[the palaverist]

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

[a do-gooder's dilemma]

Decisions, decisions! Every now and then, I surf Idealist.org in search of interesting volunteer opportunities. A couple weeks back, I ran across two organizations that looked like they had opportunities worth pursuing.

The first was the Taproot Foundation, which provides nonprofits with pro bono consultants from the business world. I went to their volunteer orientation session last week and was impressed by their approach. Using methodologies similar to those Jenny applies in her business-consulting work, Taproot runs clearly defined projects to help nonprofits operate more effectively. They work primarily with local organizations that directly affect the community, providing everything from rebranding and marketing to information technology and improved human resource management.

I have no particular passion for ladling soup, handing out fliers or painting walls, but I do love to write. With Taproot, I would be doing copywriting and editing of various kinds. Taproot is also very much looking for web designers, graphic designers, photographers and other talented creatives, and I highly encourage certain regular readers like DKNY and Robert to take a look at their volunteer roles.

But then today I interviewed with the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, or WANGO (rhymes with bongo, not mango) to see if I would be a good fit to help them with their marketing and outreach materials — everything from their newsletter and brochures to promotional materials for their major conferences and other activities.

Founded in 2000 by 15 NGOs that wanted to pool their resources and best practices, and initially led by a former Assistant Secretary-General, WANGO now seeks to be a global network for NGOs, providing assistance with best practices on fudraising, sharing resources and operating effectively. One of their more interesting efforts was hashing out a Code of Ethics and Conduct for NGOs to help them navigate the difficult questions that inevitably arise when you operate in highly compromised places like war zones and dictatorships.

So which one should I choose?



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