January 2022 Volunteer of the Month: Creative Genius Christopher

January 10, 2022 | Volunteer of the Month

Dr. Blotch can count on a single slimy hand the number of volunteers who have TWICE been honored as 826michigan Volunteer of the Month. Christopher Ankney, VotM in September 2014 and January 2022 now reigns among these celebrated few.

So how did Christopher find himself among this elite crew, you wonder? Beyond all the years of volunteering in our store, supporting Family Writing Labs, leading workshops, and more, Christopher took it to the next level this past year as he oversaw the build-out of our fabulous new 826michigan website (yes! This very one you are using as you read this post now!).

While certainly a team effort, Christopher has been the strategist, the engine, the organizational system creator, the implementor, the FORCE behind it’s conception, content, and launch.

Starting in late 2020, Christopher began working with our staff to consider each of our main groups of stakeholders in the community, and the ideal “audience journey” for each group. Christopher deftly navigated the delicate balance of thorough information gathering and efficient momentum.

Thanks to Christopher, we now know how to use pull-out quotes, like this, to break up huge swaths of text! Writing Volunteer of the Month posts will be more fun than ever before!

-Frances Martin, Operations Director

Through the website building project, Christopher helped us follow our favorite maxim: Mind the GAP a.k.a consider the Genre Audience Purpose that you are writing for. The 826michigan staff can be a verbose group of writers (see exhibit A. this post) and Christopher did his best to teach us some updated skills for writing concise digital content (oops!). 

Other ways Christopher supported our web project*:

  • Designed the structure of the site and site menu
  • Organized the process of writing copy for all the pages
  • Coordinated with our fabulous web designer, Jenn de la Fuente of Rosebud Designs
  • Wrote copy for a majority of the pages
  • BUILT a majority of the web pages
  • Led full-staff sessions throughout the process, providing training, transparency, and expert tips
  • More! More! More! More!

By day, Christopher Ankney is Director of Marketing & Public Relations at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, (which just happens to be one of 826michigan’s longest and most innovative programming partners!). He also is one of those multi-talented people who almost makes you upset at the unfair distribution of talents,* except that he is so darn generous, thoughtful, and funny that you just have to be glad the talents went to him and not some evil genius. 

Fun Fact: Christopher and  his husband Dane met through volunteering with 826michigan; they recently celebrated their one year wedding anniversary!

We are so grateful that Christopher continues to share his brilliance, humour, friendship, skill, and time with the 826michigan team. As we close in on a decade of partnering with Christopher, we salute him and raise a robot toast to the next decade of collaboration!

I’ve been volunteering since 2012. I held a Wednesday night store shift for the entire time until Covid. I was very sad to break the streak. It was often my favorite part of the week, a chance to reset and help out my favorite organization. It was always delightful to see the Wee-bots file in and get to overhear their enthusiasm and creativity.

-Christopher Ankney


*Christopher taught us that bullet-pointed lists in blog posts pull readers in! (A long-time a favorite punctuation among 826 staffers, we learned they are not just for emails and to-do lists anymore! Lengthy parentheticals and multiple footnotes are probably a no-no however, but we’ll have to consult with Christopher and get back to you.)

**Talents include but are not limited to: SEWING (he sews some of his own very stylish clothes, people!), COOKING, BAKING, WRY WIT, DEVELOPING AND EXECUTING ELABORATE CREATIVE PROJECTS AND EVENTS JUST FOR THE JOY OF IT, being SO STYLISH, PODCAST MAKING, INSTAGRAM, and many many more!

***Christopher disapproves of these footnotes. 

Related Posts