If you’ve ever shown up to volunteer somewhere and felt like your skills weren’t being utilized, I’ve got a solution for you. It’s called Catchafire, and it changed my volunteering life. Think of it as a dating website, but instead of setting you up with potentially lackluster mates, it matches you with fulfilling volunteer opportunities based on your unique skills. This way, you’re more likely to make a difference. After trying it myself, and having a fabulous experience, here’s how I recommend you make the most of the process.
Know what you have to offer
When you initially sign up for Catchafire, you state your volunteer goals and your own interests and skills… which can be almost anything. There’s writing, editing, engineering, coding, and dozens of other skills to choose from. (Most of the jobs are work from home, so you also don’t have to worry about a commute!)
You’re then directed to a customized homepage. There, you browse volunteer opportunities in your wheelhouse. I put in that I have writing and editing skills, and was presented with a page of “opportunities” that might utilize those abilities. Each opportunity tells you what skills are needed by the non-profit, what the actual project is, and why it’s important. I loved that last part — learning exactly why the project was so necessary to help the organization. Your homepage also tells you how much money your volunteer time will save the organization. When you find a match, you “apply” for the job, and then the organization contacts you if they believe you’re a fit. It’s a little bit like swiping right on Tinder — you both have to do it for a match to be made!
It won’t happen overnight
I applied for a few opportunities before I found a match, so that meant I was waiting around for weeks and weeks. I was a bit annoyed during the slow process, but when I thought about it, it made sense. After all, I’ve volunteered before and felt like I was just getting in the way. It’s much better to wait for a perfect fit.
Your match will be a great one
When your match finally comes through, it’ll likely be a seamless fit. Because both you and the volunteer organization checked each other out, the odds of success are high. For example, the place I matched with needed a brochure re-written, which is exactly what I wanted to do and what I’m good at. In the end, I delivered a high-quality product that saved the organization $1,200! It felt fantastic.
After completing my first assignment, I felt so awesome that I immediately started applying for more projects. The work only took me a day and helped save a great non-profit some money that they could use to help people. It’s a wonderful feeling to use your skills and talents to help those in need.