Become Our Social Venture Kids Facilitator
SVP is searching for a volunteer facilitator for our teen philanthropy group, Social Venture Kids. Check out why this just might be the perfect fit, in the words of our 6-year veteran, Susan Sullivan.
Patience, good organizational skills, inherent awesomeness, ability to guide discussion without taking over, fun-loving, excited about working with youth, knowledge of philanthropy, and flexibility.
Those are the characteristics Social Venture Kids members are looking for in an adult facilitator. If you possess some of them, I encourage you to sign-up to be the new volunteer facilitator for SVK!
It’s a rewarding job. And might just be the perfect fit. I know it was for me.
In 2006, Paul Shoemaker asked me if I would like to assume responsibility for SVP’s teen grantmaking program from its founder, Barbara Norman. Even though my husband and I had been partners for several years and served on a grant committee together, I hadn’t really found an ‘in’ with SVP. Nothing seemed to fit my experience and I wasn’t sure of my interests at that point.
I had no youth development experience, other than having three kids of my own. But, Paul’s confidence in me, gave me the nudge I needed to say yes. That spring I attended the SVK meetings to learn the ropes and in the fall, I was in charge!
I quickly realized that the point is not to take over, but to support and empower the members to lead and decide the direction of the organization. (Hear from the kids themselves in this short video.)
The program loosely models the SVP grant making cycle, but there is also a lot of flexibility and room for creativity. Each year, things change a little, like going from a one-stage to two-staged grantmaking process or adding the SVK Fellows program to bring in more diverse perspectives.
When we need expertise, like learning how to write a fundraising ask letter or reading nonprofit financial statements, we tap into the SVP partnership and staff. One year we did a workshop on cultural competency, and last year we partnered with The Seattle Foundation Youth Grantmaking Board and hosted a panel of speakers to educate us about areas of need in King County.
There is no shortage of new things to try and to learn!
SVK starts in mid-September with a teambuilding meeting. From then through early May we meet twice a month on Sunday evening. In addition to the regular meetings, SVK members attend the fall and spring partner meetings to evangelize SVK and practice mingling skills. They also conduct site visits.
This year half of the meetings have been at the SVP offices downtown and the other half on the Eastside in my home. We share a meal (pizza or taco salad, veggies and dip, apples, cookies, etc.), get to know each other, learn about the issues in King County, and figure out issues that are important to us.
Every year SVK selects a different topic to focus on. This year it is hunger. Past issues have included homelessness, the environment, alcohol and drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and juvenile justice.
One of the member’s favorite meetings is the evening when they select that year’s issue. They like to argue and sway other member’s opinions regarding a favored cause. At other meetings we conduct research or present our findings, host an issue-specific panel of speakers, assemble our fundraising mailing, evaluate and rate grant applications, discuss site visits, and practice mingling.
In theory I know that I am supposed to be helping SVK members develop their leadership skills and discover an issue they are passionate about. In reality, they have given that to me. Youth development is my passion, the issue I focus my energies on.
I invite you to join me next year, my last with SVK, to learn the ropes and to take your own journey with a group of intelligent, engaged, funny, thoughtful, articulate, hardworking, passionate, and inspiring grant makers.