Make a Difference Day is coming up! On October 24, 2015, you are encouraged to volunteer and make a difference in your community. If you do volunteer, you can complete an entry form to be in the running for the Make a Difference Day Awards. Even small gestures can brighten someone’s day: For example, sending Teleflora’s Be Happy Bouquet to a friend who’s down. If you’re looking for ways to to volunteer your time, here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Play with Pets
A super fun volunteer activity you can do on Make a Difference Day is to volunteer at a local animal shelter. One thing shelter animals desperately need is human care and interaction. Many shelter pets are shy around humans, or have maybe even been abused in the past. This makes it harder for these animals to get adopted: Families are less likely to bond with a dog or cat that won’t get near them. That’s why many shelters have volunteer programs where you come in and socialize with these animals. Simple play and attention (at whatever pace is right for the animal) makes it easier for these cats and dogs to find their forever homes.

2. Read a Book
Most libraries have programs where people read books to children. Often these book readers are volunteers who have strong public speaking skills and a sense of fun. If that sounds like you, reach out to your library to see if it has a need for more readers. Remember to really embrace the drama of the story – kids love voices, and they even enjoy a touch of melodrama. By reading stories to kids and getting them excited about books, you can foster a love of reading that will stay with them for life.

3. Donate Your Skills
Difficult, skill-based volunteering is often what nonprofits need most. Consider what you’re good at, and reach out to local nonprofits to see if they need someone with your skills. For example, if you’re a photographer, you can volunteer to do a promotional photo shoot free of charge. If you’re an expert in accounting, you can volunteer to give them advice on how to handle their finances. Because nonprofits only hire the people they absolutely need, they’re often lacking these types of skill-based roles on staff. By volunteering your time, you can help them have a more well-rounded business model.

4. Get Crafty
If you enjoy knitting or crocheting, see if you can make something that can be donated. Many hospitals have programs in which people knit or crochet blankets for premature babies, or other babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. Some animal shelters have similar programs, where knitted blankets that smell like the shelter give adopted animals a comfort object as they adjust to their new homes. If you can’t find a program like these in your area, you can always make scarves or blankets to donate to local homeless shelters. These types of warm layers are particularly needed this time of year, as the weather gets colder and homelessness becomes more risky.

5. Fill a Need
Ultimately, any need you can fill will make a difference. If you’re not sure what to do, or if you don’t have any particular desires to do one type of job over another, simply reach out to local nonprofits and ask what volunteer openings they have. Nonprofits know best what they need, so if you go this route you’re bound to fill in some of their gaps. If you’re truly open to any job, you might be able to make an even bigger difference: Many “unpopular” volunteer jobs get left to the wayside, so anyone who picks them up makes a serious impact.

Teleflora Makes a Difference!

Make Someone Smile Week.
Teleflora's Be Happy bouquet

During Teleflora’s Make Someone Smile Week (July 19-25, 2015) local florists and volunteers delivered more than 30,000 of happy face mug of roses and daisies

Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Teleflora's Pink Grace Bouquet

Send Teleflora’s Pink Grace Bouquet and Teleflora will donate 15% of the purchase price to support the vital work of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation®.