How to be a good volunteer

KCRW volunteers Tahl Klainman and Janice Blanco, and Monika Scott

We’ve partnered with the Santa Monica Public Library and the Public Insight Network to get some insight into our community; we asked KCRW listeners to share their volunteering stories (you can read some of those responses here).

Here at KCRW we rely very heavily on our volunteer staff. On a given day we can see anything between 10 to 30 volunteers doing a multitude of tasks around the station. Without this dedicated team of volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish half of what you hear (and read) every day. Many of KCRW’s on-air personalities and staff started as volunteers (myself included) because, let’s face it, we all have to start somewhere! (Below, one of our volunteers, Joseph Bowling, shares why he came to KCRW.)

I’m the one who gets to bring in new volunteers here at the station so here’s what we look for:

Do: Be open to working on things you may not already have in mind.

Don’t: Be offended by tasks that are not in your “wheelhouse” per se.

Volunteer Joe Bowling

A lot of people come to us with a certain path they have envisioned for themselves. Ambition and goals are wonderful, but there may be things you’ve never considered. My job is to know where you may fit in that you haven’t even thought of yourself. Being open means you may accidentally find out you’re great at something.

Do: Treat every task, big or small, with equal importance.

Don’t: Be “above” any task.

It takes tasks big and small to run any organization. Organizations depend on volunteers to be game to help with any type of job, because ultimately a volunteer is around because they want to be helpful to an organization they believe in.

Do: Make friends with fellow volunteers!

Don’t: Be competitive with your fellow volunteers!

Volunteering is one of the best ways to meet people with similar interests and potentially similar dispositions to yourself. It’s one of those few chances in adult life that you can genuinely make lifelong friends. Resist the urge to compare yourself to other volunteers. Don’t be competitive with your volunteer colleagues. You are all there for the same goal.

The most important part of volunteering is that you are there because you believe in the organization you’re volunteering for. At KCRW we are so lucky to attract volunteers who are some of the kindest and brightest people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet.

Happy volunteering! Click here to get involved.

Volunteer, Joseph Bowling on working at KCRW.

Being sort of new to California, I wanted a way to find out what this city is about and be directly involved in something special. Giving time to KCRW has proven to be a great way to do my part in keeping public radio alive and strong while simultaneously having my finger on the pulse of Southern California. I feel like I am part of a public service that makes a great number of people happy each and every day and the feedback I am exposed to via volunteering supports that claim one hundred percent. I am proud to fly the flag of public radio and KCRW.

In my experience, the people who work here care a great deal about what they do and the quality of the product they put in front of their listeners. That is true at KCRW from top to bottom whether it’s the news department, DJs, membership services, right on down to my fellow volunteers.  Upper management has done a phenomenal job of surrounding each area with smart people that are flexible and impressively capable of producing a station that so many people in this area care about. I always feel like the work that I do around KCRW is appreciated and I can tell that what I do makes a difference. Being a volunteer here has become an important part of who I am and I will continue lending a hand for the foreseeable future.