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‘Passion meets interest’ (volunteer profile, Jamie Smith)

We are getting back into featuring our volunteers and nonprofits on our blog after a year hiatus. This list of questions was actually completed a year ago with the help of interviewer Melodieann Whiteley and it’s been edited to be current now.

Jamie Smith

Tell us about yourself?

I often tell people that I grew up in Kansas and became a grownup in Northwest Arkansas. I grew up in Wichita and graduated from John Brown University in 2000. So, except for the 18 months I lived in Oklahoma, NWA has been my home. This is where I spent most of my first career, met my husband, and where I started my business. 

Tell us about your work at GiveCamp.

I started volunteering with GiveCamp seven or so years ago and in 2018 came on as a board member when we decided to get our own 501c3. As far as work during the actual GiveCamp events, I’m usually a project manager and writer. 

How did you get involved in nonprofit work?

I’ve been involved in a variety of volunteer projects that fit my interests and passions. Currently, I’m involved with GiveCamp and am a co-founder of the Elkins-Area Business Network. I am also a part of a team working to develop another community-based nonprofit that I would love to share about when we are done!  

Why are nonprofits important?

Nonprofits are important because they serve others in ways that businesses and individuals can’t. GiveCamp is unique in that we only serve other nonprofits. Our work helps make the other nonprofits’ work more possible through the technology we create. 

How did you choose to work with GiveCamp?

Chris Whittle, who is now our board chairman, and I have been friends for several years. He knew I had experience working with websites, especially writing. He recruited me and I was instantly hooked. 

What do you like most about being part of GiveCamp?

I love how people from all backgrounds, skillsets, belief systems, and industries come together for a common cause. I love seeing all the different kinds of nonprofits we have serving NWA and our event helps make connections. 

What has been the most difficult part of putting this event on every year?

I’ve only been an organizer for a couple of years, but I think just finding the balance between the project needs and the number of volunteers each year is the most nerve-wracking for us. We want everyone to have a positive experience and want the projects to go well. I would also say that finding the funds we need is also a challenge. None of us are natural fundraisers! 

Do you have any tips to share with nonprofits on how to make the most of their GiveCamp experience?

I would say overall, please comply with our guidelines and cooperate with our team. All of these are outlined on our website and are reiterated throughout the process.