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As part of National Volunteer Week, Jolkona is pleased to announce not just one, but two Volunteers of the Year! Congratulations, and thank you so much, to Nancy Xu and Chi Do.

Jolkona CEO Nadia Mahmud describes the service and dedication of our honorees:

Jolkona was started on a strong culture of volunteerism, and six years later, we continue to grow because of the skills, time and connections that our volunteers donate. In 2013, with me on maternity leave, having the support of volunteers was extra important to me and the organization. In my absence, so many people went above and beyond for Jolkona. I was not able to pick just one person to recognize, so I wanted to recognize two individuals for all of their contributions to Jolkona in 2013: Nancy Xu and Chi Do.

Nancy Xu

Nancy Xu

Nancy Xu has been a volunteer with Jolkona for the last four years, working on various projects related to video production, graphic design, and most recently working on the tech team to lead our website redesign. Last year, Nancy went above and beyond as a volunteer to help our ambitious website redesign get done by June. She created the updated design and helped coordinate the project so that we were ready for the launch. And, after the website launch, she managed a group of design and tech interns and volunteers complete initiatives for the next version of the website, and to make necessary updates. In addition to that, Nancy also helped with and attended the Jolkona expedition to West Africa earlier in the year.

Without Nancy, our website launch would not have been possible last year, or would have cost Jolkona a lot of money. So, I wanted to recognize her for the skills and time she has donated to Jolkona to make our web presence and mission stronger than before.

Chi Do

Chi Do

Chi Do has also been a longtime volunteer, working with Jolkona for the past three years or so. She first started out working on our Partnership Team, and then moved on to Events. Last year, Chi went above and beyond as a volunteer by heading up the entire Events Team. Chi also took the initiative to help launch the Microsoft Giving Campaign in 2012 and the bigger and better version of 2013.

Aside from helping with a successful relaunch party and holiday party last year, she successfully helped manage one of Jolkona’s biggest fundraisers, the Giving in Style fashion show at Microsoft. The event was a huge success, with close to 100 people attending, over 30 volunteers helping, and thousands of dollars raised for Jolkona’s operational growth which is so critical for us to grow our mission.

Each one of our volunteers and interns plays a vital role in expanding our mission of inspiring more philanthropy through small donations. I wanted to again congratulate and recognize Chi and Nancy for their efforts in 2013 as our Volunteers of the Year! Thanks again for your dedication to service and for supporting Jolkona all these years, especially in 2013. Adnan and I look forward to celebrating this with you soon over dinner!

If you’re interested in volunteering with Jolkona, keep an eye on our website for internship opportunities, or just email volunteer@jolkona.org.

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on Facebook and Twitter

I first met Melinda through one of our other volunteers back in 2009 when Jolkona was still being run out of my kitchen. Melinda loved what Jolkona stood for and immediately started off volunteering on a few projects, and then quickly jumped into joining the leadership team as the Director of Events. During her time in that role, she was in charge of overseeing a brilliantly successful Microsoft Giving Campaign, played a key part in the structure and direction of Jolkona as an early decision maker on our leadership team, and helped coordinate some of our partnered events that year. She then joined the communications team as our Marketing Communications Content Manager where she employed her laser sharp editing skills to help with content creation and marketing. This year she has mainly been working on a project to help our website tell the stories of our partners better, and we are excited to start intrdoucing updates in the next few months that she herself spearheaded. Melinda recently relocated to DC so we’re sad we don’t get to have her physical presence around as much; however, she is still a strong part of the Jolkona team and community and continues to volunteer remotely on several marketing and content projects for us.

Melinda also played a major role in some of our partnerships with Waggener Edstrom, including our pro bono ideation session and two matching campaigns. What I personally love about Melinda is her passion for making a difference, her organization skills, and her irresistibly charming and light-hearted personality.

Here’s what a few of our volunteers had to say about their time working with her:

“Melinda is a tremendous asset to the Jolkona team. She stepped up and took the role of Director of Events in 2010 and provided invaluable direction to the team. She always encourages new ideas. She is very meticulous and organized. It is a delightful to work with Melinda on any project – she just knows how to get the job done perfectly and on time. To sum it up, if I had to make a list of people I would like to work with on a project, Melinda would definitely be on that list!” – Pavan

“Melinda is one of the most dedicated and kind-hearted people I’ve ever met. She pours her heart and soul into every project for Jolkona and loves to make a difference for her partners and the organization.”
– Aaron Alhadeff

“Working with Melinda is always incredible – she has an extraordinary knack for developing compelling stories that resonate with our donors and audiences and also is aware of how to work within the limited resources of a start-up NGO. She brings a wealth of information and experience to her volunteer work at Jolkona and we are lucky to have her as part of our team.” – Seema

Thank you Melinda for your passion, leadership, and contribution to Jolkona over the last few years.  Jolkona couldn’t be where we are today without you and we are honored to have your continued support and dedication to our cause. We hope you have gotten just as much out of volunteering with as you’ve given in.


Have you volunteered for a non-profit? Do you think you get more or less out of what you put in?

Jolkona team at Pier 66

Here at Jolkona we pride ourselves on having a fun-loving, smart-as-a-whip team. That means recruiting the best and the brightest to join us in our mission! Check out our current openings at our Jolkona world headquarters office located in bustling downtown Seattle. Whether you love wrangling words or prefer to research impressive facts and data, we may be looking for someone just like you! Please click on the position title to learn more about the position and to apply. Or you can submit your resume directly to me, Dania, the director of human resources, at dania@jolkona.org — just make sure you mention what position you are interested in.

Not sure what team to join? Send in your resume and we will match your knowledge, skills and abilities with one of our growing teams!

Director of Corporate Partnerships

  • Start conversations that engage Jolkona’s corporate community and introduce new communities to our mission and vision.
  • Research, identify and engage with individuals that want to work with Jolkona and our mission.
  • Manage and build relationships with our community and those of our corporate partners.
  • Prepare action plans for effective search of leads and prospects.
  • Create and conduct proposals and presentations for corporate partners.
  • Manage and delegate tasks to the corporate partnership team.
  • Recruit corporate social responsibility executives to work as a seamless team.
  • Provide timely feedback to senior leadership regarding performance.

Research Intern*

  • Research specific, impactful topics and manage complex data sets.
  • Work with graphic designers to determine which data sets will make the best infographics.
  • Seek out new and interesting sets of data.
  • *To apply and for more information please email dania@jolkona.org.

Editing & Writing Intern

  • Create and maintain editorial calendar for the blog, establish goals for upcoming topics, reach out to the Jolkona team to write posts, edit posts, and deliver in a timely manner.
  • Edit posts for style, grammar and spelling. Select photos to upload with post. Optimize post for selected keywords.
  • Manage the daily and weekly posting of articles and load them into WordPress.
  • Content creation: write blog posts, articles, newsletters, communications materials and material for social media channels.
  • Work with the content team on writing donor and impact stories.
  • Develop and revise content for submission to other sites and channels.
  • Stay up to date on new social media tools, best practices and how other organizations are using them.

Office Manager Intern

  • Help plan bi-weekly leadership team meeting agendas and keep minutes.
  • Help maintain Jolkona calendar.
  • Filing and administrative tasks as needed.
  • Help coordinate emails to nonprofit partners.
  • Assist all teams in the office as needed.

Social Media & PR Intern

  • Generate a plan for community outreach and determine what information is needed to inform and acquire new donors.
  • Identify, research and engage with advocates, blogger passion groups and media influencers.
  • Increase the awareness of Jolkona and our nonprofit partners.
  • Act as a liaison across the Internet by participating in and mediating online conversations, answering questions, offering solutions, creating content for feeds, and sparking discussion on various social networking sites.
  • Social media experience — knows how to use social media for personal and professional use (yes, they are different!).

Please note that all positions volunteer and thus are unpaid.

This month, as we say goodbye to many of our awesome summer interns, we’d like to recognize our star volunteer that made it all happen. Meet Dania Primley (@DPrimley), officially our Director of Human Resources, but like many of our amazing volunteers, she goes above and beyond just that.

Dania at Canlis, Rishi Sanyal Photography

Dania at Canlis (Rishi Sanyal Photography)

Dania has been volunteering with Jolkona since April 2011 and immediately came in and took ownership of our HR needs and volunteer/internship recruiting. She created templates, procedures and policies and managed to recruit an awesome team of rock star interns.

Dania’s awesome recruiting efforts led to Jolkona accomplishing many things this summer, such as developing our Facebook Welcome Page, conducing marketing PR segment research, finally setting up QuickBooks, developing a plan for our soon-to-launch brand ambassador program, developing a partner welcome packet, and so much more!

Aside from helping with our HR needs, Dania has also taken it upon herself to be our morale officer, helping to make our all-hands meetings informative, fun and social. Last, in her spare time (we’re not sure how she finds any in between all of her friends’ weddings) she volunteers on the partner management sub-committee, which is helping to follow up with our partners on reporting feedback on donations.

Volunteers like Dania are what keep Jolkona going strong and allow us to achieve our mission of engaging the next generation of philanthropists.

Here’s what Pavan Kumar Potaraju, Events Team/Microsoft Giving Campaign volunteer had to say about Dania:

When I met Dania for the first time at one of our Jolkona meetings, I was amazed at her positive energy and passion for our organization. Her contribution has been tremendous, from recruiting new volunteers (and interns) to finding great venues for our meetings and events. Dania is Ms. Dependable, who does her work with so much conviction and fun that she often inspires people around her. Working with her, simply put, is super fun!

And from Laura Kimball, Jolkona’s Director of Communications & Social Media:

Dania is a spitfire of energy. She came to Jolkona to help with the events team but didn’t mind at all when Nadia and I asked her to help build our internship program. As a start-up nonprofit, we rely heavily on the professional skills that our volunteers bring to the table, and Dania is a prime example of how a volunteer arrived with one set of skills but jumped in where we needed her expertise the most.

One of our spring interns actually complimented us on how organized we were with the orientation and on-boarding process — that statement was 100 percent due to the procedures that Dania set up and trained us to implement.

Dania is a huge asset to the Jolkona team, not only for her HR/volunteer management expertise, but excitement about the organization and how she’s always eager to jump in and help out when needed. I’m honored to work with her.

Dania exudes energy and passion, has a contagious smile, and we are honored and lucky to have her as part of the amazing team of volunteers at Jolkona. Thank you Dania for all of your hard work and contribution to Jolkona so far!

Note from the editor: Looking to be a part of Jolkona’s team? We’re actively recruiting for fall interns and year-round volunteers. Check out our openings here.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of every nonprofit, and Jolkona is no exception. We’ve introduced you to a few key volunteers on our team and I’m excited to introduce another one to you today!

The single largest factor of Jolkona’s success is the team that supports this organization. Aaron Alhadeff is one of the integral members of that team, helping with many of the major projects undertaken by Jolkona. We are lucky to have such a rock star on our team!

– Adnan Mahmud, Co-Founder & Director of Research & Development

Aaron Alhadeff and Jordan Belmonte in Seattle
Jolkona volunteers, Aaron Alhadeff and Jordan Belmonte, in Seattle

Aaron Alhadeff is someone who is a living, breathing example of what it means to be a rock star volunteer. He’s been a part of the Jolkona community for a year, volunteering his time on the Communications & Social Media team, managing projects like our Annual Report, and adding valuable insights when it comes to strategizing marketing campaigns. Aaron also led the marketing outreach for the Microsoft Giving Campaign – one of Jolkona’s most successful fundraising initiates to date. He’s always ready and willing to lead a new project or lend a hand to a team who needs it.

When Aaron’s not volunteering with Jolkona, he works in search marketing for bing at Microsoft.

Aaron has worked with many teams at Jolkona so here’s what some other members of Jolkona’s leadership team have to say about his work –

From Seema Bhende, Director of Strategy:

Aaron has been an amazing addition to the Jolkona team. He brings an unparalleled commitment to strong project management, organizational skills and fun teamwork to all the projects he works on.

Aaron has superb project management skills and has helped Jolkona tremendously on an important marketing and fundraising deliverable, our Annual Report.

From Melinda Mosesler, Marketing Communications Content Manager:

There are some folks you run across in life where you can’t wait to work with them again and again – Aaron is that person. It’s the awesome positive attitude, honest outlook and always striving to find the perfect solution. Oh, did I mention he manage a project like no bodies business? Seriously, his gold standard delivery is apparent both at work and with his dedication to Jolkona. I always enjoy catching up with Aaron at our All Hands or other various meetings that continuous smile and energy is something Jolkona is lucky to have!

I am so grateful to know Aaron as a person and to work with him at Jolkona. Thank you, Aaron, you are a core part of this team and we are so thankful that you share your time to this organization!

In his words, here’s why Aaron volunteers with Jolkona:

Pavan Kumar Potaraju with Jolkona in Africa

Nancy, Jordan, and Pavan in East Africa, December 2010

This month as Jolkona celebrates its one-month anniversary in our new office space, we’d like to recognize a Jolkona volunteer who was instrumental in helping to make this happen. Pavan Kumar Potaraju has been volunteering with Jolkona for the last 2 years and last year he played a key role in planning and organizing the highest-grossing fundraising event for Jolkona that raised almost $20,000 in just one evening. Go Pavan!!!!

Pavan has been a part of the events team and also played a key role in the Microsoft Giving Campaign, where he helped out with everything from hanging up posters to passing out flyers to get the word out about Jolkona. In addition, Pavan was one of 7 volunteers who gave up his winter vacation to accompany us on a volun-toursim trip through East Africa in December. During that trip, we visited some of our partners and learned how we can continue to help them through the Jolkona Giving platform. Now if that wasn’t enough, Pavan also helped Jolkona move furniture into our new office when we needed some manpower :). We just love how Pavan is willing to roll up his sleeves to help Jolkona grow and make an even bigger impact both globally and locally.

We thought this was the perfect time to recognize Pavan for being a rock star Jolkona volunteer that we can always count on because as a die-hard cricket fan, Pavan is also celebrating this month with India’s victory in the World Cup for Cricket! Check out how Pavan celebrated it:

Pavan celebrates India's win in the World Cup for Cricket

The other noteworthy quality about Pavan is that he is super fun. He always makes everyone laugh whether it’s his Bollywood poses or funny jokes, he keeps things fun which is always a good thing when volunteering.

Here’s what Melinda Moseler, Jolkona’s Marketing Communications Content Manager, said about working with Pavan:

Pavan is very passionate about getting word out about Jolkona and going the extra mile when we worked together during the Microsoft Giving Campaign. He is quiet and diligent about getting things done and goes out if his way to devote long hours to making sure some of key fundraising events on campus were attended to, long after others had gone home. I’m always glad to be paired with Pavan on project and know he can be counted on with putting Jolkona’s best foot forward. If you get a chance, check out his blog post* from the team’s Africa trip his photos are top notch and reflect some major personality!

When we asked Pavan why he volunteers with Jolkona, here’s what he had to say:


Thank you, Pavan, for all that you have done for Jolkona and the impact you’ve made in helping to change the world, one drop at a time…

*Pavan’s blog post will be posted this week!

My heart is pumping.
Adrenaline levels are high.
My life is about to change…with your help.

A few months ago, I noticed Nicholas Kristof’s twitter announcement for the Win-a-Trip 2011 competition where he takes a student with him to Africa on a two week journalism trip. Considering my exciting photography experiences in Dhaka, I decided to give it a shot. With a little bit of heart, a few DSLR photos, and a short (phone) video footage…I made this video.

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been selected as one of the 5 student finalists this year! But this is only the beginning. Mr. Kristof has posted our submissions on Facebook with the hopes of the gaining public input to help him decide. If you liked my submission, my previous Jolkona blog posts, and what I stand for, I ask you to go to this Facebook link and “like” and post a meaningful comment. It only takes 10 seconds and can totally change the course of my life!

I’m very impressed by the other finalists this year. You can check out the full article on New York Times.

Follow me on www.twitter.com/someaunty for all the latest updates!

Jolkona’s volunteers are crucial to our success. And each volunteers plays a very specific role in helping us achieve our mission of poverty alleviation through micro-giving. While we could not have come as far as we have without the dedication and passion of each one of our volunteers, this month, I’d like to recognize one specific volunteer who has done so much for Jolkona in just a short time.

Christine Oon started volunteering with Jolkona about a year ago and wanted to get involved in something that would let her utilize her skill of technical writing and content strategy. When Christine started volunteering with Jolkona, we wanted to launch a quarterly newsletter so she stepped up to the plate and volunteered to build it. Since then, Christine has helped write, design, and release 6 of the past 8 issues of our newsletters and special announcements. (Check out the newsletter archives, here). While this may not seem related to poverty alleviation, it truly is. One of Jolkona’s core tasks is to build awareness around our causes and empower people to realize the impact that can be made with small donations.

The newsletter has been instrumental in getting that message out. During the Pakistan Floods last year, Christine wrote and helped design a newsletter that announced our project helping Pakistani flood victims. This newsletter went out to our mailing list of over 2,000 donors and resulted in raising $4,000 in just 2 weeks to help flood victims. This is an example of how Christine’s work has made and continues to make a true impact.

While Christine was one of our locally based volunteers, she recently relocated back to Singapore. We are sad that she is so far away. We will definitely miss her at our team and All-Hands meetings and wish her the best of luck. Though, we are lucky that she will continue to help out and lend her content strategy and wordsmith-genius to our newsletters when she can – making our team truly international. We truly appreciate Christine’s time and dedication to Jolkona and are honored to have her as part of the Jolkona volunteer team.

On a final note, I’d like to thank Christine for generously donating a filing cabinet and computer chair for Jolkona’s new office before her move! YAY our first office furniture donated by a Jolkona volunteer!

Thank you, Christine, for all you’ve done for Jolkona and the impact you’ve made in helping to change the world, one drop at a time…

Photo by Jolkona volunteer, Pavan Potaraju, at Jolkona’s Holiday Party, December 2010.

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