When you think of volunteering, images of cleaning up your local park or working in a food pantry may come to mind. While hands-on volunteering is critical to fulfilling many nonprofits’ missions, other forms of support can help organizations as well. Most nonprofits don’t have access to the resources, funding, or qualified talent to function effectively. A donation of professional expertise can help organizations fill those gaps.
Donating one’s professional expertise is called skills-based volunteering, or SBV.
This form of volunteering involves sharing skills and experience with social change organizations. A nonprofit might need help designing its website but doesn’t have the staff, time, or money to do so. That’s when a professional trained in web design could take on those tasks and support the cause.
These expert business professionals, or skilled volunteers, apply knowledge gained on the job to support a cause they believe in.
How is skills-based volunteering different than traditional volunteering?
Volunteering comes in many forms, so we created this table of common ways to support nonprofits.
The table’s headers show a simplified categorization of nonprofit needs:
- Making budget: monetary funding used to run the organization
- Extra hands: people who deliver services and programs directly to the community, such as helping to build a neighborhood playground or tutoring students in an after-school program
- Infrastructure and leadership: people and resources to build a strong strategic foundation for the nonprofit, like HR, tech, finance, and marketing consultants.
Skills-based volunteering, also called skilled volunteering, appears under both “extra hands” and “infrastructure and leadership” since the volunteer shares their professional expertise to build, enhance, and expand an organization’s ability to serve their community.
A skilled volunteer focuses on addressing an organization’s internal strategic and infrastructure needs (often referred to as capacity building). For example, an HR professional could engage in traditional volunteer opportunity by planting a community garden, but could also provide their professional services by helping an organization draft an employee handbook for free.
How does skilled volunteering benefit social good organizations?
Donating one’s knowledge truly makes a difference to a nonprofit’s bottom line. Taproot and CECP calculated the actual financial impact of an hour of skilled volunteering in areas like marketing, strategic planning, HR, technology, and finance and determined the average hour of skills-based volunteering was worth $195.
The value goes beyond monetary support: 92% of nonprofits report that skilled volunteers are a strong resource to build capacity.
What are the benefits to volunteers?
Skills-based volunteering offers a different kind of volunteering opportunity for business professionals. Here are just a handful of benefits:
- Donate your time and talents to causes you care about
- Learn about social issues and the challenges impacting your community
- Grow your network
- Make a difference in your community
- Boost your career by strengthening skills, branching into the nonprofit sector, and gaining leadership experience. Don’t forget to add the experience to your resume!
Taproot supports skilled volunteers and social good organizations
Taproot created our free online volunteer matching platform, Taproot Plus, which connects skilled volunteers and nonprofits to drive social impact. A nonprofit can request support from a volunteer for a multi-week Project or one-hour consultation Session, and volunteers can find an opportunity that matches their skill set with a cause they believe in.
If you’re a nonprofit looking for solutions to solving organizational challenges OR you’re a business professional searching for a way to give back, Taproot provides the perfect solution.
Skills-based volunteering works for corporate and philanthropic partners, too!
Taproot has worked with over 100 Fortune 500 companies to develop custom skilled volunteering programs to fulfill their corporate citizenship and employee engagement goals. Your company can provide vital nonprofit support, leverage employees’ talents, and give back to communities. Your employees can reap the same benefits as any skilled volunteer, but they can also collaborate with a group of colleagues to support nonprofits together.
We also collaborate with philanthropic partners to deliver skilled volunteering programs and access to Taproot Plus for your grantees. Taproot programming multiplies the capacity-strengthening investments made by grant-making organizations.