September 15, 2010

Catchafire: Connecting nonprofits & professionals

Jane Slusser: Connecting nonprofits & volunteers from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaAt the Craigslist Foundation Boot Camp held Aug. 21 in Berkeley, Calif., I met tons of cool people, but none were more interesting than Jane Slusser, chief service officer of Catchafire.

catchafireCatchafire is a new online marketplace that connects professionals who want to volunteer their skills with nonprofits and social enterprises that need their help. Nonprofits and social businesses register on the site and tell which projects they need help with.

“People expect a lot more of the volunteer experience now,” says Jane, who came to Catchafire by way of the Obama campaign, where she mobilized volunteers to travel to key states during the primaries.

Watch, download or embed the video on Vimeo

Catchafire helps professionals offer their talents for worthy organizations they find an affinity with. Social enterprises can register on the site through the same portal as nonprofits. To prevent against volunteers spinning their wheels, Catchafire makes sure that both nonprofits and social enterprises have skin in the game by having internal resources and staff members dedicated to work on the project.

The start-up held a big event in New York on June 28 for the 50 Project Kickoff with speakers from charity:water,, Pepsi Refresh and other organizations.

While a number of promising Web 2.0 start-ups have launched in the social good space in the past year, Catchafire is one to watch. Continue reading

April 22, 2010

10 volunteering sites to help you do good

Guest post by Chris Noble
CEO, Causemedia Group

National-Volunteer-WeekThis week is National Volunteer Week in the US. The week is a signature event created by the Points of Light Institute to celebrate “ordinary people doing extraordinary things to improve communities across the nation.”

Chances are if you work or volunteer for a nonprofit you already know that. After all, volunteers are the lifeblood of most nonprofits, and with 64 million Americans taking the time to give back in 2009, National Volunteer Week is as much about thanking volunteers as encouraging them to come back.
Maybe you even have a favorite volunteer and you’re planning a special recognition of his or her efforts this week. If that’s the case, stop reading right now, go to the Hands On Network page devoted to Celebrating People in Action and nominate that person who made the biggest difference for your organization this year.

Still here? OK, then, here are 10 sites you can use to find the volunteer opportunity that suit you best. Try ‘em out, pitch in for a good cause and who knows? Maybe you’ll get nominated for something next year:

Hands On Network

With 250 action centers around the country, it’s easy to connect and get started with a volunteer opportunity that fits your schedule and location. Plus, they’ll occasionally partner with corporations like Disney to offer special incentives for volunteering.

Do Something

Focused more on teen activism and engagement with causes, their site offers “Virtual Volunteer” opportunities so you can take action without leaving your couch!

AARP Volunteers

On the other end of the spectrum, the American Association of Retired Persons has a great site that identifies volunteer opportunities for the over 60 set. Many of these encourage folks to work with kids and teens and share their life experiences! Continue reading