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10 Creative Ideas to Celebrate Make a Difference Day (2024)

Updated: Jun 22

make a difference day ideas
Let's make a difference together!

Make a Difference Day is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of October every year.

USA Weekend, currently known as USA Today, first introduced this holiday in 1992 in the hopes of inspiring volunteerism.

That everyone has the power to make a positive change, no matter how small their actions appear to be. And that with small changes, we can create a significant impact.

It’s easy to imagine that this holiday is aimed at individuals. But it can apply to businesses, too.

Let’s cover the top 10 easiest ways to celebrate Make a Difference Day and create a positive change in your community.

10 Ways to Celebrate Make a Difference Day

1. Learn more about sustainability

make a difference day ideas

One of the easiest ways to participate in Make a Difference Day—particularly if you’ve never been a part of it before—is through education.

Learning more about business sustainability practices, ethical supply chains, equitable hiring practices, and similar topics enables you to look at your current operations with a critical eye.

Dozens of conferences and virtual events out there offer expert guidance to small businesses and startups.

One example is Emerald Summit, a virtual education and business networking event that offers individuals the chance to learn from industry experts and tap into free financial coaching.

2. Go paperless

make a difference day paperless idea

Another way to make a difference is by eliminating paper. Unless you're an early-stage startup, you likely won’t be able to accomplish this in a single day. However, it’s possible to set up a strategy to go completely digital.

There are many areas where you can eliminate paper, from using online communication tools to digital invoicing and cloud storage for documentation. And if you can’t remove paper completely, you can always use recycled paper.

3. Survey your employees about inclusivity

An oft-ignored area of sustainability is diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Promoting inclusion allows your organization to support top talent from various communities.

This can lead to improved quality of life and more individuals able to support climate-conscious initiatives. It can also be great for your bottom line.

To get a pulse on how safe your workplace is and hit the ground running on HR reform, you can survey your employees on Make a Difference Day.

4. Promote a company-wide volunteer day

volunteer day idea

Some of the best initiatives get employees involved on the ground level. Creating a volunteer day offers several advantages.

First, you can encourage sustainable efforts while assisting local organizations and building your team.

You can also create an optional holiday for employees to go and support the organization of their choice, with a raffle for participants.

While this approach doesn’t continue with team building, it does give employees autonomy and a chance to share their passion with their coworkers.

5. Work with a sustainability advisor

bhuva shakti

Using Make a Difference Day to meet with a planet-positive advisor can point you in the right direction.

Sustainability advisors often have decades of experience in both business and sustainable initiatives.

As a result, they can help you pinpoint areas where you can make the biggest impact without dramatically increasing your expenses.

For example, Bhuva Shakti, CEO of Bhuva’s Impact Global (BIG) and Wallet Max, works with both small businesses and fintech startups to transform their operations, increase efficiency, and integrate climate-conscious business practices.

Stephanie, an advisor from the financial wellness firm Bolder Money, specializes in empowering women entrepreneurs and small business owners to master their cash flow and financial stability.

If you aren’t sure if an advisor is a good fit, most offer a complimentary discovery session to explore your goals and objectives.

6. Start an urban garden

urban garden make a difference day ideas

A simple way to jumpstart your green efforts is to start a workplace urban garden. You can choose to hire someone to take care of the new office plants—but a better option is often to include employees.

Not only does this offer a nice break from regular work, but it helps you to build teamwork.

7. Run a donation drive

Many organizations start a sustainability program through donation drives.

Encouraging employees or the local community to contribute a few dollars to a larger cause, whether that’s setting up a shelter abroad or educating youth, is a simple way to get everyone involved.

8. Plant trees

plant a tree

Probably the most well-known way to be sustainable is to plant trees, with the hopes that your organization will become carbon-negative.

While this approach isn’t ideal, as it doesn’t create an immediate impact, it can be a good way to start your sustainability efforts.

You can also expand this to working with businesses or partners that plant trees and are carbon-negative. For example, you could host your website with eco-friendly web hosting.

You need a website anyway, so why not choose a provider that is offsetting its omissions? There are many out there, such as EcoWebHosting or GreenGeeks.

9. Review your business resilience plans

Climate change affects us all, and preparing for business resilience now can help you maintain growth in the future.

Using Make a Difference Day to map out your operations and identify potential areas that could be affected is a great way to plan for the long term.

You can also use this initial exercise when working on a sustainability strategy with an advisor or another external expert.

10. Participate in events

Finally, there are dozens of events leading up to and during Make a Difference Day.

For example, there is a local group in New York City called Fridays for Future that marches against fossil fuels. MIT hosts the Solve Challenge, which recognizes tech-based solutions making an impact.

You or your leadership team may also choose to attend events like the SDG Summit, which focuses not just on businesses but government and public policies around sustainability.

Take your first step towards sustainability

If you’re still unsure where to start, there are many more small actions you can take to get the ball rolling.

For example, you can take an Earth Day Pledge, attend a free event, or consider local initiatives. You can also find a low-cost way to learn more from experts and business leaders.

Emerald Summit is an eco-business networking event for startups and small businesses. This one-day virtual conference offers educational sessions, Q&A opportunities, interactive workshops, financial coaching, networking events, and more.

Register today and start making a difference.


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