Serve Virginia: Briefly describe how you first got involved in service and volunteerism.
Sue Carter Kahl: My first experiences with volunteerism were with my mom while she collected money for March of Dimes or helped seniors attend Mass in their nursing home. It fueled my own volunteering later with Girl Scouts and our high school youth group and laid a foundation for finding a thread of volunteerism in all my nonprofit roles.
Where do you see exciting innovations taking place in the service and volunteerism sector?
I am excited to see a more nuanced conversation taking place about service and volunteerism. Folks are beginning to talk about the good, bad, and ugly of service and volunteerism. By acknowledging that we don’t always get it right, we can begin to identify what needs to change. We can shift from doing “for” the community to participating “with” them.
What is one piece of advice or a mantra that has informed your work?
“It is not more data that we need for our transformation… but more wisdom.”—Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer
The quote helps me remember that data serve us best when they enliven and reveal our experiences rather than flatten and sterilize them.
What is one reading recommendation you’d like to share, and why?
[In my Summit keynote] I’ll be talking about moving from compliance to curiosity when it comes to the volunteer data we track and report. This blog post provides a tool for getting curious about what those closest to the mission of our organization would identify as volunteer impact: Community-Centered Volunteer Data Collection