This week we are so thrilled to celebrate National Volunteer Week because volunteers are so important to us at Jolkona. A volunteer is a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking and someone who offers a service willingly without pay (, 2013)

In 2011, it’s estimated that almost 8.1 billion hours were spent volunteering which equates to every single American volunteering for an entire day without sleeping! Furthermore, within each age group the Millenials (ages 16-33) and Generation X (ages 33-45) contributed over 50% of the annual volunteerism.

What does this all mean to Jolkona? We are a small organization that is powered by numerous volunteers and interns. Thanks to the dedication of others’ generosity and love for volunteerism, Jolkona has completed many amazing projects, such as building a new website, launching a new giving program, implementing fantastic blog posts and social media campaigns, visiting partner projects around the world, endless fundraising and social event planning and execution and much, much more. We are so thankful for our volunteers! And one volunteer in particular that we wanted to feature this month is Chi Do.


Chi has been with Jolkona for the last few years now helping out in various aspects. Chi started helping out on the events team and also on the partner management team where she helped create and conduct a survey with some of our non-profit partners to help us improve our features for them. In addition to running an array of fundraising campaigns for Jolkona partners over the years, she also organized a huge Jolkona event at Microsoft last year that raised over $7,000. Chi came up with the idea and took initiative to host the “Night of Fashion and Giving”, a multi-faceted event including overseeing over 20 volunteer models, compiling numerous cultural and ethnic outfits from around the world and organizing donated food for over 100 guests. She has also traveled with the Jolkona team on 2 international trips to visit partners and volunteer, and is always eager to do more! This year Chi is heading up our events committee and we’re confident that she’ll help build a stronger, more engaged community of supporters of Jolkona in Seattle.

Recently on a sign up sheet for 2013 Jolkona activities, when asked “What would you like to do for Jolkona?” Chi wrote “Anything and Everything :)” This sums up Chi’s passion for Jolkona and volunteerism.

Here’s what some other people at Jolkona had to say about Chi:

“Chi is among one of the most caring and compassionate people I’ve met, which makes for a great volunteer and friend. One of the things I love most about Chi is that she not only enjoys having a good time, but she is very organized and committed to her responsibilities. She is a great volunteer because she makes volunteering fun and is always willing to help out with anything, from tabling at an event, to organizing volunteers and more. I am so grateful to have Chi as part of the Jolkona team and helping to grow our community this year through our new events strategy.” -Nadia Mahmud

“Chi has contributed to various events – Fashion Show, multiple Giving Campaigns, and is currently the director of the events team. She has amazing passion for Jolkona and we have always been able to count on her to get things done on time! She is a big reason for our successful fashion show at the giving campaign at Microsoft in 2012. Working with Chi and knowing her over the past 3+ years has been an incredible experience. We are glad to have her as part of Jolkona!” -Pavan Potaraju

“Chi put together a great fashion show for the Microsoft Giving Campaign. She was meticulous with detail and kept us excited and energized the whole way through. She is also an awesome chef and always made incredible food at our events. We also bonded through a flight delay disaster at Peru at a Jolkona trip years ago. Chi is very dedicated volunteer and we are so lucky to have her on the team!” -Nancy Xu

Thank you, Chi for all the work, effort, and time you have given to Jolkona!

Do you take time to help others on a regular basis? Do you give your time and resources to another cause in need? Are you sharing volunteer opportunities with others in your network? Are you interested in volunteering for Jolkona? Email as at

You can also help spread the word by liking us on Facebook, and by following us on Twitter,  Pinterest, and Instagram.

This whole week we’re celebrating National Volunteer Week! That means we’re celebrating our volunteers, who are absolutely integral to all we do, and without whom we can honestly say, we would be nowhere! So first and foremost, thank you Jolkona volunteers!

But, this week is also about encouraging others to volunteer. Do you take time to help others on a regular basis? Do you give your time and resources to another cause in need? Are you sharing volunteer opportunities with others in your network? Part of that encouragement is about awareness of how important volunteering truly is. So, we thought we’d kick this week off with some stats. This infographic is staggering, and will help you understand just how essential volunteers are.

Are you interested in volunteering for Jolkona? Email as at

You can also help spread the word by liking us on Facebook, and by following us on Twitter,  Pinterest, and Instagram.

To bring a little light to the recent June Gloom, we would like to take a moment to recognize Nancy Xu as this month’s featured volunteer. Nancy is a program manager at Microsoft for the Widows Design Studio and first got involved with Jolkona through the giving campaign events we planned at Microsoft in 2010. She has been a volunteer ever since. Over the years, Nancy has worked on several projects for Jolkona, including partner trip coordination and creative storytelling. However, most recently, Nancy has been working tirelessly with two other stellar volunteers: Punit Java, and Pavan Potaraju on building our first Windows phone app called Change by Jolkona – an innovative mobile app that lets you track the progress of a habit you wish to change while making a positive impact in the world through Jolkona’s diverse range of partner projects. Nancy was in charge of the app design and some of the management behind it. The app will be going live shortly so stay tuned!

Before working on the design for the Windows mobile app, Nancy volunteered on several video projects for Jolkona, including our most recent production for our Hulu PSA. Prior to that, she also helped produce and direct our Kids Give Back video and our short video Why Give. Nancy is a tremendous example of how young professionals can use their passion and professional skill set to give back. By pursuing her passion of storytelling, over the years she has helped Jolkona tell our story and those of our partners. She embodies what volunteering should be about: aligning your skills and passions to make a positive impact and further an organization’s mission.

Here’s what some of our volunteers have said about working with Nancy:

“Nancy is a wonderful volunteer for Jolkona. She has so much passion for her work and has helped develop amazing media campaigns, such as spearheading the new Jolkona PSA spot for Hulu. Despite having a full-time job at Microsoft, she pledges much of her time actively volunteering and participating in so many events and partner visits. Nancy is an indispensible asset and Jolkona is lucky to have her on the team.”
Rekha Ravindran

“Nancy is a priceless asset to Jolkona. She has boundless passion for Jolkona and we have always been able to count on her to get the job done – and how! She is a big reason for our successful partner visits in East Africa and South America in the last 2 years – it would not have been possible without her! Her significant contribution to our Hulu video, other video editing projects, and the case study (in business club style) she did with the students at Generation Rwanda in December 2010 exemplify her extraordinary ability to take on a challenge and do it well!
Working with Nancy over the past 2+ years has been an incredible experience. We are lucky to have her as part of Jolkona!”
Pavan Potaraju

“Nancy is super passionate about her video/media work for Jolkona. I had the opportunity to travel with Nancy to South America, especially in Peru where it was just the two of us. She is deeply understanding and respectful of other cultures, as well as compassionate. She is also delightfully friendly and blissfully easy to get along with. When we interacted with a Partner in Peru, Nancy was exceptionally well-prepared, exploring all angles of their work with her intelligent and well-thought out questions – I was most impressed!”
Chi Do

One of the things I’ve come to admire and respect most about Nancy over the years is her fastidious organization and supreme ability to execute on projects, which I’m sure she’s garnered from her Program Manager position at Microsoft. These skills have been clearly demonstrated on all the Jolkona projects she has volunteered with. Jolkona is remarkably fortunate to have the dedication and support of so many amazing volunteers, and Nancy is no exception. Thank you, Nancy, for being one of our rockstar volunteers and a stalwart advocate for Jolkona.

Are you in interested in volunteering? Do you want to use your passions and skills to help build a new generation of philanthropists? Find out more information by emailing us at You can also keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.



As we’re currently wrapping up Jolkona’s 2012 strategy plan, we’d like to recognize our Director of Strategy, Seema Bhende, as this month’s featured volunteer. Seema has been with us since 2009, which makes her one of our most senior volunteers. Truly she has been a tremendous asset to Jolkona. By day, Seema is a Senior Director of Social Innovation at Waggener Edstrom where she consults with both nonprofit and Corporate Social Responsibility clients.

Over the last 2 ½ years, Seema has helped define our strategy as a nonprofit. She cultivated our invaluable partnership with Waggener Edstrom, which resulted in two matching campaigns and a pro bono ideation session. She has increased our visibility through a feature in Giving 2.0 and other news media, and has also hosted and facilitated several quarterly weekend strategy sessions with key volunteers to brainstorm ideas and direction for Jolkona. In addition, she helped mastermind our current volunteer structure, which has enabled us to accomplish so much with such limited resources.

What I deeply respect and admire about Seema is her ability to keep us focused and to think strategically in finding solutions to problems. Crucially, she has helped Jolkona steer a course of accountability to its own goals over the last two years. On a personal note, she has also just been a great support for me – and other staff and volunteers involved with Jolkona, I’m certain. Here’s what two other Jolkona volunteers had to say about working with Seema:

“Seema is a true leader and incredibly loyal. You can always count on her to take charge of an important project and volunteer to assist where she is most valuable. Along with being a stalwart team player, Seema is incredibly knowledgable about business, marketing, and NPOs. It’s been a pleasure getting to know her and working alongside such a wonderful person.” Aaron Alhadeff.

“Seema is one of the first volunteers and the longest serving amongst the currently active volunteers. She has played an enormous role in the strategic growth of Jolkona over the past 2 years, and her support has been critical to both Nadia and I. She has been a invaluable asset for Jolkona.” Adnan Mahmud.

Seema is truly passionate about Jolkona’s mission and vision of inspiring more giving to the nonprofit sector through our platform, and we’re honored and privileged to have her support as an integral part of the team. Thank you, Seema, for all that you’ve done and continue to do for Jolkona! We wouldn’t be where we are today without you.

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 — 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

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.

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.

Jolkona volunteers on recent trip to Africa - posing like a gorilla...kind of

Jolkona volunteers on recent trip to Africa - posing like a gorilla...kind of

Jolkona is made possible by a group of dedicated volunteers who feel passionate about the giving model we’ve created. They are a young, diverse team made up of full-time professionals and university students looking to get more involved in their community and the world. They dedicate their time and their skills in making a difference in the paradigm of giving.

I’m excited to announce that we are looking to fill two openings on the leadership team:

Click the links above to download the job description for each.

Ready to join our team?

To apply, please email your resume and a cover letter that answers the following to by Wednesday, January 19th:

  1. Why are you interested in leading the campus outreach or events strategy for Jolkona?
  2. What skills or experience do you bring that will help you be successful in this position?
  3. What are you passionate about?

Please reference the title of the position you’re applying for in the subject of the email.

Dates and details about hiring process:

  • Accepting applications through Wednesday, January 19th
  • Begin interviewing candidates the week of January 24th
  • Must be available to attend the full-day orientation on Saturday, January 29th

We look forward to meeting you!

One of the reasons that I picked the Santiago study abroad program was the Poverty and Development class that it offers.  The class meets once a week for three hours (sometimes a struggle after a morning of commuting and classes, but I try my best) and includes three hours weekly of volunteer work.  There were several sites to choose from, varying from a homeless shelter to shadowing a social worker to teaching classes to middle and high school kids.  I opted for the Centro Abierto de Santa Adriana, a community center that offers runs an after-school program for low-income children, among other things.  It’s located in a poorer neighborhood where many of the kids can only go to school for half the day because of limited resources, so the other half of the day they spend at the Centro under the supervision of the tías.

I go in the afternoons with two of my friends from Notre Dame.  We started about two weeks ago, and the first time getting there was a bit of an experience.  By bit of an experience, I mean we got lost on the micro (bus) for a solid two hours after a random detour sent us sailing past the correct turnoff and onto a tour of an area of Santiago that none of us had ever seen.  In retrospect it was necessary, since the neighborhoods our host families live in are upper-middle class and not representative of Santiago, let alone Chile, where income inequality, a rigid class structure and poverty are significant problems.  We had earnestly set out from the university around one in the afternoon expecting to be at Santa Adriana by two at the latest, but after waiting nearly an hour for what turned out to be the wrong micro, taking said micro to the end of its route, and then prevailing upon a benevolent bus driver to drop us at a micro that could take us back to the metro, we had given up on finding Santa Adriana.  We got on the next micro, resigned to trying again sometime later in the week, and not 10 minutes into the ride one of my friends glanced out the window and, lo and behold, there was Santa Adriana.  Victory!–albeit late, and unnecessarily confusing, but at least we finally made it.

The first day we stayed until the Centro closed at 5:30, getting to know the other tías and keeping the kids entertained.  The kids are absolutely wonderful, affectionate, welcoming and accommodating of our gringa Spanish.  When we arrive they come running up to greet us, then pull us in different directions to play futbol, read stories, or give piggyback rides as the case may be.  In addition to general supervision, we can lead talleres (workshops) for specific activities.  We can decide exactly what we want to do, but popular requests from the kids are sports (especially futbol), music, karaoke, dancing, art projects, and cooking.  Last week we lead a cooking taller in which we attempted to make brownies from scratch with 12 small children.  It was actually pretty successful:  the final product was pretty good, and only burned in one corner–not that this deterred the kids from devouring every last crumb.

I’ve been very impressed at how well-run the program is and how respectful the kids are.  I’ve volunteered at similar programs in the U.S that were really disorganized, with the kids running all over and no one knowing what’s going on.  The tías at Santa Adriana make sure people behave without being overly strict–a good environment for the kids, especially since I don’t know how much structure they really get the rest of the day.  Low-income areas in Chile struggle with many of the same problems as low-income areas in U.S, including drugs, alcoholism, domestic abuse, and early onset of sexual activity (some kids as young as 11 or 12).  I sometimes wonder how much help we gringas really provide, since there’s still something of a language barrier and we’re only there once a week.  But the kids seem to really appreciate the extra attention and activities.  I’m interested to learn more about the neighborhood and get to know the kids and tías better in the coming weeks.