“Even after a long career in business, I never realized how valuable my skills were until I came to RMMFI.” That’s a sentiment we hear often from our volunteers, and it’s reinforced over and over by entrepreneurs sharing how much they appreciate their mentors. We know that volunteers come to RMMFI looking to make an impact, and we work intentionally to cultivate a space where that’s possible. Volunteers are not a “nice to have” feature at RMMFI; they’re a key component of the holistic package of support we provide to entrepreneurs.
In particular, tapping the expertise of volunteers helps us live our value of being relevant. Edgar Aguilar (Legacy Construction Cleaning) wanted to grow as a leader and is now being coached by a Fortune 500 CEO. Jarrett Beasley (Victory Clothing Boutique) and Taye Hunter (Tween Boutique) needed to increase retail sales and found help to build immediate action steps for finding new customers. Monique Walker (Plant Whisper Botanicals) and Matilde Garcia (Mujeres Emprendedoras Co-op) received expert guidance as they navigated meetings to get their products distributed in grocery stores.
RMMFI volunteers have a wide variety of talents and skills to contribute, and we want to activate those in the same way we help entrepreneurs activate their own potential. We regularly look for new opportunities to leverage volunteers‘ strengths to enhance our capital and capacity-building services. In addition to acting as financial mentors, volunteers from the banking and accounting world are now advising our new loan products and providing external reviews of larger loans. Accountability Coaches are checking in with entrepreneurs for 3 months after boot camp ends to help them make progress on their business launch plans. Workshop providers are turning into longer-term mentors as entrepreneurs request to work with them by name.
Over the past 12 months, more than 260 volunteers have contributed over 3000 hours toward building a thriving and inclusive local economy. As we continue to expand the services we offer and the places where we offer them, the passion and commitment of our volunteers give us an extra level of confidence that we can do great work in any community.