The recent graduate worked through COVID-19 and the Texas winter storm to generate funds for Austin Pets Alive!, a no-kill animal shelter in Austin.
Like many other Elon graduates of the Class of 2020, Jamie Snover’s post-graduation plans were thrown into disarray by the COVID-19 pandemic. With a major in strategic communications, experience as a Leadership Fellow and a solid résumé, Snover aspired to bridge her student work experience in the Office of Parent Engagement into a career in higher education or event management. As large-scale events across the country were canceled and many entry-level positions at universities were frozen or eliminated, Snover moved home to Spokane, Washington, to reformulate her plan.
Her next step involved less planning and more of a leap of faith. “I thought, I have a college degree and I’m living at home with my parents doing nothing. … I had a friend who wanted a roommate for a few months in Austin, Texas, so I said ‘I’m going to move,’” Snover recalled. Only four months after leaving Elon, she packed up for her second cross-country move. Upon arriving in Austin, Snover turned to social media and LinkedIn to find a job, and connected with fellow Elon and Alpha Chi Omega alumna, Laura Furr ’07, social media marketing specialist at Austin Pets Alive! Snover soon interviewed for an open position at APA! and landed a job as mission content specialist.
As a member of the development team, Snover puts her strategic communication skills to work every day, using her writing, journalism, video editing and design skills to craft email solicitations and campaigns, what she calls “storytelling for donors.” Her job as a student assistant in Elon’s division of University Advancement was key to her understanding. “Working for the Office of Parent Engagement gave me all of the tools and the information to know what development was and how it could translate beyond higher education,” she said. She was able to understand different donor segments, and how to tailor her communications accordingly, which she utilized during APA!’s year-end campaign.
I think Leadership Fellows and my leadership experience with Alpha Chi [Omega] gave me the confidence to move across the country without a job, knowing that I knew I could do it. I think without that leadership experience, I would not have had the courage to do that.
Snover was preparing solicitations for Austin’s local giving day, Amplify Austin Day, when Winter Storm Uri suddenly devastated Texas. At first, she thought the storm was going to last a few days. She soon realized that wasn’t the case. “It got to be so severe, so much more than we all thought, that we essentially started a whole new ‘cold weather’ campaign updating everyone every single day on what we were doing, and our status,” she said. Without heat or power, and with severe water damage, operations staff moved into the shelter to care for the animals, and clinic animals requiring medical care were housed in donated hotel rooms. “It was crisis mode all around, but I said, ‘Alright, I’m just going to get emails out every single day until this stops!’ and we will see how much money we can raise,” she laughed.
Snover worked around the clock for twelve straight days sending out information and requesting funds for the crisis, all without heat and clean water herself. Her and her colleagues’ work was worth it; high-profile organizations like the Obama Foundation mentioned the group on social media, and donations came pouring in. Though she cannot reveal the exact amount APA! raised, Snover said it is certainly record-breaking for the organization.
While things have calmed down significantly over the past week, Snover’s work on the Amplify Austin Day campaign continues, as well as getting many important stories out to donors and potential new donors. While occasionally visiting the shelter to take photos and video, she works remotely for large periods of the day. At home, she kept company by her cat, John Travolta, whom she recently rescued from the APA! Feline Leukemia Adoption Center. She is quick to credit “literally every part of [her] Elon experience” for her success.
After her years in University Advancement, Snover has new appreciation for the impact of small monthly gifts to an organization. “I understand how hard it is to get that one-time donor to become a monthly donor, and those small gifts really add up.” And as for her gutsy cross-country move? “I think Leadership Fellows and my leadership experience with Alpha Chi [Omega] gave me the confidence to move across the country without a job, knowing that I knew I could do it. I think without that leadership experience, I would not have had the courage to do that.”
About this series: The Elon Alumni in Action series explores the stories of university graduates who are doing important and uplifting work in their careers and their communities. To share the names of alumni you think should be considered for this series, please fill out the Alumni in Action nomination form.