Don't give money to charity, instead Catchafire


Worried about where your money goes when you give it away to charity? It’s an unfortunate consequence of the many scandals that both charities and NPOs have been guilty of in the past years. Did you know that FIFA is a non profit organization? You’re right, let’s not even go there.

Fortunately, most charities and organizations are working their butts off to help many people, in many countries and in many ways. Yet, you might not have the money to help your local animal shelter, cancer society or other cause that you care about. It doesn’t matter why. We all need money to get by.

But here’s what you can do. You can offer time. Even better, you can offer specialized skills. Since many charities and non profits are volunteer based, they don’t always have the resources or talent necessary to complete certain tasks. Thankfully, you can help through the simple and well crafted social marketplace created by Catchafire.

The web platform matches professionals and individuals with specific skills sets with organizations who are in need of those skills. Any non profit can sign up (with a monthly fee), post a job description and be matched with a volunteer that hones the specific talent or skill set needed for the job.

The volunteers can filter projects by skills and/or by the causes that they are passionate about. Catchafire then offers projects directly related to those settings. Projects are listed with a clear indication of what is asked for as well as the estimated amount of time required to complete it. Users have the liberty of choosing a project that supports a cause they love.

I’d like to point out that some jobs are not that big or hard. For people who are scared to commit to a long-term project, please note that some jobs are around 10 to 20 hours over 2 weeks. Some are as simple as helping an organization build a newsletter strategy and template. You can just sign them up for Mailchimp, read one or two copywriting articles and start helping them right away!

The platform can also come in handy for people looking to acquire some experience for their next job interview. It’s great for someone who wants to fill in that “Volunteering Experience” content box on LinkedIn. By the way, according to LinkedIn 1 in 5 managers have based a hiring decision on past volunteer experience (an attractive statistic). Joe Ladd, an advertising account director, credits his work on Catchafire for landing his current job at McGarryBowen. (See New York Times article for more on his story and how volunteering helps your career). You get the point. Helping others is also helping yourself.

 

Catchafire offers an easy platform to help build your resume, to help a cause that you care about and meet people with a shared passion. If you’re bored, between jobs or want to do something more than help your local food shelter (not that there is anything wrong with that!), check it out. You’d be surprise how much you can help other organizations while helping yourself to more work experience and a stronger resume.

Of course, I have to put my money time where my mouth is. I have chosen to rebuild Cup For Education’s website. Cup for Education (link leads to the old website) is a non profit organization helping to develop educational programs in the regions of the world where coffee is harvested. I’m fulfilling my sense of altruism, meeting people who are passionate about coffee and education and being humbled and inspired along the way. I have no doubt that the people I meet will lead to personal and financial opportunities in the future. And although I’m (obviously) unpaid, I feel like I am producing some of the best work I’ve ever done in website design. I will share with you guys ASAP. The work I’m doing doesn’t make my coffee taste better but I do feel like I’ve somewhat earned it more.

I hope this post doesn’t sound to preachy. I just sincerely believe that Catchafire offers a great way to help out. Their website offers great user experience, making it easy for both volunteers and charities to use. It’s a great way to fill up karma.



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