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.!
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!