1. Who is behind PMD?
  2. How do I participate in PMD Community service projects?
  3. Are PMD community service projects accessible by public transportation?
  4. How does PMD find projects?
  5. Are there any PMD projects during the holidays or late summer?
  6. My group wants to do a community service project. can we participate in PMD projects?
  7. Why can't I signup my friends to volunteer with me?
  8. Why do I have to sign-up by project sign-up deadlines to participate in PMD projects?
  9. Why do I have to provide my address/phone number just to sign-up for the email list?
  10. Why must I commit to participate for a whole project?
  11. Why do PMD email and project packets repeatedly discuss my commitment to participate in the entire project and the consequences of not doing so?
  12. Once signed up, why am I repeatedly asked to call if I need to cancel?
  13. I have other commitments on Saturdays. Does PMD ever have projects on Sundays or weeknights?
  14. I would like to volunteer with my child. Does PMD organize any projects suitable for children?
  15. Does PMD have a privacy statement?

  1. Who is behind PMD?


    PMD is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1992 in Boston, Massachusetts. PMD is entirely run by volunteer board members, directors, and officers who also hold full-time jobs and other responsibilities. After running PMD as an unpaid volunteer while working for several other charities coordinating volunteers and writing grant proposals and newsletters for an environmental charity, Executive Director and Founder Lori Tsuruda was finally hired to work full-time for PMD beginning in November 2001.

    As of August 2006, 3,200+ volunteers have given more than 41,000 hours helping 105 charitable groups in Greater Boston by participating in nearly 600 PMD projects. PMD volunteers are of all ages, with many people ages 20 to 40.

    PMD relies on financial support from individuals, corporations, and foundations.

    Similarly, PMD relies on volunteer supporters to maintain our Web site and e-mail list. (To conserve our limited resources, we communicate about upcoming PMD events via a private e-mail list rather than US mail.)

     

     

     

     

     

     

  2. How do I participate in PMD Community service projects?


    After learning about particular PMD service projects by e-mail, web site, or telephone (617-298-0025), check your calendar for your reliable availability.

    If there's a match, e-mail before the sign up deadlines (but no earlier than 1 month prior to a project) and provide all of the requested information, typically the project date, your complete name, complete mailing address, land and cell phone numbers, fax number, and e-mail address. Then someone will e-mail a confirmation of your participation if there is space available.

    Then the week before the project, you will be sent a hardcopy mailing by USPS that contains information on the agency we'll be helping, what to expect, what to bring, and how to get there by car and by public transit.

    On the day of the project, you travel to the project site prepared to work (with breaks) for the entire project time span. You will also learn how your work supports to mission of the agency served.

    PMD projects typically involve 12-20 people. Half are usually first-time PMD volunteers.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  3. Are PMD community service projects accessible by public transportation?


    Nearly all PMD projects are accessible by public transportation. If a project is not, PMD organizes alternative transportation, usually car pooling among volunteers.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  4. How does PMD find projects?


    Mostly by word-of-mouth. We hear from our volunteers, agencies who we have helped in the past, agencies who were referred by agencies that we have helped in the past, etc. PMD projects are hands-on, non-clerical and non-fundraising in nature, and they are typically planned two months or more in advance. We seek work that could not be accomplished without volunteer help and resource. If you know of specific agencies that need specific work projects completed, please contact Lori at 617-298-0025 or email and request our Answers to Frequently Asked Questions by Charities.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  5. Are there any PMD projects during the holidays or late summer?


    PMD purposely organizes fewer projects during the holidays and August. We have found that fewer volunteers participate in PMD projects during the summer months and that during the holidays there is an overabundance of well-intentioned volunteers and volunteer groups that typically overwhelm the needs and the staffs of most charitable organizations. In addition, during the holidays and summer most volunteers are often unable or unwilling to commit to participating at the levels required for successful PMD projects (e.g., signing up in advance and participating for an entire project time span).

    PMD organizes projects helping Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly on Easter when it is more difficult for this charity to attract volunteers.

    PMD encourages you to start a new tradition, volunteering in the summer time (when there are volunteer shortages) rather than the hectic holidays in November and December.

    If you would really like to volunteer during the holidays, please plan ahead early - contact the volunteer coordinators at local shelters and other community agencies. They would be happy to tell you about their upcoming volunteer opportunities. There may not always be a match between their needs and your availability. Remember, volunteers are generally needed more during NON-holiday times when regular volunteer participation dwindles, especially at the beginning of the new year and during the summer.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  6. My group wants to do a community service project. can we participate in PMD projects?


    Yes and no. The volunteer opportunities advertised on the PMD web site and email list are geared for individual people, not groups. PMD offers Corporate Partnerships for companies’ community involvement programs and Project Sponsorship for other groups.

    Corporate Partnerships involve 15-20 people in four, half-day projects during business hours that enable participants to work together as a team, enjoy a sense of accomplishment, and learn about and discuss topics of interest over a two-year period. With PMD’s expert guidance, experience, and community connections, corporate partners develop successful projects and community relationships. PMD corporate partnership projects involve hands-on tasks, team work, and learning goals. Project selection (and associated expenses) is driven by a company’s values, goals, timeline, and budget.

    PMD Corporate Partners include Bingham McCutchen, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, McKesson, and BT Conferencing. Please contact Lori Tsuruda at 617-298-0025 or emailfor more information about Corporate Partnerships.

    PMD offers Project Sponsorship as a dependable, meaningful way for other groups to participate in quality community service projects tailored to their interests while also performing needed work for charitable groups in the community. Depending on the scope of the proposed project, Project Sponsorship typically involves a $1,500 charitable donation to PMD for project expenses or an in-kind exchange of goods or services, two to three months of advance planning, a special recruitment mailing to all potential project, tools, and project coordination for the entire project.

    Past project sponsors have included the Boston Area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, Kenyon College Alumni, and Circle K. Please contact Lori Tsuruda at 617-298-0025 or email for more information about Project Sponsorship.

    Also, PMD can sometimes provide information on current volunteer needs with which we are familiar since we do have ongoing relationships with some charitable organizations and their volunteer coordinators. Unfortunately, due to our limited volunteer staff and financial resources, PMD is not in a position to act as a clearinghouse for group projects. We recommend visiting web sites where you can browse/search posted volunteer opportunities. http://www.energizeinc.com/prof/volop.html

     

     

     

     

     

     

  7. Why can't I signup my friends to volunteer with me?


    PMD requires that individual volunteers take responsibility for their own participation beginning with signing up for the projects themselves. When someone tries to sign up a friend, too often the friend doesn't take this commitment to participate as seriously, which in turn impacts the charities we strive to assist and the rest of the volunteers.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  8. Why do I have to sign-up by project sign-up deadlines to participate in PMD projects?


    Volunteers who sign-up by the project sign-up deadlines enable PMD to plan quality community service projects that enable us to (a) send detailed project information by U.S. mail to all volunteers, (b) be more confident there will be enough volunteers to complete the work we estimate we can accomplish, and (c) make sure that we have the appropriate amount of tools, materials, and other resources for the group.

    Though the PMD Community Service Opportunity flyers give sign-up deadlines, interested volunteers are welcome to call 617-298-0025 after the deadlines to inquire if volunteers are still needed and/or there is still space. Due to the last-minute nature of these sign-ups, people who call must have email or access to a facsimile machine (or be willing to participate without the benefit of a map) to receive the detailed project information in advance.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  9. Why do I have to provide my address/phone number just to sign-up for the email list?


    We require that you provide at least your complete USPS mailing address, home phone number, and cell phone number so we can accurately communicate specific project information and last minute changes for projects for which you have explicitly signed up to participate. We do not share this information. If there are repeated problems with email sent to you, we will also call to make you aware of them.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  10. Why must I commit to participate for a whole project?


    PMD needs volunteers to commit to participate for a whole project day, not just part of it, because we need people to work as a team from start to finish, from becoming oriented to cleaning up. We have found that volunteers who arrive late or leave early do not feel as satisfied about the work accomplished because they do not see how the work site looked at the beginning or when it was completed. Since PMD only asks for single project day commitment and not weekly commitment or membership dues, we do not think it is unreasonable to ask folks to commit to participate for a project day.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  11. Why do PMD email and project packets repeatedly discuss my commitment to participate in the entire project and the consequences of not doing so?


    Unfortunately, not everyone takes their volunteer commitments seriously. (In fact, many people have blatantly told us so!) PMD expends its very limited resources on project planning, tools, and materials so that people can easily volunteer to make a difference to recipient charities. When volunteer "spaces" are underutilized and/or we are unable to complete all the work needed due to unexpected understaffing, we fail the charities we strive to serve.

    If you are a responsible volunteer, just disregard these references since you already know that you will be participating. If you do become ill or something serious happens to a loved one, then please consult those contingency directions.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  12. Once signed up, why am I repeatedly asked to call if I need to cancel?


    PMD strives to plan sufficient work, tools, and materials for the number of volunteers signed up to participate. When volunteers cannot participate, we need to know so we can adjust appropriately. We ask you to call us immediately and in advance of the project so that we will learn this information in time. When we are unexpectedly unable to complete all the work needed due to understaffing, we fail the charities we strive to serve.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  13. I have other commitments on Saturdays. Does PMD ever have projects on Sundays or weeknights?


    PMD organizes projects on Sundays several times a year. Sunday projects are more challenging to plan because they do not usually attract as many participants as Saturday ones and because the recipient charitable groups must find staff willing to work with us on a Sunday.

    PMD has begin organizing weeknight projects in conjunction with community groups that we already support through our weekend service projects.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  14. I would like to volunteer with my child. Does PMD organize any projects suitable for children?


    PMD occasionally organizes projects that are appropriate for children to participate if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian who can work along side them. Youth-friendly projects contain relevant restrictions and wording in their descriptions. These projects usually involve outdoor work or indoor cleaning.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  15. Does PMD have a privacy statement?


    Yes. It is PMD's policy not to share personal information, not even with the charities we serve. Furthermore, we never add people to our email list without their explicit request/approval.

    In terms of our fundraising solicitation list, we do generally add anyone who volunteers for a PMD service project, particularly since we rely on our volunteers for financial support.