April 24, 2023

Backstage at the Egyptian: Event Services Director Brandon Pugh on Volunteering

In this interview, we will be speaking with Brandon, the Event Services Director at the Egyptian Theatre, about the experience of volunteering at the iconic venue. As a non-profit organization, the Egyptian Theatre relies on the help of volunteers to run smoothly and provide a welcoming environment for patrons. Brandon will be sharing his insights into what it’s like to volunteer at the theatre, what volunteers can expect from the experience, and how their contributions help support the theatre’s mission. Whether you’re a seasoned volunteer or considering giving back to your community, this interview is sure to provide valuable information and inspiration.

JOSH: What do you think are some of the key benefits of volunteering?
BRANDON: There are so many benefits to volunteering! I would say first and foremost, by volunteering, you are helping the Egyptian Theatre fulfill its mission of “sharing and protecting the historical integrity of the theatre as a regional arts center for entertainment and community involvement.” The Egyptian Theatre has stood the test of time because of the undying support of volunteers throughout the years. Not only do volunteers play a huge role in helping us fulfill our mission, volunteering offers people an opportunity to be pushed out of their comfort zones; it offers people the opportunity to meet fellow community members; it offers the people a way to escape and have fun. Oh, and you get to have popcorn and watch the event when you’re with us, but that’s not nearly as cool as everything else.

J: How does volunteering contribute to building a stronger community?
B: Volunteering brings people together who share a common interest in the arts and the theatre. By working alongside each other, volunteers can build relationships, form connections, and foster a sense of community around the Egyptian Theatre. The theatre is likely to partner with local businesses, such as restaurants and shops, to offer discounts and promotions to patrons. By volunteering at the theatre, individuals can help to support these local businesses and strengthen the local economy. Overall, volunteering at the Egyptian Theatre can contribute to building a stronger community by fostering a sense of community, engaging the community, supporting local businesses, providing opportunities for involvement, and celebrating diversity.

J: In your experience, what are some of the most significant impacts of volunteering on
both the volunteers and the people or organizations they are serving?
B: The more volunteers that we can recruit, the more programming we can support the more impact we can make on the community. Volunteers allow the Egyptian to program at the capacity it does; I say it time and time again, we could not do what we do here at the Egyptian Theatre without the ongoing support of our volunteers. Volunteers, in particular, benefit from so many things – boosts in confidence, new friendships, mending old friendships, etc. We always say you never know who is going to walk through the doors – may be an old friend, may be a new friend!

J: How does volunteering help to address societal problems and make a positive change?
B: Volunteering can help the Egyptian Theatre in several ways. It can create awareness about the theatre, involve the community, provide resources, enhance programming, and improve operations. Overall, volunteering can make a positive change in the community and address societal problems.

J: Can you share any stories of how volunteering has made a difference in someone’s life?
B: Improved Self-Confidence: Volunteering at the Egyptian Theatre can help individuals build their self-confidence and self-esteem by providing opportunities to learn new skills, interact with others, and contribute to a meaningful cause.

Social Connections: Volunteering can provide opportunities for individuals to meet new people, form new friendships, and develop a sense of community. This can be especially important for individuals who may be new to the area or looking to connect with others who share their interests.

Career Development: Volunteering at the Egyptian Theatre can provide individuals with opportunities to gain valuable work experience, develop new skills, and build their resume. This can be especially important for individuals who are looking to transition to a new career or gain experience in a particular field.

Personal Growth: Volunteering can provide opportunities for personal growth and development by exposing individuals to new perspectives, ideas, and experiences. This can help individuals develop empathy, compassion, and a sense of purpose. Overall,
volunteering at the Egyptian Theatre can have a positive impact on individuals’ lives by providing opportunities for personal growth, social connections, career development, and improved self-confidence.

J: How do you recruit volunteers and ensure that they have a meaningful experience?
B: Recruiting and engaging volunteers requires a proactive approach that includes clear communication, ongoing support, and recognition. By providing a positive and meaningful volunteer experience, organizations can build a strong volunteer
base and achieve their goals.

J: What are some of the challenges you face in managing volunteers, and how do you
address them?
B: I find that we struggle, but not always, in some of the following areas:
 Recruitment: Finding the right volunteers with the necessary skills and experience can be a challenge. Organizations may address this by advertising their volunteer opportunities widely, offering training, and developing partnerships with community
 Retention: Volunteers may become disengaged or disinterested over time, leading to a high turnover rate. To address this, organizations can provide ongoing support, recognition, and opportunities for growth and development.

J: How can individuals or groups get involved in volunteering, and what advice would you
offer to those who are interested in volunteering for the first time?
B: If anyone is interested in volunteering, I encourage them to reach out at 815-758-1215, email at volunteer@egyptiantheatre.org, or check our website for our volunteer application.

Here are some general tips and advice for those interested in volunteering for the first time:

Determine Your Interests: Consider what type of volunteer work you are interested in and what skills you can offer. The Egyptian Theatre may have a variety of positions available, such as ushering, ticket sales, etc.

Understand Expectations: Before committing to volunteer, be sure to understand the expectations of the position, including the time commitment, required training, and dress code.

Be Reliable: Volunteering requires a commitment, so be sure to follow through on your commitments and show up on time for your scheduled shifts.

Communicate Effectively: If you have questions or concerns, be sure to communicate with the volunteer coordinator or other staff members at the theatre. Clear communication is important for ensuring that you have a positive volunteer experience.

Have Fun: Volunteering should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Take the opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills, and make a positive impact in your community.