Catchafire's tagline is, "give what you're good at." Put simply, Catchafire aims to match professionals with nonprofits organizations. Whether it's creating a brochure or managing their finances, Catchafire connects charities with volunteers willing and able to help them. All it takes is a few clicks, a resume, biography, and an interview and a match is formed benefiting both the volunteer and the nonprofit.
In Use: Catchafire has been compared to dating websites such as Match.com and contracting websites such as Elance. Volunteers use their professional skills to help charities across the country complete projects pro-bono.
The process is similar to that of contracting and matchmaking websites. Both parties fill out an application with their needs and qualifications. Organizations fill out what project their looking for while volunteers can post their resumes. Once the applications start coming in from potential professionals, an interview is set up. Ultimately it's up to the organization to decide if a potential volunteer has the skill set to meet their needs.
For instance, if a nonprofit needs a donor recruitment plan, they fill out an application answering a few key questions. The three main questions pertain to what exactly you're looking for (deliverables), an outline of the project (project steps), and the qualifications the volunteer needs (prerequisites). When picking a volunteer, an organization wants to make sure a potential volunteer has all the qualifications they are looking for. He might be passionate about an organization's mission, but he may not have any experience in recruitment. Someone else may have worked in sales for the past decade but is not as dedicated to the charity's mission as they would like. Catchafire requires that an interview takes place between the organization and the potential volunteer. This way, if the nonprofit has any lingering questions as to whether or not a person is qualified, they can ask them at this stage of the process. If at any time the organization or volunteer has any questions, Catchafire, is just an email away.
Technology Employed: Catchafire is a website based platform, therefore the only requirement is a working internet connection.
Ease of Use: The interface is user friendly. There is a button designated for organizations wishing to hire a volunteer and a button for volunteers looking for opportunities. There is also an "about" section and a "help" section complete with frequently asked questions and contact information if assistance is required.
Recap: Catchafire is a website that connects nonprofit organizations with potential volunteers. Instead of paying a professional thousands of dollars to create a website or manage their social media, volunteers with the experience and qualifications can do the job pro-bono allowing the charity to use the money to help those in need.
Saves nonprofits and charities thousands of dollars
There is no limit to the amount of projects a nonprofit organization can list
There is a wide variety of projects
Volunteers of all different skill sets use Catchafire
Easy to use website
Nonprofits can get answers to their questions easily.
There may be time where volunteers do not have the qualifications a charity is looking for
Despite the qualifications, a project may not come out to a nonprofit's liking
Catchafire charges nonprofit and charities per "matched" project
My Opinion I like the idea of connecting professional volunteers with nonprofit organizations. I think in a case like this everybody wins. The volunteer might not get paid, but they can use the projects to create a networking connection with the organization as well as put it on their resume. The nonprofit wins, but saving thousands of dollars that they may not have to create a polished project.
There are many ways for Catchafire to raise money, charging organizations per "matched" project, should not be one of them. I understand that any business should charge for their services, I just think it's inappropriate for this circumstance. In my opinion it goes against from the ideal of Catchafire. I also think it's not right to charge money for a service rendered when the actual person providing these services are doing so pro-bono.
Danielle Vitali got her B.F.A. in
Creative Writing from Emerson College. She is now a freelance writer and works
as the social media manager at a busy Irish pub in Boston. She's is also the
author of a comic book entitled, "The Superhighs"
and writes a blog called, "Sir I Think
You've Had Too Much." In her spare time she loves reading
graphic novels, writing, and playing with her dog Guinness.