How business skills make an impact and Catchafire!
Recently, I was crawling through Patagonia’s website when I stumbled upon a link about putting your talents into real action to make a positive impact. That all sounded great to me, so I clicked and discovered a whole world of matchmaking for business professionals like myself, who want to lend their unique skills to non-profits in need on a project basis.
Catchafire.org matches skilled professional volunteers with nonprofit organizations to help them with their vast needs, all done virtually. The online platform gives nonprofits access to more than 100 pre-scoped projects like creating an elevator pitch, organizing your business plan, conducting a board assessment, and making a marketing plan. The platform works by helping nonprofits post a customized project, screen volunteer candidates, and match volunteers to projects. According to their website at the time of writing this article, they’ve successfully helped 6,000 non-profits on 20,000 projects, saving an estimated $100,000,000!
In my case, having a strategy and marketing background, it was easy to find plenty of impactful and intellectually stimulating challenges that my skills could solve a hard-to-fill gap in several non-profit’s organizations. It was surprisingly easy to create a profile and start browsing the hundreds of curated projects available. Initially, it was hard to choose just one, but I wanted to test the waters and not over-extend my capacity since I was also working full-time as a management consultant.
Once I heard back and landed the gig on a marketing plan for a nationally recognized organization that needed a marketing plan for a new volunteer leadership program. We had our first call with the person leading the project who outlined the background and objectives the marketing plan needed, and we were off!
My experience was terrific, the organization was grateful for my help and I was equally honored to be able to contribute in such a way to an impactful cause. I learned a great deal about balancing the needs of all the stakeholders involved in non-profits and ultimately helping to launch an exciting program that has gone on to make a tremendous impact on local communities. Since many of us are hunkered down at home and in need of something to keep us challenged, I would recommend taking a look at the vast array of projects that may spark the excitement in you to lend a hand.
By Ian Crosno