Today on the blog we are highlighting communications volunteer Sarah Lennander to learn more about her expertise and volunteer role!
How did you get involved with FFEN? How long have you been volunteering with FFEN?
I joined the communications committee at FFEN in the fall of 2019. I was working in nonprofit communications and transitioning to a role at a social services organization at the time.
What is your professional background and experience and how does it relate to your volunteer role?
My professional career is in nonprofit development and communications. My experiences have been with organizations with small to no communications departments where I’ve worked to grow the volume, quality, and strategic direction of the communications produced. So when I saw that FFEN was looking for help building out their own communications, it felt like a perfect fit.
What has your engagement or projects looked like with FFEN?
I work closely with Kate Burggraff and the communications committee on the strategic communications direction for the organization. I’ve helped redesign pages on the website, created materials, and determined high-level priorities for communications moving forward. I also provide support to FFEN staff and interns through editing and content selection for various communications pieces.
How do you see your skill sets and professional experience supporting hunger relief work and food shelf engagements?
Because I interact with both food shelf leaders and food shelf participants in my daily work, I think I have a unique perspective on these constituent groups that FFEN also supports. This helps me better communicate with our audiences and speak about FFEN’s mission and impact. My experience working in smaller nonprofit communications departments has also allowed me to bring value and capacity to FFEN as they did not previously have any staff dedicated to communications.
How has volunteering with FFEN shifted your learning or understanding of your particular field or hunger relief?
Working with FFEN has shown me how sustainable hunger relief efforts are so community-based. The world has plenty of food but there are major systemic roadblocks that get in the way of connecting that food with the people who need it. Food shelves are one critical means for distributing this food, and the community comes together to ensure food shelves can continue to operate. Oftentimes volunteers run food shelves, and FFEN, an organization made up largely of volunteers, is helping to ensure the sustainability of these food shelves so that they can better serve their communities. Simply stated, Minnesota hunger relief efforts are made up of a number of people contributing in a number of ways to make sure people across the state can get enough food to eat. FFEN has really proved to me that even my seemingly small contribution can make a big difference.