The world of volunteering is changing. More and more, we’re seeing a great focus on what skills volunteers possess and how they can utilize them to help nonprofits and causes.
Corporations are interested in making skilled volunteering a larger piece of their community involvement activities, and companies like Microsoft, HP, American Express and The Gap are publically and actively building more skills-based and pro bono volunteering programs.
The skilled volunteering movement is also growing among individuals – organizations like Taproot Foundation and Catchafire have joined VolunteerMatch to connect skilled volunteers directly with nonprofit projects, and they are growing by leaps and bounds.
At VolunteerMatch, we believe this is more than just a trend – it’s a paradigm shift. And we want to help nonprofits like you take advantage of it. After all, 96% of nonprofits report a need for skilled volunteers. But most have trouble finding people to fill those needs. A majority of organizations say they would be more likely to seek skilled volunteers if they could easily translate their organizational needs into the skills that volunteers may possess.
Be honest – wouldn’t you focus more on skilled volunteering if there was an easy, guided way for you to describe your needs to potential supporters?
The first step to filling this gap was to create a standardized taxonomy of skills that volunteers possess and that nonprofits search for. This would help connect the corporations, individuals and nonprofits connect.
A working group formed to tackle this issue, including leading corporations in the corporate responsibility space, and leading nonprofit capacity-building organizations. Facilitated by Taproot Foundation, VolunteerMatch was proud to be a member of the group.
The result of the process was 19 over-arching categories of skills, and between 3 and 11 sub-categories under each one.
The Listing Wizard
When VolunteerMatch overhauled the way you can post volunteer listings, we knew it was important to make it simple for nonprofits to include skills in the requirements for the potential volunteer. We adapted the new taxonomy we developed with the working group, tweaking a few of the category names so they could more seamlessly integrate into the Listing Wizard. But the content of the system is basically the same. Here are the 19 main categories:
Administrative & Clerical
Animals & Environment
Children & Family
Education & Sports
Food Service & Events
IT Infrastructure & Software
Interactive & Website
Logistics, Supply Chain & Transportation
Real Estate, Facilities & Construction
Sales & Fundraising
Strategy Development & Business Planning
Holy cow, that’s a lot of skills! Hopefully it gives you an idea of the wide breadth of skills you can now recruit for using VolunteerMatch. You can see these categories again and explore their sub-categories when you post a volunteer opportunity using the Listing Wizard.
The new skills taxonomy will help nonprofits like you to craft more specific, targeted volunteer listings, so you can more easily connect with volunteers who have the skills you need.
Shari led Online Marketing and Communications at VolunteerMatch from 2010-2015. After working with nonprofits for 9 years, she moved over to the corporate sector and is now leading Inbound Marketing for a tech company in San Francisco.