Guest Post by Daniel Robles-Olson:
The first time I met with my supervisor at Liberty’s Promise, I was stunned by his request: we don’t need help running our programs, we need help running a non-profit. Non-profits like Liberty’s Promise believe so firmly in the mission that they funnel all of their resources towards ensuring programmatic success. And who can blame them? In the competitive world of philanthropy, the percentage that goes towards administrative costs is a number organizations work to drive down. But what happens when a lack of support hampers your ability to manage and grow the organization?
Liberty’s Promise runs 18 after-school civic engagement programs of civic engagement in 14 locations around the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, to support young immigrants in need while encouraging them to be active and conscientious American citizens. The program is incredibly effective at ensuring high school and even college attainment among the young people that it serves, but the organization’s fundraising and administrative tasks often fall on a lean, over-worked team. The type of work they need help with are ones that most DC young professionals are familiar with: Data visualization, writing proposals, developing ideas on slides, and project management.
While I don’t spend my time supporting the program directly or working with immigrant youth (as much as that may be my passion), I am using skills that I have gained through my professional experience to have a measurable impact on the management of the non-profit. This has hopefully allowed the leadership and full time team to continue focusing on delivering excellent work while also thinking strategically, a luxury they cannot generally afford.
Service Never Sleeps is unique in that unlike most volunteer opportunities, this is truly a year of service, where I am expected to integrate into the non-profit, learn how to best use my skills, and put them to use in a meaningful way. It is also unique in that it fills a big gap in non-profits in the DC area by connecting the skills and knowledge of our highly educated young professional workforce with the need and mission of organizations doing impactful work. I’m grateful to be able to use my gifts to exercise Allyship in such an effective and meaningful way.
Yours in service,
Daniel Robles-Olson, 2017 SNS Fellow