Love Our Cities: How a City-Wide Volunteer Day Can Unite and Transform Your Community

By: Jeff Pishney and Eric Jung

Meeting Date: March 6, 2024 6:30 PM

“Love Our Cities” is a book about volunteering, the benefits it brings to a city, and how a single day devoted to good works can be a source of continuing civic involvement. It was written by two people who learned these things after starting a community outreach project at a church.

The “big ideas” for Urban Atlanta:

  •  People who volunteer for community-improvement projects become active citizens, and their awareness and involvement make cities stronger.
  • We need volunteer-management organizations like Love Our Cities because these groups know how to create meaningful community-improvement projects and bring people into this work. Governments can cooperate with these efforts but cannot replace them.
  • Volunteer management is harder than it seems. Good organizations build relationships with nonprofits, plan events that give volunteers insight into the community, and help nonprofit leaders manage volunteers.
  • The aim is to create involvement that lasts longer than a single day. It is critical, then, that nonprofits be willing partners in “volunteer day” planning because they are the gateways to lasting involvement.
  • People will volunteer, if asked the right way. And many will continue with civic involvement if the experience is meaningful and the nonprofit is skilled at using volunteers.
  • If Atlanta had a volunteer-management organization like Love Our Cities, we believe it should experiment with scale. Urban Atlanta is such a big place, we believe it is important to offer volunteer opportunities for parts of it: a “Love Cascade Heights” effort, for example, or a “Love East Atlanta” day.

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