Rachel Solomon, Development & Communications Specialist at YWCA of Richmond
Q: Three things you want folks to know about you.
- In addition to my work with the Richmond nonprofit sector, music is my greatest passion. Specifically, I’ve been fascinated by producers in the current instrumental/experimental hip-hop scene. I voraciously seek out new music and have been a DJ for almost seven years, both on radio and at community events.
- I LOVE dogs. My first volunteer experience in Richmond was with the Richmond SPCA, walking and playing with rescue dogs at the Robin Starr Humane Center. The hardest part was not bringing one home with me to my non-dog-friendly apartment after each volunteer shift!
- I make a huge effort to continue to soak in Richmond’s vibrant arts, music, food and beverage culture, since i doubt I’ll find one just like it in any other city in which I’ll live in the future. As a result, you will probably see me volunteering in some capacity at most Richmond festivals.
Q: Three things you want folks to know about your work.
- My position at the YWCA is a blend of all facets of development – fundraising, volunteer management and leveraging our most important resources to fuel our mission.
- The YWCA of Richmond has so many different volunteer roles that our volunteer base is diverse and always active. The role is fast-paced, contacting speakers, setting up our extensive training and coordinating volunteer involvement in miscellaneous projects on a weekly basis.
- I work in tandem with GRAVA member Leigh Busby at the YWCA to administer our volunteer program: She looks at the program at a high level, and works on strategic corporate and group opportunities while I oversee individual volunteers and our training program. GRAVA can lend us both insight into how to manage our individual opportunity types, but also how we can collaborate to really make our program meaningful to our clients, staff and volunteers.
Q: Why do you love the profession of volunteer administration?
I started volunteer administration as Program Director at WRIR-LP FM, where I also DJ. Managing volunteers is inspiring – you can learn so much from each new personality who chooses to donate their time to a cause in which they deeply believe. At the YWCA, I am inspired every day by the stories and service backgrounds of the volunteers I oversee in my role. Our volunteers are eager to do very difficult tasks to help others, like advocating for a survivor of sexual violence in the emergency room or answering calls on our emergency hotline.
Q: What do you love about GRAVA?
I am thrilled to be a part of GRAVA to learn more about how its members integrate volunteers into their organizations and steward volunteers. There are always new things to learn.
Q: Any other exciting news or information you want to share?
The YWCA of Richmond’s volunteer program has just been accepted into HandsOn’s Service Enterprise program, in which we will go through training and create a new model to fully integrate our volunteer administration into our strategic plan and all we do as an organization. I am so excited to be a volunteer administrator during this transformation!