Social Connectedness / 2013
Do Good Bus | Free Rides
The Do Good Bus is an opportunity to get involved and help your community. Just get on the bus and we do the rest. Each trip is different and the locations are a secret. If you have always wanted to get involved, volunteer or help others but didn’t know how – hop on the Do Good Bus!
We currently host monthly community rides to give Los Angelenos an opportunity to learn about local causes, experience giving back and most importantly, connect with other people in their city. Over the past three years, we’ve visited dozens of causes and connected hundreds of volunteers. In order to expand and give more people in Los Angeles an opportunity to participate – we need to buy a bus. With our own bus, our goals are to: double participation, offer one free ride per month and focus on teaching youth the importance of giving back.
DOUBLE TIME & MAKE IT FREE
With our current costs and bus rental availability, we are limited to one community ride per month. These rides require people to purchase a ticket. We believe there’s true value in a Do Good Bus ticket (you even get a gourmet lunch!) but we also know the ticket can be a barrier for some. If we could host one FREE ride per month in addition to a ticketed ride -- viola! -- we’ve doubled the amount of people who can connect and doubled the amount of GOOD we can do.
KIDS AND GIVING BACK
In line with the LA2050 report about the direct connection between education and social connectedness, we’ve been working on ideas to engage students via the Do Good Bus. We are committed to teaching our youth the importance of giving back and connecting with their community. In fact, we’ve started hosting FAMILY RIDES to give families access to kid-friendly volunteer activities and teach kids the vocabulary and concepts of giving back. We would love to offer the same experience to students in Los Angeles schools - giving teachers an opportunity to incorporate volunteerism into their curriculums.
The LA2050 report also suggests education levels are directly related to social connectedness levels. While we don’t have the resources to ensure kids make it to their senior year, we think exposing kids to unique experiences on a Do Good Field Trip, will give them a chance to connect with students across neighborhood lines and with a world outside of the classroom. In addition, a Do Good Field Trip would expose students to unique career options (i.e. Non-profit CEO or Do Good Bus tour guide) - potentially giving them new motivation to make it through school.
What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?
Do Good Bus <a ref=”http://dogoodbus.com/index.php/foster-the-people-do-good-bus/>partnered with the band Foster The People</a> (FTP) to launch their charity initiative, Foster The Future during the band’s 2011 Summer Tour. In an effort to engage and inspire FTP fans, Do Good Bus loaded up with 30 fans before each concert along the 25 city tour. Fans participated in a local community project in their city and had fun along the way. In total, we connected with over 750 people, thirty percent of which were first-time volunteers and helped create awareness and support for 25 causes across the United States.
Locally, we’ve partnered with dozens of Los Angeles causes to give Los Angelenos an opportunity to connect and give back. We’ve painted massive murals, helped students write their college entrance essays and sorted dog food for some of the cutest rescue animals in Los Angeles.
Some of our favorite rides include working with: 826LA, Meet Every Need with Dignity (MEND), Best Friends Animal Society and most recently, Fantasia Family Music Theater. As a specific example, we’ve had an ongoing relationship with Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI) and have been an integral part of their “100 Seeds of Change” initiative to change Inglewood’s status as a “food desert”. In the past 6 months, we’ve had over 100 volunteers get their hands dirty to help give Inglewood residents better access to healthy food choices.
Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.
For the nitty gritty logistics, Townride, Inc. would like to offer their expertise in helping us through the purchase and refurbishing process of creating the coolest Do Good Bus possible. We are also working on a plan to partner with Townride for storage and maintenance.
As for causes and organizations who can help us make Do Good Field Trips a reality, we’re looking forward to working with No Right Brain Left Behind, Green Dot Schools, Breakaway Education and Zimmer Children’s Museum.
Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?
We keep track of how many people experience the Do Good Bus each year and how many of those people return to volunteer at select causes. If we could double our numbers, we’d consider it a huge success.
Outside of pure numbers and excel spreadsheets, we measure our success by trying to accomplish three goals:
- Create Awareness
- Create Community
- Encourage Continued Support
We already track each of these goals and would continue to do so by doing the following:
AWARENESS: We are creating awareness about Los Angeles causes for Do Good Bus participants, which is easy to measure by simply counting how many people get on the bus. But we are also committed to creating a broader awareness for each specific cause by consistently mentioning and supporting them via Do Good Bus social networks and ideally, the social networks of our 30 passengers. We know the power of word of mouth and encourage all our participants to share their experience via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and good ol’ fashioned coffee dates. We are currently working on a template to track and report increased awareness for the non-profits we visit to show the benefit of partnering with Do Good Bus.
COMMUNITY: This category could also be called, GETTING DIGITS. Our favorite part of a Do Good Bus ride is seeing people connect and find a common ground. We are constantly amazed to see people trading information at the end of our rides so they can reconnect in the future. Past doGOODers have gone out on dates, found new babysitters and even started their own small community projects. All because we put them on a bus together!
CONTINUED SUPPORT: After each Do Good Bus ride, passengers receive a follow up email with info on how to continue to support the cause they visited as well as other causes in Los Angeles. We do our best to work with the non-profits and causes to monitor and track return volunteers and hope to increase those “return rates” as we move forward. Ideally, our goal is to check in twice a year with people who have been on the bus and give them examples of new ways to help and creative ways to get involved.
How will your project benefit Los Angeles?
If Do Good Bus can host multiple rides per month and offer one of them for free, we can give more Los Angelenos an opportunity to help their communities. In one year, over 1,000 people will be newly connected and if we add Do Good Field Trips to that number, we end up with 1,000 newly connected kids as well.
One of our goals on the bus is to encourage continued support and inspire people to do good on a regular basis. For us, that doesn’t always mean returning to the cause we just visited. During a ride, passengers are not only exposed to meaningful causes they are also introduced to what it FEELS like to give back. We encourage them to harness that feeling and search for ways to find it again in their every day lives. We strongly believe that inspiration in people will continue to shape Los Angeles into a more connected place.
In addition to one free ride per month and Do Good Field Trips, owning a bus would give us a unique opportunity to help Los Angeles in a hyper-local capacity. With 24-hour access to a vehicle equipped with supplies and enough seats for 30 willing volunteers, we’d have the capability to coordinate last minute trips to help our neighbors in a time of emergency or disaster relief. This might be the most exciting element of owning our own vehicle.
One ride at a time, Do Good Bus can begin to shape Los Angeles into a more connected city; one with informed and inspired residents who can help one another.
What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?
We think the SMALL THINGS will mean success.
In 2050, if most Los Angelenos know more than one neighbor and if kids don’t roll their eyes when teachers say “volunteer” – success.
In 37 years, if people understand picking up a piece of trash is just as much their responsibility as the next person’s – success.
And on our way to 2050, if people have unique opportunities to connect and even have FUN together, they will be more likely to work together to make those small things Los Angeles’s reality.