Catchafire: A Platform for Strategic Volunteering

Stay-at-home parents who are looking to go back to work are often advised to volunteer as a means of keeping their skills updated and relevant and to close the gap on their resume. The problem with this advice is that not all volunteering opportunities have real value in the marketplace and the ones that do can be as hard to find as paid work!

Enter Catchafire. It’s a platform for professionals to find meaningful projects to help nonprofit organizations. It’s truly amazing. You go on the site, find a project that looks interesting (you can sort by causes you are interested in and/or by the skills you want to give) and apply. If there’s a fit on both sides you get matched and you start working on your project.

Here are some examples of projects you can find there:

Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union is looking for a marketing strategy (8-10 week project) that will save them $5,000 which will allow them to rescue 5 borrowers from predatory loans.

The Wilkinson Center is looking for someone to do a 1 -2 week tech setup project. It will save them $4,000 which allows them to feed 800 families for a month.

Wingspan Arts is looking for website copywriting to save $3,750 that allows them to provide after school scholarships to 5 low-income families in New York City.

The NC Humanities Council is looking for someone to write their annual report to save them $5,000 which will allow them to fund three grants.

Cape Fear River Watch is looking for someone to create an infographic to save them $2,000 which will allow them to collect and analyze 20 water samples.

New Friends New Life is looking for a strategic plan that will save them $9,000 and help them provide rental assistance to 20 mothers who have escaped from sex trafficking.

I could go on and on. As I think you can see these are very deep, meaningful projects. (Of course they also have lighter weight ways to give back, too, including 1-hour phone consultations.) The projects tend to skew heavily toward marketing, technology and strategic planning. All the projects are really well scoped and described so you easily figure out which ones are most likely to align with your skills.

What I like about Catchafire is they do some vetting of the organizations so you know your work will have real meaning and value. They do a great job of making it easy to connect with the organization (they use a dashboard to allow you to set up the initial interview call) and they ask for feedback (from you and from the organizations) along the way.

If you are looking for a volunteering projects that will allow you to give something back to great causes and give you real, marketable experience check out Catchafire.