Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Taproot Foundation—do it pro bono.

My mother always quietly donated money to her favorite cause or charity. When she couldn’t give financially she would volunteer. Whether it was driving a bus of protesters to encircle Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant (she had a commercial driver’s license), or being a buddy to someone with AIDS—she always gave back to her community. At this time, more than ever, our country has so many charities and nonprofits that need our help—both financially and with manpower.

There is a unique nonprofit, the Taproot Foundation, that matches creative, business and marketing folks up with nonprofits that need their help. Lawyers have always had an outlet to do pro bono work, but this is a first for marketing and creative professionals. In a nutshell, the Taproot Foundation matches your skills and expertise to the nonprofit that needs your help. There is a team of volunteer professionals for each project and you’ll donate about 3-5 hours per week on a 6-month pro bono project. There are a variety of volunteer roles needed including: project management, marketing, creative services, human resources, information technology and strategy management. The projects vary from creating a basic website to renaming a nonprofit.

Aaron Hurst (above) created the Taproot Foundation in 2001 to connect this country’s millions of business professionals with nonprofits who need their talents and experience. He founded the Taproot Foundation 40 years after his grandfather, Joseph E. Slater, wrote the original blueprint for the Peace Corps. There are now Taproot Foundation offices in the following cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C.

Mr. Peacock volunteered last fall on an annual report project for a domestic abuse/homeless shelter. It was a very rewarding experience. It was more fulfilling than just stuffing envelopes (which I did numerous times volunteering for different nonprofits/charities), because it utilized my professional skills and talents. The volunteer team members and the nonprofit grantee staff were wonderful to work with too. Corporate egos and politics were absent because there was no money involved, just everyone using their skills and expertise. The recipient nonprofit grantee was so grateful for the help. You can pick and apply from a variety of upcoming projects. Click here to read more about the Taproot Foundation or click here if you want to apply to start volunteering. I would highly recommend the experience!

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