After I retired from the corporate world, I tried to find something interesting to do that utilized my business skills and gave me an opportunity to give back. I volunteered at various non-profit organizations with missions I believed in. But invariably my volunteer role was relegated to answering phones, stuffing envelopes and general grunt work that the paid employees didn’t want to do or didn’t have the time to do. One day over lunch, I was lamenting to a friend about my volunteer void and she suggested an organization that was perfect for using my marketing skills and would certainly be happy to have someone with my work background. The name of the organization is Taproot and it’s mission is to help non-profit organizations of a certain size conduct and complete marketing and management projects that otherwise would require hiring the services of high priced consultants. Taproot brings people together who have business marketing and management backgrounds to work on projects such as brochure production, key messaging and identity campaigns, annual reports, board selection and training, human resources projects and logo and website designs. According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Taproot is one of the top five nonprofit organizations worthy of volunteering for.
I have completed 4 Taproot projects and am working on my fifth. Each project requires about 100 hours spread out over a 6 month period so it isn’t that stressful or demanding.
The really interesting thing for me is to have the opportunity to work in a team with dedicated and usually young and bright marketing professionals and learning about all the wonderful non-profit organizations in my city that do outstanding and meaningful work. I have worked with a homeless shelter, pregnancy clinic, community theatre, a children’s community arts organization and I am currently working on building a WordPress website for a local Boys and Girls Club.
It truly is a wonderful way to keep your skills relevant, meet a new generation of professionals and learn about some organizations in your community that are addressing the needs of people who really need help.