I first met Kiran about one and a half years ago, when she was working as a Volunteer Manager at one of our partner NGOs. Our conversations ranged from why skill based volunteering, best practices and how to keep volunteers motivated! When she took a break from work, she registered with iVolunteer and was keen on volunteering for one month… The 1 month has now become 4 months and counting!!
Here’s Kiran’s story of volunteering and what keeps her motivated to volunteer…..
Tell me something about yourself
I am Kiran Rao and I have been working in the development sector for around 9 years now in the areas of program and volunteer management, HR, Donor Relation and Fundraising. The NGOs I have worked for professionally have worked for causes including disability, children, youth and women empowerment. Mentoring, Planning and executing have been my core area, which has allowed me to progress in my career and advance within these fields.
Why did you decide to volunteer?
Working for the Ngo sector has always been my passion and interest. While I was on a break, I wanted to share my skills with an NGO which would give me immense satisfaction, an opportunity to share my skills and work during my free timings. This was the time I got to know about Tamahar Trust through iVolunteer. Tamahar Trust is an NGO which works for children with special needs. The organization was close to home and the cause close to my heart and therefore I decided to volunteer there..
Can you tell us about the volunteering opportunity?
Coming from the NGO space and considering I had a full one month to volunteer, I wanted to meet the NGO first, understand their requirements and then take on responsibilities. My first meeting was with Vaishali Pai, the founder of the organization and we explored various volunteering opportunities. I narrowed it down to 3 projects:
- Developing a volunteer management plan – My core area of expertise
- A fundraising plan – as the NGO did not have one and did not know how to plan for one
- Help create a pre-vocational training programme for students over 17+ years
As the month passed, I found myself enjoying my time at Tamahar Trust and I have taken on additional responsibilities based on the need including being the point of contact for several volunteers and interns, helping with an organization plan for 3 years for scaling up, social media planning and website designing with the support of other volunteers and paid designers.
Were there any challenges?
The organization did not have an organizational strategy in place and the founder Vaishali was needed for everything – this was making it difficult for the organization to scale up. So with the help of other volunteers, we are putting together an organizational structure with roles and responsibilities of existing staff and a 3 year plan to scale up.
What has been the output?
I have come up with a fundraising plan and we are working towards an event in April 2015. This apart Vaishali and myself have created a fundraising calendar for the year.
I am coordinating with volunteers/designers to revamping the website and are updating events on a regular basis. I have designed a volunteer management plan including an orientation presentation, induction of volunteers, defining roles for volunteers, maintaining a volunteer database and tracking volunteer hours. At present I am training a staff member through this process.
I am working on an organization plan for 3 years and internally, we are identifying a suitable staff to handle social media.
What did you enjoy the most?
Everything! The people, the positive attitude they carry towards work and the holistic approach while working with a child with brain damage.
Time does fly when you enjoy what you do!