Kaitlin Dunning (Transnational Media and Globalisation, 2015) is one of our newest additions to the Alumni Ambassador family and the mastermind behind Giv-Now; a platform that makes volunteering easier than popping a penny in a collection box. Read all about our newest recruit and her new app.
Can you tell me about your time at City?
I had the most wonderful experience at City! Prior to attending City as a student, I was working in London for 3 years. While studying at City, I was able to make amazing new friends from all over the world, learned from incredible lecturers, and was able to continue living in my favourite city in the world.
What happened after you graduated?
I continued to work in London as Marketing Manager for a technology recruitment agency for a year, and then decided to return back home to the US. I left London because my visa was expiring, and I was unable to get a new one. Additionally, I had already spent 4.5 years in the UK, and was ready to return back to the states, as it was never my intention to stay in the UK permanently. I was lucky enough to visit friends and family in the states 1-2 times per year while I was living in London, and I had a little taste of life back in the states during each visit, so it wasn’t a total culture shock when I returned permanently. Upon returning to the states, I moved to NYC, and it’s quite similar to London! Whilst there I founded Backpacks to Briefcases, providing career coaching content and services to recent college grads. After a year, I moved to Washington, DC, where I currently reside. I’m excited for this next chapter of my life working as a freelance marketing consultant and developing Giv-Now, and am especially excited to represent City University as its Washington, DC Alumni Ambassador!
How did Giv-Now come about?
The idea for Giv-Now was born out of the frustration of wanting to volunteer, but not knowing where to start. Young professionals in metropolitan areas are the demographic most interested in volunteering, but they also have the busiest schedules. In order for non-profits to recruit volunteers, they have to make the process as quick and easy as possible.
My background in the recruitment industry allowed me to see a direct parallel between recruiting for volunteers and recruiting candidates for paid positions. Employers are now investing much more time and money to recruit the top talent, and this is for paying jobs! Charities will have to try even harder to recruit folks to work for free. In addition, one of the main roadblocks to volunteering is not having the time to attend an orientation or to complete the necessary training. Luckily, there is a very simple solution. By converting traditional volunteer training into video, text, and audio content on the app, volunteers can complete their training on the go and at their own pace.
What has been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge has been trying to identify the most important features to include on the first basic version (MVP) of the app. I just want it to do everything, and that simply isn’t feasible for the first iteration!
What has been the most rewarding experience?
In addition to being able to help charities qualify more volunteers to carry out their mission of doing good, I have been working with a small group of college students on Giv-Now’s team. It is great to teach them how to start their own business, and the ins and outs of a tech startup.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
If you can dream it, you can do it! Always put yourself out there, even if it’s scary. The only way you’re guaranteed to fail is if you never try. Find people smarter than you, and surround yourself with them and ask lots of questions.
Finally, it’s the quick-fire question round!
What is your favourite place in London: St. James’s Park
What is your favourite holiday destination: Greece (Paros and Athens)
Which website do you check every day: Facebook
What is your dream travel destination: A tour of Asia (Beijing, Hong Kong, Kyoto and Tokyo)
Cheese or chocolate: That’s the hardest question so far! It depends on the time of day!
To learn more about Giv-Now please visit: giv-now.com