Services Challenges - Why They Are So Effective

 Photo courtesy of sakhorn38 from

Photo courtesy of sakhorn38 from

The following post was written by Sarah Barton, Senior Analyst and Grant Specialist.

A little over a week ago, my kids and I joined millions of others by taking the ice bucket challenge. The next day, as I walked in my neighborhood, I realized that I need to take a bag to pick up litter on the sides of the road the next time I take a walk. From the ice bucket challenge to neighborhood clean-up, it seems like opportunities to serve others in some small way arise each day. I am glad to be challenged so often to serve, because without the challenge to serve, I might be blinded to the many needs of my family, my neighborhood and my world.

Ethos has the opportunity to work with many people, in many fields of work. As we visit and work with these individuals, a common theme frequently emerges in the core of their work - they want to serve others through their roles and through their organizations. As I have worked with them, I have also learned that they are very interested in identifying new ways to serve others, too. They are not afraid to serve, and they are not put off by the idea of it.  I find this fascinating.

Why do I find this desire to serve so fascinating? Because I think it opens opportunities for organizations to get creative and fun. The ALS foundation did when they offered the ice bucket challenge. Other organizations are trying to think of creative ideas that might spur others to give, and your organization can be part of this movement. It doesn’t have to go viral on the Internet to be a great idea; it can be simple, like my idea to clean up the neighborhood by taking a trash bag and a glove with me the next time I go for a walk. It just needs to be a challenge that encourages people in your organization to help other people.  

Sometimes we just need to be reminded that people really do find joy through serving others. Sometimes we just need a jumpstart on the ideas. Here are a few:

  • Send cards to 10 people you serve this week (through snail mail)
  • Clean up your block by picking up trash around your building and parking lot
  • Take a moment to have a thoughtful conversation with a client today about their life. 

Once you start seeing the opportunities to serve around you, it can quickly become a habit to incorporate them into your every day experience. I hope you start today.

Sarah Barton