The word volunteer conjures up some good memories for me. It seems like I have always been volunteer minded. I was the president of Key Club in high school where we volunteered monthly to help those in need all over my hometown of Charlotte, N.C. So when Blood:Water asked me to come be the Manager of Volunteer Engagement, I jumped in with both feet! I quickly noticed, however, that volunteering for Blood:Water was different than any other organization of which I had been a part. Since all of our work is done by our partners in Africa, there isn’t a whole lot of “volunteering” opportunities in the traditional sense stateside.
“So, what does volunteering for Blood:Water look like?” I get this question all the time, and I always respond with a few questions of my own. What are you passionate about? Or, what are you good at? And, where is your sphere of influence? See, I think people believe they have to go somewhere to volunteer, but it is time to re-frame what it means to be a volunteer. At Blood:Water we encourage people to take creative social action in their local community to make a difference in Africa. We like to call it grassroots. Since we embarked on this mission, we have been built on grassroots volunteers who have ridden their bikes across the US, started a Lemon:Aid stand with their kids, grown mustaches with their buddies, only consumed water as a beverage for 40 days, and thrown “Arrested Development” themed parties. Each one makes a huge impact for our friends in Africa.
Last week, we threw our first grassroots themed party at our office. The purpose of the party was to pull together our friends in Nashville to encourage them to start with their sphere of influence and be creative in the way they raise awareness and money for our friends in Africa. It was an amazing turnout that birthed some very creative ideas to benefit Africa.
So let me ask you the same questions that we posed at the party. What are you passionate about? What are you good at? And where is your sphere of influence? Check out our new website to start your own grassroots campaign or join our current campaign Save a Drink, Save a Life!