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Make skills-based volunteering your next chapter

 
Retirement marks a significant transition in life, offering newfound freedom and opportunities to explore other passions and interests. One increasingly popular way retirees are choosing to spend their time is through skills-based volunteering. This form of volunteering leverages the specific skills and expertise accumulated over a professional lifetime, allowing retirees to make meaningful contributions to organizations and causes they care about. Whether it's accounting, marketing, fundraising, or technical skills, these abilities can be invaluable to nonprofits and community projects. Skills-based volunteering not only provides a platform for retirees to stay active and engaged, but it also creates a ripple effect of positive change in communities.
 
The benefits of skills-based volunteering extend far beyond the immediate impact on the organizations being served. For retirees, it offers a sense of purpose and fulfillment as they connect and build relationships with nonprofits they’re passionate about. Engaging in volunteer work fosters a sense of continued personal growth and development, positively impacting physical and mental well-being. It provides opportunities to build new social connections and networks, bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds united by a common goal. Skills-based volunteering is a mutually beneficial endeavor, enriching the lives of volunteers while simultaneously strengthening the fabric of communities.
 
Catchafire’s skills-based volunteer program provides thousands of virtual and in-person opportunities for individuals to give back to their communities. This includes 15 minute microvolunteering, one hour consultation calls, full-length projects, and nonprofit board service. Volunteers can apply for these skills-based volunteer opportunities based on their skills, interests, and availability.
 

Volunteer highlight: Meet Linda

Make skills-based volunteering your next chapter - cover-min

We spoke to Linda, a charitable giving consultant and executive coach, about her retirement journey and how it led to skills-based volunteering on Catchafire. Linda has donated 286 hours on Catchafire, volunteering on 66 projects supporting critical needs such as event management, fundraising plans, and marketing materials.

In a few sentences, tell us more about yourself and your background.

For more than 30 years, I was a successful fundraising professional, directing teams and also working solo, raising millions of dollars for scholarships, programs, and capital projects. I have always volunteered in some capacity ever since I was a teen living in New York City.

Why and how did you begin volunteering on Catchafire?

When I discovered Catchafire through LinkedIn, I had recently retired and wanted to give back to the nonprofit community. It was the beginning of the pandemic, and I knew that my volunteering would have to be online and not in person as I had originally envisioned. It was serendipity that I found Catchafire. Catchafire was a perfect fit for me to achieve my retirement goals.

 

“Embarking on my next chapter, I joined millions of Americans who decide to volunteer during retirement. According to Encore.org, more than 25 million Americans ages 50 to 70 are eager to share their skills, passions, and expertise by volunteering to address social needs.

Catchafire offers me an ideal virtual platform to connect with projects and causes I care about and do pro bono skills-based volunteering. I count myself as fortunate to be able to apply my more than 30 years of knowledge and experience in fundraising to benefit nonprofit organizations throughout the United States and abroad.”

Linda, Catchafire volunteer

 

What has been your most impactful or memorable experience on Catchafire?

With 66 projects and phone calls over 4 years in my Catchafire portfolio, it is difficult to single out just one experience. Overall, my advising and coaching NPOs has resulted in many happy, satisfying moments when the nonprofit and I discuss the project over a period of time and come to its completion. Sometimes the nonprofit will contact me after the sessions to review work or answer a question.

What has been your biggest takeaway from your experience on Catchafire? How has this impacted/influenced your life and career goals?

Pro bono volunteering for nonprofits throughout the United States, in Africa, and in Australia using the Catchafire platform has made me more aware of issues that are common to nonprofits: they help those who are underserved in their communities. They bridge the gap of many governmental systems by providing education, social and mental services, housing, and vital nutrition.

How do you feel your volunteer work has made a difference for nonprofits or for those they serve?

I believe that my 30 years of experience in fundraising, marketing, and communications has prepared me for this time of my life as I embrace pro bono volunteering. My volunteer work has assisted nonprofits in using best practices to raise more funds through annual, major, or planned giving campaigns. I have coached many nonprofits in strategic fundraising planning, event planning, and marketing to donors and prospects.

 

"Linda's impressive background in fundraising and event management was clearly demonstrated through the valuable suggestions that she provided to us. Her advice and ideas on issues such as how we could better attract sponsors, areas where we could cut costs, and how we could generate more revenue at our events helped redefine and clarify our views of tackling these problems effectively and efficiently.” 

Duong L., Event and Marketing Management Coordinator
Community Enrichment Fitness Network

 

What advice would you give to volunteers about starting their first Catchafire project? 

In brief, just do it! Connect with the project that resonates with you and use your expertise and skills to assist the nonprofit in reaching its goal, small or big. Be sure that you and the nonprofit are clear about the project goals and timeline to complete the project. Consider this skills-based volunteering experience as a chance to network, build your resume, and expand your references list.

Make skills-based volunteering your next chapter - 2-min

Volunteer on Catchafire

Leverage your talent and expertise by signing up for Catchafire’s skills-based volunteer software. With thousands of in-person and virtual opportunities based on your expertise, passions, and schedule, there’s something for everyone. Signing up and applying to a project takes five minutes – get started today.

 

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