Tim Claremont is a dedicated volunteer, who donates his time and tech experience to help a number of nonprofits. He spends much of his time as a virtual volunteer for the TechSoup Forums.
His other role as a hospital volunteer in his local community, however, doesn’t seem like such an obvious fit for a tech guy. But he’s made a positive difference to the local healthcare system. His story shows that when it comes to passion and volunteering, there’s room for all types of volunteers in your organization; you just have to think creatively.
In 1999, Tim’s wife passed suddenly. While spending her last days with her in the hospital, Tim was struck both by the passion of the healthcare professionals, and of a need for better technology and work processes in the hospital. He wanted to do something, but felt he lacked the skills necessary to be a caregiver. He realized however that he could empathize with the staff, and that he could help in other ways.
This led him to volunteer for the Patient Safety committee within the same hospital system that cared for his wife. “While I don’t possess the hands-on skill of a direct caregiver,” Tim explains, “I can contribute in many ways behind the scenes…”
Through his passion and knowledge of technology, Tim has been able to help the hospital system better manage medical records and create training campaigns for caregivers about patient safety. He is also working on a way to discover data trends that can predict incidents, in an effort to prevent safety issues before they happen.
Connecting the dots…
So what is Tim’s secret to connecting the dots between healthcare and technology? According to Tim, it all comes down to passion. “In the nonprofit arena success comes from passion rather than dollars,” he explains.
His advice for people who want to volunteer is to figure out what you’re passionate about and then go find an organization that needs that passion, “and then pieces will fall into place.” Likewise, his advice to organizations is to think creatively: “In the nonprofit world creativity means not just finding a solution, but finding a solution that allows your organization to do more for its clients.”
How can your organization engage passionate volunteers with skills that may not seem to align directly with what you do? Consider some of the creative tasks you could assign to volunteers, such as art, writing and technology.
What are some innovative volunteer opportunities you can think of that would benefit your cause? Share your creative volunteer solutions in the comments below.
Stephanie Rosenburg is a Communications & Social Media Intern at VolunteerMatch. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her at @smrosenburg.