The New Way to Recruit Skilled Volunteers on VolunteerMatch

What skills are you looking for?

What skills are you looking for?

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.

The Need

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 Standards

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
  • Arts
  • Children & Family
  • Disaster Relief
  • Education & Sports
  • Engineering
  • Finance
  • Food Service & Events
  • HR
  • Healthcare
  • IT Infrastructure & Software
  • Interactive & Website
  • Legal
  • Logistics, Supply Chain & Transportation
  • Marketing
  • 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.

Recruit skilled volunteers with the new 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.

Excited? We are, too! Go ahead and update your volunteer listings, post new listings, and be sure to include the skills you need when going through the Listing Wizard.

What do you think of this new skills taxonomy? Have we missed anything?

6 thoughts on “The New Way to Recruit Skilled Volunteers on VolunteerMatch

  1. As an epilogue to my previous. It also strikes me that it greatly appears as though many wanting volunteers really only people for menial tasks. Not that I mind doing some menial tasks for a good cause, and I realize that, for many organizations, that is a simple way to check out a volunteer for further consideration, and that’s fine. Although I can be a great follower or leader I prefer neither! I am a motivated self starter and will solicit whatever help is necessary, or will give aid or guidance wherever needed. I ran my own teams in the Service and Government as a field agent, as well as my own Co’s. from age 20. Where I always did utmost, and/or what was right for the majority, and if doing right wasn’t on the agenda, as with the government I bowed out (as the saying goes “Nuf said”)! I realize my comments only generally followed the previous I responded to, but are germane to the whole! Sincerely, Capt. JP.

  2. This whole article, at least in the beginning led me to believe that I, as a highly skilled professional Mechanical contractor/volunteer who’s abilities are staggering, in that it is unbelievable to most that an individual could possibly be that skilled, no brag just fact (I even have 90%+ of all the tools and equipment), could easily access a link to put myself and skills out there to be taken advantage of. That, though, doesn’t seem to be the case! Am I missing something? If so please guide me to that link! It would be easier to list the things I am not skilled in like computer repair, and only because I am not much interested, and don’t care to pop for the specialized equipment. You would think some of these organizations would jump at the chance to save big on necessary repairs or building labor costs, when so many are crying about cutbacks! Of the many I’ve contacted, through you, or otherwise only a couple have bothered to reply, and of those the relative positions have long since closed! Sincerely Capt. JP.

    • Hi John,

      Sorry for your frustration! Many organizations are so busy that things sometimes fall through the cracks – even for volunteers as skilled as you. Please keep trying, however, as we know there are plenty of organizations that would absolutely love to have someone like you helping them!

  3. Pingback: Volunteer Recruitment - Special Report from VolunteerMatch

  4. While there certain positions that can only be filled by skilled persons, we have many more opportunities for people with varying level of skill. The field as it is labeled now is “required skills” which I am afraid would discourage those who are not confident or who want to hone a skill (such as photography, or home repair) by volunteering. Perhaps there could be a choice of “desired” skills as well as “required” skills.
    Thank you!

  5. Hi there! Nice approach!

    And YES, I do think you missed a category: Creative !
    That would cover Graphic Design, Photography, Video, etc. I don’t think those things can be captured under “Marketing” or “Arts” (not sure what “Arts” is in this context other than music, theater, dance, painting, drawing, sculpture).

    Consider it? Also, are you updating your branded widget with this? We use your widget on our site that was pre-populated with the skill “photography”, so curious if this will change things.

    Great step forward!