This week we welcome a special guest post from Kerrin Smith at Catchafire! Catchafire is just beginning to expand to Chicago and we’re so excited for them to launch. Your non-profit can apply to win a free 6-month membership — check it out!
What do you visualize when you hear “volunteerism?” The first images that come to mind are likely those of soup ladles or freshly painted fences, as we often think of volunteering as hands-on experience of helping local nonprofits with miscellaneous needs. While this vision of volunteerism is valid and the work itself critical, when it comes to giving back, skills-based volunteerism could be considered the new kid on the block.
Skills-based volunteerism is the intersection of passion and purpose: it allows professionals to find a cause that excites them and make an impact by sharing skills they already possess, such marketing or finance. Skills-based volunteering empowers professionals to become changemakers while honing their skills, building their resumes, and expanding their networks. What’s even cooler? Nonprofits and social good organizations get the help they need to tackle their most pressing organizational needs, in turn building capacity and expediting their social impact.
Check out what this looks like in action: As the Resilience Advocacy Project (RAP), an organization conducting youth-led grassroots advocacy efforts to change youth laws and policies, prepared to expand, Executive Director Brooke recognized that she needed help telling RAP’s story in a way that would resonate with people on a deeper level. Through Catchafire, Brooke connected with Will, a branding and experience consultant looking to use his skills to “influence positive social change.” Together Brooke and Will clarified RAP’s mission and created branding materials that have improved RAP’s donor relations and grant-writing abilities while making it easy for the board to articulate RAP’s important work. As Brooke says, “When I talk about our growth…as an institution [Will] is such a core part of that…I’m good at what I do and [he] is really good at what he does, and together we managed to make our impact so much bigger.”
Ready to put your skills to use? Here are a few places you you can!
As the largest skills-based volunteer platform, Catchafire has a community of over 2,000 nonprofits and over 25,000 professionals nationwide. With a project menu of over 80 projects, Catchafire offers a way for most any professional to give their skills in a meaningful way. In celebration of its recent Chicago launch, Catchafire is giving away free 6-month memberships to 20 of Chicagoland’s most deserving nonprofits. For the latest on the competition follow @Catchafire and encourage your favorite Chicago-area nonprofits to apply!
Based out of Chicago, WomenOnCall is a “community of skilled, experienced, professional women who have an ardent interest in helping nonprofit organizations fulfill their missions…” Through “short-term, high-impact projects,” the professionals of WomenOnCall use their skills to “make a positive difference in the world.”
LinkedIn for Volunteers
Whether it’s a seat on a board or an opportunity to donate those CPA skills pro bono, LinkedIn for Volunteers is a treasure trove of volunteer opportunities. LinkedIn users can connect their social good interests back to their profiles and indicate their interest in specific cause interests or roles while diving into these opportunities offline too.
“EPIC supports Chicago nonprofits with big stories to tell and budgets too small to produce the kind of strategic, creative services they deserve.” Working specifically with advertising and design, marketing, and PR professionals looking to contribute their skills, “EPIC empowers creative people to make social change happen in Chicago.”
The Taproot Foundation “makes business talent available to organizations working to improve society.” Through Taproot, “organizations tackling social problems have access to the marketing, design, technology, management or strategic planning resources they need to succeed.”