A few months ago I profiled an org called Sparked that connects volunteers willing to give a bit of time with organizations who could use their expertise. Today’s profile is another organization that also serves this same purpose as a matchmaker between organization needs and volunteer expertise.
Catchafire is based in New York City and serves organizations with a presence in the greater New York Area. Their mission is to improve the quality of the volunteer experience by providing pro bono opportunities for skilled professionals. They have a vision to make it easy for every professional to offer their skills for good and to make it easy for every nonprofit and social enterprise to access and effectively use pro bono assistance as a way to do more.
According to Rachael Chong, Catchafire’s Founder and CEO, “We’ve found that many professionals are looking for an outlet to do good, but don’t know where to go to make the greatest impact. At the same time, small nonprofits often struggle with limited resources, and professional services are simply unaffordable. We aim to bridge that gap, so every professional who wants to give pro bono has an opportunity for a meaningful connection to a cause they care about, and every nonprofit has access to skilled professionals.”
Catchafire has plans to make a positive impact worldwide starting with an expandion to several other markets in the United States over the next year or so.
Chong founded Catchafire two years ago because she felt there was a lack of opportunities for professionals who wanted to contribute their professional skills to help a good cause. “I used to work as a banker, and during that time, I had looked everywhere for ways to give pro bono — I wanted an alternative to the traditional model of volunteering, in which people stuff envelopes, plant trees, paint houses, etc. While those types of activities are still very important, I believed that I could make the biggest impact using my expertise for an organization that wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford my services — and I knew many of my peers felt the same way. That’s why I started Catchafire — to facilitate that connection so professionals can spend less time searching and more time doing pro bono work that matters.”
Currently they serve more than 1,000 social good organizations and more than 5,000 skilled professionals have offered their services.
Catchafire projects are structured to be short-term with clear deadlines and deliverables. This allows volunteers to maximize their impact while ensuring that projects do not drag on and on. Projects are between one to three months in length and can be completed in five hours or less per week by one individual. They also work with companies who want to offer pro bono opportunities for their employees. Chong continues, “we think pro bono is a great way for employees to give back while strengthening their professional skill.” Projects have included social media campaigns, board member searches, graphic design and more. To find volunteer opportunities, search their Open Projects page. You can even filter by area of expertise.