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Matchmaking service pairs professionals with nonprofits

Nonprofit organizations can apply for help from experienced professionals who will work for free on a variety of fronts, including accounting, marketing, fundraising and volunteer engagement.

Portland-based Metropolitan Family Service won a grant from the Oregon Community Foundation to match professionals with nonprofits that need help in specific areas. The professionals, who are volunteering their services, work remotely with the nonprofits.

They help nonprofits tackle projects that might be too expensive for organizations to do alone, or for which they lack in-house time or expertise.

Metropolitan Family Service hopes to help a half-dozen nonprofits in Southern Oregon.

Slots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the state.

The effort prioritizes nonprofits that are serving those who have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, including rural communities, people of color and individuals and families dealing with the health, economic and social fallout.

“It’s a great opportunity to support organizations as they are challenged by this pandemic and leverage the efforts of those who want to give back by offering their professional skills,” said Carly Brown, community engagement program officer with the Oregon Community Foundation.

As an example of how the project works, the The Freshwater Trust, a Portland-based nonprofit, got free help from Will Carter, a data visualization developer in Colorado.

Among other projects, The Freshwater Trust works with local partners to plant native trees and shrubs along the Rogue River and its tributaries. The native vegetation improves river and stream health, and shades water that can get too warm for fish.

The U.S. Forest asked The Freshwater Trust to help figure out where money could be best spent to lower temperatures in the Rogue River basin.

Carter helped create maps with graphics that show which Forest Service projects could yield the most ecological benefit for the money spent, The Freshwater Trust said.

“Most of my web development work has been on commercial, for-profit projects, so it has been great to get experience with an environmentally relevant project,” Carter said.

To participate in the matchmaking program, nonprofits must be registered with the state of Oregon.

Metropolitan Family Service will work with each nonprofit to define and customize a project. Projects could involve accounting, finance and operations; strategic planning; marketing and public relations; fundraising and development; human resources; impacts and outcomes; or volunteer engagement.

Professionals can take on tasks like creating human resources policies for COVID-19, recalculating budgets and fundraisers that have been upended this year, or updating websites.

The commitment from a professional ranges from 20 to 500 hours, with projects averaging about 130 hours. Support is provided throughout the project.

To apply for the program, see socialpurpose.works.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

Will Carter, a data visualization developer in Colorado, works on an interactive map for an Oregon nonprofit that shows which Rogue River basin ecological restoration projects yield the most benefit for the cost. Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Family Service