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Ask HN: Best ways to volunteer?
170 points by marz0 38 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 95 comments
What are some of the best ways to volunteer as someone working in tech? Many of us have valuable skills that we can put to use such as software engineering, data analysis, product management, project management, etc.

What are some of the best ways to use those skills to help out those in need?

Ideas that come to mind: * Contributing to civic tech projects * Contributing to open source projects * Helping out non-profits * Donating money made by using the aforementioned skills

Which methods of volunteering or giving back do you think are most effective?




I've worked with the United Nations Online Volunteer program before.

They basically have a "job" board for different categories of tasks that can be done remotely online including design, web site building, other tasks, etc.

It's not the easiest†, as many orgs might be overseas so working asynchronously is almost a given. Budgets for them are often next-to-none, but their service demands are usually relatively low.

I highly recommend giving them a look. There are a lot of great, small, un[der]funded organizations trying to help people in despair, impoverished children get a leg up, children in troubled homes meet new potential—all kinds—and they need the help because they can rarely afford to pay for it, but the ability to manage something like a website and blog that gives them increased exposure and ease of contact is a huge boon.

They also need online English teachers, researchers, project managers, writers, the list goes on.

https://www.onlinevolunteering.org/en

Tech options: https://www.onlinevolunteering.org/en/opportunities?f[0]=fie...

edit: To clarify, many of the technical needs are relatively simple—though there seem to be some more challenging options appearing as well. The harder part may be effective communication and understanding—though the people I've worked with have always been great and understanding and just want to deliver the most because they're doing what they do precisely because they care. They're not getting rich.


Just started a coding bootcamp at a public library to teach ppl how to code: https://www.meetup.com/San-Jose-C0D3

Librarians love it when tech people come in to help. They don't have technical skills and most techies don't seem to think about volunteering at the library.

My goal: To help local libraries provide a free coding bootcamp to anybody who wants to learn.

Libraries are a beautiful place. They don't discriminate against anyone regardless of social status, race, gender, etc.


They're one of the only public places remaining where you aren't expected to spend money.

Thanks for the great idea


See if Repl will offer you a deep discount or free use of their Classrooms product (since you're not making money from this, but without the hassle of forming a 501c3 or other formal non-profit entity).

https://repl.it/site/classrooms


This is a really awesome idea. I love how it leverages a public space that is already culturally oriented towards making knowledge accessible to everyone.


Exactly.


>>Libraries are a beautiful place. They don't discriminate against anyone regardless of social status, race, gender, etc.

This is a great idea! Thanks for doing this. Have you had your first session yet? How did it go?

Do you use the library computers for your coding bootcamp?


Yeah last year we did it for 3 months as a pilot program. It was a little messy, but the librarians loved it. I took about a year break to think hard about how it could be more effective and came up with a self-guided curriculum and then launched this yesterday!

I plan to start small (intentionally so) to build a core group of students and then slowly grow from there. Over the past year The more senior students will pass knowledge down to the more junior ones.

Currently its still too early to determine if there are issues or if things are going well, but we have about 5 students that show up.

> Do you use the library computers for your coding bootcamp?

If students don't have their own computers, we have ssh access for them to code on our computer using a borrowed laptop from the library. VSCode supports remote coding so that's cool. You also have tools like coder.com and repl.it that allows students to code without owning a computer.


Please write up your experiences! What works? What doesn't work? How are you structuring the program? Your idea is fantastic and I think documentation would useful for others that might want to implement something similar.


Definitely! I'm still in the process of learning and figuring this out, I'll write something after this goes on for awhile. The last thing I want to do is start something, write about it like I know what I'm talking about, then stop doing it.


Love this. How did you gather interest and get this going?


Last year, a librarian reached out to me asking if I could run a program because they are getting alot of requests for tech education and they didn't have resources. That got me thinking... hey maybe its possible to help the library start a free coding bootcamp, open and accessible to all.

All it takes is to create a meetup account and schedule something! People will come.

The hardest part is to stick to a consistent schedule so people know when / how to find you for help. This usually means saying no to regular social events that your friends may invite you to.


On the contrary, I use volunteer work as a time to take a break from tech. In the past I've volunteered as elementary school classroom help, tutored students of various ages, and coached line for a local high school football team.

Yes, as tech workers, we have the ability to use our valuable skills pro bono. But I think it can also be beneficial to step out of the tech bubble and integrate with the rest of non-tech society on non-tech terms. Most of my volunteer work has been with students--when the topic comes up, I get to tell them all about why they should consider pursuing programming as a career.

Most of my volunteer work has been obtained just by walking up to the people involved and asking if they need a volunteer. I don't think you need to look for a formal volunteer program.


I also agree. One-on-one mentoring is fulfilling in a different way than project oriented volunteering. I recommend doing a longer term commitment as well. Most are 2-4 hours a week, ideally for at least a year. I was at a large near-IPO startup, and it was super supportive of me hopping out for 3 hours every Wednesday for a year to volunteer at underresourced schools. I brought my classes in to meet people at my company and many kids became more interested in design & programming careers as a result.

I worked with build.org in NYC - it's entrepreneurship oriented programs. The students are wonderful. BUILD is large and has a strong presence in SF, DC & Boston as well.

In SF, I worked with Reach & Rise through the YMCA, which is similar to the Boys & Girls Club Big Brother/Big Sister program. I'd highly recommend that as well.


I agree! I think my volunteer experiences doing non-technical work have made me a better communicator and more well-rounded developer. It’s also let me find a community and friendships outside of work (those all-too-rare post-30 new friends). I would hypothesize that volunteering in a capacity orthogonal to your work would have stronger mental health benefits than just doing your job but without being paid.


I volunteer at a crisis center in a number of roles. My sysadmin job gives me the security and freedom to engage with people outside of that realm in my spare time. It has been refreshing and meaningful to focus on something _other than_ tech in that capacity.

There's so much going on in the world that doesn't revolve around computers that has a need for people.


it may seem counterintuitive since you're aiming "to help", but i've had success choosing volunteer opportunities based on things i wanted to learn outside my expertise. this strategy also helps keep your own ego in check (for those of us prone to expert syndrome).

so for example, when i wanted to learn how to do home improvements, i volunteered at habitat for humanity to help build houses for other people. for my 5 townhome build, i helped with everything from the framing to the cabinetry (also gratifying was meeting and working with the eventual homeowners).

when my cat passed away and i wanted to rescue another cat, i volunteered at a kitten nursery. i mostly cleaned kennels and fed kittens, but i also got to socialize them and (eventually) pick the one i wanted to adopt.


That’s a GREAT idea!


I have dedicated untold hours of my life to the FIRST Robotics Competition [0]. I participated in high school and have been volunteering for the past 15 years after I graduated. I can't count how many high school aged students I've interacted with, but I do know that my time makes a difference. Please feel free to reach out with any questions, email in profile.

[0]: https://www.firstinspires.org/ways-to-help/volunteer


Thanks for doing this! Fond memories of participating in FIRST 20+ years ago.


If you haven't seen the advances made to the program in the last 20 years, I'd highly recommend looking up some youtube/twitch videos of gameplay from the 2019 season. A lot has changed!


As the founder of a tech-driven charity and with some volunteering experience, I want to suggest another approach.

The skills that let you deploy your technical abilities are often sorely needed in this sector, particularly when an organization depends on volunteer labour.

As an example, my father is an experienced civil engineer who leads the development and refurbishment of major hydro generation facilities in his day work.

One of his primary volunteer activities, however, is hustling casseroles for a significant homeless shelter and kitchen in a large city. He is frighteningly effective because of all the skills that also make him good at his job — organization, process, people, etc. There’s often a deficit of this in volunteer efforts.

On the flip side, if you do want to use your technical chops, consider how you can do so in a sustainable way so you don’t create dependencies that put important processes at risk. I found it better to fundraise and pay professionals for important functions.


Donating money is almost always more valuable than donating time, especially if you're not going to donate a lot of time. The time may feel better (or it may not -- I've had volunteer gigs where I didn't feel I could accomplish much, and that sucks), but the money is more useful.


The economic consideration comes down to the real value of the labor, and that depends heavily on the economic benefits of specialization.

A day of you doling out soup to people or picking up trash won't be worth any more than what someone who does it for a living is paid. And it will probably be substantially less because you're not practiced at it.

A day of you building houses (assuming you have no training) could very well be negative if someone has to come along and fix your work later.

A day of a non-profit employee's work should be worth at least what their salary suggests. (They're chronically underpaid because of the conventional wisdom that high wages are a red flag. This is patently insane and unfair.)

A day of you working closely to your profession is probably worth something similarly close to your salary.

Now, if no one is picking up trash and you want it picked up, then by all means go pick it up.

But otherwise, if in other contexts it'd be a waste of your time, it's still a waste of your time when donating, so consider donating money.

That raises the question: why do so many non-profits have all these worthless volunteer activities?

First, they do tend to focus on young people whose labor isn't worth much to begin with, so they're not losing as much.

And many volunteer efforts simply need a lot of warm bodies. There's no way to canvass for votes, for instance, without having a horde of people knocking on doors.

And I suspect many volunteer activities are also a great way to raise publicity and connect with donors.


>A day of you working closely to your profession is probably worth something similarly close to your salary.

A day every 2-4 weeks of working closely to your profession might be, but less frequently than that and most high-skill professions will spend most of their time having to re-orient to what the needs are or get the details of where the org is today vs. where it was three months ago. I've done volunteer work where I spent over half the time figuring out what they needed. What they really needed was money to hire someone that they could get to do that same thing on a consistent basis so that overhead didn't take up more than half of the donation.


>But otherwise, if in other contexts it'd be a waste of your time, it's still a waste of your time when donating,

Is it?

[We] seem incapable of stating the obvious truth: that we who are well off should be willing to share more of what we have with poor people not for the poor people's sake but for our own; i.e., we should share what we have in order to become less narrow and frightened and lonely and self-centered people David Foster Wallace


I didn't want to get into what your motivations may be, but I alluded to this: Now, if no one is picking up trash and you want it picked up, then by all means go pick it up.

The idea was that you might be doing it yourself because, in that case, your surroundings being clean and beautiful is something you desire.

> ... we should share what we have in order to become less narrow and frightened and lonely and self-centered people

Wallace's view of humanity is self-serving and awful. He's a noble savior, the poor people are helpless without their saviors, and everyone else is frightened, lonely, self-centered, etc.

A better approach is one founded in gratitude, wherein charity is merely one form of expression of gratitude.


> Wallace's view of humanity is self-serving and awful. He's a noble savior, the poor people are helpless without their saviors, and everyone else is frightened, lonely, self-centered, etc.

Out of context i guess i could see that reading being something you could conclude. It’s not well supported overall, though.

> ... gratitude

Sure; but the notion that “do it because it’s the right thing to do, and it’s a good way to say thank you” is not at all at odds with “... and by way of ‘you’re welcome’, you’ll be less of a lonely prick!”

It’s kind of an open philosophical question whether or not a purely altruistic act is even possible (where i do X to you, X is good, and I don’t get anything in return that is also good) — why mince words about it? (cf kierkegaard, among many others). There’s no particular shame in acknowledging that charity rewards both parties.


If that's the goal, only a small subset of volunteer work is a good way to achieve it.


it's _a_ goal. it's not the only one.


And for the other goals, the statement holds: If in other contexts it would be a waste of your time, it's still going to be a waste of your time for you to do it.


unless, of course, handing out sandwiches or making beds up in a shelter opens one’s eyes.

then it’s the exact opposite of a waste.


> If that's the goal, only a small subset of volunteer work is a good way to achieve it.


I wanted to add to your comment. When I've looked to volunteer in the past I've seen places that ask for a 6+ month commitment because bringing someone up to speed sucks up resources (not unlike training a new employee). Other times I've shown up early and you see how much wrangling is needed to organize volunteers.

Volunteer labor can often be a resource suck whereas money is money.


Donating technical skills with a market rate of a couple hundred bucks an hour can add up much more quickly than donating cash in many cases. And it doesn't have to be a massive investment - in a few hours you can make a much more manageable and better looking website for a lot of organizations that can't afford to pay for one.


How many organizations need primarily computer work, though? All of the orgs I work with need either to buy specific items, or people with specific trade skills, not more software.

People on HN like to say "Software is eating the world" but when I look at my city, none of the biggest problems I see are going to be solved by more software.

Your software skills only have "a market rate of a couple hundred bucks an hour" because companies like Amazon and Facebook and Google are paying that. You're in a bubble. Small companies and non-profits aren't paying that. Mega-corporations can pay that only because they have massive scale. If one software developer can produce value for a million users, that person is worth a ton of money to the company. The non-profit in your backyard does not share that attribute. Your FAANG salary is not in any way relevant to them.

Finally, every programmer knows there's no such thing as resolving all maintenance "in a few hours". Software maintenance is a never-ending task. Take something that wasn't computerized, and computerize it, and now you've simplified one task for that volunteer org, while creating a new recurring cost for them. (You've taken a visible cost that anyone can help with, and turned it into an invisible cost that requires an expensive specialist.) I've seen countless cases where an org said "We got this new software (for cheap/free) that will help us!", and then 2 months later they're trying to get support, and the person who set it up is long gone.

Please, just give money, and let the organization decide how to use it. They aren't stupid. They know how to hire software people, when that is their most pressing need. Usually it isn't.


How does it add up much more quickly? Even if there's no time necessary for me to get up to speed on their situation, etc., donating my salary for those hours is not only at least even with donating my time (since they could hire out), but unless my skills are the absolute highest priority thing they need in the organization, cash would be better because it allows them to get that highest priority thing.


I read all of the comments to this post and I don't your's stands up. Donating time can be very valuable. On the other side of the coin, there are a lot of charities and other causes that have substantial overhead costs. It is possible that only a fraction of your donation might be a direct benefit to the intended recipient.


That's why you should donate to low-overhead charities like GiveDirectly.


Low overhead is a tempting metric, but often charities try too hard to get it low enough, and not do things like monitoring if whatever they are doing actually make things better.


If you are a Ruby or Javascript developer I'd recommend checking out Ruby for Good. We build projects for non-profits who really need folks with our skill sets but would never be able to afford us -- places like diaper banks, women's shelters, animal rescues, and other great meaningful organizations. Our projects are on github at https://github.com/rubyforgood and you can join our slack to get more information here https://rubyforgood.herokuapp.com/. The important thing to note is that these projects get used! Our diaper project is being used by about 100 diaper banks around the country and is helping over a million children per year! While we do work on our projects all year round, we do have events! Our next event is in the SF area in April that everyone should definitely come out to because they are a TON of fun! They are all inclusive (lodging and food are covered,) they are absolutely NOT hackathons (which are toxic events that burn folks out!) We have a hard stop everyday at dinner time so we can spend our evenings socializing, playing board games, singing karaoke, and having lots of fun! The website for the April event is here: https://rubybythebay.org


I started Pathi, a volunteer-run app/hotline for people who really need someone to talk to. Right now we have 12 volunteer listeners taking about that many calls every day.

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/pathi/id1466338610

We need volunteer listeners, someone to help us bring the app to android, and some design assistance.

If you’re interested in helping, please reach out! (email in profile)


Run for office and swell the (paltry) ranks of technically literate legislators.


My advisor (PhD EE MIT etc etc) was a town selectman for 30 years.

He didn't exactly enjoy it; he merely saw his skills as bringing an obligation to service along with them, and acted accordingly.

Never forgot that...


There are also tons of lower level office that have a huge impact on individuals. I for example am on my condo board.


I can't underscore how important this is, not just in the US and in developed countries but across the world. There are so many policy makers that are woefully under-informed or that operate under assumptions that are decades-old and a new crop of talent is required.



Not sure where you live, but I was able to volunteer two years with the Code Nation organization, helping underserved students learn the basics of web development. https://codenation.org/

Some of the students were first-generation children of immigrants or came from neighborhoods with chronic poverty who never owned a computer and are now earning scholarships and pursuing CS degrees, so I felt we were making an direct impact.


I've heard great things about Ovio https://ovio.org/ - they help coordinate open-source project development for social-impact organizations using volunteers like yourself


Here's the direct link to their projects page https://explore.ovio.org/


It seems unlikely to me that you will make use of much of your skillset this way. Doesn't it make more sense then to use as much of it for your day job and then using that money to contribute to charities? They can hire somebody that can focus on the task full-time so the value received for your time spent should be higher that way (if you are a skilled coder) than contributing time directly.


  >It seems unlikely to me that you will make use of much of your skillset this way.
I really don't see why that would generally hold. Particularly small charities often don't have anything like the budget to hire full time for things like this, even if they knew what to look for (and many don't). Many may not even have a good idea of what is possible.

I guess if you're only focused on the "we need a website update" sort of problems, that's less true.


Consider “backdoor volunteering.” I find that specialized/technical work isn’t really available on a volunteer basis. Staff have an expectation of working with other pros and may feel threatened by undercutting. So I take some weekend work at nominal wage and donate it back anonymously. It’s not tax efficient, but it works for both of us.


I volunteer as a tutor for an organization that provides academic help to students experiencing homelessness. It's not restricted to people working in tech but my anecdotal impression is that there are relatively few tutors who have strong technical backgrounds and a genuine love for math/science-type subjects

If you have such a background and enjoy working with kids you can be quite helpful by (1.) helping students keep from falling so far behind in school that they're unable to pass their classes (2.) providing an example of what it looks like for an adult to be passionate about math and science topics (I think many of these students don't have many such examples).

I'm not sure it's the highest-impact thing I could be doing (i.e. maybe I could have a greater positive impact by donating the hourly value of my time to some charity) but if you're interested in boots-on-the-ground volunteer work that involves in-person work I'd highly recommend it.


What org?



Can’t personally vouch for this org but they were active in nyc recently and seem interesting:

https://www.catchafire.org


Work as hard as you can at your current job to maximize your income, then donate the money to GiveDirectly.


Depends on what your goals are. In terms of charities, the one I see most recommended by effective altruist communities is the Against Malaria Foundation[0,1].

[0]: https://www.givewell.org/charities/amf [1]: https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/charity/against-malaria-foun...


This might come in handy, I've found it perspective-changing: https://80000hours.org/


coincidentally I just saw this tweet by Katie Moussouris. It fits your requirement of someone working in tech:

> This organization @OSPASafeEscape helps victims of domestic abuse & they are looking for volunteers like @hexplates to help this important mission.

https://twitter.com/k8em0/status/1205519304046739456


There are two things I've tried -

- Choosing a place that is looking for my skills, and incidentally seems like a good cause, vs.

- Choosing a place with a cause I care about, that might or might not particularly need my skills.

I find the second one works better, although it might be possible to have a bad enough fit to try something else. If you have a pre-existing connection to an organization, possibly have made donations, and you show up and ask what you can do, and then you prove that you don't mind doing simple tasks, you will likely graduate into technical stuff if that's what you want.

My impression is a lot of non-profits have a great need for technical help that their usual interns, volunteers and employees can't provide, but if you don't connect with them in the right way, it won't work out.


I imagine a good place to start would be to directly contact some organizations whose missions you feel strongly about. Likely they have a good idea of what would be useful to them. From there you could branch into applying your skills to things they didn't realize were shortcomings.


To my mental health what contributed most is to volunteer at a NON-TECH position. YMMV

I was on a SE-Asia trip when I fell in love with a small town here; my organize trip was so bad I decided to abandon it. Found out there is a half-pruvate English school for kids.

I notified my friends, rebooked my flights and stayed for a month to teach school children English (around 100 of them in 5 classes every weekday).

This was probably the most rewarding experience in my life, although it didn't really help my professional career. However, I learned a hlot about

* cultural differences

* language differences of Asian vs Western languages

* the English language itself

* kids

* ways of living a life

* myself

Effectiveness? Questionable. I saw many of the teenagers to improve their pronounciation drastically during this month. Also helped the local management to rethink methods of teaching etc.


My personal opinion is that you'll find it most rewarding to locate a non-profit near you that supports a cause that you support and to volunteer to help them with various tech/data projects as a way to improve their service delivery. They don't have to be working with a local beneficiary community -- perhaps they support something overseas. Instead of skipping off of the top of a lot of different projects, it will give you the opportunity to dig deep into the needs of one organization and potentially have very significant impact on the way they conduct their work. Just keep in mind that they're the SMEs with regards to the beneficiaries and that you're there to support their needs, perceived or real.


I've spent a few years teaching Scratch (http://scratch.mit.edu) to kids. I've volunteered via the Microsoft's TEALS program (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/teals) and at the video game museum (https://themade.org/). You can also be an open source contributor to code.org.


Why have another job that's the same as your current job ? I volunteer at my local botanical garden. I pull weeds, collect seed and botanise. Volunteering can and perhaps should be a world-expanding experience.


I'm 35 and work with a church group which visits/helps the poor around our neighboorhood, and my colleagues there are between 55 and 80 year old.

It kinda kills me but they work very well with their systems - paper agendas and folders - so I don't think I'll ever suggest turning their workflows into something digital, or even an Excel file...

The way I help them is by carrying heavy packages...


I don't know where you live, but where I am, housing is expensive. As someone who is paid pretty well, I didn't want to make things worse for those who don't earn as much, so I helped set up a YIMBY group. We've had some modest successes.

TBH, donating is pretty good too, as it lets people who are a bit more specialized in doing the work get on with it, rather than training up someone who 'wants to help'. Depends a lot on the organization though, I think.


Why not join the https://coderdojo.com/ community and help out in getting young kids interested in coding? It's a great way to 'give back' and introduce the future generations in the opportunities that software can give them. CoderDojo is an international organization and they might already be active in your neighbourhood.


FIRST Robotics! Most fun volunteering you'll ever do plus the time to reward is pretty short as you watch the students grow and get excited by engineering and business.


Check to see if your town/region has something like GiveCamp (https://givecamp.org/)!

I help organize my city's spinoff of GiveCamp, called Code for Good (https://codeforgoodwm.org/), and we bring together hundreds of volunteers every year, and help dozens of nonprofits.


Mercy Ships is always looking for technical people. The job list is at https://apply.mercyships.org/CurrentOpportunities.aspx

Mercy Ships do free operations for people in Africa. The ship's crewed entirely by volunteers. If you're willing to give a chunk of time, it's both fun and rewarding.


I'd probably give https://www.justserve.org/ a look. See what is near you that's listed, if any of the specific organizations interest you hit their websites and look for someone to reach out to locally or at a higher level (if applicable) to see if your specific skills might be used in a volunteer capacity.


Additionally at that site, organizations can sign up to then recruit volunteers.


I spent about 10 years as a key member at AS220’s fab lab. Since I’m an engineer by training I figured I could help enable art by helping Artists on the tech side at the lab. I taught classes, developed curriculum, designed projects, helped with machine maintenance. It was fun and I ended up “making my own art”. Now I make Wordclocks in my basement based on some of the projects I developed for them.


I've found the best way to volunteer is at something complementary to what one does in one's day-to-day, something I'm also interested in but don't get paid for. At the moment, that looks like teaching a free English class to new immigrants. I think working on interests outside of one's professional sphere helps keep the work interesting, and the volunteer engaged.


If you believe in a higher power, look for a thriving local church.

The opportunities to volunteer will be frequent and diverse. You might try digging wells one month, then feeding the hungry the next. You can be part of "A Night to Shine" or help clean up dirty ditches. All sorts of stuff, offered frequently and vetted for quality of projects.


There's an organization where volunteers teach coding to refugees: https://www.hackyourfuture.net/ It started in Amsterdam and has spread to Copenhagen and Toronto now - you could get involved and help open up a chapter in your city too.


There's a Facebook group for Effective Altruism Volunteering which has some ideas: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1392613437498240/


Lots of so-called "non-profits" do not increase social welfare in any meaningful way. Even many IRS-approved "charities" are complete scams.

So just remember to look before you leap.


So many elderly people who have trouble with basic tasks, including but not limited to tech.

I’d like to see a hotline where people can call to ask about virus pop ups, calls from potential scammers.


Consistently. My grandma does a lot of volunteer work, and one of her gripes is with students who show up to fulfill a requirement, learn just enough to start being useful, then quit.

One place I work did a volunteer day at a local community center for underprivileged kids. It was fine going and helping kids out, but I felt like shit for the kids who never get to build any sort of relationship with anyone from the rotating cast of techies who show up to assuage their guilt. These kids have enough instability in their lives.


If you're located in Chicago, I enjoyed volunteering for CodePlatoon as a TA. It's not a huge commitment and it's a lot of fun.


Teach prisoners how to code https://thelastmile.org/


Develop high-quality software and release it under AGPL3+ so that companies cannot make any profit off of it.


They can still profit, but they'd have to open up their own code, which most are afraid of doing.


How does avoiding profit help anyone?


See if there is a onebrick.org chapter in your area.


Earning to give (to the top charities) is likely orders of magnitude more effective than most other volunteering options.

Research effective altruism and see GiveWell’s most effective charities list (updated a week ago).

Recommended listening: Sam Harris interviews the founder of effective altruism. https://samharris.org/podcasts/being-good-and-doing-good/

Recommended reading: Doing Good Better by Will Macaskill.


FOSS.


Mentor


> product management, project management

No, thank you. FOSS developers are usually skilled and self-motivated engineers, so corporate-style control is unnecessary or harmful.

Money, quality code, bug fixes, documentation, publicity (there are so many great but little-known FOSS projects), or a simple display of appreciation for the authors' work are all welcome.


Why all the idiotic downvotes?


Thanks! For the record: I added the sentence after "No, thank you" after I got a few downvotes. And please don't call them idiotic. It might be they truly believe in the necessity of someone "managing" FOSS projects and their authors.




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