Seattle Works

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

Need Skills for a New Job? Volunteer! March 27, 2013

Filed under: Grab bag,HandsOn Leadership — seattleworks @ 11:04 am
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Guest post by HandsOn Leadership volunteer Christine McMullin.

My husband and I touched down in Seattle on a chilly December night with one suitcase, our cat, and his offer letter from Amazon.

In Chicago, I was a well-connected professional, who had an extensive network and lots and LOTS of connections. But, in Chicago, I didn’t like my job. So, here, without connections, it was time to make a fresh start as clean as the Puget Sound.

What was my plan? Volunteer, of course.

Amping Up Your Skills

If there was one thing I had learned from volunteer projects with my Young Professionals Association and Taproot Service Grants, it was that you can get so much exposure from volunteering just a few hours of your time.

Taproot emphasizes “probono” work instead of volunteering, which is the model that I ascribe to. When you are doing probono work, you are exercising skills you already have, while stretching them in new ways. You are also showcasing your skills to a completely different audience than you have before.

For me, I wanted to segue from writing and editing into content strategy, which is a bigger version of editorial guidance for all digital materials. With some help from Skillshare.com and the Seattle HandsOn Network Leadership training in January, I was ready to go!

Teching Up My Portfolio, For a Good Cause

After my training, I chose to work on the Girl Scouts of Western Washington’s project to recruit volunteers to expand their reach to girls who don’t have the traditional mom or grandma available to lead troops or volunteer at events. They especially want to recruit the coveted Millennial group. What a worthy cause and just perfect for me to try out my newly minted content strategy skills.

Since I’m a volunteer, I have the luxury of a little more time on projects. That means that I have some wiggle room if I’m not sure how to do something. Making a mistake in a high-pressure job might mean I get fired. With this project, I can learn from my mistakes and do it better the next time.

And, learning by doing, especially for such a worthy cause, means that I understand concepts in action, instead of just theory. Girl Scouts gets something it could not produce alone. I get experience.

My (very supportive) team at the Girl Scouts has been very pleased with our progress so far. And, with pieces of the project going up on my LinkedIn, my profile has been looked at and shown up in more searches lately. When I go on informational interviews, I send some samples from my Girl Scouts work ahead and people are incredibly impressed.

So, I’m confident that, when the right job comes along, I’ll be ready. And I’ll owe a lot of what I talk about in the interview to the Girl Scouts and HandsOn Leadership training.

Want to help us in our mission to recruit Millennials? Take a few minutes to take our survey. We’ll be eternally grateful!

Of course, if you’d just like to volunteer, see what Girl Scouts has available here. Or take HandsOn Leadership yourself!

Christine is a ghostwriter and university instructor of writing when she’s not busy volunteering and learning new skills. You can connect with her on Twitter @CMcMChatter

 

Carol Ryan loves the Tully’s free refill March 25, 2013

Filed under: 10 Question Profile — seattleworks @ 7:00 am
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1. Name: Carol Ryan

    Neighborhood: International District

    Occupation: Volunteer Engagement

    Years in Seattle: I grew up here

2. Where is your favorite place to go in Seattle?

Any Concert in the Park on a sunny summer evening

3. Your first interaction with Seattle Works was…?

Recruiting volunteers to play math at Explorations in Math events

4. What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in the Seattle area?

Chinese in the ID

5. Are you involved with any other Seattle nonprofit organizations?

Child Care Resources, Board Development Chair and Board Member  Social Venture Partners Seattle, Partner, Family Service Group chair

6. Which coffee shop do you most frequent?

Tully’s! Love that free refill!

7. What three words best describe your experience with Seattle Works?

Energizing, Dependable, Innovative

8. Mariners, Sounders, or Seahawks?

Storm!

9.  What is your most (or first) memorable volunteer experience?

Developing a marketing plan for Metrocenter YMCA’s Alive and Free program. It was a big push to complete, especially because I was working a paying job four days a week and both my kids were under age 5 at the time. But it ended up being the experience I needed to switch sectors and land a job at a non-profit. It was memorable because it changed my career trajectory.

10. What makes someone a Seattleite?

Good raingear 😉

 
 

This weekly 10 question profile is Seattle Works way of highlighting and saying THANK YOU to all that our volunteers, leaders, community partners, board members, committee members, etc do for our community! We’re asking the same 10 questions to various Seattle Works participants as a fun way to feature the different ways to be involved with Seattle Works and in Seattle.

Want to be profiled? Fill out this survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5KP5CY3 and send a photo to yourself to Bevin at bevin@seattleworks.org

P.S. In case you’re interested, the inspiration behind these interviews comes from NY Mag’s weekly blog post.

 

What Inspires You? March 22, 2013

Filed under: Training — seattleworks @ 12:28 pm
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I had the opportunity to attend YWCA‘s amazing Inspire Luncheon yesterday, featuring America Ferrera (yes – Ugly Betty!) as the guest speaker.

While the event was short (hello, greatest lunch hour I’ve had in a while), I learned a lot. Below are some of the quotes I thought fit well with the theme – as they were inspiring:

“Talent is universal; opportunity is not.” – America Ferrera. The work of the YWCA is so important because it gives women, children and families the ability to use their resources, skills and talent for things that will better their life – rather than using it for survival.

– “Being homeless takes away more than just a roof over your head.” – A speaker whose life was transformed by YWCA.

– “We serve people who don’t look for a handout but a hand-up.” YWCA looks for women who are ready to change their lives for the better.

“You don’t need to give up what you love doing in order to do something you think will help change the world more. Find what you love and make it into something that will change the world.” – America Ferrera.

The luncheon was successful – and not only in that it made everyone think of just how lucky Washington State is to have YWCA, but also how much money was raised ($339,495 to be exact) to help fight against homelessness and racism.

Want to learn more about YWCA? Check out their next Inspire Luncheon Tues April 30, featuring guest speaker Geena Davis at the Washington State Convention Center.

 

 

We <3 AmeriCorps- do you? March 19, 2013

Filed under: Grab bag — seattleworks @ 2:07 pm
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At Seattle Works we’re constantly talking about the advantages of volunteering and why it’s so important to get involved in your community. So it comes as no surprise that 3 of us at Seattle Works are actually full time volunteers!

Ben, Irina, and I are all a part of AmeriCorps. Launched in 1993 AmeriCorps operates nationwide placing volunteers at a variety of organizations for eleven month stints. Many of your favorite local nonprofits may have AmeriCorps serving with them allowing for them to expand their capacity.

On top of building local capacity for small organizations that work hard AmeriCorps is also considered a pipeline for those interested in careers in public service. It allows us to get first hand experience working for nonprofits while getting more interesting tasks than making coffee.

Of course like any program there are detractors as well as supporters. Some question if AmeriCorps decreases entry level jobs available in public service by filling the spots with underpaid labor (as an AmeriCorps member you receive a stipend and make less than minimum wage). And the quality of experience varies wildly depending on the organization you’re placed with so many people have differing views of their 11 months.

Last week was AmeriCorps week and we loved seeing stories from all across the states about how AmeriCorps has positively affected various communities. How has AmeriCorps affected your community? Are you an AmeriCorps alum? What made you devote a year to service?

 

Tom Westfall has worked a bug booth March 18, 2013

Filed under: 10 Question Profile — seattleworks @ 7:00 am
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1. Name: Tom Westfall

    Neighborhood: Pioneer Square

    Occupation: Engineer – Boeing

    Years in Seattle: 4

2. Where is your favorite place to go in Seattle?

Bar: The Central or Slim’s Last Chance  Park: Ballard Locks or Seaward Park  Restaurant: Local 360  Store: Zebra Club – Belltown / Goodwill on Dearborn

3. Your first interaction with Seattle Works was…?

Seattle Works Day 2007

4. What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in the Seattle area?

 Toss-up between Omikase at Shiro’s Sushi and the Châteaubriand at The Met.

5. Are you involved with any other Seattle nonprofit organizations?

Farestart, Compass Center

6. Which coffee shop do you most frequent?

Usually, my own French Press as I’m cheap.  If I treat myself, it’s Cafe Vitta on 4th & S. Washington or Trubant at 2nd & James

7. What three words best describe your experience with Seattle Works?

Just 3 words is too tough; I’ve hyphenated several phrases so I guess they all count as just one word right?  Blackberry-Battles, Investing-In-My-Community, Various-Non-Profit-Organization-Discovery/Exposure

8. Mariners, Sounders, or Seahawks?

Baseball is boring. As a true Indiana resident I support the Chicago Bears (Colts arrived via Baltimore in 1985 and I have no love for them). Above all else, I’m Sounders ’til I die. Proud member of the ECS. The only cause that takes precedence over Seattle Works Projects.

9.  What is your most (or first) memorable volunteer experience?

Working at the bug booth for the T-Mobile City Chase in the summer of 2010.  We had to force contestants to do fear-factor type challenges with insects.

10. What makes someone a Seattleite?

1 – Disproportionately strong calves due to all the hill walking.   2 – Preferring T-shirts over Tuxedos.   3 – Hesitancy to Jaywalk.   4 – Excessive Windshield wiper speed in relation to rain / Never use an umbrella   5 – Becoming obsessed with a bygone hobby/food/fashion (candle making, pan-roasted smelt, monocles)

 

 

This weekly 10 question profile is Seattle Works way of highlighting and saying THANK YOU to all that our volunteers, leaders, community partners, board members, committee members, etc do for our community! We’re asking the same 10 questions to various Seattle Works participants as a fun way to feature the different ways to be involved with Seattle Works and in Seattle.

Want to be profiled? Fill out this survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5KP5CY3 and send a photo to yourself to Bevin at bevin@seattleworks.org

P.S. In case you’re interested, the inspiration behind these interviews comes from NY Mag’s weekly blog post.

 

Do you even know where your money’s been? March 17, 2013

Filed under: CommonWealth,Innovation Hub,Invest — seattleworks @ 9:00 am
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We came across a shocking statistic in our CommonWealth session last Wednesday:

“Generation X (age 24 to 34), on average, gives $756 dollars per year–yet have no idea they’re giving this much. They typically support over 10 organizations a year–yet can only name two. They can, however, remember every friend who linked them to the gifts they can’t remember making.”

As you’re grabbing a coffee this Sunday morning, think about the money you give away each year–how do you keep track? Are you giving thoughtfully to the issues you care about most, or spending $50 here and there whenever someone asks? In a world of text-to-give and Kickstarter, we all fall prey to the latter–but what impact could we have if we had a plan for our $756?

Want to become a smarter donor? Stay tuned for our next round of CommonWealth.

 

Yep, we’re thinking about “charity” all wrong. March 16, 2013

Filed under: Grab bag — seattleworks @ 9:59 am
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When I posted this Ted Talk on my facebook page earlier this week, I only needed one word to describe my thoughts:

PREACH.

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about_charity_is_dead_wrong.html

In case you skip the video, here’s the crux: “These social problems are massive in scale, our organizations are tiny up against them and we have a belief system that keeps them tiny.”

In the few days since, I’ve seen more and more smart people sharing this video on facebook and sharing their thoughts. With the exception of one Seattle Works board member (go Shane!) everyone I’ve seen post or comment works in the sector. Trust me, they’re not just cheering because they want a raise. They’re reacting to the shortcomings of trying to solve complex problems with one arm tied behind your back. They’re rallying against the tiredness of being told that “nonprofits should be more like a business” yet seldom given the flexibility to take risks or invest in infrastructure. They are ready to be asked instead about “the scale of their dreams”.

So how do we get this conversation going in the broader community? What does it mean when there’s a different set of rules for the nonprofit sector? What would it take to dream bigger?