As I help take canned goods to the food pantry with our lead volunteer Barbie, I ask her, “Barbie, why do you choose to come help in the pantry?”
“Well, this is what I can do to help,” she replies. “I love being able to make sure the people in the shelter can come into a clean space, knowing that the items are all facing label forward, I want to make access easier, and this is what I can do.”
This is what she can do to help. To help someone in need, to help someone fill a food gap as they work toward home ownership.
My name is Lisa! I am an LIY Ambassador and the Director of Development for a nonprofit that serves the homeless in Northwest Indiana. While my main job responsibility is building relationships with our donors, soliciting business sponsors, and event planning, I also have the great privilege to coordinate all in-kind donations and volunteers on an as needed basis. I love our volunteers as they necessarily may not always have the time, but they have the heart. Prior to my current position, I worked in sales. I was tasked with budgeting out all the in-kind donation requests that came in from the nonprofits in my community.
I quickly learned all about the amazing people doing great works to help others. I knew that I wanted to be a voice for a good cause, and I started exploring job options and a huge career change. That was six years ago! I came on board at my current organization as a support staff within the development department, and three years ago I became the Director and am leading the team. I am one class away from obtaining my CFRM (Certified Fundraising Management) certificate and title, and I am so grateful. Yet, while I was in the for-profit industry, I did volunteer my own time to local and national nonprofits. I helped with raising money, volunteering my time at large events, and manual labor. I did what I could, when I could, and I found myself so fulfilled that I wanted to do more. Even while working within my own organization, I still make the time to volunteer and find ways to help others.
You may think, “How in the world can I make time to volunteer? I don’t eat lunch somedays because I am so busy!” No act is too small.
Here are a few ideas on how to get involved:
- Find your passion! – Whatever you want to champion for, there is a need! Contact your local Chamber of Commerce, United Way, or Community Foundation as they are great resources to get connected to nonprofits that may need volunteers or in-kind donations.
- Start small! – Limited on time to volunteer or on funds for donations? No worries! Every act of kindness and generosity helps. As you start to donate your time, talents, or treasures to a cause you are passionate about, in time you will learn more about how impactful your donation is from the people within the organization no matter the size.
- Ask! – Know where the local humane society is, but not sure what they need? Know of a school program that may need tutors or people to read to kids? Don’t hesitate to reach out to those organizations on social media and ask how you can help. Organizations are very happy to reply and then it is public for other people to see too.
Whether it’s writing a sizable check or even just spending a couple of hours organizing a food pantry, your contribution helps the nonprofit help more people, but like Barbie, you will feel better knowing that you’ve contributed. No act is too small, no gift is unappreciated, and any donation of time is received with gratitude.
In order to create an environment that is more inclusive, representative and welcoming to women everywhere, we have had the honor of welcoming 8 women from all walks of life who represent a full picture of our community. We are so thrilled to announce the Living In Yellow Ambassador Program. Take a moment to formally introduce the amazing women that make up the LIY Ambassadors.