In advance of an exciting fundraiser happening this Saturday, November 14th, CharityScenes spoke with Peter Du, member of the Make-A-Wish Illinois Associate Board. Peter joined the board earlier this year after spending some time volunteering with the organization.
CharityScenes (“CS”): What attracted you to the board?
Peter Du (“PD”): After spending some time as a volunteer, I developed a strong connection to the cause. Make-a-Wish Illinois grants over 700 wishes per year to children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses, and it is very fulfilling to help make those fun opportunities possible.
CS: Can you tell us about the associate board and its role in the Make-a-Wish Illinois organization?
PD: Sure, we are tasked with raising as much money as possible to grant as many wishes as possible! Through 3 events throughout the year, we raise money as well as overall awareness for the organization. There are about 45 members of the associate board representing a diverse group of young professionals. I think the diversity is critical to the success of the board; we are very productive in our brainstorming and event planning because we have access to many different skill sets and networks.
CS: What are some of the other events, besides the upcoming I Wish to Party, that your board plans and hosts?
PD: We try to vary our events to appeal to some different crowds. You’ll see that our upcoming event is a more formal cocktail event, but some of our other events are more casual. We host a walk/run at Montrose beach as well as a bags tournament.
CS: What has been your experience on the board so far?
PD: It has been really rewarding. Given I had already been a volunteer and am passionate about the cause, it has been fun to use the skills from my work in a way that benefits Make-a-Wish Illinois. I’m in communications/public relations which has been useful when planning the upcoming I Wish to Party event and marketing to get young professionals to attend the event. I expect that the different way I’m marketing here may be transferable to my role at work at some point in the future.
I’d also say that it’s been a great networking tool. There’s very much a team atmosphere when planning these events, as everyone is obviously a volunteer and can’t always dedicate 100% of their time to planning. People are quick to step in and help others with various tasks, which quickly fosters new friendships.
One other thing to point out about our board is that we had tremendous support from the Make-a-Wish Illinois parent organization. We have a really helpful staff liaison and good relationship with the Board of Directors with some cross participation at events and an associate board member attending meetings of the Board of Directors.
CS: What was your process for joining the board? How would prospective members decide to apply and get accepted?
PD: I attended a few associate board events and recommend anyone who is interested comes to our event on Saturday to learn more! It’ll be a great opportunity to talk to current board members and volunteers. Aside from that there is a several page application to fill out and an interview. We want to make sure people are serious about committing to this board. After joining there is a $150 membership fee for dues and a $6,000 fundraising commitment which can be obtained through donations, sponsorships, ticket sales, etc.
CS: Thanks for taking the time!