Seattle Works

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

HandsOn projects are in–are you ready to take the lead? February 26, 2014

Filed under: HandsOn Leadership,Lead,Uncategorized — seattleworks @ 1:47 pm

So you’ve done the one-day volunteering thing for a while and now you’re ready to get your hands even (metaphorically) dirtier, right? Well we’ve got four new HandsOn Leadership projects waiting for you!

As Ben mentioned last week, we’ve got some new surprises in store for this round of HandsOn Leadership that will make you a rockstar volunteer project manager–and an even stronger leader. Our in-class time will use real-life projects from local nonprofits to build your skills and help you get to know your classmates. If you get attached to your project during the class, you’ll have the option to continue working on it with your team!

So, what are the projects?

Create an irresistible silent auction for the Alexander Hamilton Friends Association gala! Hamilton Friends helps high-achieving, low-income students make the successful transition from high school to college and beyond. This year, they’re hoping to raise $10,000 in the silent auction to support their work–the HandsOn Leadership team will help procure the items they need to make this year’s auction bigger and better than ever!

Be the Directors of Fun at the Arthritis Foundation’s summer camp for kids! The Arthritis Foundation’s KAT-FISH Camp is an annual family camp for kids and teens with arthritis. The HandsOn Leadership team will serve on the camp’s planning committee and plan all of the social activities for camp–think games, entertainment, icebreakers, talent shows and more!

Get Seattle to Walk Like MADD! Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s Walk Like MADD and MADD Dash 5k is a run/walk that engages victims, survivors and supporters to raise awareness about impaired driving and underage drinking. The HandsOn Leadership team will help MADD develop a plan to spread the word about the Dash and get more Seattleites involved!

Throw a party for young donors at Imagine Housing! Imagine Housing is the only nonprofit in East King County dedicated solely to providing affordable housing for the lowest-income families. Their work is supported primarily through donors–and Millennials play a critical part. The HandsOn Leadership team will plan and throw an event to get young donors excited about Imagine Housing!

HandsOn Leadership starts Weds 3/12–are you ready to learn and lead? Need more info? Check out our website, or contact Ben and Katie.



HandsOn Leadership gets a facelift February 13, 2014

Filed under: HandsOn Leadership,Lead,Training — seattleworks @ 5:03 pm
Tags: ,

Every once and a while we must take a step back and look at our programming and identify ways in which we can improve the content, structure and overall feel. Some nip and tuck is sometimes the result of this type of evaluation.

Over the past several weeks Katie and I have been working hard to better understand how to prepare HandsOn Leadership participants with the tools and skills for completing projects with a nonprofit organization. And of course, in true Seattle Works form, figure out ways in which to make the training as interactive as possible.

We are excited to share with you the new and improved HandsOn Leadership:

Session One: Who are you as a leader?

The first session is all about getting to know others and getting to know yourself as a leader. Participants identify the project that is of most interest to them and are split into teams. Through interactive activities, you’ll learn about different work styles, practices in leadership and how you react to conflict.

Session Two: How do you manage a project in a nonprofit?

We walk you through how to work with nonprofits, breaking through some of the stereotypes, common misconceptions and the basics of how the nonprofit sector operates. You’ll get some project management best practices and have time to work with your team and representative from the project nonprofit on how to apply what you’ve learned so far.

Session Three: How do you put it all together?

Before coming up with your next steps and outline your project workplan, you’ll gain some more insights in project management. With plenty of team time to put everything you’ve learned to practice, you’ll present your plan to the group.

Next Steps: Execute the project!

Once you’ve completed the training, you’ll have next steps and a basic workplan to start your project with the nonprofit you’d been working on. Attend an orientation session with your nonprofit partner and new team to brainstorm how you’ll tackle your project–and then you’re off! You’ll work with your team to manage all aspects of the project on whatever schedule you decide works for you over the course of the following months. Seattle Works will check in along the way, but this is your chance to really put your skills as a leader and project manager to work!

So there you have it! Our new and improved HandsOn Leadership. I know you want to be part of it!

Sign up for HandsOn Leadership today! Our next series is Wed 3/12, 3/19 & 3/26, 6-9pm!


And… they’re off! February 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — seattleworks @ 12:47 pm
Tags: , , ,

This Saturday, Seattle Works’  teams set off to begin their spring round of group volunteering. The day was cold (okay, really cold) but the morning of volunteering and the afternoon beers kept our hearts warm. Thirteen teams set off across Seattle to make a difference over a wide-range of nonprofit missions. From sorting shoe donations at Redeeming Soles to facility help at Seattle Public Schools, this group of nearly 200 volunteers did some serious damage, Seattle Works-style.

Check out just a few of the pictures from Saturday’s events! Many thanks to our inspiring Team Works teams and our nonprofit partners for making this morning possible.


Team “Blood, Sweat, and Beers” spent the morning at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library


A thank-you note was found in an audiobook about how this instrument changed a life.


Team Awesomesauce worked at Redeeming Soles, sorting footwear donations







The A-Team got an A+ for braving the cold!


Taking board leadership to the next level January 21, 2014

Filed under: Lead,The Bridge,The Bridge 201,Training — seattleworks @ 3:30 am

This week marked our second round ever of The Bridge 201. This advanced board service training program is designed specifically for individuals who are currently serving on a nonprofit board. Through a series of modules that challenge participants to think with an adaptive mindset, we are taking board leadership to the next level.

The nine participants this round gathered in the Seattle Works office for deep conversations about leadership, the challenges they are currently facing on their boards and how to overcome them. Clearly identifying where their challenges fall along the adaptive/technical axis.

Participants of The Bridge 201 go through a board simulation to apply their new skills. January 2014.

Participants of The Bridge 201 go through a board simulation to apply their new skills. January 2014.

When asked “how did this course change your prospective on leadership?” participants said:

  • “[The Bridge 201] caused me to focus more more on how to analyze leadership modes and classification of issues to find solutions.”
  • “Being a leader is about (in large part) asking the right questions.”
  • “It allowed me to carve out avenues to bring up different and difficult conversations.”
  • “Presented that boards should have a larger influence on change within every aspect of an organization.”

Ok, great – so we’ve got a group that has a new perspective on leadership. But how has The Bridge 201 changed their perspective on their role as board member?

  • “It caused me to think about ways to push our group’s thoughts.”
  • “I learned that I am a generative thinker and how to utilize other forms of analysis to solve problems.”
  • “I have a responsibility to ask hard questions.”
  • “Strategic methods of change can be introduced and implemented without having to announce it is happening – leading by example, not by proposal.”

There you have it, local board members who have a new perspective on how they can make a difference within their board, their organization and the greater Seattle community.

Do you want to join the ranks of board smarties? Take The Bridge and/or The Bridge 201Have a question? Contact


Guest Post: 3 Books to Reinspire You To Save The World January 8, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — seattleworks @ 5:53 pm
Tags: , ,

January. Its grayness sucks the will to live out of you, doesn’t it?

Even if you want to make the world a better place, as soon as you look outside, you might just head back to the couch for some hot cocoa and maybe your favorite sitcom. Or a nap, yeah, that’s it. I’ll save the world in July.

But wait! Just because it’s nasty out doesn’t mean you can’t gear up for all of your world saving endeavors!

Yes, January is a time for staying in. But who says that should stop you from your mission of making the world a better place? If you can read these three books to inspire you to save the world, even your downtime will be productive.



After all, the incredible Millennial Impact Report shows that we want to go out and change the world. It’s just knowing how and getting motivated, right?

So, for your reading pleasure, three good books on how to save the world (and Seattle, while you’re at it!)


Book 1: How To Save The World In Your Spare Time by Elizabeth May Image
In this self-proclaimed “Hey, you can fit saving the world into your busy schedule” manifesto, May gives you practical tips on how to get started, add to a project, talk to the media and more. Inspirational in its populist appeal (ANYONE can save the world!), you’ll be inspired when the time comes to pick a place in the cause of your choice and run with it!




The Lazy Environmentalist by Josh DorfmanImage

Would you like to vote with your purchases more in the new year? This book is for you! There’s no reason you should keep your do-good-ing to just your volunteer activities. Dorfman shows you how to make your purchases across the spectrum cleaner and greener. Want to lessen your carbon footprint? Buy at a local bookstore!




How to Change the World by John-Paul Flintoff: Image

This book, from the “School of Life” shows the normal person that small acts that he or she takes will lead to big changes in life. If you are currently a little disenchanted (by politics, the weather, or lack of caffeine), this incredibly readable book will motivate you to at least get yourself a cup of coffee and make a to-do list. For those who want to integrate making a difference into their everyday work, this book is an excellent start! (If you’re on the fence, here’s an 18 minute explanation by the author).




What some people forget about changing the world is that it takes some prep. You can’t just run out there, full of passion and REACT. Well, maybe you can if you’re saving the world from fires, but otherwise, it’s a little ill-advised.

In other words (and I’m betraying my two lit degrees here), it’s like Milton says, “those also serve who stand and wait.” I mean, not forever, but it’s okay to take a little time off and learn the strategies that will help you be effective when you DO decide to save the world.

And, hey, while you’re at it, get yourself a cup of coffee, there’s a lot of work to be done.


ImageChristine McMullin is a digital marketing strategy consultant who does all things communication for businesses across the U.S. but also finds a little time to save the world in her spare time. You can follow her on Twitter @CMcMChatter and look at some more words she wrote on her website []


Transforming nonprofit boards through leadership training December 11, 2013

Filed under: Lead,LeadNOW,The Bridge,Training,Uncategorized — seattleworks @ 12:30 pm

Over the course of 6 months this year, we – in partnership with Bridge faculty member Julie Bianchi – developed and piloted a brand new leadership training program for individuals currently serving on a nonprofit board of directors.

Members of The Bridge 201 Pilot Cohort, June 2013

You may be asking yourself, “Why? You already have The Bridge to train board members.” That is true – but we saw a gap that needed to be filled. What’s the next step? You’ve joined a board, you’ve been very involved and are looking to grow by accepting a leadership role on the board. What do you do?

The Bridge 201 helps those who are taking on more leadership roles on a board. In this 6-hour training, participants gain valuable tools ranging from a refresher on the roles and responsibilities of board members to how adaptive leadership can transform your impact on the board. Incorporating activities that are specifically tailored for the adult learner, this innovative training breaks away from traditional lecture style training to provide a rich environment that encourages discussion and peer-to-peer learning.

Our inaugural cohort of Bridge 201 participants left the training saying:

“Wow! [The Bridge 201] really opened my eyes to more strategy and intention behind leadership.”
“Provided [me] a new and important lens for evaluating issues and creating an environment of change.”
“It’s great to have people who serve on boards share together.”

The Bridge 201 is not just a training, it is building a community of nonprofit board members that can be a resource to one-another as they continue to make an impact in the community. In addition to the training, the cohort is given access to a platform in which they can bounce ideas off each other, stay connected, ask questions and continue to learn.

So, what do graduates of The Bridge 201 walk away with? Fantastic question! The Bridge 201 is broken up into two, three-hour sessions (typically a Tue & Thu evening). The sessions are strategically broken up into modules that build upon each other. Here are some of the learning objectives that participants walk away with:

Session One

Participants apply the definition of adaptive leadership to real world examples; represented by adaptive vs. technical challenges in the world and society.

  • Define the characteristics and skills common to leaders and the key roles of board members.
  • Identify examples of adaptive leaders and challenges in your own experience.
  • Define the three modes of governance

Sessions Two

  • List the qualities of an adaptive organization and a culture of inquiry.
  • Apply what you’ve learned in a board room simulation to navigate a complex challenge.
  • Create three action items for how you will take what you learned back to your board.

The Bridge 201 is assisting in the transformation of nonprofit board leadership in the Seattle area. We’ve been working since our pilot session to perfect this program and make it something that we think is a “must-do” for any one who is taking on a leadership role on a board.

The next session of The Bridge 201 is Tue 1/14 & Thu 1/16, 6-9pm. Registration is currently open, sign up now! For more information, contact 


Patrick Bradshaw thinks Seattlelites use Patagonia or North Face Jackets in the rain rather than umbrellas December 9, 2013

Patrick_Bradshaw_Headshot21. Name: Patrick Bradshaw

Neighborhood: Wallingford

Occupation: Marketing Operations Manager

Years in Seattle: 13

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

Gas Works Park, anytime I am there it reminds me of why I love this city.

3. Your first interaction with Seattle Works was…?

Through Team Works, the first project I did was to help fix up the Rainier Valley Cultural Center.

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

The best meal I have had in Seattle was Steak with lobster medallions at El Goucho.  However, a more reasonable place lately has been UNEEDA Burger in Fremont.

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

I serve on the Board of Directors for the North Helpline, which provides a food bank and emergency services to the people of North Seattle.

6. Which coffee shop do you most frequent?

Lighthouse Coffee or Lama G’s

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

Fun.  Memorable.  Community.

8. Mariners, Sounders, or Seahawks?


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

The most memorable volunteer experience I have was taking inventory of a thrift shop on pieces of paper.  While not the most practical or well organized project it certainly provided some of the best memories.

10. What makes someone a Seattleite?

Someone who doesn’t use an umbrella on a rainy day, they just wear their North Face, Patagonia, etc jacket to stay dry.

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 of yourself to

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