BiddingForGood Employee Extends Good Work by Volunteering
Outside of BiddingForGood, many employees volunteer in their free time. To celebrate National Volunteer Month, we're interviewing some employees this week to learn about their volunteer experiences. To kick things off, I recently interviewed Amanda Rutherford, our Administrative Assistant:
How long have you volunteered?
Pretty much my whole life. My family took us to a soup kitchen and a nursing home to volunteer. My parents instilled volunteerism in us. I have been active in volunteering since high school and in college; I went on alternative spring breaks. One was for Katrina relief. It was a better way to spend my break and I got to meet new people and be around people who enjoyed volunteering too.
Where have you volunteered and where are you currently volunteering?
I volunteer now at Horizons for Homeless Children. (They have been a client of BiddingForGood’s for years with a new auction opening soon.) I’m a Play Space Activity Leader. A lot of shelters set up spaces just for kids. They have activity leaders come in to play and give kids an outlet from the confined space. I volunteer once a week; in a teen mom shelter, every Thursday in Somerville. It gives them a break from the kids for a while. I also worked for Cradles to Crayons. They provide school supplies and clothing for kids in need. I also did some work with the national chapter and also worked with the national MS society. I volunteered and helped with their walk last year and this year. I also helped them with some mailings. Organizations need all sorts of help with all kinds of stuff. Volunteering your time is a great donation too.
How did you get involved there? How did you find out about the organization?
I found ads on the MBTA for Horizons with Homeless Children and on the sites Volunteer Match and Idealist.org. I was on Idealist.org back when I was looking for a job at a nonprofit. I found they also had a database for volunteers.
What advice would you give to someone interested in volunteering?
I’d direct them to Volunteer Match. Other advice would be to think about their interests and where they want to volunteer. It makes sense to find a place that means something to you and to think about you want to do to help. Also, many colleges have volunteer centers. That’s a good place to look too.
What do you like most about volunteering?
It makes me feel really good to know I’m helping someone else.
Do you have any other advice for our orgs who are seeking new volunteers?
There are only so many times you can ask your own members. It’s good to ask people outside the org. One thing organizations might not know is sororities and fraternities need philanthropy hours as part of their membership. I was in a sorority when I was in college. It’s strongly encouraged. We even had incentives sometimes for who had the most philanthropy hours. Like the winner would get the bed in the quietest part of the house. Stuff like that. Alumni could reach out to sororities and fraternities at their colleges.
I learned a lot from my conversation with Amanda. Especially about new ways nonprofits can get the word out that they need volunteers like getting listed on volunteermatch.org or idealist.org. For our organizations, it can make a huge difference for them to have volunteers who can help build the site or promote their online auctions. There are definitely people out there who want to volunteer; they just need to know where and how they can help.