CBMA + Catchafire

The Campaign for Black Male Achievement, in partnership with Catchafire, is launching a skills-based volunteer program (CBMA.Catchafire.org) in January of 2015 with support from the Skillman Foundation. The average nonprofit spends 8 percent of its resources on running its organization, compared to 20 percent of resources allocated on average for companies in the private sector. We believe that providing nonprofits with access to skilled professionals can help bridge the gap.

Skills-based volunteerism is a high-impact form of volunteerism that allows an individual to donate his or her on-the-job skills (or professional skillset not practiced in the workplace) to a nonprofit in order to build the organization’s capacity. Examples of skills-based volunteer projects that can be found on the CBMA Catchafire portal include: Brand Messaging, Social Media Plan, Strategic Plan, Board Assessment, Copywriting and over 70 more project types. Normally, an organization pays $2,000 per year to use Catchafire, but because of your relationship with CBMA and support from the Skillman Foundation, it’s available to you at no charge!

HOW DO I PARTICIPATE?

  1. Register your nonprofit organization on the CBMA Catchafire portal via this link: https://cbma.catchafire.org/organization/cbma
  2. Submit your projects via the CBMA Catchafire portal.
  3. Your projects will go out to over 30,000 professionals across the U.S. automatically, via the Catchafire platform and another 2.5 million professionals via LinkedIn.
  4. You may receive a single or multiple applications from volunteers interested in your project and you will be able to determine whether an applicant is appropriate for the project or if you wish to continue to receive additional applications. 1. We anticipate it will take an average of three weeks for you to receive your first application.
  5. The Catchafire platform will enable you to coordinate interview calls for you to speak with the volunteer applicant(s) for your project, to allow you to determine whether he or she is a good fit.
    1.After your interview call you will need to accept or decline the match on the Catchafire platform.

RESOURCES

  1. If you have any questions about the program please get in touch with the Catchafire team via help@catchafire.org.
  2. Schedule a call with a Catchafire nonprofit advisor to get advice on which projects are right for your organization: Schedule a call

DETAILS TO KEEP IN MIND

  1. Timing – Projects are executed by skilled professionals committing to giving two to three hours per week over a two- to three-month period. These are often people with a full time job who will commit their volunteer hours and possibly their own time to support your organization. Projects are expected to be completed virtually, with the option of mutually agreed upon meetings or on-site service, if schedules permit.
  2. Project Types – We offer more than 70 pre-written project types for you to select from. If your organization has a need that you do not see listed but you believe a professional could help you fulfill, please send an email to help@catchafire.org and we will do our best to work with your organization to develop a project type to fit your needs.
  3. Commitment – Once you list a project, you will be expected to be responsive to applications you receive from professionals which are sent to you automatically from the Catchafire system. We ask that you be certain that you have a definite need and that you do not list a project and decide that you no longer have that need after having interviewed a professional. If you do decide that you no longer wish to move forward with a project, we ask that you take your project down from the platform immediately. We anticipate that it will take an average of 3 weeks to receive an application from an interested professional (per project listed on the platform), however, if your project does not receive an application from a professional within the first 8 weeks, the Catchafire team will work with you to list a different project or find a different professional for your need.
  4. Capacity – Once a project begins, you will be obligated to provide a volunteer manager from your staff to work with the professional. This will require ongoing check-ins between the volunteer manager and the professional throughout the project.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

THE BASICS

What is Catchafire?

Think of us as an online dating site for organizations and volunteers seeking to change the world for the better. We match nonprofit organizations to talented volunteers who build organizational capacity and community by completing projects pro bono.

This is my first time using skilled volunteers. What is skills-based volunteerism?

Skills-based volunteerism is an effective way for an individual to give their skills for the public good. It means that an individual utilizes their specific skills (usually their professional skills/expertise/background) to help a nonprofit organization on a specific project. For example, a finance or accounting individual by trade might use these skills to help an organization develop a budget.

What types of projects can I list?

We have over 70 projects to choose from on our site; view the project menu here.

How many projects can I list? What is the cost to participate?

Typically a nonprofit pays $2,000 per year to join Catchafire and list projects, which typically deliver $5,000 - $10,000 in impact. The Skillman Foundation has generously agreed to cover 100% of the cost, making this available to you for free! You can list up to 5 projects at a time.

What is the timeline?

This program will be running throughout 2015.

WHAT IFS & OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

How much time will this take on the part of my organization?

You can expect that the project will take between one to four hours per week from your organization over the course of two to three months. Projects will require more time in the first few meetings as you bring your volunteer up to speed on your goals, mission and programs. Once your volunteer is ramped up you will have weekly check-ins (15 – 20 mins.) with her/him and ongoing email communication. Each project is different and can be expected to require a different level of involvement (some require Board involvement, etc.). These talented volunteers you will be matched with can self-manage, so once they are up to speed, no hand-holding is necessary.

Will my volunteer be local?

Projects are matched based on organizational needs, volunteer skills, and personal motivation for a cause area. These talented professionals can complete most projects virtually allowing your organization to benefit from the most skilled and passionate people at anywhere in the nation. As part of your selection process, you can consider if you would prefer a local volunteer, but it’s not required.

Will information shared with my volunteer be confidential?

Yes. If you inform the volunteer that information shared with them from the onset of the project is confidential they will respect and honor your request. You may also ask the volunteer to sign a non-disclosure agreement if you would like (you must provide this). If you decide to go this route, we ask that you make the volunteer aware of this before you are officially matched on the project.

How do Catchafire volunteers work with my existing volunteer community?

If you have an existing volunteer community, it’s a sign to us that you know how to harness outside support and talent for your growth and development. These talented professionals are results-oriented and high level. They are committed to completing a project within a specific timeline. They are an excellent complementary resource for organizations with a significant network of support. You can send links to your Catchafire projects out via social media and e-mail campaigns to engage your existing community as well.

My Board is really active, why do I need skilled volunteers?

If you have an active board that’s great! These talented volunteers will provide another level of capacity-building opportunities to your organization. Active board members can work directly with these folks to complete high-impact, high-value projects for your organization.