National Volunteer Week spotlight: Donna Svendsen knows the power of volunteerism

Apr 18, 2022

National Volunteer Week is April 17-23, when people across the country come together to serve others and improve their communities. Feel the joy of helping others by signing up to volunteer for The Salvation Army. 

There are many reasons why people volunteer. Sometimes it’s a retired person wanting to use their available time in a meaningful way. Or perhaps it’s a young person who wants to make the world a better place for others.

For Donna Svendsen, it’s using her vision as a corporate leader to help The Salvation Army further its mission.

Donna serves as an advisory board member for the Twin Cities Salvation Army. She joined in 2017 after another board member invited her. She leapt at the chance to use her years of corporate experience to address issues of poverty.

“The Salvation Army does enormously important work with our community’s most vulnerable families,” Donna said, “and it has a long and storied history of helping those most in need.”

Donna’s expertise has helped The Salvation Army to become more nimble and more relevant to a younger base of donors and volunteers. Right now, her input is more valuable than ever as families deal with record inflation, surging food prices, and fuel costs at all-time highs.  

“We need to quickly address the cultural shifts and changing needs we see happening in our communities, and create transformative programming to help move people out of poverty,” she said.

Donna has a long history in nonprofit work. As a former reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, she observed and reported on the human condition. She also led global employee engagement programs at the General Mills Foundation that promoted volunteerism in the communities it served. Currently, Donna helps manage partnerships for the state’s AmeriCorps initiatives as the strategic outreach director for ServeMinnesota, working to meet critical needs throughout the state. 

In addition to serving on our board, Donna and her husband Jim (pictured) have volunteered in a number of other Salvation Army roles, including serving meals, red kettle bell-ringing, working in our food shelves, sorting and packing Christmas toys, and even at our urban rappelling fundraiser, Down For The Challenge.

“I know the power of volunteerism in all forms,” Donna said. “It’s very fulfilling to know I can help the community in this way. I’ve volunteered throughout my life—it’s core to who I am.”

Please join The Salvation Army by signing up to volunteer. With your help, we can show families in need that there is love beyond their most difficult hardships. 

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