Tag Archives: pro bono

Next Stop: Chapel Hill -Carrboro

10 Aug

Catchafire Continues to take North Carolina by Storm:

Now in Chapel Hill-Carboro!

We just launched in Durham in May and yet we’ve been blown away by the enthusiasm for Catchafire and the numbers of social good organizations and professionals getting involved. Inspired by this momentum, we are setting our sights on Chapel Hill-Carrboro. Stay tuned: on August 27 we will announce our 15 Founding Members – Carrboro-Chapel Hill. These local leaders have been nominated by the community for their outstanding leadership, strategic vision and dedication to building capacity. Watch your Twitter feed and our blog for profiles of these organizations throughout September.

We spent last week in Chapel Hill-Carrboro meeting with community leaders, organizations and professionals, and we felt embraced by this tight-knit community every step of the way. Everyone was gearing up for the flood of UNC Chapel Hill students to arrive in a few weeks and there was the electrifying feeling that you get just before a thunderstorm in the air! We look forward to getting to know both the Chapel Hill – Carrboro and university community this fall.

Celebrating Durham’s Pro Bono Leaders!

On August 2nd Catchafire hosted an event at Labour Love Gallery in Durham to extoll the commitment of 43 local professionals who have committed to giving pro bono through Catchafire in the coming months. We had 50+ folks in attendance and we all enjoyed great food, drinks & company in addition to music from the Al Strong Trio via The Art of Cool Project and a presentation by Catchafire’s CEO & Founder, Rachael Chong.

Share this post with friends and colleagues looking to give what they’re good at in the Triangle.

Photos by Cathy Foreman


New Year’s Resolutions made easy

3 Jan

A few days ago millions of people across the globe made a resolution when they woke up to the New Year. For the most part, it was a promise to change. It might be health-related – a new diet, a personal goal – learn to play guitar, or career oriented – get that promotion. The larger the commitment though, the less likely we are to see the change we’re preparing to work for. How many times have we all committed to those large, yet ambiguous resolutions? Ambiguous because, when it fizzles out by mid-January, we use the excuse that it was just a New Year’s resolution. Not this year!

Committing your time and talent to a worthy cause is a serious New Year’s resolution, but it can also be a manageable and convenient one. Catchafire projects are tailored for highly skilled professionals with busy schedules who are seeking meaningful change with social impact. They’re short-term, discrete and individual to provide both the nonprofit organization and pro bono professional with clearly defined and attainable goals, and a flexible schedule.

To paraphrase Mahatma Ghandi, Catchafire wants to be a part of the change you want to see in the world! Our 2012 Holiday Campaign can help us achieve this – we want to inspire 2,012 people to sign up by January 31st and commit to giving pro bono this year.

It gets better. Every one who registers with Catchafire by the end of January will have the opportunity to nominate their favorite nonprofit or social enterprise to receive a $2,012 donation towards a Catchafire membership.

Since the start of the campaign, 364 skilled professionals have already signed up and pledged to give what they’re good at this year. We have a ways to go to achieve our goal but it’s a new year and we’re resolute to make 2012 a year of impact. This year Catchafire projects are going to enable thousands of skilled professionals to fulfill their resolutions and be part of the change.

To take part in our campaign:

  • Share this blog post with friends and colleagues whose resolution is to make meaningful change or who may just wish to give what they’re good at in 2012.
  • Not signed up? Click here to register.
  • Already have a Catchafire account? Email campaign2012@catchafire.org to let us know the organization that you’d like to nominate to win the $2,012 towards Catchafire projects.

Here’s to making a difference with your resolution in 2012!

Kellogg MBA students team up to do skills-based pro bono projects for Catchafire

28 Nov
KelloggCares Day is the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University’s annual community service day.  On this day each year, the entire Kellogg Community, including faculty and staff, family and friends, are invited to participate and give back to the community. Traditionally, Kellogg Cares works with social enterprises and nonprofits to do a range of team based activities over 4-6 hours.  Volunteer opportunities include leading educational sessions with students, gardening and promoting environmental sustainability, volunteering at shelters and soup kitchens, etc.
This year, KelloggCares organizers sought to provide participants with the opportunity to give their time on a skills basis, and reached out to Catchafire to provide skills based pro bono projects to their community. We were thrilled by the opportunity to be involved with KelloggCares Day. We believed it would be a fun challenge for Kellogg students, while also providing meaningful assistance to Catchafire on various areas of our strategy and expansion. Catchafire provided six different skills-based pro bono projects for KelloggCares Day, to be completed by teams of 6-7 students each. The projects originated out of Catchafire’s goals for national expansion and continued growth, and students were asked to provide strategic thinking on projects such as launch and expansion plans, new product ideas, incentive schemes, and revamping of the communications and media strategy. Just like every project on the Project Menu, Catchafire structured the Kellogg projects to ensure an effective and meaningful experience for those giving their time and skills. Each project included the following components:
  • Background information/ pre reading for students to provide context
  • A 1 hour phone call with a Catchafire team member to discuss goals and answer questions
  • Clear student prerequisites
  • Detailed project steps

KelloggCares Day ended up being a success, with Kellogg students enthusiastically providing strategic thinking and a fresh perspective on their projects. The students enjoyed using the skills they were learning at school in a real life situation and enjoyed learning more about Catchafire, with one student commenting, “…seems like an awesome organization and I’ll definitely be interested in volunteering with them in the future.” A big thank you to all the Kellogg students who participated. We look forward to taking the project recommendations further into implementation.

Celebrating the giving season – One of our member organizations says thanks

23 Nov

With resources stretched thin and the ever-present need for extra help, those working in the nonprofit world often have many people to thank. The African Rainforest Conservancy is one of Catchafire’s busiest members, having completed six successful projects with our pro bono professionals over the past year. Kate McLetchie, Executive Director of the African Rainforest Conservancy, recently took the time to write a kind and thoughtful blog post to thank their pro bono professionals and commend them on both their hard work and service to their cause. Here’s what Kate had to say about one of their most recently completed projects:

It was a truly wonderful experience working with Jack on our Salesforce Database project. He was able to understand the needs of our small, but growing, organization and identify creative solutions to meet them. He was always mindful of our limited resources and time and enthusiastically rolled up his sleeves and jumped right in to do whatever necessary to launch our database. Our new database has already helped tremendously. Thank you to Jack and Catchafire for helping us get organized!

It costs nothing to say “Thank You” and it feels good. To take the time and write such a thoughtful note, however, shows true appreciation. Thank you, Kate, for taking the time to write this wonderful blog post. We at Catchafire and our pro bono professionals truly appreciate it. We’ve reposted Kate’s blog post below – please take a moment to read it,  as it will get you in the mood to give back yourself!


Giving: The Gift of Time

Tue, 11/15/2011 by Kate McCletchie
Originally posted on Africa Volunteer Corps’ blog

As we approach the season of giving, we want to take a moment to highlight and thank the many people who have generously volunteered their time and talent to ARC in 2011 – a gift that doesn’t come wrapped in pretty paper and a satin ribbon, but which is at the top of our wish list every year. In addition to our stellar Board of Directors, Junior Board, Advisors, Contributing Artists, and student interns, we were fortunate enough this year to connect with Catchafire and get matched up with a suite of amazing professionals who helped us with everything from launching our first social media campaign to grant writing to training us in financial management systems.

To put it simply, Catchafire matches professionals who want to give their skills with nonprofits and social enterprises that need their help. Their project menu provides detailed deliverables and project steps for forty projects (with new ones being added all the time) that are in high demand in the nonprofit sector. Member nonprofits request specific projects from the menu and Catchafire’s staff works diligently to match their database of pro bono professionals to the right projects. It is a win-win situation for all involved.

A recent New York Time’s article on volunteering not only profiled Catchafire and two of the pro bono professionals they connected ARC with (Joe Ladd and Liz Healy), but we were fortunate enough to get a small mention near the end of page two! This article inspired us to reach out to our Catchafire volunteers (many of whom are still actively engaged with ARC even though their projects are completed) and ask them about their volunteer experience.

Here is what our pro bono professionals are saying about their experience with ARC:

“Helping ARC enhance their social media presence and expand their toolkit was an extremely rewarding experience. Not only was it exciting to be a part of ARC’s first venture into Twitter as a new way to engage communities and to collaborate with such amazing and passionate people, but I was also able to learn more about a critical environmental issue that has been relevant for my own professional development.” – Megan Caiola, Edelman Public Relations, CSR/Sustainability (Social Media Campaign project with Catchafire)


Please visit the African Rainforest Conservancy blog to read the rest of the article…

Find Your Cause: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

31 Aug

Meet The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force 

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force works to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. They have a long history of fighting for their cause which dates back to the 1970’s, with a focus on: aging, anti-gay industry, bisexuality, campus, elections and politics, health, faith, marriage/partner recognition, nondiscrimination, parenting and family, racial and economic justice, transgender, youth, and hate crimes. The Task Force Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, the Task Force works to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all.

How The Task Force Does Good

The Task Force strives to achieve their goals through five main programs: The Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action, Organizing and Training, Movement Building, Public Policy and Government Affairs and the Policy Institute. Through these vehicles, they train activists, equip state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and build the organizational capacity of their movement.  Resources such as Action Alerts keep the community informed and aware of issues and movements that are currently affecting the LGBT community.  Not only does the Task Force increase awareness, they also offer advice on how to get involved. Supporters make a difference through volunteer recruitment, canvassing, fundraising, and more.

The Task Force is well known for organizing the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, the premier annual organizing and skills-building event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and their allies. This 5 day conference attracts more than 2,500 people from all over the country every year and features over 250 workshops and training sessions, four plenary sessions, and tons of networking opportunities. Presenters and participants come from all walks of life and include members of the business community, elected officials, students, faith leaders and staff and volunteers of non-profit organizations.  This event is part of The Task Forces’ “Academy for Leadership and Action” program, which uses signature projects to build the capacities and capabilities of organizations and community leaders at the grassroots of their social justice movement. The overarching goal is to increase enduring political power through gatherings that bring communities and movements together to strategize and network, along with a variety of trainings and leadership development that increases the diversity of the movement and builds LGBT communities.

Another of the Task Force’s most exciting new programs is the New Beginning Initiative,  composed of a variety of organizations which are organized by the Task Force. The coalition has been working with the Obama Administration to make concrete changes that benefit the entire LGBT community.

The Task Force’s Impact

Through their mission and programs, The Task Force has generated a lot of impact for their constituents, enacting legislation and policy but most importantly of all, building a powerful movement. In 2010 the Task Force achieved impacts across a variety of their focus areas:

  • Provided critical technical assistance, training and capacity building support to advance pro-LGBT equality and defeat anti-LGBT measures over the long-term in more than 20 States including California, Iowa, Ohio and Oregon.
  • Beat back two referendums in Bowling Green, Ohio that would  have stripped away anti-discrimination policies for LGBT people.
  • Trained thousands of LGBT community leaders across the country, including intensive trainings provided through the academy for Leadership and Action, and nearly 2,500 individuals who attended the 2010 National Conference on LGBT Equality; Creating Change in Dallas, Texas.
  • Advanced tangible and positive policy change for LGBT equality on the national level, including “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell”.
  • Continued to convene  the New Beginning Initiative resulting in more than 10 Federal policy changes benefitting LGBT people.
  • Completed, with the National Center on Transgender Equality, Injustice at Every Turn, the largest-ever study of experiences of discrimination by transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S.
  • Significantly increased the visibility of the breadth of issues facing LGBT people and their families. Throughout 2010, the Task Force was one of the most quoted LGBT organizations in the country, and has one of the largest and most-followed social media efforts in the community.
  • Task Force senior staff testified before Congress on numerous issues of importance to the LGBT community, including calling on legislators to amend the Fair Housing Act to ban housing discrimination against LGBT people.
  • The Task Force continued to work with LGBT and non-LGBT progressive organizations to build greater strength and understanding about how issues such as comprehensive immigration reform and the Affordable Care Act uniquely affect LGBT people and their families.
  • Through the Queer the Census Campaign, the Task Force distributed over 140,000 stickers that people placed on their census envelopes demanding that LGBT individuals be counted in the census.
  • Held  the Believe Out Loud Power Summit with 250 pro-LGBT christian leaders for worship, networking, and advanced skills-building training to strengthen pro-LGBT christians’ ability to win secular, church and denominational policies that promote full inclusion and equality for LGBT individuals.

Catchafire’s Pro Bono Impact with The Task Force

The Task Force will soon be seeking their first pro bono professionals! Stay tuned for how you can get involved!

Get Involved

Please favorite The Task Force on Catchafire. (You need to be logged in to do this.)  We’ll alert you as other opportunities to get involved with The Task Force become available.  If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, email community@catchafire.org.

Find Your Cause: Sakhi

29 Aug

Meet Sakhi


 Sakhi works to end violence against women by uniting survivors, communities, and institutions to eradicate domestic violence while simultaneously creating strong and healthy communities. The word ‘Sakhi’ is founded on the fundamental meaning of the word “woman friend”.  The organization began 21 years ago when a group of five South Asian women decided to fight against abuse and violence against women. They recognized that  there are many religious, cultural, and professional groups organized within the South Asian population in New York, however there were very few outlets that gave women a chance to speak up about domestic violence.  Sakhi is trying to change that.  By creating an infrastructure for a safe space, South Asian women can finally stand up against the violence they are facing or are seeing around them in their lives.

How Sakhi Does Good

Sakhi creates a positive change through a two pronged approach.

1. They create a safe place with a full range of culturally-sensitive , language-specific information, support, services, and advocacy for South Asian women facing abuse in their lives

2. They work to inform, actively engage, and mobilize the South Asian community in the movement to end violence against women forever

Sakhi believes that in order for families to be healthy and happy, violence and oppression must be eliminated at the heart and root of communities. Therefore, all members of the community must be aware of and willing to take steps to achieve a nonviolent atmosphere.  Sakhi helps to create this atmosphere by teaching others these steps, including: taking charge, getting involved and staying involved, hosting gatherings for solidarity and supporting the cause through donations. These resources and forums will give people the tools to lead a better life.  The organization also provides a helpline that can be accessed during weekday hours for further assistance.

Sakhi follows the philosophy that women need and deserve friendship and support in whatever choices they make, at every step of their journeys toward happier, healthier lives, free from abuse. They are there for women from the first call they make – when they might be unsure of what domestic violence is – to when they are ready to make new friends, start new lives, pursue education or career opportunities, and when they join the fight to end violence against women forever.

The latest exciting development for Sakhi is their upcoming conference for social justice leaders – “Preventing Violence, Promoting Justice”.  This game-changing conference, which is the first event of its type for Sakhi, will be held October 10th and 11th.  The goal of this convening is to build a stronger movement to end violence against women in the US by forging connections between related movements for social justice.

Sakhi’s Impact

Sakhi has transformed the lives of both individuals and communities.  Here are the highlights of just a few of their achievements:

  • Mobilized the landmark New York State Office of Court Administration court rule in October that obligates courts ensure an interpreter in all civil and criminal cases when a party is not proficient in English. They also produced a groundbreaking report on the first national survey of court interpreters.
  • Featured as experts in 48 presentations, including a panel hosted by Dan Rather titled, “Between Two Worlds: Domestic Violence, Immigration, and Human Rights” and four sessions at the National Network to End Domestic Violence Conference.
  • Scaled up survivor grants for economic empowerment by 50%, offering discretionary funding to alleviate barriers such as childcare and transportations costs.
  • Opened computer labs for and provided computer training to survivors via one-to-one assistance and group workshops.
  • Launched its Communities Take Charge campaign in Richmond Hill, Queens, with a mela, or street festival.  Over 750 community members attended and about 35 community-based organization participated.  Sakhi continues to form partnerships with the community-led organizations, faith-based institutions, and key leaders in Richmond Hill (To read more, please click here.)
  • Recruited a team of volunteers and interns who are so committed to the cause that they devoted 19 months worth of volunteer time towards ending violence against women.
  • Successfully responding to continually rising volumes of new requests for assistance through their Domestic Violence Program.

Perhaps the best indicator of Sakhi’s impact is a comment from an individual directly engaged with their work:

My most valuable experience with Sakhi occurred a couple of years ago when I had the opportunity to work with a domestic violence survivor. She insists that I changed her life, but I know that her influence on me was far greater. The survivor and I spoke daily and I watched her grow from a distraught young person to an empowered woman who ultimately took charge of her life and turned it around. When I feel down or overwhelmed, I recall the strength and courage that this 20-year-old displayed, and tell myself if that if she can make it, everyone can… I realized how much Sakhi has impacted my identity. Its influence has been constant and far-reaching.” Sakhi volunteer

Catchafire’s Pro Bono Impact With Sakhi

Sakhi is new to Catchafire and will soon be seeking their first pro bono professionals! Stay tuned for how you can get involved!

Get Involved:

Please favorite the Sakhi page on Catchafire. (You need to be logged in to do this.) We’ll alert you as new opportunities to get involved become available.  If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, email community@catchafire.org.

Find Your Cause: YES Inc.

26 Aug

Meet YES Inc.  

YES Inc. fights poverty through large-scale job creation and entrepreneurship for youth. An international non profit, “YES” stands for Youth Entrepreneurship and Sustainability. Today, YES supports 55 country networks around the globe that are working independently to create unique programs that build an entrepreneurial culture where young people move toward self employment. The network strives to build the individual capacity of youth, empowering them to create sustainable livelihoods in their communities.  To achieve this, YES Inc. focuses on three main objectives:

1. To hold the issue of youth unemployment firmly on the global agenda.

2. To build the knowledge base of effective programs and policies for youth employment and entrepreneurship and help country partners with adaptive replication.

3. To support partners and YES country networks in understanding the country’s poverty eradication strategies, allowing them to identify, design and implement specific training and development programs that promote youth employment and entrepreneurship.

How Yes Inc. Does Good

The YES Campaign was first launched in 2002 at the YES Global Summit, by 1600 delegates from 120 countries and co-chaired by Mrs Mubarak, First Lady of Egypt and former President Bill Clinton.  The goal was to engage the world in and raise awareness for the youth unemployment crisis.  Along with the Global Summit, YES Inc. has also held Employment Summits to promote the YES campaign and build their global network. Today, YES is focused on capacity building and action-oriented programs that promote youth entrepreneurship. Working directly with country networks, current YES Inc’s 2011 initiatives include:

  • Enterprise Studios™: A refuge which inspires young people to paint the canvas of their dream by building upon their Big Idea, locating tools and signing up with mentors to create a life of promise.
  • Enterprise Generators: A program to repurpose universities as enterprise generators to provide a space for convening stakeholders, entrepreneurship education and project planning skills for youths. Through all their programs, YES Inc. hopes to inspire, educate, and support youth around the world  by creating an entrepreneurial culture moving people towards productive work.

Currently, Yes Inc. is focusing on their Youth Entrepreneurship Summit 2011: Jump Start America which will be held in November 2011. This Summit will gather leading CEOs, foundations, young entrepreneurs, investors and community organizers who will take bold new innovative action to power a new generation of young entrepreneurs. The Summit will be chaired by Desh Deshpande, Co-Chair of Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and will feature speakers such as CEOs from the Conscious Capitalism Institute and Whole Foods.

The Summit will also launch a Do Tank for Youth Entrepreneurship to take joint actions for creating access to markets for youth products and services, with the aim of bringing 100 young entrepreneurs under the age of 35 to the Summit. This aim will be supported by YES Inc’s Adopt an Entrepreneur Program, which encourages businesses to provide a valuable opportunity for a young American entrepreneur to attend and participate in the Summit, helping them turn their ventures into a sustainable future. In this way, businesses can be a viable part of the creative values, vision and energy that is reshaping the US.  The Do Tank will focus on innovative new initiatives grounded in the principles and practices of Conscious Capitalism.

YES Inc.’s Impact

To date, Yes Inc. has demonstrated impressive impact in a variety of diverse ways including:

  • Management of over 400 youth employment projects, employing over 1 million youth
  • Hosted 5 global summits and 5 regional meetings
  • Built and supported 55 YES Networks
  • Prepared 150 original publications and over 1000 online resource documents on best practice models and tools

YES Summit in Azerbaijan

Catchafire’s Pro Bono Impact with YES Inc.

YES Inc. is currently looking for a pro bono professional for a Marketing Analysis for Income-Generating Organizations Project.  The professional who is matched will get a chance to work with a new idea by Yes Inc. called YouthTrade™.  This is a new system of trade that will empower and accelerate young entrepreneurs by delivering their products and services to the marketplace. With this project, an organization will better understand the attractiveness of a market, its evolving opportunities, and existing threats in the external market as they relate to an organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses. This project will help YES Inc. determine the audiences it should target and suggest ways to improve and expand on its products and services.

Get Involved

Please favorite the YES Inc. on Catchafire. (You need to be logged in to do this.)  We’ll alert you as other opportunities to get involved with YES Inc. become available.  If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, email community@catchafire.org.

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