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Member Spotlight: Brittany Biggers

Brittany Biggers
Name: Brittany Biggers, MAG, CVA
Position: Volunteer Service Manager
Organization: Hospice of the Western Reserve (Cleveland, Ohio)
MAVA Member Since: 2020

Please describe your volunteer program: Hospice of the Western Reserve (HWR), a non-profit hospice that serves nine (9) counties in northeast Ohio, supports up to 3,000 volunteers on an annual basis. The volunteers support the HWR mission to provide quality end of life care through direct patient clinical, professional, non-clinical, and community volunteer roles.

What is your role?

During my five (5) years with HWR, I have held multiple roles. During my first few years, I managed volunteers who worked within the hospice houses (in-patient units), private residences, and alternative housing (ie. nursing homes, group homes). For the last few years, I have managed all aspects of volunteer education. Through this education role, I have had the privilege of redeveloping the initial and ongoing training programs.

How did you get involved in Volunteer Management?
As many volunteer management stories go, landing in this field was not by design. I like to tell people I accidently fell into the field, but in truth, it's hard to imagine my passion for serving others landing me in any other type of work. Throughout high school and college, I did my fair share of volunteering. During my senior year of college, I had a unique internship opportunity: intern for a local non-profit hospice, where I had been volunteering for a few months, to help redesign their volunteer onboarding and training. This experience parked something inside of me. Since then, I had the opportunity to serve as a Volunteer Coordinator/Volunteer Manager at three uniquely different hospices, both in the non-profit and for-profit

What does it mean to you to be a MAVA member?
Being a member of MAVA means being connected to the Volunteer Management field. I have been able to expand my connectedness of the field beyond the hospice industry and beyond the volunteer managers in my local area. MAVA’s reach is global; if the organization is sharing information, it is not just a local practice, but a true industry specific best practice.

Can you recall a time when being a MAVA member directly impacted your work in your organization?
What were the outcomes of MAVA’s impact?

Attending the virtual conference in June brought so much light to the current state of affairs within the Volunteer Management field (especially in the time of Covid). I was able to develop strategies, that were then implemented, on engagement with volunteers. While engagement has always been top of mind, the various sessions encouraged me to make some specific changes with access to technology for our volunteer program.

Do you have any advice for new MAVA members/leaders of volunteers?
Lean into the trainings and support that the organization provides. If you don’t have one already, develop a group of industry professionals that you can call on for questions, but don’t limit yourself to volunteer managers within your specific volunteer field. Read – read articles, read blog posts, read what other volunteer administrators are saying. The most important advice: find your place. It is easy to feel like an outsider looking in, especially when you are new to the field or to an organization. Explore ways to build up yourself and your own program, but also look for ways to build up the volunteer management field. New perspectives and new voices are what drives our field.