I want to volunteer and provide effective support post-election. Help!
November 15, 2016 12:21 PM   Subscribe

What are some good organizations to volunteer with, particularly after this election? Ideally in Portland, OR? More special snowflakey details inside.

The election has had me alternating between despair and the urge to be proactive. I've donated money to organizations and am trying to help in different ways, but I'd like to carve out time to volunteer too so I can use my energy more effectively and not stare into the social media void. I haven't really volunteered in years and I'm trying to figure out what direction to focus on, given that so many people are majorly affected by the results.

My special snowflake details:

-I live in Portland, OR.
-I don't have a car but can use mass transit.
-I'm pretty introverted but I am trying to get better at this. I'll make the effort.
-I have art skills, good empathetic skills, and good writing skills too.
-I work freelance so every week is different, and this worries me a little since some volunteer efforts expect a dedicated commitment. At the same time it might be just something to block time out for. But if there's some options that allow you to drop in and help, I'd be interested to hear about them.

I know the answer to a degree is: begin anywhere; but I'd be deeply grateful if you can suggest options. I might be missing something, so I'll keep an eye on this if you have questions but of course won't threadsit. If you have suggestions that can apply to others outside of Portland too (like your local chapter of X Organization) I am sure it'll be helpful!

Thanks Mefi, you're the best <3
posted by actionpact to Human Relations (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
There are some Portland nonprofits listed in my profile.
posted by aniola at 12:29 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

I live in Portland and am specifically looking for an artist to collaborate with to make some comix encouraging people to get engaged and explaining some effective ways to do that.
posted by cnidaria at 1:30 PM on November 15, 2016

Response by poster: cnidaria, message me! I may not be able to do comix right now but I know a whole lot of cartoonists and alums of PNCA here in town, so I might be able to partner you up. :)
posted by actionpact at 1:33 PM on November 15, 2016

I don't know anything about Portland, but I have volunteered a little with the local chapter of the Sierra Club and had a good experience.
posted by maurreen at 7:51 PM on November 15, 2016

Make guides - nifty visuals to convey important information, or posters, or stencils, or volunteer to do graphic design stuff for a local group. Write a readable guide to local government or statistical literacy or critical thinking or some other key issue.

Volunteer to proof-read for people, see if you could help out vulnerable people trying to fill in official forms, etc.

Train as a helpline volunteer, hours may be flexible.

Help out with a group's online presence - social media posting, moderating, Google Analytics.

Christmas is coming - food banks and soup kitchens will be looking for one-off volunteers to package up food, clean.

Not technically volunteering, but really important: Take time to educate yourself about key issues. Pick one that's always seemed daunting and go deep in it. Put together a reading list for anyone else interested.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 2:28 PM on November 16, 2016

I felt a similar urge, so I volunteered at my local community service agency. It provides food for those in need, immigration assistance, etc. I'm self-employed, so I was OK with signing up for an ongoing 3-hour shift once/week as the front desk receptionist, but there were other options, too. They have a small staff, so volunteers are very much welcomed.

Maybe there's something similar in your area where you could help out.
posted by jeri at 12:11 PM on November 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

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