Friday, January 17, 2014

Volunteer of the Month: Audrey!

Finding devoted adopters over 930 times in 2013 took an immeasurable amount of hard work on the part of our team of about 25 staff, but it also took hours and hours of help from our incredible base of volunteers, interns, and foster families. Everyone who dedicates their time (and love) to Berkeley Humane makes an impact, and their work directly results in the saving of dog' and cats' lives. Some volunteers are able to give a few hours a week for a short time, others come back day after day for years. Each and every one is special to us and leaves our hearts full, our animals loved, and our programs supported.

In addition to volunteers and foster families, we rely on a few very talented interns to support many of our programs. One such intern, Audrey, found her way to Berkeley Humane back in June. She joined the Development Department having been recruited to conduct research for our major giving program. Audrey dove into her duties with full enthusiasm, completing each task far beyond our greatest expectations. She is a natural self-starter, thinking beyond just her immediate duties and strategizing ways to make her work as thorough, well executed, and impactful as possible. It was clear early on that Audrey's dedication, acuity, and drive would enable her to help the development department in a variety of ways, and that her reach would go far beyond her original job description. 

As Audrey describes her initial interest in the internship, “I wanted to intern for Berkeley Humane not only because I love animals, but because I wanted to learn about nonprofit management. I was specifically interested in learning about what a development department can do to support a cause-focused organization like Berkeley Humane. I knew how vitally important financial stability and growth are to any organization, but I didn’t know much about the ways a nonprofit could rally their supporters and turn their enthusiasm into capital. Acquiring donors, or encouraging a donor’s continued support, seemed like total witchcraft to me, and I was unsure of how a development department functions to support a cause.

“After being accepted as the development intern, I thought I would get to improve my research skills a bit, and maybe see how an experienced development director could transform supporter interest into actual dollars for an important cause. I leave having not only seen what kind of process it takes to facilitate a donor’s giving, but I got to help in a great deal of work that I had not expected I’d ever get to take on. I was given complex, challenging projects that were incredibly rewarding (along with patient guidance and support when needed), as well as day-to-day tasks that were directly related to the health of the organization as a whole. I have been made to feel like a real part of the development team, and the Berkeley Humane team as a whole, and I have taken on jobs every day that have had actual impact on the organization. It has been gratifying to be able to work on tasks that I could immediately see benefited Berkeley Humane. There were no coffee runs; there was no busywork. Every job I was asked to take on was actually helping the staff run Berkeley Humane.

Audrey’s impact on not only the development team, but on the organization as a whole and the animals whose lives she’s helped save is an inspiration to all of us here at Berkeley Humane. She heads off to college soon, and when she goes, there will be very big shoes to fill by the next group of interns who come in to support our programs. Audrey’s love for animals and dedication to Berkeley Humane have touched so many aspects of how we fulfill our mission from donor cultivation to social media, from event planning to marketing strategy, from animal photography to donor recognition, from building partnerships with local businesses to helping plan our branding efforts. Doing the work that we do at Berkeley Humane, and doing it well, takes a team of compassionate and relentless individuals. Each person brings a unique patch to the fabric of our organization, and we have long benefited from a volunteer base with a diverse make-up of backgrounds and skills. 

We truly hit the jackpot when Audrey applied to intern with us, and for all she's done for our team and for the animals, we will be eternally grateful. Audrey will surely go on to do incredible things for animals and people alike as she pursues a career in public policy. 

Audrey, thank you for all you’ve done for our organization and for granting Berkeley Humane the honor of being a piece of your journey. On behalf of the animals, and those of us fortunate enough to care for them each day, thank you, Audrey for making a difference for us all.

The Berkeley Humane Team

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