To help the Valley thrive, SRP is encouraging its employees to participate in its Skills-Based Volunteer Program to assist nonprofits in need.
While traditional volunteering is always appreciated, sometimes nonprofits need help with tasks that require specialized talents and skills. By assisting the crucial needs of nonprofits, SRP employees help these organizations by saving them time and money while actively engaging in the community as well.
To ensure that our employees are connected with nonprofits that truly need their help, a little bit of matchmaking is required. SRP’s Community Stewardship team connects interested employees with the best match, where their skills and a nonprofit’s needs intersect.
SRP encourages its employees to be active members of the community. By making the act of volunteering more accessible and tailored to individuals’ skill sets, SRP is ensuring that volunteering is seen as a top priority.
How our employees are making a difference
Gabriela Echeverry, Copywriter and Translator in SRP’s Community, Communications and Marketing department, has participated in the Skills-Based Volunteer Program for some time. She was partnered with Ballet Arizona, which needed her translation services to ensure that all event collateral (flyers, posters, invitations, brochures, etc.) was also available in Spanish.
“For me, helping the community is very rewarding. To be able to help the community with anything I can do, especially skill-based tasks, allows me to encourage inclusion and equality in the community,” said Echeverry. “It is something essential and I feel very, very strongly about it.”
Echeverry shared how it felt good that her skills could be applied to better the community and improve inclusivity. She was able to use her own specialized skills to help an organization in need. Because of the rewarding feeling that accompanies volunteer work, Echeverry will continue her participation in this program for years to come.
Claire Schmaltz, Community Engagement Manager at Ballet Arizona, worked closely with Echeverry. “We’re breaking down the boundaries that inhibit people from engaging with ballet as an art form. For these families to be able to engage because we’re finally able to communicate with them effectively is such a game changer,” said Schmaltz. “This program has been fantastic for us to be able to serve our families and community properly.”
Schmaltz went on to say that she strongly encourages other nonprofits to participate. She added, “I absolutely recommend other nonprofits participate in this program. It is so helpful. It makes your organization more accessible when you can find a way to tap into other skills with professionals who are willing to give them — to grow your volunteer base in a nontraditional way. So think about what other options you can tap into. SRP is a great resource.”
Volunteering outside the box
George Copeland, Senior Technical Events Strategist with Community Partnerships, was one of the first SRP employees who helped establish the Skills-Based Volunteer Program. He was matched with the Veterans Heritage Project, an organization he has worked with in previous years. This nonprofit is an after-school character and civics education program that honors veterans and preserves history for about 30 schools throughout Arizona.
When COVID-19 caused most of the world to shut down and quarantine, that left workers like Copeland to think outside the box and redefine how organizations conduct social gatherings and public events.
“When the time came to start planning the 2021 annual gala, Michelle DiMuro, the Executive Director of the Veterans Heritage Project, reached out to me directly. She wanted my expertise and insights with virtual events. She needed help learning and understanding the current technologies available to organizations to conduct these events. Because my job with SRP relied 100% on in-person events, my team and I had already come up with different solutions.”
Copeland pointed out how participating in the program not only aids the nonprofits, but also offers a new perspective and chance to see how work is conducted at different organizations and industries. He found the experience to be mutually beneficial.
DiMuro expressed that this program was incredibly helpful and suggests that other nonprofits join. “Nonprofits always need to be thinking about the best way to manage their resources, and time is an important one of those resources. Knowledge and experience — we need that from the community. So, if there are people who are willing to share that with nonprofits, then we certainly need to not only be receptive, but proactive by participating in programs like SRP’s skill-based volunteering,” said DiMuro.
The Skills-Based Volunteer Program is a unique approach that allows SRP employees to make a difference by helping nonprofits succeed while ensuring the communities of the Valley continue to thrive.