Career Story: Nonprofit Volunteer Coordinator

Ashley works as a nonprofit volunteer coordinator. Check out her insights about self-discovery on the job and how to succeed in the midst of financial struggles.

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Hello, my name is
Ashley, I am 30 years old,
ASHLEY, 30
VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR, CITY TEAM

I work for Cityteam, which
is non-profit here in the bay.

I make $43,500 a year
as a volunteer coordinator

slash administrative assistant.

Cityteam is a non-profit,
Christian organization.

We are a drug and recovery program.

It's similar to the
alcohol anonymous program

where it's 12 steps,
and within those 12 steps

what we try to do is
help them understand

their reasons are for using the drugs

and also ways to equip
them to not use drugs as well.

We also incorporate applying

scripture to their lives
in order to live it out.

So, a list of some of the
responsibilities in my role include:
ASHLEY’S RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE:

processing and tracking donations,
-PROCESSING AND TRACKING DONATIONS

creating different opportunities
for people to volunteer,
-CREATING VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

building partnerships
with some of the different
-BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS W/ HOUSING SITES

single room occupancy
housings in the area.

Our main project for Cityteam
are Saturday clinics.

We have a group of people,

the max we can hold
are about 50 people

and we'll have them
split up, bring in 100

to 120 bags of food,

we call them bags of love.

Then our men in our
program they take them down

to the single room occupancies

that I was talking about earlier.

What they do is they'll go
into the rooms, knock on the doors,

hand people the lunches,
ask them if they need anything,

ask them if they would like prayer,

and then let them
know about our lunches.

We have an all-you-can-eat
lunch for the people,

anyone on sixth street
in the area that comes in.

We also do foot washing,
we'll wash their feet,

provide them with a new pair of socks

every Saturday, and so that's something
that we do for people as well

and then you get the
opportunity to get to know people

and it's a very intimate
and humbling experience,

and we've learned
that people open up more

because you're
beneath them at that point.

They're up here and then
you're kneeling at their feet,

and so they'll speak to you more.

Another thing we're able to do
is our clothing distribution,

which is we let them go
downstairs and pick out about

three items of clothing,
and if we have shoes

or anything then they're
allowed to pick that out as well.

It's really funny,

people are very
entertaining and you get

so many divas when they
pick out clothing, it's just a joy.

And, you get some
amazing requests, and

it's amazing, you'll get
hugs and people love you for it.

So, I make $43,500 annually.

The pay is on the lower
end of the spectrum

considering how others
are doing in the area,

but that is expected
for working at a non-profit,

but, you get other benefits.

The mindset and skills that
one would probably need to work

for an organization like Cityteam

would be definitely
a great multi-tasker,

great organizational skills,

patient, you'll need
a lot of patience,

kindness, definitely have to be
kind and show people kindness,

and be able to be open
to expect anything for the day.

The days could go up or down, you
never know, so you have to be flexible

for the type of work that I do.

You definitely have to see
the bigger picture of things,

it's just important to

to be able to look
past whatever is happening.

Some people may come in
and be frustrated for the day

and may take those
frustrations out on you,

so you have to be able to not
take it personal once you're there,

and to always show kindness

and a good heart, and to show people
what love and friendship looks like

when you work for
an organization like this

because people are hurting,

and the people that you're
encountering are hurting people,

so you want to be that
light and be able to show them

what a healthy person looks
like or what something looks like

when it comes to love or kindness.

So, the worst day on the job

probably would be if someone comes in

for the lunch period and

they're either intoxicated

or they're having a bad day

or they haven't been
able to afford their medication,

so they're either seeing
things or they're drunk

and they're causing
problems with the other guests,

kind of have to be a bouncer
and break up a fight or something,

so that's kind of a rough day.

The days where I come home
and I feel like I did a great job,

those are the days when I get a
random hug off the street from like

a homeless lady or
something, and they are just like,

"you don't understand
what you do for me,"

or, "your smile
just lights up my day."

My favorite is when a student,
like a sixth grader from

a school comes to
volunteer and they just get it,

they are excited to do,

in my mind, God's work, it's something

activates inside
of them and they just,

they're transformed, they want
to do it, they have a hunger for it,

they go home and they continue
to seek it out, like they start

volunteering with
students or children or

serving on the
weekends with their families,

it becomes their mission to do

whatever it is that they can do to

save someone or to help someone,

and for me that

that makes me understand this is why

I'm doing what I'm
doing and it brings me joy.

So, how I got my job at City Team,
I came here to do missions work.
ASHLEY, 30
VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR, CITY TEAM

And the organization I was working
with, Center for Student Missions,

we volunteered
with City Team, and I loved it.

Eventually I started coming
out and volunteering on my own.

When I was volunteering on my own,

as my internship was ending,

City Team just so
happened to have an opening.

I was talking to the director
and he told me to apply.

The things they told me that
stuck out in my interview were

I had experience working
with people for drug and recovery,

I had experience working
with homeless people,

I had experience
working with people who were

just out in the streets,
or doing things that

that were harming themselves.

That was one of the things.

You do have to be Christian,
to work for City Team,

so that was a plus. You have to tell
your story, how you came to find God,

you have to have your pastor or
whoever it is under or over you,

to kind of refer you to the program,

and you have to have references
that they speak to to know

that your heart aligns with
what you're trying to do.

So yeah, those are some
of the basics that you'll have to have

for working for City Team.
And I think they wanted

probably, like,
two years of experience

with administrative work as well.

Well, according to my mom,
I've always had a heart

for serving the homeless and the poor.

Apparently, since I was a little kid,
I would, if I got money,

and I saw someone
asking for money on the street,

I would give them my money,
or I'd give them some of my money.

So, it's pretty much
always been in me.

However, when I got to college,
I kind of went in for money.

I went in originally trying to be
a behavioral psychologist,

and then I talked to my
advisor, and I found out

how little they make,
and I was like, "Nope,

that is not for me."

So, I switched over and was like,
I think I'm gonna do pharmacy,

I love science, I love
chemistry, this is going to work.

So I kind of changed paths there.

Graduated, started
studying for the PCAT,

got a job at a pharmacy,

and loved my job at the pharmacy,
but something in me was missing.

I felt like I was not doing what I was
supposed to be doing, so I stopped,

and I kind of was like, all right God,

what is it that you need me to do?
Kind of prayed about it,

held back for a while,

continued working at the pharmacy,

even though I felt like
it wasn't something

that I was supposed to be doing,
which was weird 'cause I loved it.

And then something in me was like,

go for seminary.
And I was like, seminary,

I don't wanna go to seminary,
I don't wanna be a preacher

or pastor, why
would I go to seminary?

I ended up applying,

and then learned about the different
avenues that you can take in seminary,

and I was like, I'm
gonna be a chaplain,

because I can still make money,
and I can be comfortable doing that.

And it didn't...I realized
that that wasn't my calling either.

I think it's something
that I still love to do,

I'm passionate about it, by my
true calling is doing missions work.

It felt like a joy when
I came and did my internship,

and was able to serve the community,

and that's when I realized
this is what I'm called to do.

I am doing a master's in divinity

with a concentration
in pastoral counseling.

We take several counseling classes,

marriage and family
counseling, crisis counseling,

drug and addition counseling. So,

my degree is not only equipping me to

help people for City Team,
but it's also equipping me

to help the men and women
who serve in the military as well.

That add-on for pastoral
counseling took it from a four

to four and a half year
program, to a five year program.

So, that is what I'm doing now.

I would like to see myself

growing in the company
that I am in right now.

I love City Team, and I would
just like to either be a director

for one of the cities, which means,

you're kind of over that city,

you kind of are the person
who brings in the donations,

and you oversee everything

that is done in the city. And you try
to make sure the guys are comfortable,

as well as everyone else,
the people that you work for,

or that work under you,
and the people in the area.

So your job pretty much is to make
sure that donations are being used

as we're saying they're
being used, and that

the people in our program are
graduating and becoming successful,

and the people on the
streets are being taken care of.

So that would be a job that I
would be interested in for City Team.

Or I would like to be

able to be a part of the
disciple-making movement.

It's important to get people to know
and have a relationship with God

for who He is,

and who they are, and
understand it from their lens.

I'm definitely interested in

being a part-time chaplain,
which is for the reserves,

for the Air Force.
You have to pray for patience,

you have to pray to
make sure you're doing

what it is that you're
supposed to be doing.

And you have to make
sure you're equipped

mentally, and spiritually,
and physically,

for this job. It could
be lonely sometimes,

and sometimes it could
be stressful, because you

come in thinking that you're going
to save the world, and you're

not, necessarily.

And you have to be okay with that,

that your job is really just
taking it one day at a time,

and doing the best you
can do in that period of time.

So yeah, I would definitely say
come to peace with the fact that

you're not going to save the
world, but you are going to

save some people, and you're
going to change the lives of some.

My name is Ashley.
ASHLEY, 30
VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR, CITY TEAM

I am a volunteer coordinator and
administrative assistant for City Team.

I make $43,500 a year.

My finances are something
I struggle with from time to time.

Yeah, my parents, they let me
know quite frequently that I'm poor.

So, they want me to be
secure and financially stable.

And because I work here

in the Bay Area, there
are a lot of people in the

tech industry. The techies,
that's what I like to call them,

and they make a lot of money. And so

sometimes I have to remind
myself not to compare my salary

to what they're making.
Because they're making

two, three times as much
as I'm making.

And I'm like, God,
I'm doing this work and

I know it's meaningful but
I want to be able to

to spend money when I
want to every once in a while.

So for college, my parents paid
for my undergraduate degree.

But they left me on my
own for my graduate degree.

It's just understandable,
I'm not going to complain.

My first two years,
I did not have a job.

So I pretty much lived off
of my student loans.

So for the first two
years, school cost

about I want to say
around 10 to 12,000 dollars

including books and stuff.

Plus I took out money
to pay for the apartment

that I was renting in Charlotte.

Then when I realized
it was costing so much,

I decided to get a job
at a pharmacy and

working to pay for my basic needs and
then only taking out enough money

to pay for school.

And so I did that for
a while until I came here.

And now, I

am paying for school

out of pocket. So once I get
finished, I'll probably have

a little over $60,000
worth of school debt.

I don't want any debt so

hopefully I'll be able to pay off

probably around $800 to $1,000 a month
on that student loan to get it out

as quickly as I possibly can.
I feel financially secure

in the sense where I have a budget and

I'm living within my means. However,

I don't feel financially secure

if something happens. What will I do?

2015 was a rough year.

You can go from having
a nice savings account

to not having anything really quickly.

My dog choked a bone.
That cost me about

two three thousand dollars.

I got hurt when I was in Thailand.
And when I came

back to the United States, I got sick.
So I went to the emergency room.

But I didn't have any insurance.

Because I had already canceled my
insurance because I was moving here.

But then that was
an extra $3,000.

So I depleted pretty much
all of my savings. Came here,

and was only making
about $800 a month.

If it wasn't for that 800
like being pretty much broke,

I would not have learned

how to struggle properly.
How to succeed while struggling.

I make about $3,625 a month,
Ashley’s Budget:
MONTHLY SALARY $3,625

about $988 of that is taken out
TAXES AND OTHER DEDUCTIONS ̴ $988

non-profit does take care of you so

in that 988

is my medical.

However I do get a commuter discount.

So what I do is pay pretaxes for

my commuter card
which is the Clipper Card.

It gets me around through
the train and the bus.

So that's taken out of that as well.

And then money towards
my retirement which is my 403B.

So all of that comes out
to about $988 comes out.

After that, I'm taking
home about $2,637.
NET TAKE HOME INCOME $2,637

From that $2,637,

1,000 of it goes towards rent.
RENT & UTILITIES $1,000

My rent actually

includes electricity and

internet, cable, all
of that other stuff.

On the side, I pay for Hulu and Tidal.
HULU AND TIDAL $15

So, those come up
to about $15 a month.

So I use my

laptop or my iPad
to watch stuff on that.

Then my phone bill is $50 a month.
PHONE $50

I am on a shared
plan with my parents.

So I just pay them
$50 a month for that.

For my car, I paid off
my car before I got here.

So I pay $85 a month for insurance
CAR INSURANCE $85

and probably 85 for gas.
GAS $85

So 85 for gas. Probably less than that

on weeks when I'm
only catching the BART.

We're only paying $20 for
gas if i'm catching the BART.

And then for my student
loans and for classes

and things like that,
I pay about $350.
STUDENT LOANS AND TUITION $350

So $350 goes to that.

$120 goes to groceries for the month.
GROCERIES $120

Probably about $30 a week.

$400 I have towards
tithes and offerings.
TITHES AND OFFERINGS $400

Tithes and offerings are what I pay

towards church. It's based

off of the biblical
foundation that 10%

of our earnings goes back to God.

Some of the other recurring
expenses that I pay for regularly

are the donations that
I give to different organizations.
DONATIONS $121

So that $121 includes
center for student missions,

which I donate to

the people who were
over me, my City directors,

I donate to them because
they're missionaries.

And they are the reason
why I fell in love

with mission's work and
the reason why I do what I do.

And so I give about $40 to that.

I give money to Harbor
House Ministries which is a

after school program. Christian
program for kids in the area.

And it's just a way
for them to be able to

do their homework and have

something in their bellies to eat

while their parents are at work.

And I donate to them
because the kids there, I love,

I tutor with them.
And they just have my heart.

So that's important to me.
I donate for Let My People Go.

Which is a trafficking organization.

They try to help bring
people out of trafficking

so I donate for that. That's
something that's important to me.

I also donate
for Miracle Messages.

Which is a way to get homeless people

back in contact with
their families so that they can

get the things that they need

and be able to provide
them housing and help

with the homeless
situation here in The Bay.

So I didn't realize that I
was giving away that much.

But it's amazing how you're
able to give away so much

and still be able to afford
to live a comfortable life.

And then I have about

$180 that I use towards
entertainment for the month.
ENTERTAINMENT $180

So I try to do maybe
about $90 every two weeks.

And I can spend it
to hang out with friends,

to go out to eat or whatever.

After all of that,
I'm left with about $231.
REMAINING $231

From that $231,

I try to put about 200 in savings

and anything left over, I pile it up

and then I send it off
to pay for my student loans.

My financial goals
right now is just to

kind of get rid of any
debt and then save up for

my emergency funds.
And then my next goal would be to

save up money to be able to

at least pay for

my next car in cash

or only have to pay it
for in a year's time.

What I learned from the past is

I want to be better
prepared for surprises.

What I wished someone
would've taught me probably at age 15

was the value of a dollar.

And if I would've known
that then, I probably

would've been wiser
about taking out my student loans.

And I would've learned

the valuable lesson of calculating

the worth of a dollar I would say.

So when I want a new jacket or a
new coat or a dress or something,

and I don't really need it,
I look at the price and I say,

I make about $22 an hour.

How long would I have
to work in order to buy this thing

for $150?

Is it worth it. Do I really
want to have to work

for six hours to pay for this?
So if the answer is no,

then the purchase is a no. And so,

if I would've known that then,
I probably would've not

spent as much money
on stupid stuff when I was younger.

Because I just had it to throw away.

That's important for me.
And I wish I would've known that.

Funny how things
kind of turn back around.

I've been into undergrad wanting
to be a behavioral psychologist.

And then I spoke with my advisor

and we talked about it.
And we talked about grad school

and how much it was
going to cost after grad school.

And I was like, this is not worth it.

No, I don't want to do this.

And so I switched over and
I was like I want to do pharmacy.

Went there and then I had
to come to terms with the fact that

I am going to be okay

with not making as much money as I

wanted to be make
and I have to accept that.

And just go from there
with the funds that I have.

And be a good steward
of what I'm given and

see if the blessings
roll in from there.

Doing the work that I do,
and working in the environment
ASHLEY, 30
VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR, CITY TEAM

I work in, it definitely
can be overwhelming

sometimes, because

you don't want to take on
the stresses and the needs

of the people that
you're working with,

because you're working with
sick people and broken people

and people who have had really

really tragic childhoods.
And you're working with these people,

and you're gonna want to reach out
and hug them, and just love on them,

and put all of your
energy and effort into them.

And, you just have
to be able to be wise

in that area, and know when
you've taken on too much,

and when you've tried to do
more than what it is that you

are allowed to do.
So, it can be overwhelming,

and you sometimes have
to be okay with stepping back.

You have to step back and
take a mental break for yourself.

Because you can't help others
if you're down. You really can't.

You can't, it's something
you can't, it's impossible to do.

You can only do so much.

You don't want to hurt
yourself in the process,

because then
no one can win. Just,

yeah, be able to breathe,

and learn who you are in the process.

I would definitely say learn your
strengths and your weaknesses

as you go through this journey, because

what you think you can do, you'll learn
very quickly that you're like, oh,

that is not my calling.
I am not as strong as I thought

I was to take
on that battle. And

you'll learn to take help

and get mentors, people
who have done it before.

You definitely need
mentors in the area,

who have done this before,

and who have wisdom
in the area, who can help you out,

and show you the ways, and let you
know that it is okay to ask for help.

It is definitely okay to
ask for help and to

attach yourself to people who
have done it before, and done it well.

And they keep their integrity
and their sanity while doing it.

Hello, my name is
Ashley, I am 30 years old,
ASHLEY, 30
VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR, CITY TEAM

I work for Cityteam, which
is non-profit here in the bay.

I make $43,500 a year
as a volunteer coordinator

slash administrative assistant.

Cityteam is a non-profit,
Christian organization.

We are a drug and recovery program.

It's similar to the
alcohol anonymous program

where it's 12 steps,
and within those 12 steps

what we try to do is
help them understand

their reasons are for using the drugs

and also ways to equip
them to not use drugs as well.

We also incorporate applying

scripture to their lives
in order to live it out.

So, a list of some of the
responsibilities in my role include:
ASHLEY’S RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE:

processing and tracking donations,
-PROCESSING AND TRACKING DONATIONS

creating different opportunities
for people to volunteer,
-CREATING VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

building partnerships
with some of the different
-BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS W/ HOUSING SITES

single room occupancy
housings in the area.

Our main project for Cityteam
are Saturday clinics.

We have a group of people,

the max we can hold
are about 50 people

and we'll have them
split up, bring in 100

to 120 bags of food,

we call them bags of love.

Then our men in our
program they take them down

to the single room occupancies

that I was talking about earlier.

What they do is they'll go
into the rooms, knock on the doors,

hand people the lunches,
ask them if they need anything,

ask them if they would like prayer,

and then let them
know about our lunches.

We have an all-you-can-eat
lunch for the people,

anyone on sixth street
in the area that comes in.

We also do foot washing,
we'll wash their feet,

provide them with a new pair of socks

every Saturday, and so that's something
that we do for people as well

and then you get the
opportunity to get to know people

and it's a very intimate
and humbling experience,

and we've learned
that people open up more

because you're
beneath them at that point.

They're up here and then
you're kneeling at their feet,

and so they'll speak to you more.

Another thing we're able to do
is our clothing distribution,

which is we let them go
downstairs and pick out about

three items of clothing,
and if we have shoes

or anything then they're
allowed to pick that out as well.

It's really funny,

people are very
entertaining and you get

so many divas when they
pick out clothing, it's just a joy.

And, you get some
amazing requests, and

it's amazing, you'll get
hugs and people love you for it.

So, I make $43,500 annually.

The pay is on the lower
end of the spectrum

considering how others
are doing in the area,

but that is expected
for working at a non-profit,

but, you get other benefits.

The mindset and skills that
one would probably need to work

for an organization like Cityteam

would be definitely
a great multi-tasker,

great organizational skills,

patient, you'll need
a lot of patience,

kindness, definitely have to be
kind and show people kindness,

and be able to be open
to expect anything for the day.

The days could go up or down, you
never know, so you have to be flexible

for the type of work that I do.

You definitely have to see
the bigger picture of things,

it's just important to

to be able to look
past whatever is happening.

Some people may come in
and be frustrated for the day

and may take those
frustrations out on you,

so you have to be able to not
take it personal once you're there,

and to always show kindness

and a good heart, and to show people
what love and friendship looks like

when you work for
an organization like this

because people are hurting,

and the people that you're
encountering are hurting people,

so you want to be that
light and be able to show them

what a healthy person looks
like or what something looks like

when it comes to love or kindness.

So, the worst day on the job

probably would be if someone comes in

for the lunch period and

they're either intoxicated

or they're having a bad day

or they haven't been
able to afford their medication,

so they're either seeing
things or they're drunk

and they're causing
problems with the other guests,

kind of have to be a bouncer
and break up a fight or something,

so that's kind of a rough day.

The days where I come home
and I feel like I did a great job,

those are the days when I get a
random hug off the street from like

a homeless lady or
something, and they are just like,

"you don't understand
what you do for me,"

or, "your smile
just lights up my day."

My favorite is when a student,
like a sixth grader from

a school comes to
volunteer and they just get it,

they are excited to do,

in my mind, God's work, it's something

activates inside
of them and they just,

they're transformed, they want
to do it, they have a hunger for it,

they go home and they continue
to seek it out, like they start

volunteering with
students or children or

serving on the
weekends with their families,

it becomes their mission to do

whatever it is that they can do to

save someone or to help someone,

and for me that

that makes me understand this is why

I'm doing what I'm
doing and it brings me joy.