Volunteer Basic Information
Name: Azure Collier
City, State: Lancaster, MA
Occupation: Education Developer, Social Media for Constant Contact in Waltham, MA
How long have you been a volunteer with Community Builders? One year
What inspired you to become involved? I'm originally from the Midwest and have lived in Massachusetts for 8 years. I wanted to meet more people in my community and use my skills to give back. I've done social media volunteering for a local political campaign, a music festival to benefit victims of the Johnsonia Building fire in Fitchburg, social media discussion panels, and for a few local nonprofits-helping them with marketing best practices. When I lived in Indiana, I had also volunteered at the YWCA women's shelter and the Boys and Girls Club.
How did you find out about the organization? The Community Builders website
Describe some of the activities and/or events you've been involved with. I've used my social media, computer and multimedia editing skills for the Martin Luther King Jr. Challenge Day, and the Day of Caring.
What has been your most memorable experience with Community Builders? I'm more of a behind-the-scenes person so my experiences are different than most volunteers. I think my most memorable experience was the Day of Caring in September 2011 – from the kickoff throughout the rest of the day. I took photos at some of the sites and was responsible for gathering other images from photographers throughout the day, editing the images, and adding them to the United Way's Facebook page. I also monitored and posted throughout the day on the United Way's Facebook and Twitter accounts. Even though I wasn't present at most of the volunteer sites, I was happy to be able to help the United Way share the experiences of volunteers-social media marketing is a crucial tool for nonprofits to help spread the word about what they do, put the spotlight on their volunteers and highlight the agencies they serve. As the day went on, it was a great adrenaline rush to gather all the images coming in remotely, edit them, push them out and engage with the volunteers. With social media, you get to see the results right away, so it was great to see people commenting about the day, tagging themselves in photos and sharing their experiences through Facebook and Twitter. Nonprofits often don't have the training, time or manpower for social media marketing so I was happy to be able to take the skills I use on a daily basis and just run with it.
How has your work with Community Builders impacted your life? Your community? It keeps me grounded and gives me a reality check. My role at Constant Contact is to research marketing best practices and teach nonprofits and small businesses how to use marketing to grow their organizations. It's allowed me to meet new people and learn from them. These are experiences I never would have had, if I hadn't started volunteering.
Can you describe a specific situation in your work with Community Builders where you helped someone? What was the result of your action(s)? What advice or tips would you offer to someone who is considering volunteering but hasn't taken the first step to do so yet? You have so much to offer and you might not even realize it. You might have a little time to give or a lot of time to give. The skills that come naturally to you are a big help to your community. Anything you can do to contribute makes a big difference. The opportunities are out there – all you need to do is take a look online or pick up the phone.