Tools They Use: ShelterBox
Apr 6, 2016
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably noticed that every week or so, we’ve featured a different tool that people around our office use to help them do their jobs better.
This week, we’re mixing it up a bit. In honor of our upcoming Lab517 challenge featuring ShelterBox, we’ve turned this week’s “Tools We Use” into “Tools They Use,” allowing ShelterBox to highlight the most important tools they use to spread awareness.
“One of our most critical tools, and certainly one of the most unique, is our volunteers and our volunteer structure,” explains Chris Alexander, communications manager at ShelterBox USA.
ShelterBox is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing emergency shelter and vital aid for communities overwhelmed by natural disasters and humanitarian crises. They rely heavily on help from volunteers, whether it’s people in the community around their headquarters or across the globe.
There are six different levels of volunteership at ShelterBox, each with varying responsibilities.
Every week, a handful of office volunteers help with work around the ShelterBox USA headquarters in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. This is a role that can be tailored to to a volunteer’s strengths and schedule.
“Office support volunteers do everything from supporting projects, stuffing envelopes, answering phones, really anything that we need help with in the office,” explains Alexander.
ShelterBox also has internship opportunities in multiple departments, including Marketing & Public Relations, Volunteer & Youth Programs, and Development. Interns learn about the facets of the organization that are applicable to their area of study, and internships are voluntary and eligible for a small stipend. Opportunities exist for remote internships as well.
Unable to commit to a schedule? The Team ShelterBox program is perfect for you.
Anyone on Team ShelterBox can organize an event to raise funds and awareness for ShelterBox and it’s mission. A team within ShelterBox is available to offer support and advice on fundraising activities or events for team members to organize and execute.
“This is perfect for people who want to volunteer on their own time – by organizing events, promoting ShelterBox on social media, whatever it is they’re able to do,” said Alexander.
The final three positions require more of a commitment from volunteers, and are critical in helping promote the ShelterBox mission.
“Ambassadors are like roving spokespeople for ShelterBox, and are probably the most active volunteers,” explains Alexander. “When we get a call or email from a civic group that wants a ShelterBox speaker or presentation, we look for Ambassadors in their area to present for us. This can be anything from a simple PowerPoint presentation to actually setting up a tent and going through all the specifics.”
Simply put, Ambassadors are the face of ShelterBox in their communities.
Rotary Club Liaisons can volunteer to help incorporate ShelterBox into their club’s fundraising model.
“They act as a ShelterBox insider within their club, trying to get their club on board with ShelterBox initiatives,” said Alexander. “Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but we always see very large gains every time we get in front of a new Rotary club.”
Rotary Club Liaisons also receive deployment updates and webinar trainings in order to help encourage participation within their Rotary club.
Finally, ShelterBox prides itself on getting aid directly to people who need it, as soon as possible. Members of the ShelterBox Response Team, or SRT, are responsible for delivering aid in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.
“The application process and training of Response Team members is very rigorous. These are people that take vacation time from their jobs to go and deliver aid to disaster survivors.”
Think you’ve got what it takes? Start the application process ASAP – the selection process can take anywhere from six months to a year.
ShelterBox currently has volunteers in every state. To find out more about volunteering, visit the ShelterBox Volunteer Opportunities page.