At VolunteerMatch, we’ve talked and talked (and talked and talked) about the benefits of employee volunteer programs, including volunteer time off (VTO). In this series of posts, we’ll interview some of our own employees to find out how they spend their volunteer hours, and how they benefit from VTO.
So, who are you?
I’m the newest member to VolunteerMatch’s Engagement Team. As content marketing associate, I make sure nonprofits, volunteers and companies know about us and how easy we make it for good causes and good people to connect.
Where do you volunteer and what do you do?
I’m a digitizer at the Internet Archive. Right now, my focus is CDs. I transfer audio files and artwork from the CDs to preserve them in the Internet Archive’s online collection.
What drew you to that particular organization and/ or type of volunteering?
Access to information for everyone is one of my core beliefs. When I met some of the Internet Archive team upon moving to San Francisco, their mission of building an all-encompassing, free virtual library was immediately appealing.
Many people see volunteering as a social activity – a way to meet people or bond with friends. And it certainly can be! However, as an introvert, I’m drawn to solitary volunteer activities, too. It’s a way for me to unwind while still making an impact. In the past, I re-shelved books at the small, quiet library in the Seattle Art Museum. At the Internet Archive, I can go into my own little world while archiving information. (This isn’t to say the people at the Internet Archive aren’t fun and amazing, because they truly are!)
What’s the most fun part of your volunteering? What’s the most valuable?
I love feeling like I’m a part of Internet Archive. I donate money to other nonprofits, but don’t feel very connected to those organizations, no matter how many thank you emails, program updates, or event invites I receive. Volunteering at the Internet Archive regularly makes me truly feel like I’m part of their organization. I get excited at their successes, and I’m a vocal advocate for their mission… or should I say “our successes” and “our mission”?
Can you share a story from your time volunteering with Internet Archive?
In alignment with their mission of open-access to information, the Internet Archive opens their doors to the public every Friday for lunch. Each employee (and volunteer!) shares what they’re working on that week, and also any off-topic updates they want to offer the team. I try to coordinate my volunteer schedule to be there on Fridays so I can be part of this fun event. If you’re in the San Francisco area, you should stop by!
Would you be able to volunteer if VolunteerMatch didn’t offer VTO?
When I moved to San Francisco, before I started working with VolunteerMatch, I assumed I would have to stop volunteering once I found employment. (The Internet Archive is generally only open weekdays from 9-5). When I learned about VolunteerMatch’s generous VTO, I was ecstatic.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
VTO, in my opinion, is a huge draw for employee recruitment and retention. Would I still be working for VolunteerMatch if they didn’t offer VTO? Yes. But it certainly adds to both the pride and the gratitude I feel for my organization.