Category Archives: Engage

Tips and tricks how to be engaged, volunteering, internship, career, featuring orgs from UG

Want to Volunteer? Three Things To Ask

How do you pick the right volunteer experience for you? It’s important to be diligent in your choice of organizations when volunteering. Ask yourself the following questions to determine which experience best fits your goals.

  1. What cause is important to you?

Identify your greatest passions. What is a problem you want to solve? Who are people you want to connect with? If you don’t have answers to those questions, don’t worry. Sometimes you know, and sometimes not! That’s where you just have to try, learn more about the cause, and see if it engages your mind and emotions.

This is why volunteering is so great. You can always try it, commit for a reasonable time, and then try something different. Start with an area about which you are curious, such as education, the environment, or health care. Interested in animal conservation? Volunteer with Pandas International to assist conservationists in caring for pandas. That raises another point: You can use volunteering to explore another part of the world. Working with Globe Aware in Peru, for example, will allow you to engage in a way much beyond that of a tourist.

  1. What is the organization like?

The nonprofit sector continues to grow, with new organizations popping up daily. Understanding the organizational structure is critical to a positive volunteer experience. Would you like to work in a larger organization that might have more resources but is more rigid? Or a smaller, entrepreneurial organization that has less fiscal support but multiple opportunities to serve?

You also need to consider the leadership structure. Are they friendly, open, willing to give you opportunities? Do you see yourself enjoying your day working with them? If you answer yes, then most likely you will have a positive relationship. They will want to see you grow and develop, and you will want to help them. It’s a “win-win” for everyone. Try to meet with the leader or volunteer manager prior to starting to ensure it’s a good fit.

  1. How much time can you dedicate?

Be realistic about the amount of time you can spend volunteering. Often, volunteers comment that they benefit from investing a lot of time becoming a part of the “nonprofit family.” You can learn the ins and outs of the organization and gain greater expertise.

However, you may have time only to help on weekends every now and then. That’s great, too. It’s just a different kind of experience. Volunteering one time to help a soup kitchen pack meals for families for the holidays is a good example. You’ve helped fill a need, and your heart is filled, too!

You’ve got a heart to give. Now, take the time to think about how you want to volunteer. By being thoughtful, you’ll use your time well and get the most out of your experience. (It also helps the nonprofit!) No matter what, you’ll be a better person. And the world will be better, too.

Visit Duke University’s website where Pamela can answer your questions on social innovations and nonprofits here! 

The Days of Linear Giving Are Over

The days of “linear giving” are over — what I mean is, it’s not “I give you this, you give me that.”   That’s Linear Giving and it doesn’t always happen.


First, you can’t truly give with the expectation that you are going to get something in return.  It’s just not the right motivation.  And it will upset the balance of giving, turning it into something it’s not…

We need to give because we sincerely want to. Because it’s the right thing to do. It’s helpful, kind, nourishing to the world. And ultimately it does help ourselves… we feel nourished and uplifted by the mere act of being generous.

And it won’t stop there. More good will continue to come to you, in ways you never expected.  From different places, different sources, and in unique ways!  It’s truly quite exciting…to see good unfold, when we let it go.

So let’s not give and expect back. It’s not A gives to B, and B to gives to A.

It’s A gives to B.  And then A gives to C and D.  Then X, M, Q and V give back to A at different times and ways in the future.

It’s circular, spherical, timeless, unbound, everconnecting giving… which is taking place, and always has been.

The Classic Pamela Positive: Words of Wisdom


I am always searching for ways to grow as an individual.  Great authors I love are Bill George & Stephen Covey; great leaders I love are Desmond Tutu and Mother Teresa. \ I came across this inspiring brief film by Andrew Zuckerman, cataloguing what many of our leaders across different sectors, thought about wisdom. I hope you enjoy:

Stay inspired and true.

Love for the Team



Yesterday, I brought in Chinese food for the UniversalGiving team. It was so nice to have the team together and to bond over good food and good conversation. I’m so grateful for all of the work that each and every team member does to contribute to our mission, our values, and our community.

Reverse Trick-Or-Treating


We all know Halloween is around the corner. No, not because of the multi-colored leaves, the smell of firewood, or the calendar on the kitchen fridge, but because every time we walk into the grocery store, our eyes are overwhelmed with visions of fat, round pumpkins, fake spiders and ghosts, and shelves stocked full of Kit-Kats, Snickers, and Swedish Fish. According to the History Channel, this now secular and commercial holiday originated from the ideas of giving to the poor, dressing up in costumes to trick “ghosts” who were believed to have come back from the dead, and honoring the deceased. Today, many kids don’t understand the joy of giving candy and are instead only focused on taking. Somewhere along the way, we have forgotten that the holiday was based on giving to others. We have somehow started to feel entitled to candy! And there’s nothing wrong with candy. But is there another lesson we can emphasize? This year, UniversalGiving wants you to consider this question:

What would Halloween look like if you gave instead of took?

This question aligns with the new movement called “Reverse Trick-or-Treating.” In this article from Disney’s Babble, the writer explains that this event entails going around from house to house and giving candy to people in the houses instead of taking their candy (see original idea here)UniversalGiving wants to expand on this concept to include other events that save you money and a trip to the dentist for all those candy cavities!

Here is a quick list that we put together to help you get started with ideas:

  1. Give someone a call to ask how they’re doing
  2. Give advice to a friend in need
  3. Give time volunteering at a soup kitchen or helping to cook a hot meal
  4. Give help to a younger sibling with homework or give them an hour of your time to play their favorite board game
  5. Give a donation all of those clothes that you don’t wear anymore to GoodWill
  6. Give someone random a high-five, a hug, or a smile


When we use a wider approach to giving and brainstorm all the ways we can give, the list is endless. Instead of a picture of your most creative costume, we challenge you to send us your most creative giving idea for this Halloween season! Remember to tag @UniversalGiving and use the #reversetrickortreating to get your post noticed. Happy Giving!

How Volunteering Can Strengthen Your Company

Here’s my article that was recently published on Triple Pundit about the how volunteering can benefit your company. Enjoy!



Volunteering can do more than make you feel good. It can help strengthen your company. Volunteering shows what your company stands for, attracts people who want to help, encourages collaboration, improves employee retention, and enhances brand image. If you haven’t guessed it already, all of these factors help your company’s bottom line. More people want to work for you, and customers want to buy your products because they feel good about what your company is doing.

Volunteering is a key part of any corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. Here’s why volunteering is invaluable to your company, and some tips on how to develop your program.

Instill company values

Volunteer work is a great way to show employees your company’s core values. When employees volunteer, they live your values firsthand. Not only are employees more aware of the company’s mission, but they will also appreciate company­ organized community work. It also helps individuals grow. If you get people out of their normal schedules, they’ll think differently, come back refreshed, and have new ideas.

In order to do this, create volunteer opportunities based on your company’s goals. Giving is positive and lighthearted. It sounds easy, but you can’t take it lightly. As with any business objective, sit down with your management team and establish a Volunteer Policy and Plan of Action. Determine what cause or causes match your values and business objectives.

Attract and retain employees

Volunteer programs are a must to attract talent. Even if people don’t take advantage of the volunteer benefit, they want to know it’s there. Fifty-nine percent of millennials now gravitate toward companies with pronounced CSR programs, according to a PwC millennials surveyYour volunteer program could very well be the difference in attracting an employee considering two different job offers, and encourage him or her to remain loyal to your company.

Equally, your employees are motivated by a desire to give back to the world. Research from Cone Communications shows 74 percent of employees say their job is more fulfilling when given the opportunity to make a positive impact at work.

Generate team-building

Team-building can be extremely beneficial to your company. It facilitates new ways of working together. First, you need to determine your business objectives and ensure the volunteering supports it. Are you a small or large company? Is your company local or global?

Be creative in the types of opportunities you offer and the times people can volunteer. Ensure you get team feedback as to the types of opportunities they’d like to see. A key trend is that managers are organizing volunteer trips as team building exercises. Pull employees from different business units who don’t normally work together. New ideas will flow!


Improve your company’s image

Volunteering helps companies enhance their corporate brand image. It’s important that local communities see beyond the company’s office buildings, its logo and its marketing. It’s interesting to note that 40 percent of Silicon Valley companies have one to four corporate sponsored events per year; and, even more impressive, 46 percent of companies hold 10 or more events per year (Silicon Valley Community Foundation).

By volunteering out in the community, others will see your company’s presence in a positive light. When they think of your company’s product, they’ll think of all the good you do. Your product, and company, are associated with this good work.

Employees volunteering in the community lend a new light of visibility to companies. People see you doing good, and it establishes trust in your company. It highlights corporate presence and brand – while helping a company’s bottom line.

The best volunteer program

To build a successful corporate entity, people have to believe that their 12­-hour corporate days mean something. And while individual employees’ day­-to­-day work might not be in corporate foundation work, they still want to be associated with the good within your company. By incorporating volunteering into your company’s culture, you will see your company grow stronger and more resilient. You will help your business, and your communities.

Finally, volunteering is not just about the act itself. A kind “volunteer mindset” starts the first minute of your day. It’s about helping others with their day-­to­-day tasks. It’s about being forgiving when others are under pressure. It’s about offering a helping hand, or a word of encouragement. That’s your best volunteer management program. If you aren’t living this, no volunteer work will help.

Image credit: Flickr/Mount Rainier National Park

Read the article on Triple Pundit here.

When A Child Doesn’t Cry

“Within minutes of being posted by witnesses and journalists, a photograph and a video of Omran began rocketing around the world on social media. Unwittingly, Omran — like Alan Kurdi, the Syrian toddler who drowned last September and whose body washed up on a Turkish beach — is bringing new attention to the thousands upon thousands of children killed and injured during five years of war and the inability or unwillingness of global powers to stop the carnage.” ~ New York Times

…When a Child Doesn’t Cry.

That is a devastating statement.

Here is Omran, a young child who was playing.  Then the bombs came. Suddenly he is alone; he is covered in soot and blood.

His childhood just died.

Children like this don’t cry. The reason why is that no one responds.   They don’t have a loving parent or guardian.

Perhaps they were killed.
They might be missing.
We just don’t know. 

If you don’t have someone to take care of you, why cry?

Omran Daqneesh.jpg

We have to stop this. Young children like Omran deserve to be loved, responded to, safe. They deserve to play. They deserve to grow up and to have a childhood.

Stop war today. You can be the critical part to do so. By donating to our partner organization Let Kids Be Kids, Inc., you can help those who have been affected by war torn areas. Be a part of the solution and Give Your 100%™.