volunteers Ed and Joanne SteeleI have been a SAM volunteer since its beginnings. I love being a part of audacious, uncommon efforts, so being on the ground floor of an arts organization in a tiny little rural community filled the bill perfectly.

I’ve had the opportunity to try new things, use my professional skills in new ways and meet incredibly interesting people.

I was curious about what inspired other people to become volunteers.

SAM is an all volunteer organization, so expanding programs and activities means we need to attract more dedicated volunteers.

This winter I spent 6 weeks in Tucson AZ at my family home. My husband Ed and I visited galleries and botanical gardens, and attended concerts and Holiday events. And everywhere we went, we met and talked to enthusiastic volunteers whose efforts were the foundation of the organization they worked with.

I talked to dozens of volunteers about their efforts, hoping to learn ways to encourage more volunteering at SAM, and here’s what I learned:

1. People volunteer to do things they love that compliment what they do or have done in their professional life.

At the botanical gardens in Tucson, a former high school science teacher helps run the greenhouse.

2. People volunteer to do something that they’ve always wanted to try.

An avid astronomer is now the tour guide at the University of Arizona Steward Mirror lab that produces mirrors for observatories.

3. People volunteer in order to meet other interesting people and learn something new.

A volunteer docent at the Santa Barbara Art Museum talked about the new friends she’d made, and the interesting conversations she has had with artists showing at the museum.

Ed and I volunteer at SAM for all these reasons, and also because it’s fun!

I encourage you find your own reason to become a volunteer at SAM.

Call or stop by and we’ll get you connected with the perfect place to fulfill your own needs and help SAM to continue to prosper.