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:

Black Girls Code is looking for someone to provide flexible tech support over the course of 4 weeks, in areas like tools set up and implementation, systems auditing, or process updates. This will save the organization $2,355, allowing them to cultivate the next generation of coders and grow the number of women of color in technology. Browse more IT projects here.

Lionheart Foundation is looking for someone to help design a mobile app to improve how they deliver services and information to their beneficiaries, connect with supporters, and promote events and programs. This will save the organization over $14,000 and increase the number of incarcerated adults, youth at risk and teen parents their program can work with. Browse more web development projects here.

Breast Cancer Action is looking for someone to create an infographic that highlights key insights from their data, that can be easily understood by different audiences. This will save the organization $4,212, allowing them to expand their work to achieve health justice for all women at risk of and living with breast cancer. Browse more graphic design projects here.

African Family Health Organization is looking for someone to revise their Employee Handbook, improving transparency and accountability with clarified rights, policies, and other expectations. This will save the organization $2,430, allowing them to utilize their resources for more immediate client needs like food, safety supplies, access to medical care, emergency cash assistance, and support for pregnant women. Browse more human resources projects here.

I could go on and on. As I think you can see, these are 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.