A new business based on the idea that many talented professionals want to volunteer but aren’t sure of how to do so in an efficient and effective way.
Adam Braun, the Executive Director of Pencils of Promise believes humanity is reaching a “collective consciousness of creating good.” If Braun is right, all eyes may be turning towards a new volunteer initiative called Catchafire, a recently launched for-profit business started by Rachael Chong, an ex-investment banker who helped launch BRAC USA, the US affiliate of BRAC, one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the world.
Catchafire has a Kickstarter-esq energy in the spirit of contributing to the greater good. It aims to attract the bright young minds in social media, marketing, public relations and design to volunteerism. “Catchafire aims to join skills and causes in a matched, measurable and personalized way,” said speaker Jaime M. Soper, the digital and social media coordinator at Pepsi-Co.
Catchafire’s Project Menu is a tool that gives volunteers and nonprofits the ability to match up their skills and needs, much like an online dating service. Catchafire also sets the parameters of how much time a volunteer works and the deliverables for the project.
“Not all volunteers are created equal,” said Rod Arnold, the COO of charity:water. “We are looking for volunteers with special skills who don’t know how to plug in. Whether we call them unpaid staff or probono consultants.”
A part of the National Conference on Volunteering and Service going on this week, Catchafire launched their 50 project kickoff recently, celebrating 50 volunteers who will provide 2,000 volunteer service hours, saving 50 featured Catchafire non-profits and social enterprises over $300,000 in media, marketing, branding and design services. Speakers at the event also included branding guru Cindy Gallop, digital strategist Soraya Darabi, author Deanna Zandt, and Nathan Heleine of Crush+Lovely.