- Jon Sutton
- Indianapolis, IN
- United States
Executive Director, Empowering Students
Help me with my idea to get students involved in service
I run Empowering Students, a state and federal not-for-profit aimed at engaging students in volunteerism. Our official mission statement is more or less this: let us offer the resources to students to find an organization they are passionate about and that needs their help.
We list in our site charities by city -- so far, we have 100 charities listed in Indianapolis with plans to expand to Chicago, Columbus and elsewhere. On our site, we don't simply list a mission statement and contact information for a charity. We carefully take the time to syndicate their blogs, include a mirrored donate page, and make the page look legitimate and credible. We contact each organization individually to verify their information we put on the site.
Simply having this database of organizations is worthless if no one looks at it. Therefore, our marketing arm is planning to reach out to local high schools and colleges. At the high school level, we want to connect with both individual students as well as service organizations. We are working to forge a partnership with Key Club International so we can work with local area Key Clubs. To find and inspire individual students who maybe aren't involved with clubs for whatever reason, we are sponsoring volunteer fairs -- where 5-7 charities come in during a school day and set up a booth to describe their cause and sign interested volunteers up.
At the college level our plan is less clear but involves mass marketing with t-shirts, posters, and events like open forums.
What do you think? Are we on to something and, more importantly, what are your suggestions for success?
(www.empoweringstudents.org for those interested)