Working with Skills-Based Volunteers

Catchafire Basics

What is Catchafire?

Catchafire matches professionals who want to volunteer their skills with nonprofits who need their help. We are the largest online provider of skills-based volunteering, connecting talented individuals with purpose-driven nonprofits daily on well-scoped, discrete projects. We also help companies effectively develop and scale skills-based employee volunteer programs. Check out a quick video overview here. Go to top

How does Catchafire work?

At the heart of Catchafire are volunteer projects, which are clearly scoped and designed to address a pressing need the nonprofit has identified. Our partner nonprofits list for projects they need help with, and professionals apply for projects that resonate according to their cause interests, skillset required and time availability. If their application is accepted, the nonprofit and professional engage in a 2-way interview. If it's a match, the project begins! Go to top

What types of projects does Catchafire offer?

Catchafire offers over 60 projects across a wide range of skillsets and nonprofit needs. Example projects include Infographic, Website Visual Design, Bookkeeping, and Brand Messaging. To see a complete list of projects, visit our Project Menu. Go to top

What types of organizations does Catchafire work with?

We work with select nonprofits that have clearly demonstrated and compelling missions. Foundations partner with us as well to bolster the capacity of nonprofits they support. We also work with companies to develop and scale skills-based employee volunteer programs. Go to top

How do I sign up?

Signing up and creating a Catchafire account is free and easy. Go to top

How can I contact Catchafire?

Send an email to help@catchafire.org or tweet @catchafire, and we'll get back to you in no time. Go to top

Where is Catchafire located?

Our offices are in New York City. Our partner nonprofits are all over the US and our professionals are all over the world. Go to top

Account Settings

How do I deactivate my account?

We're sorry to see you go. Please send us an email at help@catchafire.org requesting to deactivate your account. We hope you'll be back soon. Go to top

How do I unsubscribe from emails?

You can adjust your email preferences on your profile page under Settings. There will be a list of emails that you can select which on you would like to unsubscribe to. Go to top

Login and Password

How do I reset my password?

Log onto your profile, you'll see Settings on the right hand side of the page. Click the [change your password] link and enter in a new password. Go to top

I forgot my password. What do I do?

No worries. Anytime you have an issue with your password or trouble logging in, just email help@catchafire.org. Include 'password' in the subject line and we will get you logged in shortly. Go to top


How do I edit my profile?

You can change basic information by clicking the [edit] link at the top right hand side of your profile. Alter your biography, expertise or cause interest under the 'About' tab. Add in new professional experience by going to the 'Experience' tab and [add new]. Don't forget to add relevant links (portfolios or websites) and social media links under 'Settings'. Go to top

Do I fill out my profile?

Yup. It's really easy, take a minute to make your profile shine by answering the questions we provide. The more complete your profile is, the better chance you have of getting matched so include all relevant professional/volunteer experience and write your bio. You can even autopopulate your profile by connecting it with your Linkedin page. Go to top


Why should I give my skills through Catchafire?

A better question is, why not? Skills-based volunteering is a great way to give your work extra meaning. It helps you hone professional skills, express creativity and leadership, all while making a the world a better place. Each day, we continue build our community of high impact social good organizations across a range of causes and at various stages of development (start-up, growth, established). We make it easy for you to find organizations needing the skills you have and committed to providing a great volunteer experience. In addition, projects fit within your busy schedule. Go to top

Why do nonprofits use Catchafire?

Nonprofits join Catchafire because we connect them to amazing people like you. We view capacity building as community building. We take pride in our professional network and organizational community. Organizations know professionals with the Catchafire imprimatur want to make a difference in an efficient and meaningful way. For nonprofits, value is created through discrete deliverables, strategic advice, systems implementation, and knowledge transfer. Go to top

What type of organizations will I connect with?

We invite nonprofit and for-profit social good organizations into our community who have a social mission, demonstrable impact, strong leadership, and vision. It's important that your experience is great so we work hard to find the best partners possible. Get to know some of our partner organizations. Go to top


What does it take to be a Catchafire professional?

Expertise, talent, passion, and vision. Every project has it's own set of concrete prerequisites. Visit our Project Menu here to see the specific prerequisites for each project type. Go to top

I don't have time to volunteer now, but maybe later. Can I still sign up?

Absolutely! You can indicate on your profile whether you are ready to volunteer now or later. Once you're ready, we will send opportunities your way that match your skills and passions. Give when you can. Go to top

Can I apply if I don't live in the U.S.?

Absolutely! Most of our projects can be done virtually, so as long as you're willing to work with the time difference you can definitely do a project via our platform. Keep in mind that communication on your end during a project will have to stay sharp. Go to top

I don't think my skills fit the requirements for a certain project, can I still apply?

If you have questions about your qualifications, let us know. We've found that professional's skills can be applied to many projects, sometimes ones you wouldn't have initially thought of. Our goal is to provide you with a great volunteer experience, let's work together to make it happen. Go to top

Does volunteering through Catchafire restrict me from volunteering elsewhere?

Absolutely not! Catchafire encourages you to give back meaningfully on and off our platform. If you do discover a great nonprofit you'd like to volunteer with on Catchafire.org, the only thing we ask is that you attempt to connect with that nonprofit through our service. This is part of the Volunteer Services Agreement we ask you to agree to when you apply. Go to top


What types of projects does Catchafire offer?

Our projects currently range in areas such as branding and marketing, communications and public relations, design, strategy, website, HR, technology and finance. Go to top

What is the average time commitment?

Catchafire projects come in all shapes and sizes. Some projects may can be completed within a couple of weeks, while others may take up to 3 months. They are designed to require no more than 5 hours of your time each week to fit into your busy schedules. Go to top

Can I work with a friend?

Sure! We advise that people looking to develop certain skills or gain experience buddy up with someone whose functionality is more developed. We ask that the more experienced professional apply to the project but feel free to include your buddy's experience and why they are interested in working with you on the project. Here is a great example of a duo completing a Social Media Campaign. Go to top

How do I know if the project is still available?

If another professional already applied, the big "Apply" button at the top right corner of a project listing will be greyed out. If the button is red, it's ready for you to apply. Go to top

I can't find a project that matches my skillset, is there a way for me to get involved?

We always appreciate feedback. Let us know what projects you'd like to see more of and we will work with you to try to make them available. Go to top

Will Catchafire manage me on the project?

While our team is here to support you throughout the project whenever you need us, you are responsible for keeping the project on track. That means you have flexibility. You are in charge of managing your work flow and hitting deadlines within the scoped out time. We will check in on you at the mid-point and end of the project. Go to top

Getting matched

How do I apply?

Each project has a big red "Apply" button at the top right corner. If there is no button, it's either because there is a pending application or the project has been matched. Go to top

What happens after I submit my application?

The organization will have 3 days to decide whether they want to move forward with an interview based on your application. If so, we will contact you right away to schedule the interview. Go to top

What if I interview and don't think it's a good fit?

That's okay. We hope to figure that out before you begin the project and we are happy to find you another project if that one doesn't work out. Go to top

What happens when I'm done?

Celebrate! Indicate your completion of a project on your profile page and share the good news with your social networks and on the Catchafire Dashboard. Go to top

Can I do more than one project?

Yes! Technically, you can only apply to one at a time but once you've been matched, you are free to apply to others. Go to top

What happens after I get matched?

An exciting part about Catchafire projects is that you lead it! So once you are matched, set up milestones for the project and begin working. If you need more advice, refer to Catchafire's Skills-Based Volunteering Guide. Go to top

What if I need advice or feedback during my project?

A great resource for professional tips or advice is the Catchafire Dashboard (link). Submit a question or your work in progress for feedback from the seasoned professionals in our community. Always feel free to reach out to us directly if you need additional help. Go to top

Nonprofit Basics

What kind of organizations use Catchafire?

We invite nonprofit and for-profit social good organizations into our community who have a social mission, demonstrable impact, strong leadership, vision and a commitment to providing a high quality volunteer experience. When exploring partnership, we want to speak with those at the helm in order to gain a 360 degree view of an organization's work. Find out if we are a good match by registering here. Go to top

Why do I need skills-based volunteers?

Access to skills-based volunteers can prove exponentially more valuable than dollars as professional services are costly, and are often the first expense to be cut or delayed. Enlisting volunteers not only reduces expenses by getting much-needed help with specific tasks, strategic advice, or technical expertise, but you'll often see a benefit in terms of revenue as well. Cultivating a positive volunteer experience for someone can result in a lifelong advocate who will go onto support your organization financially, or by evangelizing to their social network. Cases of volunteers going on to recruit their friends, stay on as advisors, or even transition into full-time employees are increasingly common now as Catchafire Professionals approach projects with the seriousness and care that they deserve. Go to top

How will I know what project to list first?

Once you become a part of our community, an Account Manager will hop on the phone with you and to help determine your most critical needs. To prep for this call you will fill out a project planning form to get you thinking critically about your organization's priorities. Go to top

My Board is an active resource, why do I need skills-based volunteers?

If you have an active Board, great! Catchafire professionals provide an outside perspective and specific expertise across a range of fields. Active Board members can and do work directly with Catchafire professionals to complete high impact, high value projects for your organization. Go to top

Can Catchafire professionals work with my existing volunteering community?

Yes! If you have an existing volunteer community, it signals to us that you know how to harness external talent for your growth and development. Catchafire professionals are results-oriented and high level. They are committed to completing a project within a specific timeline. They are an excellent complementary resource for organizations with a significant network of support. Go to top

What is required of a Volunteer Manager?

A Volunteer Manager is the designated pointperson and main point of contact for the professional and Catchafire on any given project. Responsivness and timeliness communication with our professionals is a must! They can be an employee of your organization, or a key stakeholder such as a Board Member or Advisor. Go to top

Can my organization have multiple Volunteer Managers?

Yes! You can have multiple Volunteer Managers. We recommend this if you expect to have multiple projects going at any one time. Go to top

Is there a fee required to partner with Catchafire?

Organizations invited into our community are required to make a small investment. It allows us to continue to serve and ensures your organization's seriousness and commitment to our professionals' time and energy. Go to top

Can I receive Catchafire's services if I'm incorporated outside the U.S.?

We currently serve nonprofits only in the U.S. We hope to serve organizations outside the U.S. one day soon! Go to top

Can multiple Volunteer Managers manage the same project?

We ask that one Volunteer Manager commit to being the professional's point of contact for each project. This makes it easier for the professional and you to manage the project. That being said, you of course may involve other members of your team in the process. Go to top


What types of projects does Catchafire offer?

Our projects currently range in areas such as branding and marketing, communications and public relations, design, strategy, website, HR, and finance. To see a complete list of projects, visit our Project Menu. Go to top

Does Catchafire guarantee every project listing will result in a match?

Our matching process requires that professionals opt-in by applying to your project listing. It ensures that you can review their application, interview them and get on the same page before accepting beginning the project. It also means that there are rare instances when a projet listing may not result in a match. In this event, Catchafire will work hard to create another project listing we can fulfill on. Go to top

How long do Catchafire projects take to complete?

It depends on the project type. Some projects may take up to 3 months, while others may be completed within a matter of weeks. Go to top

Is there a limit to the number of projects I can list for at any one time?

We recommend only listing for up to 2 projects per Volunteer Manager. We've found that most Volunteer Managers are successful when they manage 1-2 projects at a time. Go to top

Who owns the right to project deliverables?

Deliverables such as infographics, logo designs, print materials, websites and photographs will be owned by the organization. Our professionals reserve the right to showcase work they produce on your behalf in their portfolios. Go to top

Can you provide examples of successful projects?

We have plenty of case studies that showcase the experiences of a variety of organizations and project types. Take a look. Go to top

Getting Matched

Will my professional be local?

They certainly can be but most Catchafire projects can be completed virtually allowing your organization to benefit from the most skilled and passionate professionals anywhere in the world. Go to top

What should I look for in a professional?

When you receive an application, look for someone with relevant skills, experience and passion. We encourage you to look at their profile as well to see their resume, background, and any sample work they provide. Go to top

How are professionals vetted?

Professionals must apply to your project, telling you why they are passionate about your work, and what releveant skills and experience they bring to the table. Before you embark on any project, our team facilitates a two-way interview between you and the professional to ensure you are both clear on goals, timeline, and scope. If you feel you are a great fit for each other, then a match is made, and your project starts. Go to top

Can I see samples of a professional's work?

Yes. For many of our projects with visual deliverables, we encourage our professionals to share sample work. They often link to portfolio work on their profiles. If you would like to request more prior to accepting the application, just shoot a note to help@catchafire.org and we are happy to request them for you. Go to top

What do I do after I receive an application?

After you receive an application, visit your Matches tab on the Dashboard to review the application. You will have 3 days to either click "Schedule an Interview" or "Pass". We will reach out shortly to coordinate the rest. Go to top

What happens during an interview?

Use the interview as an opportunity to ask any questions that would help you make a decision about the project match. Interviews take 30 minutes and include introductions, questions from the professional about the project details and timeline. Expect to discuss communication styles and begin developing a plan. It's helpful to bring enthusiasm about why the project will make a difference for your organization. Go to top

What happens after an interview?

After the interview, you will have 3 days to decide whether the professional is right for the project and your organization. If there's any lingering questions post-interview, please let us know ASAP so we can help answer them. Go to top

How long does a match take?

Our matching process requires professionals to opt-in so we can't say for sure! Some matches happen within a week, while others may take a couple months. Making your profile and project listing really shine will improve the time to get matched. Go to top

What if I don't think it is the professional I interview with is the right fit?

That's okay. We hope to figure that out before you begin the project. Your listing will return to the open projects page and become available to all of our professionals. Go to top

Getting Started

How do I complete my profile?

Once you register, you must create a profile page for your organization and each Volunteer Manager who will be working with Catchafire. Profile pages help market your organization to professionals in our network. We have lots of tips on how to make your profiles attractive and what they should include. Just send a note to help@catchafire.org to learn more. Go to top

How can I create a good listing?

After you've completed your organization's profile page, selecting projects from the Project Menu is the next step. The form is used to outline which projects your organization needs and serves as the jumping off point to your project planning call with an Account Manager at Catchafire. The form should include each project's timeline, objective, and details. Go to top

What should I do after my listing goes live?

Give your listing a shout out on the Catchafire Dashboard and your social media channels to get the community excited about your project. Keep an eye out for applications. Go to top