Skilled Solutions for Skills-Based Volunteering

Laura was inspired by her colleague's story of getting involved in skills-based volunteering.As a VolunteerMatch employee, I am truly inspired by our company policy of one day a month to volunteer at the organization of our choice.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the frustrations of finding a volunteer opportunity and how my coworkers’ success stories motivated me to find a cause and organization that aligns with my passions. My hope is that by sharing their stories, many of YOU will revisit the reasons why you thought you couldn’t volunteer, and try again.

This month, I wanted to focus on one of my colleagues, Jeff, to highlight a different perspective on a popular trend in the corporate social responsibility world: skills-based volunteering.

The Conundrum of Skills-Based Volunteering

Skills-based volunteering can be described as service that highlights a volunteer’s particular set of talents. This type of volunteering is popular because organizations save money on professional services and employees feel good about utilizing their education and experience for a better cause.

However, I found that a significant number of workers steer away from skills-based volunteering to volunteer for more mundane activities such as weeding or painting, because it provides a change in pace for them. It is important for nonprofits to have skilled workers, so how do we bridge the gap? I found a unique perspective on this roadblock while talking to my coworker, Jeff Bautista.

Jeff’s Story and Solution

Jeff is a Client Relations Manager at VolunteerMatch, and a whiz when it comes to technology. Once he masters a tool, he is anxious to educate himself on the next. He thought he would put his coding skills to good use and volunteer his time to fix up his church’s website. He knew that his experience was perfect for this skills-based volunteering gig, but his curiosity for new technologies told him that he should reach outside of his comfort zone.

Jeff had been taking Adobe Illustrator classes but needed a project to test out his new skills. He found Menudos Corazones, a nonprofit that works to improve the quality of life of children and young people with congenital heart defects and their families.

Jeff put his new Adobe Illustrator education to the test and started creating cards. He found a passion for design, and was pleasantly surprised when he found out that not only were people buying his creations, but all the proceeds were going to help children in need. Jeff’s once-timid curiosity had turned into a confident ability, all because he found a comfortable space outside of his normal work environment to explore.

While skills-based volunteering is an effective way to help out a nonprofit, it can also be a great way for volunteers to discover and refine new abilities. I believe skills-based volunteering can offer more than just a change of location for the employee, it also encourages them to grow and learn and in turn, increases the ways competent workers can help nonprofits.

If you feel as inspired as I am by Jeff’s story and want the same for your employees, you’re in luck! Employees can easily find more skills-based volunteering opportunities via the VolunteerMatch network by entering their skill in the “keywords” section of the search bar.

Already successfully promoting skills based volunteering to your employee population? Tell me about it down below in the comments section or email lellis@volunteermatch.org.


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