Seattle Works

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

Wishing #SWBevin a Fond Farewell September 11, 2013

Filed under: Our Team — seattleworks @ 11:56 am

Say it ain’t so! After nearly four years of outstanding service, Bevin Wong is moving on up to the next phase of her career.

And because no one likes a boo-hoo blog post, least of all the ever-sunny Bevin, we’re going to focus on all the good that has come of her time on our staff. Including…

Four Seattle Works Days! That’s about 4,500 volunteers, $260,000 in support for Seattle Works and an unfathomable number of t-shirts, tacos and keg cups.

A truckload of corporate projects! From Starbucks to Starwood she’s delivered outstanding customer service and connected our partners with high quality volunteer days.

– Three “Rock Star” Campaigns! Before 2010, we had never raised a significant amount of money from individual donors (other than current and former board members) outside of our events. Over the past three years our annual campaign has grown to raising $17,000 from more than 250 donors, fueled by an enthusiastic army of SW volunteers asking their networks to invest in us.

One website conversion! (thanks for not quitting then B.)

Three election seasons! We’ve improv’d, we’ve trivia’d, and we’ve mixed and mingled with the goal to connect YOU with the candidates and issues on your ballot.

Approximately 156 Weekly Updates! Plus eblasts, plus fb posts, plus tweets, plus blogs. Best of all, Bevin honed her craft as our online content lead and then trained and mobilized everyone our on team to communicate as Seattle Works across our channels.

Though it all, Bevin has been one incredible team player. It’s not just about what Bevin has done, it’s how she’s done it. She’s brought dedication, professionalism, flexibility, reliability and an non-stop positive attitude. It’s hard not to enjoy working with someone who laughs so easily.

We’re excited for you Bevin. We’re sad.

And we’re a little jealous that you get to drink at Swank this year and we don’t.

With great appreciation, The Seattle Works team

We will miss you!


National Conference on Volunteering and Service 2013 June 27, 2013

Filed under: Our Team,Training — seattleworks @ 11:36 am
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Last week, five of us ventured out to Washington D.C. to attend the ever-so-inspirational National Conference on Volunteering and Service, hosted by Points of Light.

Conference was huge–4,000+ people from different backgrounds, organizations, and practices came together. There was dancing (specifically between Karl Rove and Donna Brazile), volunteering, learning, leading – and showing that service can and will unite to improve our communities.

Now, before we get to the good stuff, here’s a picture of our team looking snazzy in D.C.!

NCVS Blog Post

We all took something from Conference – whether it was meeting someone we admired, realizing that we’re doing a great job, or just plain learning something interesting – and we’d like to share some of the awesomeness with you!

Irina: My favorite “ah-ha” moment was when I heard Jeremy Heimans speak about the organization he co-founded, Purpose. Purpose is a global home for building movements and new ventures that use the power of participation to change the world. While I was completely in awe of the organization, I was more impressed with how passionate Jeremy was about civic engagement. It made me realize that what we do at Seattle Works is essential in uniting our communities. I came back from Conference even more energized and excited about the mission of Seattle Works!

Tomilyn: Learning about building civic movements was an incredibly powerful seminar. Normally we’re focused on our use of media in small picture terms – how many likes do we have? Will enough people sign up for my class? This took those great responses to a whole new level, showing how enough people can ban together to create a movement and real civic change.

Ben: It was awesome to realize just how much Seattle Works does – and that we’re really good at what we do! Throughout the conference not only were we mentioned, but people were soliciting our opinion on social media, board training and general volunteer engagement.

I learned a great deal by chatting with representatives from other HandsOn Network affiliates throughout the country. Gaining insights into how they mobilize volunteers, train board members and the wide variety of different programming within the network. It was great to meet other people and learn from their expertise. Being part of this Network is just an incredible resource not just for us to learn from what others are doing–but to also enlighten other organizations on Seattle Works best-practices while we all work towards a more engaged community nationwide.

Katie: My top moment from the conference was helping facilitate a session on innovation across the HandsOn Network. I had great conversations about how Seattle Works builds a “culture of innovation” in our office – and got to share CommonWealth with our peers across the country! It really drove home that we’re doing really innovative stuff at Seattle Works – and others are watching!

Tara: I was moved, and inspired to act, by the stories of HandsOn Network affiliates who responded to Hurricane Sandy. It’s one thing to hear on the news that the storm caused $50 billion in damage or that large sections of New Jersey were without power for up to six weeks. It’s entirely another thing to hear from people who responded to the need and helped mobilize volunteers in setting up shelters, organizing donations, restoring shorelines and gutting homes. Some of these groups had a pre-existing disaster response plan and some of them figured it out along the way. Across the board, I was amazed by their dedication and ability to rise to the occasion. It has moved the nagging thought at the back of my mind that Seattle Works should have a plan for our role in a time or crisis to a project I’d like for us to tackle this year.

There’s an underlying theme in what everyone learned: just like our affiliates, Seattle Works is doing great things! While working M-F 9-5, sometimes we don’t stop to realize that we’re actually living out our mission – to connect volunteers, develop emerging leaders and inspire dialogue. Thanks to Conference, not only did we meet passionate people, have fun, learn new practices – but we also confirmed that we’re pretty awesome!

Interested in learning more about what happened at NCVS 2013? Read the highlights here. 

We’re looking forward to Conference 2014 – Atlanta, here we come!


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

Filed under: Grab bag — seattleworks @ 9:59 am

When I posted this Ted Talk on my facebook page earlier this week, I only needed one word to describe my thoughts:


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?


Seattle Works Staff is Thankful For… November 22, 2012

Filed under: Grab bag,Our Team — seattleworks @ 12:57 pm
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Why are you thankful to be a part of the Seattle Works team?

Andy – “What I love most about working at Seattle Works is that I can go to work every day and just be myself. I’m so fortunate to work with folks who are funny, friendly and open-minded.”

Tomilyn – “I’m thankful to work in an office full of people passionate about what they’re doing and eager to help each other out. I’m also thankful to be doing work that I truly believe in, work that directly impacts the community I love and helps develop emerging leaders in Seattle. And I’m thankful that some of my co-workers are amazing bakers.”

Bevin – “I fee so lucky to be a part of the Seattle Works team because every single week I get to hear and see the incredible impact our programs are having on individuals and our community.  I’m so proud to play a part in making life just a little bit better.”

Irina – “I’m thankful to be part of the Seattle Works team because I work around and with people who inspire me every day – whether it be our staff, our community partners, or our awesome volunteers. Seeing Seattleites come together to make changes leaves me in awe – and assures me that what we do here at Seattle Works is truly important.”

Ben – “I am thankful to be part of such an exceptional program that inspires people to become volunteer leaders in their community. Whether they are teaching the program, gaining the knowledge, seeking out volunteer leaders, or some mix of all; the amount of community involvement that I experience on a daily basis is a breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of daily life. I am thankful that we have such a large network of individuals who take their time to make an impact in their community.”

Katie – “Things I am thankful for…

– Getting to work with the savviest, sassiest, hard-working-est team in Seattle – we do a LOT with a little, and there’s no group I’d rather be stuck in a windowless room with for 2,000+ hours every year.

– Working for an organization that practices what it preaches! We know we can’t build a community of actively engaged Seattleites on our own – so we give people and organizations the resources they need to find their passion, make connections, lead and give back in whatever way makes sense for them.”

Tara – “I get to spend 40+ hours a week surrounded by positive, talented people who inspire me. I’m thankful to have a job where I mostly get to act like myself: absurd humor and a tendency to wear jeans can still equal professional. My work impacts more than a hundred local causes and organizations – at the risk of being too cheesy, that honestly feels like a gift to me personally to be able to do.”

From left: Tara, Katie, Bevin, Irina, Ben, Andy, Tomilyn

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light visits Seattle and Seattle Works! August 14, 2012

Filed under: Our Team,Team Works — seattleworks @ 8:14 am
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Here’s something you may not know: Seattle Works is connected to Points of Light!  That’s right, one branch of Points of Light is their Action Centers which are focused on engaging people, and we are grouped underneath the HandsOn Network – a network of over 250 volunteer centers throughout our country and the world.

It sounds a little confusing, but it’s really not.  The main thing to know is that we’re a part of something HUGE.  Seattle Works is just one piece of a very intricate puzzle trying to create healthy communities everywhere.

Michelle Nunn – our fearless leader, spent a month this summer on a cross-country road trip visiting HandsOn Network affiliates (like Seattle Works), AmeriCorps Alums, corporate leaders and civic innovators to check out citizen-led projects across the country.  Read all about her trip. Her last stop was with us, here in Seattle!

(from left: Katie – Program Manager, Tara – Executive Director, Michelle Nunn – Points of Light CEO, Bevin – Outreach Manager)

We grabbed coffee and went on a walking meeting through the Olympic Sculpture Park because hey – we’re in Seattle!  We talked about a number of things: our Innovation Hub and upcoming Chip In! event, our awesome partnership with United Way of King County and how we are both successful/collaborative in what people call a “dual market” (which just means that there are two volunteer centers in one city), corporate partners, new models for offices/working spaces, the role and support Points of Light plays and more.

The best thing (in my opinion) that we talked about was that Michelle met her husband through Team Works in Atlanta! And get this? Her husband was one of the people that created Team Works.  As in, we have him to thank for that awesome program that we’ve been running for years. That is probably the coolest thing you’ve heard all day isn’t it?

Thanks for taking the time to visit with us Michelle!


#SWDay Update… Featuring Percival! May 10, 2012

Filed under: Our Team,Seattle Works Day,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 5:32 pm
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We are up to 54 teams joining us for a day of service and celebration on Sat 5/19!  We still have a ways to go until we reach 1,300 volunteers – but we have faith in our last minute city and know that “if you build it, they will come.” And build it we have!

For those of you that haven’t met Percival yet, say hello! Percival is our SWD mascot and generally the most incredible unicorn you’ll ever meet.

Join Percival for Seattle Works Day! There’s still time to sign up for a team, or sign up for the Seattle Works team and you’ll be serving at an elementary school in Fremont.


Board Retreat… SW Style April 17, 2012

Filed under: Board of Directors,Innovation Hub,Invest,Our Team — seattleworks @ 12:10 am

Every year our smart and hilarious Board of Directors ventures onto a ferry boat and heads out for a weekend away.  Not a weekend of relaxation, but a weekend of work.  Down and dirty, hard work… ok, and some fun too.

This year’s retreat goals?

1. Innovation Hub: inform the development of a two page snapshot due to HandsOn Network 4/15.

2. Build relationships.

3. Deepen board understanding of current programming, most notably HandsOn Leadership.


This year we returned to Camp Burton on Vashon Island.  The weather cleared up and so did the somewhat cloudy picture in our heads about what the Innovation Hub proposal would be.

We achieved many goals on this weekend away – including a ton of staff/board bonding time, a very entertaining role play on what our next program could look like and beating the heck out of a darth vader head shaped piñata.  Stay tuned!