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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Around the Office: Volunteers Key to Wilderness Visions Success

Posted by: Amber Benson

It's hard to believe we're wrapping up the final days of August. Summer at WWC has been a blur of tabling events, art walks, outdoor activities, with the random ice cream break thrown somewhere in the mix. But with the end of summer begins the craze of preparing for Wilderness Visions, our annual dinner and auction. Wilderness Visions is a key event at WWC. Not only does it allow us to interact with our members and supporters on a personal basis, but it also allows us to raise the money we need to continue to push our latest conservation efforts.

One thing is for certain, Wilderness Visions would not be a success without the ongoing support of our volunteers. Starting 11 months before and working up until the final minutes, volunteers play an integral part in the planning process and implementation of this major event. Initially, duties are fairly light and can often be fun, especially when it comes to scouting out the site for the event and getting to taste test possible catering companies! When we're about six months out, the work load starts to pile up. This is when volunteers start brainstorming companies to solicit for auction items, sponsorships, food donations, and decorations. After the list is compiled, they help us create the dozens and dozens of letters and get them in the mail.

The next few weeks are a bit of a waiting game as we wait for donations to arrive. So, in the mean time, we start thinking of who we would like to be the guest speaker. We usually start with a list of 4-6 potentials. We also use this lull as an opportunity to decide on a menu and start thinking of decorations, themes, etc.

At this point in the process we're probably at our current point on the timeline - September. We've now got donations piling up, we've chosen a speaker (awaiting confirmation), we have a theme in mind, and we're finalizing decoration ideas. Next on the agenda is to draft the email invitation and begin designing the program. While these two duties are more staff projects, the volunteers still have plenty to do as they continue processing all the donations and make follow-up calls on requests.

It appears we've accomplished a lot, however, events like these are never done until their done. Between now and November 12, we will begin to rely on volunteers even more as we start to design center pieces for the tables, process ticket purchases, prepare bid sheets for all the donated items and juggle all the last minute changes that are sure to arise before and on the day of the event.

We hope that you will be able to join us on November 12 at the Shilshole Bay Beach Club in Ballard to celebrate our 30th anniversary at the 2009 Wilderness Visions. Thanks to the hard work of all our volunteers, we are sure it will be an enjoyable evening filled with great company, delicious food, and overwhelming support.

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