Use this list to help you as you search the SLOT-C Database. Let’s start this tutorial by searching for a project. Click on the “Search projects” tab and enter your instructor’s last name.
Then click the “search” button. This will take you to the “Select your instructor” page. Click on your instructor’s name. You’ll then need to enter the course password provided by your instructor into the “course password” field. Then click “Enter.” This will take you to the “Project criteria” page.
Read the instructions at the top of the page to learn the details of your assignment. Your instructor probably gave you a separate assignment sheet, but he or she might have posted instructions that appear at the top of this page, too. Keep your instructor’s requirements and suggestions in mind as you search for a project. On this page, you’ll select “Project criteria” to limit or expand your search. Before you begin, decide whether you want to work on a project nearby, or on a project with a more distant nonprofit.
The nonprofit organizations in the SLOT-C Database are located all over the United States. Some nonprofits allow you to telecommute – in other words, to use email, videoconferencing, and phone calls to get your work done, but others don’t. Let’s begin by selecting “Criteria.” In the “Show me projects” box, you can select either projects that allow telecommuting or projects that are located in a specific state. Note that you can only select one option at a time. If you choose to look for a project in a specific state, keep in mind that you can only search for one state at a time. If some areas in your state are too far to commute to, remember to make sure the project you have chosen allows you to telecommute if you’re not in that nonprofit’s geographic area.
After making the selection, choose which project types you would like to search for. The project categories include editing, instructional materials, letters and memos, presentation materials, promotional and informative materials, proposals and grants, research and reports, special skills, and web communications. Again, keep in mind your instructor’s guidelines as you narrow your search. Each project category includes several types of projects.
Some are documents, such as short manuals. Others are activities, such as copy-editing. You may select as many types of projects as you like, but keep in mind that limiting your selections will make the search results more focused. After you have made your selections, click the “search” button. The results on the “Search results” page are sorted by project type.
The results will contain the name of the organization, the location, the type of project help needed, and whether or not telecommuting is allowed. If the organization has chosen to list itself as politically oriented or faith-based, you will see the words “politically oriented” or “faith-based” at the bottom of that organization’s entry. Click on the green button beside the organization’s name to see the mission statement and contact information of that organization. Use the mission statement to help you decide if the organization will be a good match for you. You will need the contact information if you choose that project.
Once you find a project that suits you, let your instructor know. A few instructors prefer to contact the representative of the nonprofit on your behalf. Other instructors want you to make the contact on your own but also want you to give them the representative’s information, because they like to make contact separately. And some instructors will leave all the contacting entirely up to you. If you need to make the initial contact, email or call the listed representative from the organization. Several students might contact that nonprofit about working on the project, so be ready to answer questions about your experience and skills, to talk about your interest in their organization, and even to submit a resume.
Be prepared to ask the nonprofit a few questions, too. Ask for further project details, and ask for project deadlines. Also, ask if the project you have selected is one of a set. To create a set of documents with a consistent design and coherent message, you may need to coordinate your work on your specific project with the work of other students who use the SLOT-C Database.
As you begin planning your project, make sure you ask whether the organization uses a style guide, such as Chicago Manual of Style, or whether it has its own in-house style guide. Many large nonprofits, such as United Way, have in-house style guides. You will likely need to follow house style in the documents you create. Finally, remember that you are working for an organization that is trying to help the community using limited resources.