Make an impact from the comfort of your own home.
From the comfort of your own home, access virtual volunteer opportunities where you can contribute your skill set to nonprofits and causes that you are passionate about. Catchafire connects you with virtual volunteer opportunities that will make a lasting impact for the communities you work with.
Since the rise of COVID-19, nonprofits have continued to face an increased demand in services and decreased capacity to carry out programming, making skills-based volunteering more important than ever before. Most nonprofits are overextended and in need of skills-based volunteers who can lend their expertise. When you volunteer, nonprofits are able to maintain their programming and operations, and focus on the communities they serve. Volunteers provide essential capacity support on a variety of critical department areas, including:
- Data Analysis
- Event Planning
- Executive Leadership
- Human Resources
- Marketing and Design
- Professional Development
- Program Management
- Strategy Consulting
- Web Development
Volunteering has a multitude of personal and professional benefits, and Catchafire’s platform makes it easy to sign up and get started.
Is Virtual Volunteering Worth It?
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, working remotely has become the norm for many professionals. We’ve understood that being effective is not limited to being present in the office. This not only applies to our daily jobs, but also to how we volunteer. Whether you live in Dallas, Chicago, or anywhere else on the globe, you can make a difference for nonprofit organizations through virtual volunteer opportunities.
Catchafire has been facilitating virtual volunteering for over a decade through our innovative matching platform. These remote volunteer opportunities offer professionals a chance to make a significant contribution to the communities they care about, as well as lifetime connections with passionate nonprofit leaders. Indeed, in our 2021 volunteer survey, over half of the respondents reported that they continued their relationships with the nonprofit organizations beyond the initial projects. In some instances, volunteers connect so deeply with the organization that they go on to become board members. Others become long-term supporters of the organization as donors, advisors, or repeat volunteers. 76% of matches on Catchafire are with repeat volunteers.
Volunteers report a deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction - they are not only participating in uplifting causes they care about (the environment, social justice, human rights, housing, education, and more), but they are also building up their resumes, portfolios, and professional experience. Volunteering is fun, meaningful, and educational, but it can also contribute to mental health and wellness. Per the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “by engaging in a common mission or cause with others, you feel more connected and useful, which spurs happier thoughts and a more positive outlook”. One of our volunteers, Chetna, says, ““It makes you feel like you’ve done something right, and we all need a little bit of that in our lives.”
Volunteering is a great way to focus on professional development. Volunteers on Catchafire come from a vast range of professional backgrounds, roles, and expertise areas – volunteers range from early career professionals, to mid- and senior-level managers, to consultants and executives, to retired professionals. In our 2021 volunteer survey, 65% of our volunteer pool reported having professional experience in the nonprofit sector outside of Catchafire. Volunteering provides opportunities to contribute your skills to organizations, causes, and communities you may not be familiar with. Volunteers outside of the nonprofit sector lend their talent and knowledge from other industries and build their skills and network in philanthropy.
Each project allows you to build your professional portfolio and gain exposure to local advocates and activists. Every time you volunteer and complete a project, Catchafire creates an impact story page that you can easily share with your network to showcase your work.
"Catchafire has been a blessing and a great joy to me. It has allowed me to reach people/organizations I never would have known, develop and hone my professional skills to a far greater degree, help people around the world with my skills, knowing that they will reach and assist so many using the skills I have taught them. I have great satisfaction knowing that I have helped so many.”
“It has been very fun and useful for me. I’ve been copywriting for a long time, but for business, and Catchafire has inspired me to transition to working for nonprofits. It helped me gain experience and develop more specific skills. Now I feel qualified to reach out to local nonprofits.”
What Can Volunteers Do Virtually?
Whether it’s auditing an organization’s social media, translating a document, providing a transcription, or setting up Google Ads, all virtual volunteer opportunities have the potential to make a huge impact on nonprofit organizations and the communities they serve. Just like for-profit companies, nonprofit organizations must also contend with all of the work necessary to run efficient and effective programs, from database management, to staff hiring, to strategic planning. However, they often must do this even as they are under-resourced.
Consider a nonprofit like SHIELD, an entirely volunteer-run organization providing mentorship and educational support to minority youth in Greensboro, North Carolina. Their founder, Precious McKoy, shared: “Catchafire has provided us with the professionalism and tools we need to handle the administrative tasks that are required to keep us going so that we can focus on the programming.”
With 24 cause areas and 35 skill sets on the platform, there’s something for everyone. Depending on your skills, the causes you care about, and your availability, there are hundreds of virtual volunteer opportunities to choose from. There are two broad ways of engaging with nonprofit organizations on Catchafire:
- A one-hour call: Phone calls are great if you're willing to discuss something with a nonprofit - like brainstorming a name for a new program or choosing the right platform to build a website. These take only one hour of your time. Consultants and strategists often love volunteering on calls – it’s a quick way to share expertise, answer questions, and help guide a nonprofit on how to get started with a project. You’ll provide an immediate impact for a specific question or need.
- A project: Projects are great if you're ready to do something for a nonprofit - like design a logo or build a new Salesforce database. Projects are fully scoped and range anywhere from a couple to dozens of hours across several weeks. Before you commit to a project, you’ll usually have a chance to ask the nonprofit clarifying questions to make sure this is the right fit for you.
Every hour donated counts! Collectively, professionals on Catchafire have donated over 1 million hours and helped nonprofits save over $200 million through remote volunteering.
10 Virtual Volunteer Opportunities Right Now
For those who enjoy writing, editing, and honing their communication skills, there are many different types of challenges to take on - writing a press release, a case study, a professional bio, or a donor letter are just a few of the different types of virtual volunteer opportunities offered on Catchafire.
The impact you can make can far exceed your expectations: For example, grant writer Imani A. was excited to copy edit a grant prospectus for Caring Across Generations, one of the 10 finalists for the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge. Thanks to Imani’s help, Caring Across Generations won the $10 million dollar grant. A few hours of her time and expertise unlocked funds that will help the organization continue to reimagine the equitable care infrastructure that women and families of all kinds need and deserve.
Professionals with expertise in organizational strategy, project and people management, or executive leadership and mentorship will greatly enjoy diving into an organization’s mission, vision and values, reviewing their membership strategy, or even working with them on their elevator pitch. As an Executive and Leadership Coach, Deborah B., shared: “Catchafire has given me such an amazing opportunity to meet incredible individuals who are doing such important work. And to help them maximize their potential... what a gift!” As a consultant, you can choose to engage in one-hour calls to offer high-level strategic thinking and frameworks, or build a coaching and mentorship relationship with a nonprofit Executive Director spanning a few weeks or more.
Those looking to give back their graphic design skills will be delighted to know that this is a huge area of need for nonprofit organizations on Catchafire. Whether it’s designing social media assets, logos, brochures, flyers or impact reports, there’s a lot to choose from! Get inspired and check out some amazing illustrations created by Catchafire volunteers. For many designers, volunteering on Catchafire is a great way to build their portfolios, all the while supporting amazing organizations.
Art by volunteer John K. based in South Berwick, ME. Read the full match story here.
Many nonprofit organizations are looking for help to figure out how to best leverage their social media presence. Through these virtual volunteer opportunities, professionals can support nonprofits seeking to unlock more followers, donors, beneficiaries, or members. After completing a social media project, volunteers may receive a testimonial from the nonprofit they worked with, detailing the help they received and their appreciation. This can, in turn, be leveraged by the volunteer for their own social channels!
Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary needed feedback on their social presence and matched with volunteer Hannah A. After the 1-hour call, they shared: “Hannah was a knowledgeable resource who gave me great feedback with a stellar dose of humor. I appreciated her thorough attention to detail, how prepared she was for our call, and her patience while getting me up to speed on best practices for social media. I would highly recommend Hannah if you're looking for help with social media!”
A nonprofit’s website is one of their most precious assets and boosting their online presence can make a huge difference in their ability to achieve their mission. For those who enjoy consulting on SEO, providing website content and design, or delivering technical upgrades and improvements, there are many avenues to put your web development, web design, or tech skills to the test.
Lamine helped Australian Jewish Funders and LaunchPad assess the website's current SEO and gain actionable steps to increase traffic to their website via organic search. The $5,000 saved by working with Lamine was allocated to provide leadership development opportunities to community leaders. After the project, AJF’s Community and Innovation Manager, Rebecca, said, “WOW - What a pleasure Lamine was to work with! Lamine provided me with a detailed audit of where the challenges lay for our website, and how we could improve this. Lamine then walked me through how we could improve the SEO on our website and went over a couple of pages with me, to make sure I understood how to do it.”
For those who have mastered the art of Google Ads campaigns, who can devise an email marketing campaign in their sleep, or who are ready to create brand new marketing strategies from scratch, there are a variety of ways to donate your marketing skills, all the while improving your own skills in the process.
Kathy B., Museum Director/CEO of the Adelaide Holocaust Museum, connected with Joe over a few phone calls to brainstorm ways to reach the Museum’s target audience. She shared, “Joe helped the Adelaide Holocaust Museum develop a marketing and communications strategy. It has been a great way to ensure that the organization has a foundational strategy to build awareness of the museum and its work. Importantly it has provided the organization with a good understanding of how it can be more engaging with our current and future target markets.”
Professionals with experience in data analysis or database creation and administration will be excited to see the range of projects that nonprofit organizations post on Catchafire. Whether training staff on how to use tools such as Excel or Salesforce, providing educational resources, or diving in to analyze survey results, volunteers are sure to discover how data can make a difference for the causes they care about.
David helped Reach Out West End set up an accessible Excel dashboard for staff to track key performance indicators and measure their success.
“David’s training has helped us to take our learning and evaluation work to the next level. He was extremely flexible and responded to our needs by planning the training with our own materials and taking the necessary time for us to digest the information. He ensured that we gain the practical skills necessary to move forward with our initiative to make changes in our data tracking and reporting system.” - Linda L., Learning and Evaluation Administrator
“Working with Linda and the Reach Out team was so rewarding. Everyone involved was eager to learn and passionate about gaining greater insights into their programs. Their gratitude for the help was enough, but on top of that, I got a chance to work with great people, learn a lot, and support an organization having a positive impact in its community.” - David W., Volunteer
Remote volunteer opportunities in finance include reviewing an organization’s accounting system, helping a nonprofit with their operating budget, or even just hopping on a 1-hour call to answer finance-related questions. All of these projects can have an incredible impact on a nonprofit organization! Jan H., a retired corporate accountant, shared: “One of the best things about working with Catchafire is the diversity of problems you get to solve for people who are personable as well as grateful. This organization gives you the opportunity to make a difference and have real fun while doing it.”
What better way to bring communities together than through events? For event planners, or professionals who enjoy thinking through all the logistical pieces necessary to pull off in-person or virtual gatherings, there are many opportunities to collaborate with a nonprofit organization in this area.
Linda, a Charitable Giving Consultant and Executive Coach, provided her expertise on an event logistics planning project for UR Community Cares. She shared her experience and stated, “It was so fulfilling to work with Michelle and MD of UR Community Cares in Connecticut. This organization fills in the gaps of traditional at-home care services by mobilizing residents to care about and connect with each other. Its goal is to link people who can help to those who need help – whether it’s for one hour per week or month or year. I worked with them to plan an in-person fundraising event that could be done annually. We discussed the event theme, location, ticket price, sponsorships, entertainment and special award to a community member.”
Professionals in Human Resources (HR) can donate as little as 1 hour of their time to answer HR questions, or if they prefer, complete projects on their own, such as reviewing an organization’s onboarding process, all through remote volunteer opportunities.
Stuart helped Michigan 2-1-1 on a talent recruitment call as they considered what qualities to look for when choosing a leadership coach.
Gustavo, Michigan 2-1-1’s Research and Learning Director, said, “A highly engaged conversation with a thoughtful leader. In just one call, I walked away with extensive resources to further explore and learn on the topic of leadership. More importantly, Stuart provided me with practical insights on how to think about leadership, the many ways in which leadership is exercised, and resources on what to look for when selecting a leadership coach.”
Through Catchafire, professionals from all different sectors and backgrounds can find a meaningful way to make a contribution and donate their skills to organizations in need through virtual volunteer opportunities. By connecting with organizations online, you eliminate physical barriers that typically prevent volunteers from finding the right opportunities, and prevent nonprofit organizations from accessing the help they need. You also contribute to your own professional development, network, and overall fulfillment. If you need inspiration, you can check out what other volunteers are up to in real-time. If you’re ready to give back, you can sign up and get started today!
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