Meet Stuart Culshaw…
Stuart Culshaw is a technical communicator, web designer and content strategist and has been virtually volunteering with Professionals doing good for the past year, helping to improve various aspects of the Pdg website. Originally from England, he has worked in France for his entire professional career. He is also co-founder of Tech Writers Without Borders, a global collective dedicated to helping non-profits and social enterprises with their communication and documentation challenges. We asked Stuart to share a little about his motivations and his experience of helping out from home.
Hi, Stuart! How did you first hear about Professionals doing good?
I first learned about Professionals doing good when Luisa reached out to Tech Writers Without Borders looking for potential volunteers for her partner organisations. We put out a call for volunteers to our network, but I was so inspired by Pdg’s mission and approach that I wanted to get personally involved.
Why did you decide to volunteer remotely?
Due to both professional and personal commitments, taking time out to volunteer for several weeks or months abroad just wasn’t an option for me. I actually work from home most of the time for my day job, so I’m quite comfortable with this way of working, and the nature of the work I do also naturally lends itself to remote work. So when Luisa reached out for help, virtual volunteering was just the best way for me to get involved—though that’s not to say that I wouldn’t one day like to visit Cambodia.
Tell us more about the project you worked on.
During my early discussions with Luisa, I pointed out a few ways in which I felt the Pdg website could be improved. Luisa was aware of the issues but lamented that she did not have the time or the technical skills to fix them. Since I have a lot of experience building and maintaining websites, I offered to fix the issues for her and create a guide to explain how to make these changes herself in future.
Once the most urgent issues had been resolved, we discussed other ideas to better showcase Pdg’s work and streamline the volunteer application process. That’s how I ended up helping Luisa to create a visual data-driven impact report and restructure the content of the website to further improve the user experience.
What did you enjoy most about the experience?
Well, apart from Luisa’s tireless enthusiasm, I really enjoyed being able to share with Luisa some of the project management tools and processes that I use in my day job to break down each project into individual tasks so that we could both stay on track and share our progress.
What would be your advice to other professionals looking to volunteer remotely?
I’ve been involved in numerous non-profit initiatives over the years, so I’m used to setting aside some personal time in the evenings or at weekends for volunteering work. For someone new to remote volunteering, I would recommend dedicating specific time-slots in your weekly schedule for your volunteer work and let friends and/or family members know that you’re not available at those times. Otherwise, it’s very easy to get distracted or interrupted by other activities, which can impact your ability to fulfil your volunteer commitments.
If you’d like to have a unique experience while making a difference like Stuart did, contact Professionals doing good for more information at [email protected].
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