How did you get started in this field?
I began working with volunteers and committees with my mother many years ago. She recruited me to help her with the Arizona Opera Company, Tucson Symphony, and the Tucson Arts Council. I learned by observing her, thus learning about recruiting, matching people, retention, recognition, and how to ask for money! That became a passion and I began raising funds for non-profits. The American Diabetes Association, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Habitat for Humanity, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. One interesting contract I had was introducing Jerry Lewis to Tucson. I worked with Clements family and Golden Eagle Distributors to plan a formal event at Centennial Hall introducing him to Tucson as MDA headquarters moved here from New York. I began loving working with people and communities.
What is one technique or strategy that you have learned in working with volunteers that has helped in your career?
I believe my technique is two fold – matching the type of volunteer you want with the cause you represent and also knowing where to find that person. The second part is keeping the contacts that have proven successful by being consistent with keeping communication with them.
What is something that you learned that has been really helpful in your career?
I have learned over the years that there are many people in the world and you will not have to worry about a shortage of volunteers. Staying positive about this will prove successful in finding them. Secondly, don’t get discouraged if you find that you are low on volunteers as one will come around the corner when you least expect it. So stay positive!
What is your strength and what is one key advice that you would give to a volunteer manager?
Remember that you are Supervisor and that means you must delegate the items you want to achieve and your volunteers will do the work to achieve the outcome. If you know how to lead with strong communication skills, job descriptions, frequent contact, and saying thank you, everything they do will fall in place.
Who have been your mentors in this field?
I mentioned earlier that my mother involved me in so many things. She is my #1 mentor. My second mentor was a Director of a Museum who took me under his wing and taught me how to present and work with boards and donors. Both have passed away.