Students volunteering their time at hospitals provides an educational experience and helps them explore a career in the medical field.  There are a variety of volunteer positions available from nursing units, information desks, the ER or at the gift shop.   Yolanda Altamirano from the Yakima Herald writes:

No matter what their age, volunteers help save money. Last year, volunteers at Memorial helped save the hospital $996,000, according to Trammell.  “They are extremely helpful,” Trammell says. “The amount they save for the hospital is priceless.”

Volunteering provides services to the hospital but is also a great way for students to learn more about the industry, explore a career in healthcare, learn new skills and have fun while helping others.

To learn more about student volunteering, contact your local hospital and inquire about volunteer services.

We have talked about volunteering and the benefits in how it can help your career such as learning new skills, making new contacts, keeping your mind sharp and keeping your spirits up.  Once you have made the decision to volunteer, how should you go about making your first move in the volunteer direction?  First you should decide what skills you have and apply those skills to a cause.  If you are in sales you can work on fundraising.  If you are a web developer you can volunteer your time to build websites.

One foundation that we discovered where you can volunteer your skills is Taproot.  You can use your professional expertise to help a local nonprofit organization. Taproot’s overview:

Nonprofits have the greatest potential for addressing our society’s most challenging social and environmental problems, but often lack the operational resources to be effective. The Taproot Foundation exists to close this gap and ensure all nonprofits have the infrastructure they need to thrive.

You can get a monthly update for new opportunities to the following metropolitan areas such as San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles.  Taproot works with professionals in the following fields: Creative Services, Marketing, Human Resources & Management, Information Technology, and Strategy Management.  The process for signing up is very simple and only takes a matter of minutes.  You create a volunteer profile and tell them a little about yourself.  Volunteer Recruitment Coordinators will then match you to the right types of pro bono service for your skills and interests.

To understand how a project works starting from service grants for nonprofits to volunteering, you can view the details on their site.  They also list the case studios for their pro bono featured projects.

Interesting tidbit from Taproot…


A “taproot” is the core root of a plant (picture a turnip). It gathers nutrients from lateral roots and delivers them to a plant to enable it to flourish.

We see ourselves as a taproot for the nonprofit sector, drawing nutrients from the community and delivering them to nonprofits to enable them to thrive.

JobAngels Raise a WingMinds are racing each day as we hear statistics about continuous layoffs as unemployment rates increase.  There is a lot of worry circling in our homes or on the internet but there are people who are looking to build a brighter side by helping others who are in need of a job.  We found an article from the Los Angeles Times by David Sarno regarding human resource consultant Mark Steizner and his associate who had an idea to create JobAngels on Twitter.  JobAngels is a Twitter account where users can follow and help others find jobs or volunteer their resume proofing skills.

….the nascent enterprise has attracted more than 2,000 followers. Stelzner has shot out hundreds of tweets from people volunteering their résumé-proofing skills, passing along job notices or looking to become full-blown job angels — raising a wing for gig-seekers in need..

Flush with the glow of very early success, Stelzner…

…and a few volunteer developers are building a networking site that takes the concept a step further, aiming to help seekers find the perfect angel. “If and LinkedIn had a child, this is what it would look like,” he said, referring to the popular dating and professional networking sites. The site hasn’t launched, and Stelzner is deciding if it’ll be a money-making venture or just a labor of love

As Stelzner and his followers help connect people in finding jobs, we look forward to seeing the new networking site that matches seekers to job angels.  Until then, JobAngels on Twitter is another tool that can be used in finding a job or helping others find jobs.

Kelley Holland’s New York Times piece on volunteers and professionals points out that

Volunteer work can help unemployed professionals keep their spirits up, make new contacts or even to try a new field.

“Three-quarters of people find jobs through being out there, engaged and meeting people,” said John A. Challenger.

However, if volunteering remains a high-commitment activity, this trend will continue: “More than a third of the 61.2 million who volunteered in 2006 didn’t donate any time the next year.” [source: Corporation for National and Community Service]

Most professionals want to volunteer, at every stage of our careers. What we need are more high-impact, low-commitment opportunities to serve.

As the New York Times article points out, the benefits of volunteering to professionals are substantial, and include:

  1. Learning new skills and improving existing skills.
  2. Making new contacts and deepening existing contacts.
  3. Keeping our minds sharp by working in a different environment than we’re used to.

The benefits of volunteering to people entering (or re-entering) our careers are also substantial, and include:

  1. Learning new skills and making new contacts.
  2. Keeping our spirits up while we look for jobs.
  3. Offering new items to include on our resumes, that embody our values and showcase our commitments and follow-through, and that we have a service-oriented attitude.

In both cases, people can contribute something meaningful to a cause we believe in, and also benefit our careers while doing so. Volunteers and careers belong together, like chocolate and peanut butter.