Sunday, January 29, 2012

MAPLE Microdevelopment

So... Monday, I have a meeting with a Dr. Ron Severson, UO professor, director of Eugene MAPLE, and senior advisor to MAPLE, to discuss me volunteering/working for the organization. I received this opportunity by a little bit of luck, and a bit of cleverness, if I do say so myself. Allow me to explain.

I was perusing for a local volunteer opportunity in/with sustainable development, social business, microfinance, economic and/or community development when I came across MAPLE's desire for a "Marketing and Fundraising Ninja." I laughed at the title, but also noticed the posting was from November 12, 2011 and immediately felt a tad discouraged. I read through the opportunity and loved that it was right up my alley (microfinance, international development, grant writing, youthful and designed for recent grads looking to make their way).

I did some research on MAPLE and was excited to learn that those most involved in the organization were similarly aged as me and as practical as they were idealistic in their mission to foster microdevelopment entrepreneurship among East African low income women and teens. I felt this volunteer posting was made for me.

Though weary of how old the posting was, I still went ahead and began crafting a cover letter. Once again, armed with the knowledge that MAPLE was a youthful organization that had a sense of humor (what organizations put "ninja" in their help wanted ads?), I knew I could write something memorable to at least catch their attention:

"Dear Board President,

While perusing for volunteer opportunities, I learned of MAPLE's posting for a Marketing and Fundraising Ninja. While my silent assassination, poison-tipped star throwing, and pond running skills are, regrettably, sub-par, I do believe I have the skills and passion to help write grants, assist in MAPLE's social media campaign, and advocate for MAPLE's mission..."

I liked it. I just hoped they would.

I got an email back from Board President around noon the following day confirming my fears: I had missed the deadline on the current round of volunteers, but... I write a good cover letter. And due to this, Mr. BP forwarded my resume on to Dr. Severson to see if he could fit me in. Less than an hour later, Dr. Severson also emailed me to note that my qualifications would fit in well and he wants to chat with me.

Lesson totally learned. While I thought I had been crafting cover letters (since graduation) that were specific to organization and job, I don't think I really was. I would agonize over my words and how to say them, only to make the most generic professional cover letter out there. Be original. Be you.

1 comment:

  1. So I googled maple board president for reasons irrelevant to this story, but suffice it to say I was procrastinating writing a coverletter.

    Nice little story, really inspiring for me actually.