1. I’ve never worked with a nonprofit before. Is that okay?
Yes! As long as you meet the prerequisites stated in the specific project you are applying to, there's no need for additional experience in the nonprofit sector.
2. I'm generously giving my time and talent at no cost. Why do I even 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 (why you're interested and why you have the needed skills) is necessary to make strong matches where both sides benefit.
3. How many projects should I apply to in one go?
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, 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.
4. I'm very qualified but haven't been selected for any projects I've applied to. What gives?
We believe giving nonprofits choice for who they work with is necessary for the best possible 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 worth it!
5. 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 clicked the "accept" button on your dashboard. At that point, you agree to 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, proactively communicate with your nonprofit partner and reach out to us if you need any support.
6. Your projects are too long and require too much of a time commitment. Are there shorter projects?
Yes! Projects range in length- some take as little as 3-5 hours. In addition, the time commitments stated on project pages are 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! Note: We also have 1-hour phone consultations 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!
7. Will nonprofits get in touch with me 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 already. Start browsing projects and apply today!
8. 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).
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. I have a question you haven't answered. How do I get in touch?
We love hearing from volunteers and answering your questions. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We respond to every message :)