News & Media

Viewpoint: Pandemic or not, Baltimore nonprofits still need you to volunteer

By Jayna Powell – Contributor

Civic Works’ director of volunteering and events explains how you and your company can still offer vital support to Baltimore’s nonprofits.

At my organization, Civic Works, we usually engage more than 3,000 volunteers each year to help carry out our mission. But due to the coronavirus, most of our community projects have been put on hold. Usually by now, volunteers would have beautified vacant lots across the city, repaired homes for elderly residents, tutored students and harvested fresh produce at Real Food Farm.

But for six months, Baltimore nonprofits like Civic Works paused important projects because we haven’t had the hands or financial means to complete them. Still, those projects didn’t go away, and now — more than ever — we need your help.

Before Covid-19, many of our volunteer groups came from the business community. But due to remote work, financial uncertainty and an abundance of precaution for employees, we and other local nonprofits have seen a sharp decline in service from corporations. In other words, giving employees a day to work in the community hasn’t been a possibility.

We still need hands-on help, however, and we are creating safe and socially distanced ways to give back, such as our annual Ricky Myers Day of Service on Saturday, Oct. 3 where volunteers will be helping at our farms, creating green spaces, sorting books at the Maryland Book Bank and more.

And if you or your company are looking for virtual or low-touch opportunities, there are many ways you can keep nonprofits operating at full capacity.

Share your skills
Perhaps one of the most natural ways your company can give back is by offering your expertise. Whether that’s hosting a webinar on essential Microsoft Excel skills, sharing customer service training with young entrepreneurs or holding a financial bootcamp for trainees in workforce development programs.

Due to limited funding, many nonprofits lack the resources and infrastructure to have someone internally dedicated to areas like IT, accounting or legal counsel. You could also consider reaching out to a local nonprofit whose mission resonates with your company and become a pro bono service provider.

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