I was recently at an event where someone asked the question “what is on your bucket list” as an icebreaker question. Most questions around the table were travel related. The founders of today’s organization found a way to put together travel and giving.
Maggie and Jenna served two terms with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community (NCCC) where they fell in love with giving back to communities and traveling. In NCCC you travel with a team every two months supporting existing nonprofits. This experience really made Maggie and Jenna understand how beautiful America is and gave them both a passion for seeing it all. However, they were not ready to stop volunteering as their NCCC program came to a close, so they began Navigating for Non Profits.
After their NCCC experience, Jenna was planning to move to Tennessee, had a car, and wanted a road trip partner. Maggie was planning to head to North Carolina and both of them were hoping to get involved with a nonprofit to begin their careers. Their idea started as offering to volunteer in State and National Parks in exchange for a free campsite, but a light bulb moment turned it into something bigger. They decided they could work for all kinds of nonprofits, picked the name Navigating for Nonprofits, and applied for and received their 501c3 status.
As they planned their itinerary they considered several factors: they wanted to see unique places, visit friends, have reasonable drive times, and work for a variety of nonprofits. They took some suggestions from people about nonprofits and cities and then spent some time mapping out their trip. At this point, their itinerary is locked down and their trip is underway, but they are still planning some of the volunteer events in the cities they are visiting. Jenna told me that they left San Francisco “with a dream two and a half months ago and we are still living it. We get excited every time someone comes out and volunteers for the first time…We have seen both coasts and the Great Lakes. We have met truly inspiring people. This road trip has been incredible.”
They are keeping a page of their achievements of their road trip. At this point they have recruited over 140 volunteers and given over 600 hours to 34 nonprofits.
Their journey is scheduled to come to an end in mid-December and then a whole new journey will begin. After this trip, they have plans to help others plan volunteering road trips.
How can you help?
- If you see your city on their itinerary, you can volunteer with them or reach out to visit with them as they see the sights.
- You can also donate to their trip on their website. Donations help pay for gas and their $9 a day food budget.
- You can also spread the word about their trip. The more people that hear about their trip, the more people will come out and get involved in the communities they visit.
- Maggie and Jenna also encourage everyone to volunteer. Just search the Internet for volunteer opportunities, grab some friends, and make a difference in your community.
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