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February 2019 (3 posts)

High-Impact Volunteer Engagement: Six Factors for Success
February 15, 2019

2.21.19 High-Impact Volunteer Engagement Raw

If you are like most nonprofits, your organization is often strapped for capacity. In fact, on average, most nonprofits spend a mere 2% of their budget to support key operations like marketing, technology, or human resources, while peers in the corporate sector typically invest upwards of 35% of their budget on these functions.

Engaging skilled volunteers (also known as pro bono service) can be an effective way to bridge the capacity gap. It's important to recognize volunteers aren’t “free” and in order for skilled volunteerism to be effective, your organization must be ready to make the most of this valuable contribution of time and talent.


Six key factors have been identified to help you determine whether your nonprofit is ready to engage skills-based volunteers:

  1. Strong executive leadership: An engaged leader will not only inspire the volunteer team to connect with your organization’s mission but also ensure access to the support and resources necessary to a project’s success.
  2. Potential to create deep social impact: Organizations poised to create deep social impact make great candidates for skilled volunteer projects. A nonprofit with a strategic direction and measured outcomes can engage skills-based volunteers in contributing meaningful impact toward social change, which supports not only the organization’s mission, but also volunteer enthusiasm for the project.
  3. Effective relationship building: Skills-based volunteering requires partnership across sectors, so the ability to work with individuals and organizations from different cultures, sectors, and industries is crucial to a project’s success. Additionally, by fostering individual relationships with volunteers, your organization can create long-term champions, develop new corporate relationships, and potentially unlock new funding streams.​​​​​​​
  4. Organizational stability: Before engaging skilled volunteers, a nonprofit should be in a position of financial and operational stability. While no volunteer expects perfection from their nonprofit partner, and often the pro bono project can help build financial or operational capacity, the organization should not be in a period of staff or management transition or experiencing significant board turn-over. Without this stability, it is challenging to align a skilled volunteer project with an organization’s strategic direction, allocate the necessary resources to managing the project, and ensure the long-term sustainability of its outcomes.
  5. Commitment to capacity building: Since skills-based volunteerism focuses on building internal organizational infrastructure (i.e. not direct service activities), a nonprofit’s commitment to ongoing capacity building is essential. This commitment should start with senior leadership to ensure that your organization is willing to devote resources toward managing, implementing, and sustaining the results of your pro bono project.
  6. It takes time and resources to provide a positive volunteer experience. Nonprofits that evaluate volunteer experiences and plan for strategic volunteer engagement (including when to say “no” to support) will understand how to put volunteer time and talent to the best use possible to maximize the impact of your pro bono project.

By Jackie Hodgson, Common Impact

Join Candid and Common Impact on February 21, 2019 at 2:00 pm ET for the High-Impact Volunteer Engagement: Developing Effective Capacity Building Projects webinar, to learn more about these six factors for engaging in successful skills-based engagements along with an introduction on how to scope the right-sized project for your organization. Participants will receive Common Impact's Project Portfolio and Scoping Template to help them think through ways to identify organizational challenges and narrow them down into skills-based projects. In advance of the webinar, we encourage you to work through the Common Impact Organizational Readiness Wizard to understand key areas where your nonprofit may need support and prepare questions for the live, online training.


Meet Your Fundraising Needs with FDO as Your Partner
February 13, 2019


You need the best prospecting tool available, Foundation Directory Online is committed to meeting your needs as a fundraiser.

Last year was a big year for FDO, we added nearly 70,000 new grants each week – that is a lot of data in one year! Good news, we are aiming for even bigger records in 2019.

Your organization is doing important work; enabling your success is our mission.

To learn more about FDO, check out our handy guide.

Some Big News: Foundation Center & GuideStar Have Joined Forces!
February 05, 2019

Candid+tagline-300px_goldWe’re excited! Foundation Center and GuideStar have joined forces to become Candid.

First things first: Foundation Directory Online will remain unchanged. You’ll still experience the same great prospecting tool you rely on to win funding, and the same high levels of customer service.


Why, then, have we joined forces to become Candid?

The answer is pretty simple: Foundation Center and GuideStar have always been committed to the same thing: empowering individuals and organizations with the insights to change the world. Together, our combined experience and expertise will allow us to do more than ever before.  

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We want to reassure our valued FDO subscribers that we remain as dedicated as ever to ensuring you have the best funding research tool available, continue to:

  • Improve FDO so you find the funding you need to power your work
  • Tap into funding insights from 14 million+ grants
  • Get access to Foundations, including Corporate funders and Public charities
  • Find your best matched funders based on your specific mission
  • Discover new prospecting opportunities from 700,000+ Recipient profiles*
  • Leverage FDO’s LinkedIn integration to build that connection


For more information head to candid.org or email us.


*Available with FDO Professional