What I’m Looking for in a Volunteering Position


My Absolute Requirements

  • Does not require a law degree
    • Although I have thought about getting one just so I can apply for certain volunteering gigs that require one.
  • Does not require me to write code for a significant portion of my volunteer time. I already do that full time and am not looking for more. I am fine giving high level tech guidance, however.

My Preferences

In rough order of preference

  • in-person and local
  • intellectually challenging
  • accommodating of my full time work schedule and personal life
  • 5-10 hours a week
  • months-long to year-long commitment
  • not just a desk job but also field work

Skills I Want to Learn or Improve Upon

In rough order of preference

  • public speaking
  • community organizing and building trust with people who have different backgrounds
  • negotiating and building consensus with and between people who don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye
  • Learning to lobby public officials and organizations
  • learning more about the law or government or various industries
  • investigative reporting

Values of Organizations in which I’ll Thrive

In rough order of preference

  • competence
  • hard work
  • innovation or at least open-mindedness
  • passion and compassion
  • personal responsibility

Skills I Can Contribute

In rough order of ability

  • writing code, creating web sites, general computer stuff (see my github)
  • writing prose such as reports, summaries, and essays (see my blog)
  • analytical and quantitative (I was a math major in college. Now I work at Spotify as a software engineer.)
  • effective at collaborating and working as part of a team
  • good at spoken communication
  • has a knack for establishing rapport and building strong relationships with all kinds of people

Causes I Believe In

In rough order of preference

  • civil rights
    • “protect individuals’ freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals. They ensure one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the society and state without discrimination or repression”
  • environmentalism
    • “advocate for the lawful preservation, restoration and/or improvement of the natural environment”
    • “attempt to balance relations between humans and the various natural systems on which they depend in such a way that all the components are accorded a proper degree of sustainability”
  • consumer protection
    • “promoting laws and organizations that ensure the rights of consumers as well as fair trade, competition and accurate information in the marketplace. The laws are designed to prevent businesses that engage in fraud or specified unfair practices from gaining an advantage over competitors”
  • good governance
    • “advocate for eliminating barriers to voting, fighting for better ethics oversight and limiting the role of powerful interests in elections,” etc
    • examples include making “campaign finance information for state and local candidates” available on the Internet, reporting “lobbying of state agencies and local governments”, deterring and justly punishing ethical misconduct, and making legislative and budgetary processes more transparent.
  • labor rights
    • advocating for “legal rights and claimed human rights having to do with labor relations between workers and their employers, usually obtained under labor and employment law. In general, these rights’ debates have to do with negotiating workers’ pay, benefits, and safe working conditions”
    • e.g. Grad Students Win Right to Unionize in an Ivy League Case
  • community organizing
    • “community organizers generally assume that social change necessarily involves conflict and social struggle in order to generate collective power for the powerless. A core goal of community organizing is to generate durable power for an organization representing the community, allowing it to influence key decision-makers on a range of issues over time”
  • community development
  • Education