The environment in which non-profit organizations recruit volunteers in Canada needs a major improvement. First off, let me just back up and de-throne the term “non-profit” as the first step. The organizations in this sector need to start operating like finely tuned businesses that have a goal of increasing revenues and improving the efficiency of the organization. I will refer to these groups as “social enterprises” for the rest of the article.
Did you know that 78% of the 13.3 million volunteers in Canada want their skills utilized? These volunteers are passionate about the social enterprises they want to support and it’s a shame that some of these highly-skilled individuals are hauling dirt or doing other laborious tasks. Instead, they should be helping with accounting, graphic design, programming, marketing or any other coveted skills that they specialize in and help organizations grow and reach new levels of success.
As of right now there are no solutions in Canada that effectively match and provide skilled pro-bono work for social enterprises. There are a couple of companies in the US that seem to fill this void and effectively match professionals – Catchafire being one of them. Canada also has some good options on a more general volunteering level – GoVolunteering is a good example of one. But let’s get back to the skilled professionals finding the right volunteer opportunity.
Think of it like this – let’s say you are a talented marketer and you are looking to offer a hand to the social enterprise that you strongly believe in and speaks to you on a personal level. Wouldn’t that person feel amazing if they helped put together a marketing campaign that increased the organizations donations by 20%? I’m sure that social enterprises would also love to take on some more pro-bono help like that in the future.
The old-fashioned online volunteer job boards simply are not cutting it when it comes to effectively connecting social enterprises with the right people. Most of them are too vast, cluttered and simply not very user friendly. They also take the volunteers forever to sift through and find the opportunities that matter to them.
This is where the change needs to happen. The technology that we have today should be a driving factor in connecting these relationships. Our startup (Pitch’n) coming out of Vancouver’s Startup Weekend event is doing just that. A solution like this is the change this sector needs and has been long overdue.
Written by Pete Banicevic of Pitch’n for Vancity Buzz.