In 2017, Allison Langholff and Kiran Singh stepped up to lead volunteer efforts at their company CBRE. Since taking on this role, these leading ladies have been able to implement a creative approach to increasing participation from their group. Banking on the competitive nature of their colleagues, they decided to make the Back-to-School efforts a competition among the various departments to encourage donations, and when they put their energy toward increasing attendance at the Power of Home Fundraising Breakfast, they knocked it out of the park: Allison and Kiran’s recruitment efforts doubled attendance at the event, and increased donations by 20%!
Allison and Kiran sat down with us to chat about their favorite parts of volunteering with Mercy Housing, why this work is important to them, and what they plan to do next.
Mercy Housing: How long have you been a volunteer at Mercy Housing Northwest?
Allison: I have been a volunteer with Mercy Housing for 2 and a half years, since I first started out at CBRE.
Kiran: I have been volunteering with Mercy for almost 2 years, which is also when I began working at CBRE.
MH: What inspires/motivates you to be involved with Mercy Housing Northwest and lead the volunteer efforts at CBRE?
AL: We wanted to keep the volunteer efforts alive at our company after our counterparts both departed last year. We were asked to take over as lead volunteers, and both Kiran and I were glad to accept the role as we have been volunteering with Mercy Housing’s efforts and always enjoyed the opportunities to help out our community and be hands-on.
KS: Leading volunteer efforts with Mercy Housing Northwest helps create a sense of community at the workplace, and gives employees a chance to be involved with something different outside of your every day work routine.
MH: What do you enjoy most about volunteering with Mercy Housing? What is your favorite event or volunteer effort?
AL: I enjoy the Back-to-School backpack stuffing events the most — it is very hands-on and allows our group to feel like we’re a part of something that helps the kids.
CBRE has been involved in our annual summer Back-to-School campaign for the past several years. They host a backpack and supply drive at their office and deliver the donations to the Mercy Housing Northwest office. MHNW hosts a 3-day backpack stuffing event at our office and volunteers from various partner organizations come and help stuff backpacks with all the supplies that were donated.
KS: The Adopt-a-Family holiday drive is one of my favorite efforts, because our team gets very excited about choosing gift tags for the resident families and everyone takes the shopping pretty seriously. It’s nice to see how much thought goes into the shopping process and the generosity of our team during this campaign.
The Adopt-a-Family campaign is an annual campaign in which Mercy Housing Northwest partners with other organizations to provide families living in Mercy Housing communities with gifts to brighten up their holidays. Resident families fill out a wish-list, and gift tags are created for employees and volunteers to select from to “adopt” and shop for.
MH: Looking forward, what are your goals and what do you hope to see as it relates to CBRE’s involvement and volunteer efforts with Mercy Housing Northwest in the upcoming year?
AL/KS: On a broad scale, we want to see higher levels of giving and more involvement from our employees. We’d like to take on more efforts throughout the year and try to increase our attendance at the annual Power of Home Fundraising Breakfast.
We want to find creative ways to make the volunteer efforts more fun so that it does not feel like a task or chore, and our employees want to engage without feeling like it requires much effort.
We also hope to encourage more giving, so that CBRE can provide more matching gifts for our employee giving.
MH: How do you see your group making an impact in the lives of Mercy Housing Northwest residents?
AL/KS: We want to make as much of an impact in our community as possible. Because our group is in the affordable housing industry, Mercy Housing’s mission and values are very well aligned with ours. We’d like to leverage this as much as possible and try to encourage more of our employees to participate in volunteer efforts with Mercy Housing. One of our goals is to grow our group participation at a faster pace.
We realize that taking care of our neighbors is important and it is a matter of providing these opportunities for CBRE employees so that they can show more empathy and help us impact more residents and our community.
MH: What does the concept of ‘home’ mean to you?
AL: To me, home means having people who you trust around you. It is a feeling, not simply a physical place. It is where you feel comfort, safe and love.
KS: Home is a safe and secure place in a community where you can count on others. People make a home; home is where family is. Home is a place that is familiar to me.
Thanks again to our Women of Mercy Volunteers — Allison and Kiran! We couldn’t do the work we do without people like you leading the charge!
If you are interested in volunteering with Mercy Housing in your community, click here.