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Editor’s Note: Adam Alley, our amazing Senior Associate of Community Support, has taken the opportunity of December’s special focus on fighting hunger to get up close and personal with some of the hunger-related organizations that have recruited the most volunteers using VolunteerMatch.
Read the interviews in this series to be inspired and to learn from some of the most successful nonprofits in the network.
Interview with Jenna-Lee Akbar, Account Executive and Drive Coordinator at YouGiveGoods
Adam: You’ve been particularly successful recruiting volunteers for your cause – do you have any suggestions for fellow organizations looking to emulate your success?
Jenna-Lee: Leverage technology via social media and platforms such as VolunteerMatch to get your message out. Provide people with clear information on how they can help.
Adam: How has VolunteerMatch helped you engage volunteers to fight hunger?
Jenna-Lee: VolunteerMatch has been a great way for us to connect with people and organizations interested in running or participating in food drives. We had a substantial amount of engagement from the postings we have placed on VolunteerMatch. They are easy to set up and monitor, which gives us the ability to learn and build upon the feedback we receive.
Adam: What’s the most challenging aspect of your role? The most rewarding?
Jenna-Lee: Many people who first visit our site assume that we facilitate raising money to help the hungry. So it’s a bit of a challenge for us to help them understand that people are actually buying the specific food they want to donate to help feed someone.
On the other hand, it’s very rewarding to see how people react when the light bulb goes on and they understand that we make it as easy to donate food as it is to donate money. People get pretty jazzed up about that.
Adam: What do you love about your work?
Jenna-Lee: It’s awesome to know that everyday people and organizations are using our website to help in the fight against hunger. We get great feedback all the time about how much people value and appreciate how our website facilitates their ability to help out.
Adam: If you could give one piece of advice to a fellow organization hoping to join the fight against hunger, what would you say?
Jenna-Lee: The fight is a marathon, not a sprint. Think about how you can make a positive impact over the long term.