Since the launch of the workpool program in March, MAPS has decided to upgrade our member/donor/volunteer database, and I have been tasked with doing the preliminary research on our options so that we can begin the transition with the start of the new fiscal year. This is an exciting development, and it bodes well for the future of the volunteer program (a better database means more time for other things!), but unfortunately, it also means that I need to push back my review of workpool applications until after our decision has been made. You are still welcome to apply, and I will review applications in the order that they were received. I apologize for the delay, and thank you for your cooperation. In the long run, it is my sincere hope that the workpool program will make it easier for us to engage more skilled volunteers in interesting work, and I appreciate any feedback you care to offer along the way.

Happy travels this summer, and thank you for supporting MAPS.

Kynthia Brunette
MAPS Volunteer Coordinator

What’s a workpool?

workpool [wurk’-pool] n – a group of volunteers, all of whom share a certain skill, and each of whom agrees to be on-call for projects, as they arise, for a period of six months. Each person also agrees to reply to at least one project offer during that time period, or forfeit the right to reapply when the six months is up.

How many workpools are there?

To start, we are forming workpools in the following project areas:

  • A/V Post-production
  • Clinical Support (Medical Writing/Template Creation)
  • Graphic Design
  • Notetaking/Transcription (Santa Cruz locals only)
  • Proofreading

Once these workpools are established, and we’re convinced that the system is a good way to work with skilled volunteers, we may decide to include other project areas. If you have another skill that you believe would be useful, please fill out our Potential Volunteer Survey, and we will keep you posted as our volunteer program continues to grow.

How do I apply?

Fill out our workpool application form, which will ask you to submit a current resume, and/or a sample of your work, depending on which project area(s) you choose. If you seem like a good fit, you will be asked to complete a trial project, so that you can get a better sense of the kind of work that will be available, and we can get a better sense of your style. If there are more qualified applicants than there are openings in the workpool, we will make our final decisions based upon the trial projects, and anyone who does not make the cut will be able to apply again in the next application cycle.

How many people will be accepted into each workpool?

It depends on how much work we anticipate in each project area, and how many people we are able to effectively manage at once. As a starting point, we will be accepting five people into each workpool, and we will adjust that number as needed, as we get a better sense of the workflow.

Why do I have to commit for six months?

The six month time period for workpools is intended to be short enough that people will be comfortable making a firm commitment, and long enough that we will actually have a chance to get to know one another. It also allows for a regular influx of new talent, so that no one feels obligated to volunteer for longer than they are actually available, and more people get the opportunity to contribute. When your six months are up, you will be able to apply again, and you can stay active as long as your qualifications remain competitive, and you continue to reply to project offers.

Why are workpools a good thing?

A lot of the projects that inspired the idea for workpools were originally intended for our internship program, but the workflow in each project area was not steady enough to satisfy the 10-20 hrs/wk time commitment that we ask interns to make. It seemed silly (and rude) to have someone around all the time when the work was unpredictable, but when projects do pop up, we still need people we can call on that we know and trust, and we don’t always have enough time to go through the dog and pony show of verifying that a new volunteer’s skills are as advertised. Workpools give us a way to have a pre-screened pool of skilled volunteers that are ready to help, without requiring any of them to feel like they have to structure their lives around our unpredictable schedule. If you’re available to help when a project arises, you say so; if you’re in the middle of finals, or moving into a new house, you can pass.

Can I apply to more than one workpool?


If you have any other questions, please email

Thank you for your support!

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