Kickstarting My Career: How Volunteering On A Campaign Led To A Job Offer

How Kickstarter Changed Everything

What began with a simple Kickstarter campaign ended in a job offer. This post is going to tell my story. Maybe you’ll take away something from it, but the point is mainly to share anecdotal information. Volunteering as a means for job creation may not work for everyone, and in fact may not be a viable option for many people. Yet in my case, in this short summer, I volunteered and made it work.

Mind you, it’s midnight as I start to write this, and at this point I’m hugely distracted by the excitement of seeing Justin Peck at the Guggenheim Museum’s Works and Process series sometime next month. (OK, Monday, September 24, 2012 at 7:30pm to be exact, but who’s counting?) Justin Peck is one of the reasons why I wanted to work in dance in the first place.

Dance Dreams Do Come True

Anyway, this Friday, August 17, 2012 at SummerStage’s East River Amphitheater I shall have my wish. It will be my big debut as a team member (technically part time consultant, but then again who’s counting?) for WHITE WAVE Young Soon Kim Dance Company. There I’ll be assisting with marketing, PR and communications with the nonprofit’s upcoming special events, performance season and dance festivals. WHITE WAVE is rooted in DUMBO, has a ten-member dance company *and* exhibits works from emerging choreographers.

It will be about three months since I first did probono work for the organization and over four months since I left my regular gig to pursue a career in arts administration full time. When I applied for their Festival Coordinator position in April, all I could see was a gold mine. As a Community Manager, I saw a living, breathing community – the several thousand people they touch each year, from the dancegoers and audience members, to the up and coming artists. I thought to myself, I’d do anything to work with this community. Besides, I already loved dance.

In the interview process, I “brought gifts,” as they say. They were one week from closing the gap on their Kickstarter campaign, with about half of the money left to fundraise. Audaciously, I said, “I can help you raise the rest of that $10,000.” So I did. And the rest, as they also say, “is history.”

Although, it didn’t happen so seamlessly. My offer came in a roundabout way, and the gifts I brought to the interview probably made a lasting impression. I suspect they’re why I was on the short list when WHITE WAVE’s Artistic Director, Young Soon Kim, was looking to make a new hire. Her call came entirely out of the blue, but it was a call that made me immensely happy. I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t think twice. I told her – “Absolutely, I’ll start straight away.”

People Make the Impossible Possible

Young Soon handed me the program for their Korea tour, a long time dream of hers which I helped make possible by assisting their Kickstarter campaign to succeed. One of the back pages lists the donors for the Kickstarter project, several of whom are donors I brought on board. Here is an Instagram of the Far East Tour brochure:

NY Creative Interns Kickstarting My Career

I’d like to thank three people from the group of family and friends I reached out to, in asking for their support of WHITE WAVE on Kickstarter. I’d like to thank my Aunt Tess, who is a dancer herself. I’d like to thank Matt DeVries, a friend from college and master mind at Google Maps. I’d like to thank Sebastien Park, a philosopher of sorts whom I met by chance at a Bingo tournament. I don’t normally go to those things… Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making a difference in my life and the lives of others who make art.

If you’re not doing anything Friday night, you may wanna check out WHITE WAVE’s free SummerStage performance. I’ll be there! It’s one of the many cool, NYC summer events that fit with an intern’s/new grad’s/young professional’s budget.  Feel free to RSVP.  To see more of their work, here’s a YouTube video of the pieces they’re presenting – SSOOT and Here NOW So Long.

Oh I almost forgot to thank one other person. I’d like to thank Caleb Custer for donating to WHITE WAVE without my ever having to ask. You inspire me more than the legendary Justin Peck.

I’m very grateful for these and other friends and family – including the NY Creative Interns community. In your own ways, you’ve aided in my persistence.


Have an intern-to-hire or volunteer-to-hire story of your own? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments. 

For more on Kickstarter, take a peek at the following secrets to a successful campaign.

About the Author

Judi was the mentor of NY Creative Intern Tushar Khandelwal in 2011. She is currently available for work in all areas of digital marketing, and her passion is the arts. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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