Seattle Works

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

Charity vs Change–where does your money go? March 15, 2013

Filed under: CommonWealth,Innovation Hub,Invest — seattleworks @ 12:56 pm

So, you know which issues you care about and you’re ready to give–but what kind of effect do you want your money to have? This is exactly the question we tackled in our second session of CommonWealth Wednesday night. Uma Rao from Pride Foundation facilitated a session on the huge role individual donors play in supporting nonprofits.

In the session, we talked a lot about the “Charity vs. Change” framework. What’s the difference between the two? Charity giving involves addressing immediate needs–think providing meals for homeless youth–while change giving addresses root and structural causes of bigger issues–think advocacy efforts to strengthen funding for social services for at-risk teens. Is there one right way to give? Not at all. Our CommonWealth group considered the benefits of both:


The benefit of charity giving is the ability to see the tangible results of your gift–research shows, however, that change giving may be the better “investment” in the long run. A study by the National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy showed that every dollar invested in policy advocacy, civic engagement and community organizing provided a $115 return in community benefit!

So, where does your money go?


Seattle Works Goes South March 13, 2013

Filed under: Grab bag,Our Team,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 4:29 pm

Last week I went to Louisville, KY (home of the Louisville Slugger & The Kentucky Derby) for vacation.

Now, you’re probably wondering: “Why is Ben telling us about a vacation to Kentucky of all places?”

Well, I take really weird vacations. You might like going to the beach, or camping. Well I like to go work 12+ hour days at the Southeatern Theatre Conference (SETC). My involvement with SETC (5+yrs) has gone from volunteer to staff member to independent contractor (and everything in between). I now serve as the Volunteer Coordinator, managing and leading the entire volunteer program of the multi-faceted theatre convention.


SETC brings in over 70 volunteers including a volunteer operations staff called Dream Team. All together, the volunteers put in more than 700 hours of service in four days. The volunteers range from college students to working professionals – looking to cut their costs of attending the convention and to gain a new experience. It is no small production. SETC is the largest theatre convention in the country, and they don’t let anyone forget that! The convention consists of over 300 workshops, four keynote speeches, five theatre festivals, undergraduate & graduate school auditions/interviews, a job fair for technical & administrative theatre workers, and professional auditions for over 800 actors. Phew! And yet, I am missing things, I am sure of it.

From the screen outside the meeting room

From the screen outside the meeting room

Oh! Did I mention SETC serves over 4,000 members?

With all of that happening, along with the multiple hats (one referenced in the picture below) I wear in the operations of the convention, I found the time to represent Seattle Works;  I presented a workshop: Effectively Engaging Volunteers. The 50-min session consisted of:

– An overview of Seattle Works
– Generational differences
– Volunteerism statistics & facts
– Tips & tactics on how to engage Millennial volunteers
– Ideas on how to show appreciation to Millennial volunteers

In addition to all of that, we discussed what was working and not working at the organizations represented in the room (all theatre companies…obviously). And finally, I closed up with some great resources for volunteerism and governance:

The New Breed: Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer,  Jonathan R. McKee & Thomas W. McKee

The Art of Governance, Nancy Roche & Jaan Whitehead

Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards, Richard P. Chait, et al

Leading Roles: 50 Questions Every Arts Board Should Ask, Michael Kaiser

Overall, it was a great session – and most importantly, Seattle Works got represented in Kentucky, providing working professionals with thought-changing ideas in the field of volunteer management.

So, hey – not saying you need to be quite as productive on your vacation, but perhaps representing Seattle Works in a different way could play a role?

Want to know more about SETC or the presentation I did? Email


Shane McNamee thinks SWD is a great event to meet new people March 11, 2013

Filed under: 10 Question Profile — seattleworks @ 7:00 am

1. Name: Shane McNamee

    Neighborhood: Capitol Hill

    Occupation: Corporate Finance

    Years in Seattle: 6

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

I really enjoy walking around Volunteer Park. 

3. Your first interaction with Seattle Works was…?

Seattle Works Day.  It’s a great event to meet new people and make a big difference without a long-term time commitment.

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

 It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, but I especially enjoy Cafe Flora, Quinn’s, and Tin Table.

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

I recently joined Social Venture Partners (SVP) and look forward to getting more involved there.

6. Which coffee shop do you most frequent?

 Starbucks on 15th and Olive Way

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

Inspiring, fun, and educational

8. Mariners, Sounders, or Seahawks?

 I’m not a big sports fan, so I won’t claim any team.  But I do like garlic fries at the stadium!

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

 Serving as Treasurer and Board Member for Seattle Works.  These roles have taught me much about how nonprofit organizations are managed.

10. What makes someone a Seattleite?

 I know this sounds blasphemous, but I don’t drink coffee.  So I don’t consider that a requirement for being a Seattleite. 🙂  Someone who is laidback, socially conscious, and doesn’t mind a little rain and gray weather.



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: and send a photo to yourself to Bevin at

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


Homelessness and Mental Illness: Are You Informed?

Filed under: Grab bag — seattleworks @ 3:30 am

Last Friday, Tomilyn and I attended the 2nd monthly brown bag series dealing with homelessness  and mental illness in our community, hosted by Social Venture PartnersBainbridge Graduate Institute and HUB Seattle.

Darcell Slovek-Walker and Karin Kwambai, from Transitional Resources, were the guest speakers – and gave the group a heap of useful information. Interested in what we learned? Read on!

– 1 in 4 Americans live with a mental illness.

– Mental illness is more prevalent than heart disease, lung disease and cancer combined.

– There is a stigma attached to mental illness; no one talks about it.

– Fewer people are willing to get help due to the stigmatization.

– 40% of homeless people are living with a mental illness; of those, 60% are also battling drug and alcohol addictions.

– Even with the resources Seattle has to offer, there are 2,075 homeless men and women with mental illness in King County on any given day.

Overall, the presentation was inspiring; it showed that organizations such as Transitional Resources do fantastic things to help those in need – and we’re happy to support them! Want to show your support as well? Sign up for our upcoming Hot Project with Transitional Resources, and help get their certified organic garden ready for spring! What does an organic garden have anything to do with supporting homelessness and mental illness, you ask? Well, the garden is incorporated into the programs at Transitional Resources. The residents benefit from learning about gardening, being actively involved in the process, using the food they grow in their kitchens, and having a therapeutic environment to enjoy.

Looking for more information on mental illness and homelessness? Contact Transitional Resources at!

Want to attend a brown bag event? Check out SVP’s events calendar – don’t forget your lunch and your questions!


CommonWealth kicks off! March 8, 2013

Filed under: CommonWealth,Innovation Hub,Invest — seattleworks @ 5:09 pm

After a year of scheming and a months of planning, we kicked off our first round of CommonWealth on Wednesday–and had a great time doing it!

Of course, because Seattle Works can’t resist a little cheese, we started the session by having participants create their “donor personal ads,” to introduce themselves to the group and tell us a little bit about why they were there. We saw a lot of similarities in what they wrote: new donors, passion, transparency, high impact.

CommonWealthSo how do five people come together to make a decision about where their pool of money goes in the community? Well, we started by talking about the options. (more…)


Civic Dialogue + Cocktails = Winning Combo!

Filed under: Influence — seattleworks @ 3:15 pm

Earlier this week a group from Seattle Works’ Election Committee met up at an event called Civic Cocktail, along with 150+ people who are also interested in civil conversations.

This event is designed to be a monthly conversation about Northwest current events. The topic for March was the proposed SODO arena and public education.

A sampling of tweets to give you a feel for the event:


Thanks to City Club, Crosscut and the Seattle Channel for this new event. If you missed it, you can watch the tape and see what you missed.

Want to come to the next one?  They’ll be held monthly on the first Wednesday and April’s registration is already open!


5 reasons volunteering will make your life better March 6, 2013

Filed under: Grab bag,HandsOn Leadership,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 1:58 pm

Guest post by Christine McMullin

We all know that volunteer work makes the world a better place: parks are restored, inner cities beautified, kids learn math. But did you know that volunteering is good for you, too? In fact, recent studies show that you can gain so much happiness and peace of mind from volunteering that you might be getting almost as much as the organization you are volunteering for.

Let’s examine some of the ways that volunteering can make your life better.

  1. Volunteering makes you happier. Studies show that volunteering takes the emphasis off of you and your problems (whatever they may be) and helps you show compassion. This mix has been shown to ward off sadness, even fight depression (source:
  2. Volunteering helps you meet new friends: People volunteer for different reasons, but often the people you meet on a volunteering opportunity do share one important trait with you: they are passionate about the same cause. You already share some common ground, just come from different places. Your social circle can get bigger and get better. (source:
  3. Volunteering can land you a new job: In today’s economy, it’s said more than 30 people apply for the same job. How can you stand out? Doing pro-bono work or having a lot of experience with volunteering is impressive to hiring managers (especially if you are going into a socially conscious company). (source:
  4. Volunteering teaches you new skills: Feeling like you’re stuck in a rut at work or school? There’s no better way to spread your wings than volunteering. If you’re motivated and feel that you have ideas to help solve a problem, no matter how young you are, people might let you try it out. Practicing this new skill “in the field” is often more interesting than just learning about it in a class or reading about it at work. (source:
  5. Volunteering helps you live longer: This isn’t just a warm fuzzy saying, volunteering has been shown to add years to people’s lives (source: And if that isn’t a good reason, I don’t know what is.

So, if you’re sitting on the fence about whether or not you have time to volunteer, now is the time to sign up! Even if you gain one of these benefits, the couple hours a month or week you put toward a cause is worth it!

Have an experience that you want to share about volunteering making YOUR life better? Or have a benefit that we missed? Share with us in the comments!

Christine McMullin met new friends and learned new skills through Seattle in their HandsOn Leadership Training. She is currently a volunteer project leader at Girl Scouts of Western Washington and helps coordinate volunteers at The World is Fun. You can reach her at @CMcMChatter