The steps to creating a successful team of volunteers for MLK Day.


Share Your Story

Three ways to share:

Do you have an interesting project?

What should you share?

Final Preparations

You've been planning for the MLK Day of Service for months—engaging partners, organizing projects, recruiting volunteers, securing funds, and promoting your event through traditional and social media. To ensure that your projects go as planned; don't overlook the final steps needed to prepare project site(s), volunteers, and the media for the event. Follow the tips below to make sure the day runs smoothly, and is an enjoyable experience for all participants.

Project Tips

Create detailed schedules for Pre-MLK Day, Day of, and Post-MLK Day. These schedules should be shared with all of your site managers and team leaders prior to the day of service. A detailed schedule will help you coordinate transportation, volunteers, security, food, and supplies.

Visit the project and event sites prior to the day of service with volunteer team leaders. Create a checklist of all equipment and supplies needed and make sure that they are on-site or scheduled to be delivered.

Review the projects to be completed. Consider having projects divided into smaller tasks that will allow small groups of volunteers to work on and complete each task. Compare the number of volunteers you need versus how many have signed up. Reassess your plans to match your volunteer base.

Don't forget about clean up! Assign a small group to ensure that the site is cleaned up at the end of the service project, if needed.

Volunteer Tips

Assign and train volunteer leaders for every project site. Ensure that leaders and others on-site are aware and can relate the day's happenings to volunteers. Send a reminder notice to those volunteers that have signed up with the time and location of the MLK Day project and directions including public transportation, if appropriate.

Make sure you have greeters at the door to tell volunteers where to go.

Remember to have your volunteers check in. Volunteer sign-in should include contact information where you can send a thank you, check boxes for photo release approval, and to receive more information about future MLK Day or other community service projects.

Thank you's are important. Don't forget to thank volunteers for coming when they arrive and after the project is completed. Give people ways of staying involved; share upcoming events and "what's next" for your project or organization.

Media Tips

Before MLK Day

Distribute a media advisory to local print and broadcast media 2 or 3 days before your event. Don't be afraid to make follow up phone calls to ensure that they received the advisory and has someone assigned to cover the event. Place the advisory on your website, share it with your partners, and send a copy to Aoife McCarthy at CNCS at

Create press kits. Include press releases, fact sheets about your organization, details about the project and MLK Day, and contact information including the cell phone numbers of people onsite who are responsible for working with the media.

Designate and prepare media contacts/spokespeople at every site; brief them on the information they need to respond to likely questions.

Media on MLK Day

Provide a separate media sign-in table where media may pick up press kits and connect with a spokesperson who can show them around.

Use Social Media

Media after MLK Day

Track all media coverage of your project. If your project is covered on the local news, ask for the raw footage of your event. You can put it on your website or use the footage when creating a video about your organization and its work. If you had articles written about your project, be sure to post the article on your website or organization's Facebook page.

Send out a press release with statistics and accomplishments from the Day of Service.


Provide a Space for Reflection


You will want to share your accomplishments with community partners, volunteers, your Board of Directors and others. Make sure that you document your accomplishments in words, photos, and/or video.

Volunteer Data. Document how many volunteers participated in your project and where appropriate list groups, such as employees of local businesses, that volunteered together.

Project Data. Document what you set out to accomplish and what was actually accomplished. Include both numbers, e.g. how many books were collected, and impact, e.g. restocking school libraries in disadvantaged communities or 200 children receiving a book to take home.

Photography. You will want photos to go along with your stories about the day of service. Designate photographers for the day and ask them to take as many pictures as possible. Use a professional photographer or camera, when possible. Don't forget to make sure your volunteers have signed a photo release form.


Join us for our final 2012 MLK Day of Service Webinar on Final Preparations on January 11, 2012 at 3 p.m. EST. This webinar will:

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