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Hands on Service Activities

A hands-on service activity involves volunteer labor to assemble, develop or improve something for an identified recipient. Through its chapter Care Abounds® program, Thrivent provides financial assistance to purchase necessary materials used in a hands-on service activity.

To qualify as a hands-on service activity, the activity must:

  • Bring together a community service team of Thrivent members – (nonmembers are welcome too!) – working at the same time and place to help an individual, family, congregation or qualified nonprofit organization.
  • Involve meaningful work that is directly related to the item(s) purchased with the funds. Meaningful work implies a reasonable commitment of time and effort.
  • Have an outcome or product.

Examples of hands-on service activities include painting a church hall, constructing a wheelchair ramp, building shelves for a school library, etc.

To determine if an activity is truly a hands-on service activity, consider these questions:

  • Who is the recipient of the activity?
  • What is the need of the recipient?
  • What is being assembled, developed or improved for the recipient through the activity?
  • What hands-on service will be performed by volunteers?
  • What materials or supplies do the volunteers need to complete their activity?

What Doesn't Qualify as a Hands-on Service Activity?

  • Buying food or supplies to sponsor a social gathering that only provides an opportunity for a group of people to gather for friendly companionship. Social activities by themselves are not considered hands-on service activities. (This may be a member social activity, if it meets the definition.)
  • Buying food or supplies to sponsor an educational event. (This may be an educational activity, if it meets the definition.)
  • Buying supplies to be used to support fundraising activities (i.e., cooking supplies to make and sell baked goods at a fair).
  • Paying for professional services (i.e., carpenter, landscaper, professional presenter, professional movers) acquired by a chapter service team. The Care Abounds hands-on service funds are not intended to pay for the work, but rather to purchase necessary supplies.

Activity Examples

  • A chapter service team wants to provide travel expense assistance for a young student to participate in a service activity in another state. Travel expenses are not materials needed to perform the service and are not an acceptable use of hands-on service funding through a chapter Care Abounds program. However, the chapter service team could hold a fundraiser to help cover travel expenses. Or if the student needed to carry supplies on the mission trip to aid in the mission work, the service team could conduct a drive to gather the items needed, such as health kit supplies, hygiene kit supplies, school supplies, etc. They could ask the chapter about providing Care Abounds hands-on service funding to assist in purchasing the supplies.
  • A chapter service team has been asked to provide funds to support a luncheon for confirmation students and their families. The luncheon is a social event and not eligible for hands-on service funds. However, the service team could suggest that the students and parents enhance their social event by adding a service element. They could plan to do landscaping at the church or a local nursing home, or assemble health kits for local social service agencies. In these instances, they can request hands-on service funds to purchase the materials needed to complete the service activity. Or, if the confirmation event is happening at the church, the service team could request the funds for the confirmation social because it meets the definition of having a religious purpose.
  • A chapter service team wants to host an activity (educational in nature) at the local grade school and is asking for funds for the materials they plan to purchase and distribute to attendees. Purchasing professionally made hand-outs is not an acceptable use of hands-on service funds through the chapter Care Abounds® program. However, the service team may conduct it as an educational workshop and seek funding to help cover the cost of the hand-out materials. See more information under chapter educational activities.

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