Each year, hundreds of project managers from Washington D.C.’s Beltway area roll up their sleeves and pull out the tools of their trade for brainstorming—easel pads, Sharpie markers, and dry erase boards—to participate in Project Management Day of Service (PMDoS). The one-day community event takes place on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, also known as America’s busiest day for volunteering. Nonprofit organizations flock to PMDoS to receive probono counsel from project managers on how to assess the critical challenges they are facing and develop strategies to move their projects forward.
Spearheaded by the co-founders of Project Management for Change, Kendall Lott and Laura Barnard, PMDoS is entering its third year. The vision for the event is, “…for people to take the skill sets that they do professionally and join others who do that [same thing] professionally to help nonprofits directly,” said Kendall, who is also CEO and President of M Powered Strategies and a past chair of the Project Management Institute, Washington D.C. Chapter.
Kendall and Laura work closely with a group of core volunteers that make up the Project Management Office to bring PMDoS to fruition and dialogue with nonprofits in the months leading up to the event. This year, around 300 project managers and 100 nonprofits are expected to participate.
During the day of service, project managers are teamed up in groups of three to four and assigned the roles of lead, timekeeper, or scribe. Most volunteers are industry veterans, with at least 15 years of experience under their belts. Project managers have a solid understanding of how to define problems, organize teams, schedule work, identify analysis around work, manage risks, and so much more, Kendall shared. These are all important aspects that nonprofit organizations need to bring their missions to bear.
“Our call to action is, most specifically, project managers stand up and be counted, take your skills to a market that desperately needs you and probably can’t afford you,’” Kendall said.
In one of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s most infamous quotes he stated, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” On the third Monday of January every year, project managers answer Dr. King’s question by showing up and giving their all to help nonprofits in disparate cause areas—from mental health to arts and culture, and beyond—construct the framework that will allow them to keep their doors open to the communities they serve.
PMDoS events currently take place in the metro Washington, D.C. area; Hampton Roads, Virginia; New York City; Houston, Texas; and Queensland, Australia. To find out how to participate in PMDoS event, visit the Project Management For Change web site. Or, to discover other ways to give back using your time and talent as a skills-based volunteer, visit All For Good.