Retire-To Volunteering

Host Ed Zinkiewicz uncovers engaging—sometimes surprising, but never dull— volunteer opportunities available to retirees. Interviewing volunteers and volunteer coordinators each week, Ed highlights the meaningful contributions volunteers make and also the rewards volunteers receive. Imagining a retirement that matters starts here. Sign up for Ed's free, weekly newsletter at and get listings of coming episodes.
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Jul 5, 2017

023 Karen Stevens–Fundraising Events

Event Coordinator—aka Fundraising Extraordinaire and Community Volunteer

Not everyone enjoys coordinating events, but Karen Stevens does. From an early age organizing a party seemed to be in her DNA. Her earliest memory, around the age of six, was creating her mother’s birthday party at one of her mother’s friend’s home and wrapping presents (which she found in her mother’s vanity drawer) as birthday gifts. On another occasion, realizing her younger sister didn’t have an “appropriate” birthday cake, she created a drum cake for her party. Who would have ever guessed these would be preparation for her passion?

Karen is no stranger to the non-profit world. Helping organizations increase revenue is her way of making a difference. From Vanderbilt University School of Nursing to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Magdalene, Habitat for Humanity, Siloam Family Health Center, Room in the Inn, Nations Ministry Center, Luke 14:12, and Music for the Soul, she has helped increase their financial support by “throwing a party”!

The one-hour free-ask event is a favorite. When CEOs, boards of directors, and volunteers embrace the concept, the work begins. Karen guides them through a series of steps, coordinates data keeping, and manages venue details. She creates a great opportunity for organizations—many of which don’t have a development person on staff—not only to increase revenue and grow their volunteer base, but also to educate guests about the nonprofit’s mission and impact in the community. Needless to say—a win/win for everyone!

For Karen, volunteering in the community is the norm. No perimeters. Seeing a need is the only criteria. No excuse for not having enough to keep busy. What groups might just be waiting for you? What’s your passion? What new experience would you like try? Visit Hands On Nashville’s (whose tag line is “Be the Change. Volunteer”) website: for ideas.

See you in the community…volunteering!

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