Seattle Works

A blog that documents all things Seattle Works…and much much more!

Team Up for nonprofits rocks the house for Seattle Works! August 20, 2010

Filed under: Grab bag — seattleworks @ 9:04 pm

Team Up is a nonprofit that produces high-quality music events (like the Gigs4Good concert) to raise funds and awareness for other inspiring nonprofit organizations while providing an exciting and accessible avenue for people of all ages and stages of life to participate in meaningful giving. 

Team Up is awesome – check them out:


Last night the Gigs4Good concert featured Alex Mercier with Thick as Thieves, along with opening act Bekker.  Both are Seattle natives themselves and we hope they enjoyed playing in front of a hometown audience as much as we enjoyed having them!

The money raised last night is going to our new HandsOn Leadership program.    It’s a training course and a volunteer project designed BY volunteers, all rolled into one!  HandsOn Leadership gives our volunteers a chance to create new, meaningful volunteer projects that support the needs of local nonprofits.

More information about HandsOn Leadership:

Thanks to everyone who made it out to support us last night!


“Stress is the result of lack of planning.” -Bob, President of Ivar’s August 19, 2010

Filed under: Grab bag,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 11:38 pm

Over 300 emerging leaders gathered together to make connections at Seattle Chamber’s first All Young-Professionals Networking Event last night on the eastside.  There was a panel discussion highlighting local leaders’ journeys to success.  Panelists included Kirk Nelson, Washington President of Qwest Communications; Bob Donegan, President of Ivar’s; Anne Fennessy, Partner at Cocker Fennessy and moderator Christine Chen of Chen Communications.

We got to listen to three very different perspectives and one of the more impactful tidbits was shared by Bob.  If you feel like you’re having a bad day or you’re disliking your job, he suggests spending a day working the garlic fry booth at Qwest or Safeco Fields.  He described (in great detail) the process that those workers go through at the end of a shift.  Let’s just say it involves removing all articles of clothing, plastic bags, cleaner that would burn your skin off and a high possibility of smelling like garlic for longer than you thought possible.

One of the pointers that all three panelists shared was the importance of giving back to your community and the invaluable skills, experience and people you can meet through volunteering. 

We couldn’t agree with them more!


“It’s a bit like throwing a party, not inviting someone … and then wondering why they didn’t show up.” August 17, 2010

Filed under: Election,Influence — seattleworks @ 2:24 am

Hats off to Thomas Goldstein of The Washington Bus and Thomas Bates of Rock the Vote for their article in The Seattle Times on younger voters.

Among many smart things, they say that:

We know what works: Make sure young people are registered to vote, give them relevant information in an engaging way, and run campaigns that connect with their values.

We couldn’t agree more.

Don’t Underestimate the Younger Voter:


Summer: when a surprising number of things happened August 11, 2010

Filed under: Grab bag,Our Team — seattleworks @ 4:23 am

It’s hit me recently that none of us at Seattle Works are really that great at keeping up on our blogging, and when we do, it’s always easier and more fun to post pictures of picnics or hilarity than to come up with thoughtful comments on the REAL WORK we are doing every day.

So, here’s my attempt! Summer, in a nutshell…

Team Works & Hot Projects – growing! Our project calendar is fuller than it’s ever been and people are still asking for more. Plus, we’ve got 13 teams kicked off for a June-September round of projects, a few higher than our summer standard.

 HandsOn Leadership – we piloted a brand new endeavor! Six fine folks went through our volunteer project management training course. Now they are working as two teams, with each team planning a service project to take place in the coming weeks. Way to step on up.

The Bridge – doesn’t normally happen during the summer, but this year it did! The spring session of our board training program filled up so fast that it was clear we had to find a way to squeeze in another offering before fall. We tried out the idea of whether people will dedicate three summer evenings to building their community leadership know-how. Turns out they will! Color us impressed.

 Strategic Planning – our current plan is wrapping on up, and we’ve been working for months on developing our course for the next three years. Summer has brought productive and useful conversations on how we set priorities and what our guiding principles are, along with refinement of the goals and objectives we developed at our spring board retreat. Drafting is in the final stages!

Our July board meeting also featured a conversation with Executive Director of the Washington State Commission for Volunteer & Community Service, Bill Basl, which brought us new perspectives and some insights on where volunteerism is headed.

Elections Task Force – a fine group of volunteers has been working to develop this year’s electoral-engagement strategy. Despite the raging success of our 2009 Ballot Party(, we determined that this year’s Primary was too un-sexy for even us to make an event out of it. Lots of unopposed candidates, and a lot of races affecting specific districts rather than the city-wide spree we had last year. Does that mean the Primary isn’t important? Heck no! Important isn’t always sexy after all. Instead, we spent our time and energy creating an online resource that preps you for the Primary and gives some basic insights into navigating our political maze. Check it out!

While summer is normally a slower time, it’s been exciting to have so much going on, we’re proud to be doing it and we’re glad you’re taking part in it! – Tara


How to become a mayor August 10, 2010

Filed under: Support Seattle Works — seattleworks @ 9:06 pm


Last week I went with the rest of the DukeEngage interns to the Seattle Foundation office where we were treated to a nice array of food and good company! We met with former Seattle Mayor and current Seattle Foundation President Norman B. Rice and had a chance to learn about what the Foundation does to create a healthy community in Seattle and surrounding areas.

We’ve had the opportunity to see how different nonprofits run and the passion that people have for their missions.  We sometimes struggle with the lack of focus on administrative tasks, that we as interns, are often focused on.  The answer was quite simple:  a nonprofit is no different from a for-profit, and it needs to operate in the same manner. From large businesses to small families, the units should spend less than they earn, and be prepared to operate under restricted circumstances. We also learned that sustainability of an organization is an important reference for donors when they’re considering where their funds should go, and for the Foundation when they’re deciding what organizations should receive grants.

After we talked about our jobs, and how nonprofits operate, we got the chance to ask Mr. Rice about his path to success and how to get involved in the community through politics. It was clear that for Mr. Rice, it’s important to be able to listen to the community and affect positive change, without being worried about getting re-elected or what this will do for your political career. That was an interesting perspective, and one that I have not heard from many people in the political world.

Since I’m in the process of writing an essay about the sustainability of Seattle Works and what I’ve learned during my time here, this information was definitely food for thought!


What is board speed dating? August 6, 2010

Filed under: Lead,The Bridge — seattleworks @ 11:25 pm

Another successful session of The Bridge (our dynamic training program that gives participants the basics in nonprofit and government board service) wrapped up last night with a new aspect of the program called board speed dating.  Yep, you read that right: speed dating. 

Board speed dating is a way that we can bring our Board Works ( organizations in to meet with our future Bridge graduates.  It allows the Bridge participants to interact with people currently serving on boards to ask questions, learn about what phase different boards are in, their struggles, their successes, etc.  It also gives our Board Works organizations a chance to meet potential new board members.  That’s definitely a win-win in our minds, and based on what our participants are saying, they agree!


The most valuable part of the course was: “Every part was valuable … especially being able to talk with board members from various nonprofit organizations and finding out what it’s really like to serve on a board.” – Bridge graduate

Proof that we’re developing emerging leaders:  three people there to recruit for new board members/talk about their board service were previous Bridge graduates.  They’re not just talking the talk; they’re walking the walk.

Wanna get in on this? 

Next Bridge course begins Sept 14th.  Sign up now: