As a member of the CVC-TC, we’d like other members and partners to get to know you a bit better. By sharing a bit about what you do and how you make an impact on the community it strengthens not only our organization, but could also strengthen corporate volunteerism as a whole.
Name: Jenny Kramm
Company: Propel Nonprofits
Title: Strategic Services Consultant
How many years have you been at your current company? Four.
How many years have you been in your role? Four.
Describe your role at your company and how your work contributes to the success of the company?
I help educate corporate employees on what it means to be a great board member and get hooked up with board service opportunities. I help nonprofits write strategic plans and facilitate mergers between nonprofits.
What corporate volunteer best practices would you share with other CVC-TC members?
Recently nonprofits are trying to create more episodic volunteer opportunities designed to meet the needs of busy corporate employees that want to give back. This is in response to corporate requests for these experiences. This trend must be accompanied by the honest reality that true social change in our communities require long term relationships, including more investment from our volunteers, not less. As a socially responsible community, let’s reground ourselves in the purpose that the volunteerism is in service to: making actual social change possible for our vulnerable neighbors.
How do you motivates you to do good work?
The professionalization of the nonprofit sector has not quite correlated to a marked difference in eliminating the social needs that still exist. We need our corporate community in order to be the change we want to see in the world. Corporations are powerful players in our society, and if a shift in the way of success for corporations is defined to include a definition of environmental and social responsibility as a hard performance indicator alongside profitability, collectively, legitimate re-tooling of our society could occur to place people over profits—which is good for business.
What's something that you thought you once knew, but turns out you were wrong about?
I began my work in volunteerism through my church, informed by a white savior complex. We took trips abroad and often volunteered through building homes. Through years of getting to know my neighbors and real community needs, I have come to appreciate that volunteerism is just as much about me feeling good as it is about giving back. When I perceived myself as helping abroad, really, I would have better helped if I had donated my money so locals could build better homes with their own local resources.
I’ve changed my volunteer focus from “feel good” days constructing houses that I wasn’t qualified to build, to giving my skills, money, and time to organizations that produce longer-term social change that might not be seen for another 40 years, but think about all the people that poured energy into women’s right to vote: I really feel that impact today and am grateful for their effort!