Nov 7th, 2022
Find a Volunteer From Your Local Community
Build connections with local professionals.
When communities come together, they have the potential to create significant change and impact -- but they need equitable access to resources to do so. At Catchafire, we believe in equipping nonprofits and community leaders with the resources and capacity support they need to focus on their mission. With unrestricted access to resources and talent, we can accelerate and support community impact.
With over a decade of capacity building expertise, Catchafire bridges the gap to link grantmakers, nonprofits, and volunteers together. We connect nonprofits to a global network of skilled volunteer professionals ready to lend their skills and expertise virtually. Based on availability and skill set, volunteers can provide support through one-hour strategy consultation calls, or longer projects related to critical needs such as graphic design, finance, IT, fundraising, marketing and communications, and more.
Nonprofits can post a project within five minutes, with an average match time of five days for projects and calls. Every short-term project template is built by industry experts, designed to respond to organizational needs, grow capacity quickly, and be easy to use. They're able to receive immediate capacity support, tangible deliverables, and save significant money and staff time. In return, volunteers gain exposure to the nonprofit sector, build their portfolio and network, and develop lasting relationships with community changemakers. To date, volunteers on Catchafire have saved nonprofits over $200 million and donated over 1 million hours.
While we connect nonprofits to a wide network of volunteers around the world, we also believe in the importance of local, contextual expertise. Community needs are best met by members of the community who are familiar with the specific social issues of their local neighborhood.
Noah’s Animal House Foundation experienced this firsthand on Catchafire. A pet facility located in Reno, Nevada, the nonprofit organization matched with Blair, a local resident, on an Instagram set up and strategy project. Blair helped Noah's Animal House Foundation use Instagram to engage with their community and expand their network of supporters. Blair’s support saved the organization over $4,000, allowing them to focus their funds on equipment and care for pets.
Being a local resident was a huge asset to the organization, allowing them to meet Blair in person, receive in-depth project support, and develop a lasting relationship with a skilled volunteer in their community.
“Blair was truly a blessing to work with; she was also local and that was a huge plus to me. She went above and beyond to assist with our nonprofit. Being that she is local, she came to our establishment and worked with me to create an onsite video. While she was helping with that, her husband was volunteering his time to help walk the dogs and play with the cats. She took control of the project, provided an agenda for every meeting, and created suggestions and worksheets for me to use. I was able to easily implement the suggestions and if I had any questions, she was there to assist. Even though this project is completed, our work together is not. She has become a friend and a volunteer. I would work with Blair every day if I could!”
-Kristin M., Marketing/Volunteer Manager
With our latest product release, nonprofits can now find and request volunteers that are nearby to source talent and support from their local community.
Request a Local Volunteer
We want to ensure that the matching process to find a volunteer is:
- As easy as possible for both nonprofits and volunteers
- A successful match, resulting in project completion and a high satisfaction rating from both the nonprofit and volunteer
Catchafire’s Request a Volunteer (RAV) feature allows organizations to find a volunteer who is a great fit for their project or call and invite them to apply. The Request a Volunteer feature allows nonprofits to find a volunteer best-equipped to address their needs more quickly. Nonprofits can proactively find a volunteer who is highly qualified and invite them to apply, instead of waiting for volunteers to apply to their project. Plus, volunteers love getting requested for projects, so they don’t have to seek them out.
How does the Request a Volunteer feature work? How can nonprofits easily find a volunteer?
Once nonprofits post a project, they can use Catchafire's proprietary matching algorithm, which recommends volunteers that are considered the best fit for the organization's needs based on factors such as skills, experience, and volunteer ratings.
The Request a Volunteer feature then presents the organization with a list of highly qualified volunteers who are eager to help the organization. Personalized invitations can be sent to multiple volunteers, asking them to apply to a specific project or call. Nonprofit users can access the RAV feature on the confirmation page after posting a project or call, or from their dashboard on projects or calls that have not yet matched with a volunteer.
What are the benefits of the Request a Volunteer feature?
With Catchafire's Request a Volunteer feature, nonprofits can reach out to a volunteer directly after posting a project to seek their support. This allows nonprofits to have flexibility and agency in requesting volunteers they think are perfect for a project after looking at their profile. With this feature, nonprofits have access to top talent and we make it easy for them to connect with skilled professionals ready to support their project. The Request? a Volunteer feature streamlines the match process and takes the administrative burden off of the nonprofits to vet and find a volunteer for their projects.
It also allows for nonprofits to easily find a volunteer they have worked with in the past, and request to work together again. In last year's volunteer survey, over 75% of matches were with repeat volunteers.
With the ability to see recommended volunteers and request specific volunteers for their projects, nonprofits are in the driver's seat for every engagement on the Catchafire platform.
What does the latest product release include, and why is it significant?
Now, with our latest product release, nonprofit users can filter the Request a Volunteer results to find a volunteer who is nearby and a member of the community they are serving.
This allows nonprofits to source and find a volunteer from their community and build relationships with experienced professionals from their local neighborhood. Sustainable work is locally-led; residents are best positioned to advocate for social issues in their community and provide support. Local volunteers may also have a better understanding of the social and organizational issues and challenges the nonprofit is facing based on lived experience and community expertise.
In last year's volunteer survey, we saw that over half of volunteers stayed involved beyond the first project, with many becoming donors, informal advisors, repeat volunteers, or board members. By building these relationships and requesting local volunteers, organizations can build an active, sustainable pipeline of local supporters to help advance their mission.
“Our volunteers have come from all over the country, as well as a couple from right here in Atlanta. The volunteer who led our strategic plan revision project lives locally, and has joined our Board of Directors after completing the project.”
-Susan S., Interim Co-Executive Director, Georgia Symphony Orchestra
For volunteers, many are passionate about giving back and getting connected to their local community, motivating them to contribute their skills on Catchafire.
“If i see a project that’s LA-based, I am attracted to it so I can take care of my hometown...One hour calls are great because you can give advice. I felt like I could really provide a service because I was getting groups in these one hour calls where they’re just starting out, they’ll post on the browse project page and say ‘we’re getting ready to do a strategic plan, what should we be thinking about?' Those calls are always about thinking at a 30,000 foot level to take the next step to do the project.”
-Larry K., Volunteer
Driven by lived experience, volunteers are able to expand their impact in their local community. By volunteering on Catchafire, they can advocate for social issues and gain exposure to the philanthropic sector:
“Catchafire is just so unique. It’s not just your local community, it’s a global community. I work in the automotive industry here in Detroit, but Catchafire allows me to expand my horizons and work on social issues. Underprivileged kids in Detroit are very hard hit. Supporting their education, their learning, and helping them feel encouraged to move beyond their circumstances is important. I was one of those inner city kids, so I can relate.”
-Daryl T., Volunteer
Can volunteers search for local projects in their community?
Yes! While nonprofits now have the ability to search for local volunteers, volunteers can also look for local projects on their end.
When volunteers on Catchafire are searching for projects, they have the opportunity to volunteer for local nonprofit organizations. There are several ways for volunteers to search for local projects:
- On the Volunteer Discover page, you can explore a section specifically tailored to projects from nearby nonprofits.
2. On the Find a Project page, click the nearby filter.
3. On the Browse Organizations page, click the nearby filter.
When browsing organizations, volunteers also have the ability to ‘follow’ an organization they are interested in. Volunteers can browse and follow organizations from their local community, and will receive custom notifications whenever these organizations post a project.
Connecting nonprofits and volunteers on a local level has a significant long-term impact on the community by strengthening connections among social advocates. Investing in the community helps to secure a brighter future and advance the mission-critical work of nonprofits.
About Volunteers on Catchafire
Regardless of a nonprofit's size, budget, or location, they will have 24/7 access to volunteers on Catchafire, taking the burden off organizations to do everything. Volunteers on Catchafire have an average rating of 9.2/10 by nonprofits, demonstrating a high satisfaction rating. To date, over 10,000 organizations have matched with volunteers on Catchafire, with over 54,000 matches between nonprofits and volunteers overall.
Volunteers on Catchafire are high-quality, skilled professionals:
- 11 years of professional experience, on average
- 65% have nonprofit experience
- Over 80% have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
- 72% are mid-level or senior employees
- 76% are current or previous board or staff members at a nonprofit
Volunteers provide critical capacity support for nonprofits, particularly when it comes to staffing needs and project support:
"When I am posting projects for JerseySTEM, the amount of applicants that I receive is great. It’s wonderful to see a platform like this who can ease the staffing needs for recruiters like us. It’s really a good platform to find such dedicated resources for the company."
- Bushra A., Recruiting Partner and Staff Manager at JerseySTEM
To learn more about the impact of our volunteers, visit our metrics page or read our latest impact stories.
Get Involved With Catchafire
If you’re a grantmaker and would like to learn more about equipping nonprofits in your community with responsive, high-quality operational support, let’s connect. Email us here.
If you are interested in volunteering and contributing your time and talent to your local community, take action and sign up on Catchafire today! Sign up for one-hour consultation calls or full-length projects based on your availability and skill set. You can provide support in a wide variety of critical department areas such as marketing, fundraising, finance, IT, HR, graphic design, and more. Your support makes a direct, instant impact for nonprofits and the communities they serve. It's a virtual volunteering experience unlike any other.
Share this article
Copy the link, then close this window.