Volunteering with NICU Families Northwest
Supporting local NICU families is rewarding work, and we want to match your interests, skills, and talents to projects and programs you'll enjoy.
Find Your Place to Make an Impact
Our goal is to find a role for you in our organization that is fun and meaningful to you while helping serve our community of NICU families. If you’ve done volunteer work for other organizations or have ideas about specific NFNW projects that interest you, don’t hesitate to let us know. You can email Volunteer@NICUFamiliesNW.org for more information about how to fit NICU Families Northwest into your schedule. Below is a list of typical volunteer opportunities and responsibilities.
Every We Care Package delivered to an inpatient family contains a handwritten note of encouragement. This intimate introduction to the group and its members conveys the support of our community in personal and approachable way. We invite NICU parents whose children have been discharged to write these notes as a way to build a bridge to our dynamic and welcoming group and to offer the social and emotional support that is critical in the first few weeks of the hospital experience.
Our monthly volunteer days are typically occupied with preparing books for distribution through The Littlest Reader Project, assembling We Care Packages, writing notes to inpatient families, and putting personal finishing touches on our special occasion gifts. Volunteer Days are scheduled on or around the 11th of every month between 10:00am and 3:00pm, and are hosted at the home of our Founder in the North Tabor neighborhood of Portland. We have a great mix of NICU parents who attend regularly so if you’re looking for a social opportunity to connect with NICU peers, a Volunteer Day is a great way to get involved.
Making deliveries of books, care packages, or special items to our Partner Hospitals is easy and requires a maximum of 1-1.5 hours depending on which hospital you choose and where you live. Drivers pick-up in Northeast Portland (North Tabor), are provided with a delivery receipt and any instructions needed, drive to the hospital, and drop off at the unit or with the main/reception/volunteer desk as per hospital protocol. NICU staff are always grateful to see a friendly face in a purple NFNW t-shirt, so let us know if we can provide you one for your volunteer work.
We occasionally promote our organization at NICU reunions, healthcare and family-focused industry events, or events hosted by our community partners such as Baby Blues Connection, The NW Mothers Milk Bank, etc. Tabling an event for NICU Families Northwest is a great way to spread the word about our incredible programs and services, as well as to engage with the amazing families who belong to our peer-to-peer network. Hours vary.
As a 501(c)3 designated nonprofit, we have a Board of Directors who steer our organization and support our mission. Board membership is a great way to support NICU families as a leader in the community, help the organization achieve its strategic goals, and to use your experience to support others. Recruiting begins in late Spring, early Summer, with an application deadline of July 15th for the coming term. NICU Families Northwest Board members serve for a term of one year (October to September) and meet 10 months out of the year for two hours. Board Members are expected to be engaged in supporting the organization a minimum of 3 hours per month with regular email communication, occasional project work, and some in-person work as needed for events or fundraising.
Ready to make a difference?
Frequently Asked Questions
I didn't have a baby in in the NICU. Can I still volunteer?
We welcome anyone and everyone to volunteer with NFNW and the support of non-NICU peers is so deeply appreciated by our families. On occasion there may be a need specifically for former NICU parents (“graduates”) as is the case when we recruit for people to write the personal notes that accompany our We Care Packages. For that project, it’s important that the content comes from a place of personal experience and is offered by a peer that’s available within our online network to continue supporting the inpatient family. Generally, most of our volunteer activities can be completed by anyone.
Is there a regularly scheduled day for volunteering with NFNW?
We hold a volunteer day on or around the 11th of every month. Volunteer day runs from 10:00am to 3:00pm and is a casual, come-as-you-are, socially oriented event. New volunteers are always welcome, with or without notice though RSVPs are appreciated if you’ll be staying for our pizza lunch.
Is there volunteer training?
We don’t have a formal volunteer training program but do our best to provide all the necessary information a volunteer needs for his or her given task. If you attend a Volunteer Day, the host will introduce you to the group and review the projects for the day to ensure you know how to accomplish the tasks.
Can I bring my baby/toddler/teenager to Volunteer Day?
Health is a premium for NICU families past and present so we make every effort to limit exposure to unhealthy germs or viruses. Healthy babies, toddlers, teenagers, grandparents… really anyone is welcome at Volunteer Day. If the host or his/her family is managing an illness at the time of scheduled volunteer day, an email will be sent out to inform volunteers who have RSVPed. NICU Families Northwest takes no offense when volunteers prioritize their health and stay home.
Can I wear my baby/toddler while I volunteer with NFNW?
We are pro baby-wearing at NICU Families Northwest and love to get our baby fix by proxy. That being said, we have a couple of events where the presence of healthy infants/toddlers can create challenging emotions for parents still unsure of their baby’s outcomes. It’s not uncommon for NICU parents to feel resentment in the company of healthy pregnant women or newer babies. We want to avoid this conflict for parents and make sure they feel comfortable when we’re coming into their space in the hospitals and we will happily find another opportunity for you to volunteer where your baby is welcome.
I've got a job, a kid, and I can't make it to a Volunteer Day- is there any way I can still help?
Absolutely! We often have small tasks that can be done at home on an ad-hoc basis. Writing notes of encouragement, organizing print materials, etc. are all helpful ways to volunteer outside of regular business hours. Making deliveries to our Partner Hospitals is another minimal time investment and can often be planned around school or work schedules. Tell us a little bit about your schedule and we’ll find a way to work NFNW into your routine.