Center for Nonprofit

With all the jobless individuals out there, many have turned to volunteerism to fill their time, to sharpen their skills and to network with people.  Many nonprofit organizations are scrambling to manage the overflow of applicants with waiting lists and some are struggling with funding.

In light of the challenges nonprofits are facing, the symbiotic relationship being met by the volunteer and the charity is truly inspiring.  Julie Bosman with The New York Times reports on just how pumped up and enthusiastic the volunteers are:

“Right now, I could volunteer about five times a week,” said Emily Jimenez, 29, who lives on Staten Island and was laid off last month from the Milford Plaza hotel in Midtown. “If they’d want me to.”

Katherine Howie, an out-of-work lawyer, wrote “N/A currently” under employment information on the orientation forms. “I don’t mind making a commitment,” she said. “I’m happy to work with children, or sports, or recreation. I just want something to fill my time.”

Nini Duh, 29, was laid off from Lehman Brothers in September and now volunteers at any number of places — an elementary school, a finance workshop in Chinatown — nearly every day. It is a welcome change from her 100-hour weeks before her investment bank went bankrupt.

So while the nonprofit organizations are managing this wave of eager volunteers, the volunteers are taking away experiences that will last a lifetime.  Breaking away from the day to day grind, having the satisfaction of helping others and hopefully becoming inspired with the new experiences they have.


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.

Finding a volunteer job can be challenging if you don’t do your homework.  The more research you do in trying to understand the volunteer industry, the more likely you are to find an opportunity you are looking for.  Alina Tugend from the New York Times reports:

Problems may arise for a number of reasons. Nonprofit groups, already stretched thin, may not have the staff to adequately train and manage volunteers, or even to respond to volunteer requests.  And sometimes, the organization or the position just doesn’t turn out to be what you expected.

Here are some resources that provide information that can help you along your volunteer path:

  • Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics:  Here you can find quick answers about the nonprofit sector, information about how many organizations there are in the U.S., statistics and profiles.
  • Foundation Center:  This site provides knowledge on philanthropy, training courses, information about funding, events and more.
  • GuideStar:  They consolidate data from nonprofits and additional sources to inform you about the legitimacy and financial health of the organization.
  • Look for a local city program or organization where you can find opportunities where you can impact the pressing needs of your community

I Red Cross New York

March 10, 2009

I Red Cross New York

I Red Cross New York

As seen in the New York Times, the famous logo for “I ♥ NY” is being replaced in the recent public service campaign to “I (Red Cross) NY” in hopes of getting New Yorkers to volunteer for the Red Cross Reserves in the event of a disaster.

There are currently 6,200 members of the Reserves, the New York Red Cross says, who qualify to help in the event of large-scale mishaps, man-made or natural, by taking a six-hour training session.

The goal of the campaign is to increase the ranks of the reserve force by more than half, to 10,000.

In addition to individuals volunteering, there are many media organizations who are pledging ad space or commercial time in support of the campaign.

Among the media outlets that are promising to donate ad space and commercial time for the campaign are;;;; New York magazine and its Web site,; Thomson Reuters, which will run ads on the giant digital signs on its building in Times Square; and U.S. News & World Report magazine.

Volunteer for Earth Day

March 10, 2009

Earth Day

Earth Day is a world wide celebration where volunteers gather together to promote a healthy, sustainable environment. This year we have added excitement as President Obama’s call to service encourages additional volunteers.

Earth Day organizers are hoping an army of volunteers will heed President Barack Obama’s call to service and turn out for the annual celebration next month to make lasting improvements to the nation’s parks, schools and beaches.

Earth Day was first founded in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson and continues to be celebrated worldwide on April 22.

Volunteers are needed and there are many ways in which you can do your part and get involved.  We found lots of helpful information at earthdaynetwork:

  • Join the Earth Day Network
  • Donate by making a financial contribution
  • Register events, find events or participate in the forum
  • Shop at the EDN e-Store
  • Volunteer your time

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.