Do you like meeting people, high-fiving and volunteering? You can do all three on the Do Good Bus.
If the name doesn’t tip you off, the bus takes riders to a volunteering activity, but the activity and destination remain a mystery until you arrive.
Scared off by the secrecy? Don’t be.
“We make it fun and social on the way,” says co-founder Rebecca Pontius, “so it’s kind of like a party bus, but we do good.”
The group's mantra is summed up mathematically as: strangers + bus + do good = fun. The rush of not knowing what’s in store (C’mon, who doesn’t enjoy a little mystery?) is precisely what attracted volunteer Brittany Rubinger to try it out.
“I like the idea of … people coming together to help others, no matter the exact cause,” she says. “There's an element of excitement … to who will be there and what activity you'll be doing.”
Plus, Pontius adds, the tight-lipped policy allows for volunteers to have an open mind ripe for helping with any cause.
(Check out my recent experience on the Do Good Bus in the video above to see what my mystery volunteer activity was! Hint: I booked my ticket in advance).
The bus trips have three goals: Create awareness for the causes (by marrying social media and word-of-mouth), create community and inspire volunteers to continue doing good in their neighborhoods.
The group works with local nonprofits and individuals to set up volunteer events citywide. One community ride is offered per month and a ticket costs $35. The bus also offers hosted volunteer opportunities for company outings and private parties (if it’s a birthday bash, there will be booze on the ride back).
The Do Good Bus even teamed up with indie-pop band “Foster the People” to tour 25 U.S. cities and volunteer at each tour stop. Examples of volunteer activities the organization has done include assembling bicycles for kids, painting murals, small-disaster relief, gardening and working with animals.
“We try to give variety so people can try all sorts of volunteering,” Pontius says.
The co-founder finds the community element to be the most important part of the Do Good Bus.
“We really are trying to build community and have strangers be in a place where they can meet one another, when they otherwise wouldn’t,” she says. “It’s hard to do that in a city like L.A.”
But the Do Good Bus will roll on and continue trying.