Smokey Glen

Additional comments from Mark Edward, organizer:

  • "You can’t overestimate the benefits."
  • "People talk about it for months."
  • "We get out of it as much as we give."

Project Tips:

  • Make sure there are enough jobs for each volunteer and that the group stays organized and on task
  • Do not leave people to figure out what they should do or just off on their own