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(For Volunteers) Getting Started on Catchafire
(For Volunteers) Getting Started on Catchafire

Show nonprofits who you are and why Catchafire want to volunteer.

Lauren avatar
Written by Lauren
Updated over a week ago

Welcome to Catchafire! To get started volunteering, the first step will be filling out your profile. The more information you can share with our nonprofit community, the more you're putting a face behind the skills you're offering (literally!). Read below for instructions on how to complete your profile.

Or, jump ahead to read some of our most frequently asked questions!


Your Profile Settings

To view and access your personal profile for editing, simply hover over your profile image on the top-right of the site, select "My Profile," then select "Edit Profile" in the top right corner. You'll then be brought to your Settings, where you can edit each part of your profile.


Your Personal Profile

Your Personal Profile is where you can add your name, photo, current job title, location, biography and related links. We encourage you to make sure this information is always up-to-date! Here's a few tips for what to include in your bio to make your profile really stand out:

  • Your current title and what you do

  • What you enjoy about your job

  • Why you're passionate about skills-based volunteering

  • A professional accomplishment

  • A fun fact about yourself!

  • Connect your Catchafire profile with your LinkedIn account

*Please note that any language on your profile that is inaccurate, defamatory, or abusive will be investigated.

Tip: Check out the "Ready to Volunteer Status" toggle! If your status is "on", we'll email you with project recommendations, and nonprofits will be able to request you to work with them.


Your Professional Experience

Don't forget to also include your work experience and professional accomplishments. The easiest way to do this is by importing your resume directly from your LinkedIn. You can also enter your experience manually by selecting the "Add Experience" button.

You'll need to have your LinkedIn credentials on-hand in order to connect your LinkedIn and Catchafire accounts. If you've tried connecting LinkedIn to your profile in both of these places and it's still not working, you can reach out to us using the blue chat bubble on the bottom-right of your screen.


Your Project Preferences 

Within this section you can edit the skill and cause areas that act as your default preferences when browsing the Find A Project page. You can select your project type preference, your skill areas, and the causes you are most interested in.

Once you save these preferences, they will pre-populate every time you search for a new project.


Your Communications

Here you can update the kinds of volunteer opportunity-related emails you receive. Please note that our email communications come from [email protected]. If you aren't receiving them, be sure to check your spam folder and add the address to your contact list!


Following

Here you can view the Organizations you've elected to "Follow" on the site, and receive new email notifications when they post new projects!

To follow an organization, navigate to their Catchafire profile and click the "Follow" button.

Ready to get started applying to projects or phone calls? You can take a look at this article, A Guide for Applying to Projects and Calls.


FAQ

Check out a few of our frequently asked questions below for more information about what it's like to virtually volunteer with nonprofits on remote projects through Catchafire.

  • I’ve never worked with a nonprofit before. Is that okay?

    Yes! As long as you meet the prerequisites and/or other experience necessary for the project you're applying to, there's no need for specific expertise in the nonprofit sector.

  • I'm generously giving my time and talent at no cost. Why do I have to apply?

    We've found that a short application process is the best way to ensure that both you and the nonprofit have a meaningful and high-quality engagement. Our goal is to make volunteering as seamless as possible. Giving a bit of information upfront (about why you're interested and how your expertise can help) is necessary to make strong matches where both sides benefit.

  • How many projects should I apply to at once?

    We recommend you apply to 2-4 projects at any given time - this will maximize your chances of matching. If you end up being selected for too many projects (good for you!), you can always withdraw your application before or after you interview with the nonprofit. Once you say yes though, we ask that you honor your commitment to work with the Organization.

  • I'm very qualified but haven't been selected for any projects I've applied to. What gives?

    We believe giving nonprofits a choice in who they work with is necessary for the best possible project matches. If you don't get selected, the Organization may simply feel another Volunteer is a better fit, whether from a skills or passion perspective, or perhaps they've decided not to move forward with the project at this time. Don't get discouraged, we know you're qualified. Finding a match may take some time, but it's totally worth it!

  • When do I commit? Can I change my mind mid-project?

    Applying to a project, and even interviewing with an Organization, doesn't yet commit you to working on the project. You are committed only when both the nonprofit and you have selected the "Start project" button on your Catchafire dashboard. At that point, you are agreeing to work on and complete the project.

    If at any point you feel like the project is changing, or you've had a change in circumstance that might prevent you from finishing the work, please proactively communicate with your nonprofit partner, and let us know using the blue chat bubble on the bottom-right of your screen.

  • The projects are too long and require too much of a time commitment. Are there shorter projects?

    Yes! Projects range in length, and the time commitments stated on project pages are meant to be read as averages. You know yourself better than we do, and it's very possible you're able to complete projects faster than what is stated in the project description!

    Tip: We also have 1-hour phone calls where you only commit to spending one hour on the phone with a nonprofit to discuss a particular question or challenge they have. These are open to all Volunteers and are a great starting point!

  • Will nonprofits get in touch with me first if they want my services?

    Maybe. Generally, Volunteers should be proactive and apply to opportunities they are most excited about. Occasionally, nonprofits may request Volunteers directly. This is only likely to happen if you have already built up a profile on Catchafire and have completed a few projects. Start browsing projects and apply today!

  • Do people ever stay on to work with a nonprofit after a project is complete?

    Yes! Sometimes Volunteers and nonprofits enjoy working with each other so much that they will start another Catchafire project together. We've also seen Volunteers become involved with the nonprofit outside of Catchafire (joining the board of directors, staff, or in-person volunteering).

  • Where does Catchafire get its funding?

    As a for-purpose social enterprise, Public-Benefit Corporation, and certified B-Corp, we are creating a new type of business model: one which demonstrates that you can focus on a social mission and build a successful business at the same time. We are able to deliver high-quality volunteer experiences and capacity-building projects for nonprofits through funding from our corporate and foundation partners. 95%+ of the nonprofits on our platform are sponsored by a funder and do not pay to post projects.

  • Can I use the completed project in my professional portfolio?

    Of course! Many marketing and design Volunteers include completed projects in their creative portfolio or their resumes. Learn more about project deliverable ownership here.

  • I have a question you haven't answered. How do I get in touch?

    We love hearing from Volunteers and answering your questions. Reach out to us using the blue chat bubble on the bottom right side of your screen or email us at [email protected]. We respond to every message!

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